#YouAreLoved at #TheFeast

I am a recovering gambling addict.

I started frequenting the casinos seven years ago. At first, I was only playing small time. When I would make a small profit, I would leave; or when I would lose the set budget, I would go home. But this soon started to increase and it reached a point where I had pawned my gadgets and even my car just to have funds to run after my losses. These too were all lost eventually. I have lost two high-paying jobs because I would stay in the casino for several days and sometimes even for a week without notifying my bosses as I was running after my losses.

Recently, I spent a whole week in the casino because I lost everything once again. I spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day of 2018 in that place together with other people who have pinned their hopes on being able to recover their losses by scrounging for a few hundreds of pesos that people would give them; or through bonus bets that these establishments provide so that you could continue betting.

All of these promos and incentives are of course planned to keep their patrons. They will give you different items and sometimes, even an overnight stay at their hotel especially if you are one of those who put in big amounts of bets or those who have won a lot recently.

What pains me to see are the people that are ruined because of this activity. I have seen young people as young as 18 years of age — boys and girls slowly getting addicted to gambling through the casinos. I have seen elder people blowing in just a week their retirement pay which they had worked for for 40 to 50 years. Men and women selling their bodies to foreigners for a few thousand pesos just to fund their gambling addiction, with the hope of being able to recover their losses. Business owners neglecting and eventually losing their businesses. The worst that I have heard was someone taking his own life because he was unable to pay his debts to the casino financiers anymore.

There are still a lot that I have seen and experienced, but I do not know how to share them further. I am not out to get these establishments responsible for the countless lives ruined because of the addiction to casino gambling. What I would like to do is to enlighten people.

To those who are currently hooked, it is never too late to turn things around. All you really need to do is stop and focus on things outside of that world. This addiction will bleed you dry and you will not even notice it until everything is gone.

To those who have relatives or family members currently hooked, I would suggest that you show them the understanding and compassion, and reason with them (because arguing with them will only have them continue on with the habit). Help them in whatever way you can (aside from giving them money, of course). Give them ideas on how to be able to cut their addiction, resolve their problems, and totally rid themselves of this. As with any kind of addict, a support group will help them so much; but I am not sure if one is available at this point. It will be best to watch your own and be your family member’s support group. Never abandon them because they do not have control of themselves or their actions. Pray for them as they have lost all faith and are in a desperate situation.

To those who are curious and are starting to frequent these places, resist the urge because I tell you, the glitter of winning big will get you hooked; and it might be too late before your realize you are in too deep.

I have spoken to a lot of people after losing everything and the same thoughts came up. “I should have never started gambling.” “Had I stopped gambling, my life would be better.” I have sat with countless of people saying the same thing and asking them why don’t they just stop. Together with them, I cannot come up with answers.

It’s as if we have pinned our hopes on the people who will give us chips to be able to have a chance at winning back our losses. Or we wait for the bonus bets or bonus chips to arrive and that’s what we will try to convert into cash. Some of us spend several days without sleep or without food because we have gambled away even our funds for food and fare home. That’s why you sometimes see people getting stranded for several days.

Imagine the foolishness that we have pinning our hopes on something that is designed to take our money away — instead of taking care of our families, businesses, work, or praising our Lord Jesus who has given us everything. Imagine the sins that we could or do commit because of this foolishness: greed, adultery, theft, covetousness, worship of false gods, forgetting Day of Worship, and worst — suicide.

I, together with thousands of people, am hoping to kick the addiction; and I hope that this starts something in the people who will be reading this. I did not write this for anything but more so that people will benefit from it. I promised God that I will share my experiences, and this is what I am doing. I am not putting my name because I would like to protect my children and my family from any harm that could possibly come to them. But my hope is for parents to know their children’s activities especially when they go to these places. For husbands and wives to extend the understanding on how to curb the addiction. For communities to not condemn these people but provide the support and understanding that they need in order to turn things around. And lastly, if this will save even just one soul for the glory of God, then I would say it was worth writing and sharing. 

__________

There’s one kind of addiction that blesses people — God addiction. Come to The Feast and join thousands who are addicted to God’s love. For locations, schedules, and updates, go to http://bit.ly/FeastLocations or download THE FEAST app on Google Play or App Store.

For counseling needs, visithttps://www.facebook.com/lojpastoralcare/.

* Photo by Cei Intud (used for visual representation only; subjects not related to the sharer)

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