Back then I was earning £150 a week and I found myself putting up to £70 in a couple of hours into the one-arm bandits, I know, I know. It seemed okay in a kind of way at the time, because I was not alone. There would always be a few of us trying to out-do each other and win the jackpot, or see who could gamble the biggest and collect the most. Even other people in the club would ask us how we were doing. It seemed like a cool, fun thing we were doing. You know to beat the bandits.
Seventeen years later and I hadn't changed a bit. Only now I had access to beer, credit cards and casinos. £70 was now turned into £700 and sometimes £7000. Wow, how cool was I? I was the big man who could afford to throw around money like my surname was Branson and my godfather was the sultan of Brunei. Only, I couldn't afford these sums of money and that's why after a particular heavy session of gambling just before Christmas 2003 I tried to kill myself.
Let me qualify kill myself here, I don't want to be no Boy who cried wolf so I'll let you make up your own minds. On that near fateful night I lost a five figure sum playing on-line poker simultaneously drinking eighteen bottles of beer and angrily chasing them with nearly two bottles of Jack Daniels. The doctors among you can do the maths.
So capricious fortune smiled on me that evening and introduced me to rock bottom.
As you can imagine I had seen better days. Physically, mentally and financially I was running on empty and I didn't know what to do?
And so began my journey of self discovery where I planned to stop gambling, educate myself with why I wanted to gamble but more importantly why was I prepared to put myself through this living nightmare day after day after DAY? Why?
I also wanted to know what the gambling industry had to do with all of this. After all, I didn't devise a cunning scheme where I could place a highly addictive device at the foot of my bed and in less than ten hours click away mine and my partners life savings, and nearly kill myself in the process.
With all of that behind me I set about the task of dissecting the two main culprits in all of this madness and I still am to this day.
I would like to point out at this juncture that I am not against gambling completely, because I think it should be an individual choice. But I find that for me, I cannot gamble in a responsible way and so I don't gamble at all. If you find yourself being able to gamble responsibly and enjoy it as a social activity then good for you. For those of you who can't I know what you've been through and I may be able to help.
I kept a diary of my first 100 days of life without gambling. This diary is a no-holds barred account of everything I went through and everything I found out. Because of the powerful style of writing, my diary found a publisher.
Any problem gambler who is at a similar stage, or anyone who is trying to understand what a problem gambler thinks and feels, will benefit from reading this short book.
Order What's in a Gamble by Jake Brindell with me now, for only £9.90
Professor Mark Griffiths - Europe's only professor on gambling
'Every problem gambler should read this, everyone who is connected to a problem gambler should read this. I have been involved with gambling for over 20 years and this is the most honest case study I have ever read.'
Peter Cox - Ex director of Gamcare
'What Jake has achieved in writing this book should not be underestimated. The highly emotive point of view is clearly understandable given the circumstances and will give the reader a cross-sectional view of a problem gambler's mind. This piece of work is unlike anything I have ever seen and if some of the explicit content could be taken out I would recommend that it be included in the school curriculum, it really is that powerful.'
Bob Crew - Former Foreign Times correspondent and serial published author
'Unique in it's flavour, Gritty in it's fervour, for a first time novelist 'What's in a gamble' shattered all my expectations. Well done.'
Dr Luke Clark - Doctor of Psychology for Cambridge University
'This is a fast-moving, brutally honest and very informative account detailing a problem gambler's diary of withdrawal from gambling. Brindell aimed to beat his habit by researching and understanding the gambling system. His book does not argue for any simple solutions but gives a thought provoking account that should encourage other problem gamblers.'
Order What's in a Gamble by Jake Brindell with me now, for only £9.95.