Banbury man opens up with gambling struggles to help give others hope
A Banbury man has opened up about his struggles with gambling, and shared how he marked his three-year 'gamble free' anniversary with a special tattoo.
Calvin Findlay aims to help give others dealing with a gambling addiction hope for the future by sharing his experience.
He said: "I'm 38 years old and started gambling a few pounds a week on football pools when I was 19.
"At first it wasn't an issue, and was just a bit of fun. However, in my early 20's I started gambling online to the point of being completely out of control. Every Friday was payday, and I would wake up in the early hours knowing my wages had hit the bank and gambled the majority of my wages away.
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"Even if I won a substantial amount of money I would just keep going until I lost everything. I racked up £1000s of debt due to my gambling, and my mental health really suffered. I would often just look in the mirror and scream at myself, but still I just continued in the cycle of self destruction.
His gambling addiction had a massive impact on his family and relationships.
Calvin added: "I attended my first Gamblers Anonymous (GA) meeting in my early 20’s. While attending meetings, my gambling stopped and I thought I was cured so I stopped attending meetings.
"However, the gambling soon started again. I attended GA again in my late 20's and early 30's, but just didn't learn from the past and stopped attending, which led me back to gambling.
"I realised on the 20th September 2018, that I needed to go back to GA as I couldn't live my life like this anymore and needed to do it for myself and my daughter, but this time I needed to continue attending as that's the medication I need to stay gamble free.
"My life now has never been better. I'm now engaged to a lovely lady and have a three-month-old baby girl, and of course my eldest daughter, Hollie."
"I decided to get a tattoo with my last gamble date, and also the GA logo as a constant reminder to myself to not become complacent in my own recovery.
"I wanted to open up in the hope others with a gambling addiction or any other addiction know they aren't alone, and you can turn your lives around and there is help out there."
There is a local Gamblers Anonymous (GA) meeting in Banbury see its website for more details