In 1964, after seven years and three colleges, I finally graduated with a degree in elementary education. The years of gambling, a lack of dedication to studying, and an injury to my pitching arm all contributed to the extension of my matriculation.
When I took my first teaching job in Hartford, Connecticut, my gambling partner and I were deep in debt to some unsavoury people in the local gambling world. My sick buddy came up with a plan to break into a drug store. The contents of the drug store safe would be our road out of gambling debt. Needless to say, these two inexperienced criminals were easily caught.
After losing my teaching licence and spending time in jail, I was fortunate to get a job in the poverty program and work myself up the ladder there. After three years, I was even able to get my teaching licence back and return to the classroom in a small town outside of Hartford.
Marriage and two sons came next in my life. But I never left my first love, gambling. In jail, I even gambled for cigarettes; outside jail, I took money from my dear father and I stole time from my wife and boys. When the casinos came to Connecticut, I found a big outlet for my addiction.
The tension of gambling made me an uptight person. I yelled at my wife and kids and got into fights with people wherever I went. I even got into a fight with someone at my son’s Jack and Jill event before his wedding. That led to my being ‘uninvited’ to his wedding and him not speaking to me for two years.
Along the way, I went to Gambler’s Anonymous, with half-hearted attempts to quit when my wife threatened to leave and turned up the heat on me. Surprisingly, she hung in with me for thirty-eight years. Even a heart attack did not slow me down.
Three events finally woke me up: the problem with my son, that led to anger management; a second heart attack; and the birth of my first grandson. I was tired of the way I was living, my health was in jeopardy, and I did not want to die. I loved my new grandson very much and I did not want him to know his poppop as a gambler, as my sons knew me.
I went back to the fellowship of Gambler’s Anonymous with a new, but stronger commitment. This time I not only decided to stop my gambling, I also accepted that I was powerless over the addiction and needed help. It’s been three years since I made my last bet. If I can do this, anyone can beat an addiction; what it takes is the motivation to conquer it.
As for how things are for me now, there is a marked change in my personality which has improved my relationships with my family, friends, and others. Without the gambling, I am calmer. Don't get me wrong, Rome wasn't built in a day. Not only did I quit gambling, I have had to work on the character defects that go along with the addiction. As a result, my priorities and goals have changed and because of that I am now a happier man and enjoying life.
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Written by Lenny Grossman
Here is Lenny's email if you would
like to connect with him before the call, firstname.lastname@example.org