“you got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em. Know when to walk away, know when to run” -Kenny Rodgers.

When I worked at the rehab facility, I can recall numerous time that the clients would ask me what drug I was addicted to? I never really liked talking about my life, because it wasn’t about me. My job was to look after them and keep them safe and on the right path.

My last day there, I had a coming to Jesus with the clients during their lunch. I gave them the opportunity to ask question and get to know the guy behind the title. Well, the first question of course, what drugs or alcohol were you addicted to? I told them that addiction doesn’t always have to do with drugs or alcohol. There’s porn, gambling, video gaming addiction and so on.

I stood there in front of 64 men and women staring at like I was about to announce the winning lottery numbers. I said my addiction is gambling. A few laughed and said that wasn’t a real addiction. I explained to them that their needle or pipe was my slot machine. I explained that the ringing of the machine was a trigger and that my heart will begin to race kind of get the sweats.

They asked when it started and I told them it was right after high school. My grandmother asked me to take her to our local casino boat which I did. Lord, I wish I could have been busier that day. It was the lights and sounds of all the machines that hooked me in, along with actually winning.

Some still didn’t understand the relation of gambling to drug use. I asked them if they have ever stolen to get money for drugs? Yes they replied. I said well same here. I asked if they ever lied to their family and friends because of the drugs? Again, they replied yes. I said you know that feeling when you are coming off your high and trying to figure how you’ll get your next fix? Well, same here.

In 2005 my father called 1800 Bets Off on me and I had to go to the casinos in Iowa and Illinois and ban myself. I did a lifetime ban because honestly, I didn’t know if I could stop myself from going with just a year ban.

Around 2020, Illinois started to allow slot machines in gas stations, restaurants, bars, etc. The apartment complex that I had just moved into was across the street from a stand alone slot machine business. It didn’t bother me because being banned for 15 years already, I really didn’t think about it. One day, I went to the store to grab something and overhead a guy say he one $3000 or so and was excited because it was tax free. I said how the hell is it tax free? He stated that the slots are owned my the location owner and not by the state. The state taxes the business but not the winner.

Damn I wish I didn’t hear that. This is a major loophole when it comes to gambling. Yes, I’m banned from the casino that is state ran, but not from the slots that are business owned. I found a knew “drug” dealer, and it was accessible from morning to night.

“Know when to walk away, know when to run.” That’s the problem. Instead of walking away from the needle, i started to shoot up again. When I go into a gas station and hear the slot machines sounds, it truly is a trigger. My “just a little bit” turns into “what the fuck am I doing”? I wish I can say that I’m “sober” again, but I’d be lying. I’m fighting these demons and even with the thought of my daughter, the demons sometimes win.

I talked to the VA about counseling and they wanted to send me to rehab for gambling addicts. Guess where? Goddamn Las Vegas! That’s like having a drug addict get rehab in a trap house. I literally said out loud to the lady, “what the actual fuck?” Needless to say, I didn’t take the VA up on their offer.

I moved from Illinois to Iowa specially to get away from the slots. How freaking shitty is it that you have to move to a different state because you can’t control your urges? It’s embarrassing and sad really. I really want to get this fixed and get the help I need before I “OD”.

I wish I could say that I have all the answers on how to fight this. I mean if it was that easy, these rehab places wouldn’t be needed.

In closing, I’ll end this the way it started. Hello everyone, my name’s Robert, and I’m addicted to gambling.

Just the two of us

Well, actually 5 but for the sake of this blog I’ll just say the two of us.  I’m talking about me and my kick ass little daughter who is 2 1/2 months old.  This little girl is everything I’ve ever wanted in my life. Obviously I couldn’t have this little one by myself, I owe everything to my girlfriend.  For some reason, she figured I’d be a great guy to have a child with and here we are lol. People say that she looks like me, I think she has my eyes and my ears, but she has her moms lips and nose. I can’t wait for her to be able to crawl, walk, and talk but that will come with time.  Right now i’m just taking it all in and loving every minute of it. I look at her and wonder how some parents can purposely do harm to their child? You have this innocent little person who looks to you for food, love, and of course diaper changing. How can you bring yourself to harm them? Shit, she hit her head on my chin and i almost starting crying my damn self cause i felt bad.  I love my little girl more than anything in the world. I would die for her, and best believe, I’d kill to protect her. Untitled-1

2018 the year that changed my life

These past few years have been kinda depressing. One mom had cancer, one had a heart attack, my uncle and grandpa both passed and I got divorced. 2018 though was the year that changed my life and a year that will be close to my heart.  I met by wonderful girlfriend who has brought a smile to my face that I had lost.  She showed me what it was to love again, and love her is what i do.  She not only brought a smile to my face, but she blessed me with a beautiful daughter who was born on 12/19/18.  This little girl, Sophia Kane, is the love of my life and it’s a love that I have never felt before.  I look into my daughters eyes and my heart melts.  Here I am at 39 years old, with my first child. People ask me if im tired already of changing diapers or not getting sleep.  I can honestly say no.  I love every minute of it.  Am I tired?  Sure, but this little person looks at me and I know its my job to protect and care for her.  So now we enter 2019, which is not about me, but about my daughter and my daughters mother.  2019 is about the family that I helped create.