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The Last Addiction

You have heard many gambling stories. And I sure, none of those stories have a happy ending. Yes, once or twice, the lucky guy goes on to win the lottery or the million dollars in the slot machine. But do you know what happens after that? That lucky guy would spend the entire winning on gambling to fulfill his urge to win something more.

You see, gambling is an addiction. A person who is in the habit of gambling shows all the symptoms of an addict who is doing substance abuse. Indeed, gambling doesn't produce a bad breath or needle marks in your hands- and that makes this addiction all the worse. Gambling as an addiction is known to have destroyed families, killed opportunities, caused insanity out of stress in gamblers, and has even led to deaths on certain occasions. The thing that drives gambling is the urge to win, the urge to be rewarded. No substance abuse ever rewards anyone, but gambling does. And we can see exactly how it affects the mind of Judy.

Judy was no beginner to addiction. She had smoked her share of cigarettes and chugged down entire packs of beer. What started as a single cigarette in a week or a single can in a month went on to become something pretty serious in a short while. She had quit smoking when she was 25- it was a time when she was doing up to 3 packs of cigarettes regularly. Judy quit drinking when she was 37- at that time she was having an entire 6-pack of beer all by herself. She thought she had quit but it is a difficult endeavor to get rid of an addiction.

Since Judy had been into multiple occasions of addiction she already knew how addiction felt like. The adrenaline rush from the drug is all that drives you and one will do anything to get the drug. What she thought to be free from addiction days were only days of abstinence and her urge to be addicted to something was growing all the while. Since the age of 37, Judy had kept herself in check. She grew a lovely family and was doing great at her job. However, the hole in her heart started yearning for more once she reached 50, once she had achieved a great deal in her life and was indeed living a happy one.

She came across a slot machine in a casino in Vegas when she was 50. She had gone there to attend some conference for her company and was doing rounds in the slot machine in between the meetings. She sat down in front of a machine innocently, thinking of having some fun. But her previous experience with addiction all multiplied and she was instantly hooked to the idea of gambling. She reckons that where her smoking had started at 1 and she left it at 7 on a scale of 10, her gambling addiction jump-started at 7! This was all because of her prior experience as an addiction. You see, addiction builds resistance in the body, and soon you will be asking for more and more of the drug. Soon enough she was not happily playing in the smaller machines- she was going for the $100 slots that are available at $200 for a pull. A bigger machine meant that she was going to get a better reward.

She would think that she was still not under the clutches of gambling, that she only gambled on the weekends. What she didn't realize was that the week was becoming ridiculously long for her. All she could think of was when the weekends would arrive so that she could go off to the casinos and play her bit. In two years, she had used up all the money that she and her family had. Since she had to keep fuelling her addiction, she started to steal money from her company. It was an act of "borrowing" for her and she always had the good intentions of returning everything when she had enough. But a gambler never has enough. All the money she borrowed was lost in fuelling her habit.

In 2005 Judy had started her fond relation with gambling. By 2007, her money embezzlement came to the notice of the authorities in her company and she was fired. And in another two years, in 2009, she would be sleeping in a prison bunk bed since she was incarcerated for larceny. It was during this time that she slowly started to realize the ills of gambling and how she needed help. After getting divorced, losing her entire family, losing her job, and spending nights in prison- after 5 years of being addicted to gambling, she realized that she had a problem and needed help. She slowly understood that her problems of addiction from a young age were stemming from something deep-rooted in her and she decided to deal with it. After losing everything she had built in her life, after giving away her happy life, she saw the ills of gambling and decided to confront her addiction.

No gambling story ever has a fairy tale ending. No gambling story ever ends with “…and they lived happily ever after". Gambling is a curse on the person and the devil to anyone near to the person. It is a habit that not only affects a single individual but victimizes all who are close to the individual. Gambling destroys lives and Judy was lucky to have realized this and sought help. Not everyone is so lucky in the gamble of life!


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