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No Longer Hiding
I always enjoyed playing poker with my family and friends. After my
husband and I were married, we played poker with some other couples.
That was fun, and winning was really exciting! But gambling moved beyond fun
when I was introduced to a casino and slot machines. Our family was having
some difficulties, so my husband and I wanted to get away for a few days.
It was a riverboat casino with
winding stairs, big chandeliers, a bar
and the whole works. I told my
husband that I felt like Scarlett
After losing several rolls of
quarters, we decided to play nickel
machines. We sat together playing
those machines for hours, and we
had a ball!
|It was so much fun to hit
jackpots and have coins falling all
over us. We enjoyed the excitement
of winning, the lights, the sounds
and being together. It was a
I couldn’t wait to go back, so I
rolled nickels and quarters to get
ready. We had been playing
progressive slots, so I was all set to
win a million dollars on the slots!
We didn’t go to the casino too often.
In those days, I played bingo a lot
during the day, but I realized that I
could drive an hour-and-a-half to
the casino and have a lot more fun.
One day, as soon as my husband left
for work, I got dressed and drove to
the casino. I made sure to get back
before my husband got home from
The first few times, I took $50 to
$100, but soon, that wasn’t enough.
I saved every way I could so I could
take $200 or more. I never came
home with any money. If I won a
jackpot, I stayed until all of it was
gone. To get enough money to
gamble, I stopped paying our bills. I
stole my husband’s Post Office box
key so he couldn’t check the mail
and see the bills. I took the phone
off the hook at night so bill
collectors couldn’t call, and I stole
the tape out of the telephone
answering machine. I hid all the
bills and overdue notices in
shoeboxes in the closet.
After several months of hiding all
this from my husband, we were six
months behind on our house note,
and we had three or four maxed out
credit cards. We owed everybody. I
took $200 for the light bill to the
casino planning to make enough
money to pay off a lot of our debts,
but of course, that never happened.
One day on the way back from the
casino, I hit bottom. I had ruined
our lives. I thought, “If I just pull out
in front of an 18-wheeler, I’ll die and
my husband will have the life
insurance money. That’ll fix
everything.” I just wanted to die.
I wrote a note to a friend at
church to borrow some money, but
she gave it to my pastor. He called
me and asked me to see him. He
confronted me, and I was so
ashamed. I told him what I’d been
doing, and he told me to go home
and tell my husband. I would rather
die, but I decided to tell him. I hated
myself for making such a mess of
our lives. I wanted my husband—or
somebody—to hit me because I
deserved to be in pain. My husband
asked his brother for advice, and he
called the number on the back of a
lottery ticket to find some help. We
found a Gamblers Anonymous
meeting, and he drove me to my
It was so hard to stop gambling.
For the first few months in the
group, I cried because I felt so
ashamed. I told them about all the
hot checks and hiding bills, and at
the end of the meetings, they
hugged me and told me how proud
they were of me. That was
Even from the beginning of my
recovery, God worked in powerful
ways, and he helped me restore our
marriage. We had some tough
times. I was miserable giving up
gambling, and I wanted my
husband to be miserable, too. But
God got us through it all. Today,
I’m happier than I’ve ever been.
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