Oklahoma Man Who Struggled With Gambling Addiction Speaks
TULSA, Oklahoma - For some gamblers, it's not just a hobby—it's an addiction.
As one recovering gambler tells us, it took him losing everything before he realized he had a problem.
Bob says he never gambled, because he thought it was silly, until he tried it once and was hooked.
He says whether it's sports betting or slot machines, it's all the same rush of excitement to a compulsive gambler.
"I gambled like a crazy person. I was a crazy person. I would do anything to gamble," Bob said.
Bob has been in recovery for seven years, after gambling compulsively for just one year.
"It grabbed me like no one's business and within just a few months, I was definitely a gambling addict, although I wouldn't admit it," Bob said.
Bob's fix was slot machines. He was introduced to them on a cruise. He came home to play at a casino and didn't get up from his seat the entire weekend.
"It was always a secret, from the littlest bet on, until I was betting a lot. It was something I did on my own," Bob said.
He went after work several times a week, and then started going every single day, giving in to that little voice.
"I wanna, I gotta, I must," Bob said. "The only way to quiet that urge, until you find recovery and help, is by putting money on some type of bet."
Bob took several loans out to feed his addiction. Gambling became the only thing he could do with money.
"It was the only thing that meant anything, and I lost a lot," he said.
Bob won't say how much money he lost, but says that's the least important thing. He threw away relationships.
"It took a long time to get some people's trust back and some I never got back, and I say, rightfully so," Bob said.
Bob says compulsive gambling doesn't discriminate.
"Ministers to housewives, retired folks to young people just on the way up, any race, ethnicity, income," he said.
He almost lost his job, but got help in time.
Recovery hasn't been easy, but he's in control again.
"I am so blessed to have a second opportunity to grab it again and life is good," Bob said.
Bob said his advice to anyone who gambles is, "Don't let it control your life."
If you or someone you know needs help with a gambling addiction, find a Gamblers Anonymous meeting here.