Healing from 11 years of gambling addiction

A. G. (36), Austria

Starting at the age of 22 I went at least three to five times a month to a casino to try my luck at the slot machines. During my first visit at a casino I had won the considerable sum of around 2,500 Euro. After that I wanted to win more and more. I simply couldn't resist this urge. It often happened that I would overdraw my bank account in this way. I lost my self respect and got the feeling of having failed or that I wasn't strong enough to give it up. When I realized two years later what I was really doing, it was too late.

I could no longer stop and was addicted to gambling. It was unclear to me how I would ever get away from it, and I didn't consult any therapists or doctors in this connection. One month before my first contact with the Bruno Gröning Circle of Friends, the frequency of my visits to the slot machines had increased to up to eight per month. When I ran out of money, I would borrow from other gamblers. My bank account was often overdrawn to the limit. I scrupulously concealed this 11 years of gambling addiction from my family and friends. After my introduction on November 13, 2004, I went directly to a casino - I couldn't help it. On that day I gambled away all my cash, around 300 Euros. I felt anxious and frustrated. Then I suddenly thought, "Why am I doing this?" I left the casino and since then haven't gambled a single time, although I do occasionally go to a casino to have a drink. It is as if something has been erased from my hard drive. I no longer feel any urge at all to gamble. On that day I was liberated from that horrible addiction.

Psychologist's opinion:

From the point of view of learning therapy, a positive, reinforcing initial event (the high winnings) led to the start of a persistent gambling addiction that lasted 11 years. Such "non-material addictions" resist therapy. The first step, the visit to a therapist, is often the most difficult because of shame. Thus many addicted gamblers often keep to themselves much too long in their misery and then there is the social isolation. The spontaneous ceasing of all symptoms directly after the introduction to the teaching of Bruno Gröning is inexplicable to me as a psychologist. For me, the sudden insight into the futility of gambling is directly related to the absorption of the Heilstrom.

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