COMPULSIVE GAMBLER: A SAD TALE. My Recovery Guest Spotlight Shines on David S. Recovering Gambler Like Me …

A must-read ‘Gambler’s Tale’ from a new recovery friend I have met. As a matter of fact, my friend David gave me permission to share the whole post which I will do right below the REBLOG for all my recovery supporters and blog friends. WHY? It not often I meet other recovering compulsive gamblers who will speak about their addiction and recovery due to the continued STIGMA around this cunning disease!

So, meet my new friend David S. and please visit and follow him on “DAVIDS PLACE”…




Back in 1947 my Mom and Dad had sex. I was the result and now I sit in my little apartment almost 70 years later barely surviving. What a remarkable unforced error that act of love created. I have had a life filled with many wonderful benefits that most can only dream of. Yet, I have screwed it all up.
I was born into a family where there were already two older brothers twelve and thirteen years my seniors. Then, when I was only twelve, my daddy suddenly dropped dead leaving my two older brothers in charge of a very profitable family business that they already had been working in. My mom, myself and the two brothers all were willed equal parts of the business and of my end being entrusted to my mom until I was twenty-five…
I was not a normal kid at all. I hated school and was always in trouble. I was not a bad boy just a clown and a spoiled brat. I did not care about school unlike my group of upper-middle-class friends who mostly went on to become lawyers and doctors. I continually flunked courses and barely graduated on time. I only cared about playing ball and gambling.
I developed a pathological taste for gambling the first time I ever felt the rush of it. Gambling instantly became and continued to be my greatest love. That has a lot to do with why I am severely depressed, alone, and lonely most of the time.  I lost my mental health along with a fortune  Thanks to a wealthy family and a rich lover who now treats me as her child I survive nicely.
I was about eleven when I started playing poker with my little friends. I almost always lost because I was a compulsive gambler from the get-go. I was also a terrible gambler. I could not ever stop playing until I lost all my money.  I bet on horses, craps, roulette, blackjack, and sports. I gambled at everything I could, even among other gamblers I was regarded as a chump.
I finally surrendered to my powerlessness over gambling, quit, and started going to Gamblers Anonymous about nine years ago. I have not made a bet since 2009. Stopping gambling is my shining accomplishment of a mostly wasted life.
Compulsive. gambling is the hardest addiction to give up. I know. I have also been addicted to cocaine, pot, alcohol, sex, and overeating… Gambling is the toughest and cruelest addiction. It is a silent destroyer… If you refuse to stop gambling you end up insane, in jail, or dead without anyone ever knowing. The compulsive gambler must get help. One cannot stop permanently on their own.
I never had any reservations about losing all my money because my rich mom could never say no to refilling my empty pockets after my desperate marathon crying sessions to her… She bailed me out of debt time after time for years. When I was about twenty-three I went into the family business. I was given a fat salary, a car, a nice office, insurance and they even paid my taxes. I should have been set for life.
My middle brother Lou who I idolized forever because of his brains, athletic ability, popularity,  physical toughness, and total coolness set me up as an important employee. With a wave of his hand and an introduction to the gigantic staff, I was a new family member to be respected.
My brother Lou set it up so that I had all the amenities of an important businessman at my fingertips. He wanted me to feel good so I would be happy and make the business lots of money. He had become my second father as soon as my dad died. Lou was always the brains of the growing and continually more successful family business.
Lou has been the ultimate perfect person to me as long as I have been alive. He loved me so much when I was a little kid and took me with him everywhere. He was a great athlete, a good-looking very popular guy and smart as a whip. I idolized him. He has always been my hero. He has also always intimidated me brutally just by his presence. But, I have been trying to get his respect for my entire life. He is superman to me.
He was a great golfer and very early on made me feel that manhood and golf were synonymous. I would stand and sweat as I stood in the tee box as he watched me dribble out one pathetic shot after another every year on my birthday when he would take me out to play. I would wait for that one day all year and then play like crap. I cannot put in words my self-loathing for being incapable of hitting the ball well around him.
I just froze as he watched me in the box. I would want to puke my guts up and throw a tantrum because of the frustration I felt walking down a fairway after fairway while playing like crap. Lou never commented as I fumbled around the golf course. His silent acceptance of my inability made it worse. Ironically, I was actually a very good golfer away his presence.
He knew I was a gambler.  He was a gambler too but not a compulsive gambler like I am. I made no secret of my gambling. I was constantly telling Lou war stories of my gambling exploits. He was indifferent not knowing how sick of a gambler I really was and how much money I had been getting from my mom to cover debts and gamble with …
Then my mom finally busted me. She had run out of patience with my episodes of nagging and crying for cash. She explained to Lou how much of a degenerate I was. I had gone through $350,000 of her money in a few years. I was only twenty-four and also making a good salary and totally broke and in heavy debt.
Lou walked into my office, leaned over my desk and hit me in the mouth without saying a word. I fell out of my chair bleeding and looked up at him. He said “I just talked to mom”. . . he wrapped his hand around my neck and screamed that I would be fired from my cushy, no brainer, very well paid sales job in the family business and never get a dime of the equity I was going to inherit if he ever heard of me gambling again.
Then, he said the worst thing he had ever said to me. He told me that he was giving up on me forever.  He screamed that I was on my own and never look to him for anything. “We’re finished”, he screamed as I shook.  He spoke words I dreaded but hoped never would be spoken to me. He said that I had been a failure in everything my whole life. He said he thought I would straighten out after coming into the family business but that he was wrong.
I did not know my ownership of the business could not lawfully be confiscated and I believed he could do anything he said, he could.  I also lived for his approval with everything I did. I loved him so.
Now, he had defined every fear of his opinion of me. I felt at the time as my self-esteem went to zero. I wanted his respect and admiration all my life. I thought I had lost any chance of getting it back. I decided to try to prove myself anyway. I was determined to become a good employee and a respectable human being.
I stopped gambling for a day or two but I could not stay stopped … as I began stealing, lying, embezzling, and doing everything else I could think of to sneakily keep myself in action. I ended up stealing over $200.000 from the business over the next three years. Plus, I owed a fortune to friends and relatives. Also, I had started borrowing from juice men (loan sharks) …They were chasing me and I was scared.
I finally confessed to Lou what I had done when I was terrified as the bad guys were chasing me to get paid. He said nothing. He just stared at me with the look of a person who was DEAD to him. He only asked how much I owed the loan guys. He settled with them.  Then, he pointed to the door for me to leave and I did not say a word as I walked out knowing I was finished with me …
Jack, the other brother just sat there smiling watching the whole show from his fancy desk.. Jack had always hated me and bullied me my entire life until one fateful day when he tried to intimidate me and I responded by smacking him in his big nose.

“From then on we never spoke in any form for the rest of his eighty-two years.”

He rode Lou’s coat-tails his entire life as he had gotten rich because of Lou. Jack and his family acted like Jack had made his millions with his own brains.  He was actually just window dressing who had been born right. He knew that I knew he was a fraud and I reminded him with many sarcastic remarks.
Lou was stuck with him but he never demeaned or embarrassed him because Lou did not need to do that. He was too classy.  His ego was solid as a rock as it should have been. Everyone knew that Jack would be selling shoes part-time and need 10 other jobs just to make ends meat if not for Lou’s brains.
Everyone except Jack’s three kids and loudmouth wife knew he was a just putz …He was in the business only because of his inheritance and his role was to do simple things only and to be quiet, be happy and to live under Lou’s leadership. It always remained a mystery to myself and many others that Lou did not figure a way to get Jack out of the business. But Lou accepted Jack as his fate. However, I went on. I drove a cab, did some odd jobs, and kept trying to make a score gambling with whatever money I could find. As a few years passed.

“Then, one night I met Julie, the girl of my dreams.”

I soon realized that I wanted a normal life. A few weeks after meeting Julie I walked back into the family business and into Lou’s office. He never looked up at me. “What?” he asked quietly. ” I would like you to give me a chance and give me my job back” He stayed silent.
“Please, I muttered. “I’m in love” “I need another chance,” He said quietly “Go sit down and go to work.”  I loved him more than ever. “OK,” I blurted out smiling widely. He still had not looked at me. I again believed I could make everything right with him, with Julie, and make a life …

‘But, I still loved gambling more than anything including myself’ …

Davids Place

Back in 1947 my Mom and Dad had sex. I was the result and now I sit in my a little apartment almost 70 years later barely surviving. What a remarkable unforced error that act of love created.

I have had a life filled with  many wonderful benefits that most can only dream of. Yet, I have screwed it all up.

I was born into a family where there were already two older brothers twelve and thirteen years my seniors. Then, when I was only twelve daddy suddenly dropped dead leaving my two older brothers in charge of a very profitable family business which they already had been working in. My mom, myself, and the two brothers all were willed equal parts of the business with my end being entrusted to my mom till I was twenty-five..

I was not a normal kid at all. I hated school and was…

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My Recovery Spotlight on Author & Advocate, Marilyn Lancelot a Recovering Gambler Like Me…

Image result for copy free images of author marilyn lancelot

What can I say more about this beautiful friend of mine who was responsible for getting gamblers anonymous meetings into Arizona’s Womens prisons and correctional facilities? Marilyn has been maintaining a long-term “Bet Free” lifestyle” and she makes it look easy. She is also my sponsor while I am temporarily living in the Phoenix, AZ area for now. Marilyn calls me each week or so like clockwork, and I am so grateful and blessed to have her in my life!


I came across a wonderful in-depth Guest Interview she did not too long ago on and courtesy of  … I love Marilyn to pieces as we don’t often meet true supportive friends every day like her. I am excited to mention her and I will be on an upcoming coming radio show together on Mental Health News Radio Network With – Kristin Walker! Our topic will be on ” Switching Addictions” which is also the title of Marilyn’s 2nd book. Her first is a MUST READ Titled; “Gripped By Gambling” a memoir that you won’t believe and is EYE OPENING. So let’s meet and learn more about Marilyn Lancelot…


Product Details

GRIPPED BY GAMBLING  (A book that will have you in tears and then laughter. A story told with the painful truth about the addiction of gambling and how I found recovery.)

Interview with a Recovering Compulsive Gambler.

“My name is Marilyn Lancelot and I am a recovering compulsive gambler. I visited my first casino in 1984 at the age of 53. For seven years, my boyfriend and I made the four-hour trek from Yuma, AZ to Laughlin, NV every weekend. I learned early on how to lie to my family and friends and how to sign my employers’ name to company checks. I considered suicide and planned it so it would like an accident.

Then one day the auditors discovered my embezzling. Horrified, I watched seven police cars pull into my driveway to take me away in handcuffs. I lost my job, home, life savings, my retirement, and my freedom. I had progressed from a Mrs. Cleaver type housewife to a Ma Barker type criminal.”

Questions and Answers:

Under what circumstance did you first gamble?

As a young girl, I remember playing cards with family and betting twenty-five cents a hand. I thought it very boring and everyone got drunk and argued. I went to dog and horse races and thought they were too slow. I remember vividly the first time I gambled in a casino. I visited Las Vegas with my husband but only played the twenty-five cent slot machines. It wasn’t until a couple of years later when I spent a weekend at a bowling tournament in Reno, NV and that’s when I became addicted.

Did you win the first time you gambled?

The weekend in Reno was what many refer to as beginner’s luck. I just couldn’t lose. I felt I was destined to become a professional gambler and could earn a living in the casinos.

After the first time you gambled, when did you come back again?

When I got home from the bowling tournament I told my boyfriend what an incredible weekend I had and we must drive to Laughlin the following week. We did drive the 4½ hours to the casinos and 4 ½ hours home for the next seven years.

Was it internal or external pressure that made you want to quit?

I didn’t want to quit even though the gambling was killing me, physically, emotionally, and financially. There was no external pressure because of no-one, not even my family knew of my addiction. It was my money and I could do whatever I wanted to and when I wanted to.

What would you say was the lowest point in your gambling life?

Some of the lowest periods in my gambling were the times when I wanted to die; when my credit cards were maxed out, when I began embezzling money from my employer, and when I realized I couldn’t do anything about my gambling. But the very lowest was when the police came and took me away in handcuffs for a crime I committed to support my habit.

What were your game or games of choice?

My game of choice was the slot machine. No other form of gambling gave me the hypnotic feeling of escaping as the slot machines did.

Did you have rituals you went through each time you gambled?

My rituals for my weekend at the casino were to wear my lucky shirt, my lucky jewelry, and to follow the same path around the casino floor each weekend. I thought any changes would spoil my luck.

Why do you think it’s hard for compulsive gamblers to understand that money can’t be made through gambling? What is their mindset, do you think?

It was difficult for me to understand that money couldn’t be made through gambling because once in a while I did win and everyone around me won so my turn would come again. I believed I could win all my losses back if I just tried harder. I even bought books on how to gamble successfully. I had to continue to gamble until I hit the big jackpot.

Besides the money, what would you say was the worst thing you lost because of gambling?

I think the worst loss was my loss of the seven years I gambled. For those years I was a zombie and didn’t have time for my family. My mind was not on my job during the week because all I could think about was the weekend.

There is a theory that addictions run in families. Was there anyone in your immediate family who had an addiction problem?

My parents both had drinking problems so if addictive, compulsive behavior is hereditary, then I believe my poor coping skills came from my parents. I don’t blame anyone but myself for my addictions. My five children all became addicted to alcohol or drugs.

Poor coping skills have been contributed to addictions. Can you share with us what coping skills you’ve learned that have helped you? Then specifically how you cope with:

Anger: When I feel angry about something or someone, I stop and analyze my feelings (after months and years of practicing, it becomes second nature) and decide if I should really be upset by the situation or just move past the issue. Like driving down the freeway, if I slow down and allow someone to cut in front of me, I can’t be angry because I allowed that person the courtesy.

Rejection: Feelings of rejection go back many years even before I attended my first 12-step program. If I truly love someone and they abandon me or say cruel things to me, I tell myself, that because I love that person, I will allow them to do with their lives what they want to do. And there again is my decision to allow. If I think they may be on a self-destructive path, I will share my thoughts with them and then allow them to do as they wish. I have learned that I cannot control anyone, not even myself sometimes.

Insecurity: I am not bothered by insecurities today. There was a time when I suffered deeply from an inferiority complex. Today I don’t, I feel that I’m as good a person as I’m supposed to be and I hope people will accept me as I am.

The past: I have forgiven myself for the damage I caused in the past and the mistakes I’ve made. I will never forget them, they’re part of who I am today but I don’t punish myself for my past.

Frustration: If I feel frustration coming on, I do a quick analysis of my surroundings and what’s bothering me. I recite the Serenity Prayer and if I can do something about the problem, I will try and if I can’t, I will accept the consequences.

Or other emotions and events?

Jealousy sometimes pops its ugly head over my shoulder but with a little thought exercise, I can usually make a decision that will show me I have nothing to fear or envy.

Prior to gambling addiction, did you have another addiction? Or did you have another addiction while you were gambling?

I’ve always had addictive patterns in my life. I have had eating problems, I’ve gone through a period where I was a workaholic, I’m a recovering alcoholic and now a recovering compulsive gambler. I know today that if anything feels good, tastes good, or looks good, I have to be aware of the dangers of another addiction.

What would you say is the worst addiction? And why?

I think overeating must be the tougest addiction to cope with. With all other addictions, the person gives up the drug, habit, etc. completely, but with an eating addiction, the person has to modify their habits and continue to stay in the problem but with control.

Almost half of compulsive gamblers are now women. What do you think is contributing to this increase?

I think more women are becoming compulsive gamblers because we are more independent today, we make decisions, earn money, and many of the women are single parents with more responsibilities. Gambling is around every corner, the little store on the corner sells lottery tickets and the churches have bingo. Women feel safe in casinos and the casinos in our backyards and if we can’t drive there, the casino will send a bus to your neighborhood and give you a ride.

There are many theories as to why people develop a gambling problem. They range from social, environmental, biological, cognitive, and spiritual. In your experience, what contributed most to your problem? What theory or theories do you think affect most people?

I guess I don’t look for the reasons why I gambled, I’m just grateful that I found a way to stop. It really doesn’t matter whether we’re rich or poor, young or old, college graduate or high school drop-out, the gambling addiction is not prejudiced.

If you could draw up a plan to help someone to quit gambling, what would that plan look like in detail?

If I could draw up a plan for someone to quit gambling, I would follow the 12 steps of Gamblers Anonymous. I would encourage them to attend meetings, find a sponsor, and make an appointment to see a gambling counselor.

How do you feel about the gambling industry as a whole? Do you think they have the right to operate as a business and it’s caveat emptor (buyer beware) for the consumers?

I have no opinion on the gambling industry as a whole. I just know it’s not for me.

The gambling industry is expanding as a whole. Do you think more people will become addicted to gambling because of this?

Yes, I think the gambling industry is expanding and more people will become addicted. They can’t avoid it with the clever advertising the casinos provide. The casinos are beautiful and the gamblers are treated royally.

How do you feel about poker? Seeing that it’s all over the place now. Do you feel that celebrities playing in poker tournaments is setting a bad example to young people?

I’m sure the poker tournaments on television will tempt many viewers to take that trip to a casino and test their skill. It could be a trigger for some.

You’ve credited Gamblers Anonymous as being instrumental in your recovery. Can you share with us your experiences in the program– the people you’ve met, your most memorable moments and low-points while in the program?

Gamblers Anonymous saved my life. When I was at the lowest point in my addiction and attended my first GA meeting, I knew this was where I belonged. I knew the other members couldn’t do it for me but I couldn’t do it without them. But I do feel there are many other ways to get help and treatment.

Do you agree with the Gamblers Anonymous program that people are “powerless” over gambling?

I know that I was powerless over gambling because I tried so many times to stop driving to the casinos and I just couldn’t stop. Each weekend on the ride home, I’d cry to myself, “I’m never coming back, this is so stupid.” And half-way home I’d be planning my next trip.

Did any friend or family member attempt to understand your problem? Or did you try to hide it from them?

I don’t think any of my friends nor my family would have understood my gambling addiction. They weren’t aware of my problem because I kept it hidden so well. I even rented a post office box so credit card bills wouldn’t be sent to my home.

Do you remember how many bottoms you hit?

What was the worst or most memorable one? Every morning when I woke up and every weekend on my way home from the casino, was a bottom. The most frightening one was when the seven police cars came to my home and took me away in handcuffs.

Did suicide ever cross your mind in the midst of the addiction?

I thought of suicide many times. When I drove alone in my car I thought one quick turn of the wheel and I’d hit a wall or an 18-wheeler and that would be the end of my gambling.

How did gambling make you feel? What were you hoping to get out of it?

While I gambled, I always thought gambling made me feel good. Some nights I sat on the stool at the casino and didn’t care whether I won or lost, I just wanted to keep playing. The money didn’t seem real.

How many times did you try quitting before you succeeded?

I think I quit every weekend for the seven years I gambled compulsively. That only lasted for ten miles down the road when we left the casino and then I would be planning my next trip. I’d wear a different shirt and I wouldn’t wear that dumb bracelet because that’s what gave me the bad luck.

What were the reactions of your family and friends when you were gambling?

My family and friends never knew the amount of money I lost or won. A compulsive gambler becomes very clever with lies and covering up all their gambling problems. We just can’t let anyone know what we’re doing, they make try to make us quit and I wasn’t ready to quit.

Does the thought of gambling creep into your mind sometimes?

I’m happy to say that gambling doesn’t have a place in my thoughts. I’ve been told that I’m not responsible for the first thought that comes into my head but I am responsible for what I do with it after that. I’ve been fortunate that I haven’t gambled since I attended my first meeting more than 16 years ago but I know that if I made that first bet, I’d be off and running again. And this time I would probably die.

Do you have any regrets?

I have regrets. I regret the harm I did to my employer and I’m sorry for not being there for my family. I’ve forgiven myself but I’ll never forget what I’ve done. You can process it so it doesn’t haunt you every day.

What advice do you have for anyone who wants to quit?

If someone wants to quit, they’re half-way there. The desire to stop is the biggest step a compulsive gambler can make. If we don’t have the desire, we can’t quit…

My book GRIPPED BY GAMBLING may be purchased through and other on-line bookstores. The blog here by Author, Catherine Lyon has some good advice and resources I hope people who may have a gambling problem stay and look around while they are here and share with friends and family…


Marilyn Lancelot

Again, I want to thank  for letting me share this fantastic and informative interview with Marilyn Lancelot. She has published two more important books since Gripped By Gambling. You can visit her on Amazon for all her books here: Amazon Author Page