Sam’s Story

Sam’s family had a habit of horseracing betting, which gave him an opportunity to get in touch with horseracing betting since young. He once won $30 by betting $5 at 12 years old, this experience gave him a sense of easy-winning in gambling. After he got married, his family expense increased much due to child care. He then thought of gambling, which was an easy way to “earn”. Since then, he started gambling seriously.

Sam lost his job during SARS. He felt that his wife looked down on him and he desired to prove his ability by winning in gambling, that drove him gambling more and more. Unfortunately, Sam lost all his saving, and even borrowed money to gamble. His family was then broken and his gambling problem became more severe, that he lost over $1 million in a year. He lost his family, assets, and even his life goal.


Influence of gambling myths

Sam remembered that horseracing betting was very common among peers when he was in secondary school. He then developed a habit of gambling. He had the cheapest lunch every day to save up his pocket money for gambling. Upon graduation, he tried to limit himself to wager 20% to 30% of his salary. Even though his gambling amount increased after getting married, he had never realized his gambling problem, as he still strongly believed that he could win some money easily in gambling, with his experience in and understanding of gambling.

In a thorough work restructuring, he was forced to resign. Though he had a great compensation from his company, he was hurt and self-image became very low. His gambling behaviour gradually became uncontrollable, that he lost over $100,000 in two months. However, he still felt that he won more than lost in horseracing betting. Despite his losses, he strongly believed that he could win back his money. Later on, he started borrowing loans and depended on younger sister to repay his debts. He was once determined to stop gambling for one to two years. However, after divorce, he got the proceeds from property sales. In addition to his persistent anxiety of a poor elderly life, he then hoped to win much money from gambling, but he lost $1 million in a year at last.

Gambling disorder caused losses of all his savings that fretted him about his quality of elderly life. His anxiety in gambling also made him agitated and upset his family and colleagues. Because he always lied about his gambling amount and indebted situation, his family relationship was finally affected that his wife divorced him and his children left him eventually. His younger sister was deeply disappointed at him as well.


Treatment and change

Worker assisted Sam to scrutinize his process of wins and losses, so as to realize gambling as his cause of losing money, debts and negative impacts in every aspect of life. Besides, worker helped him understand every troubled moment as his high-risk condition. Worker guided him to calm himself through mindfulness exercise and accept his current condition resulted from his long-term horseracing betting. Worker encouraged him to focus on here and now, as long as he stopped gambling, he could still secure his quality of life. After many years of endeavor, Sam had ceased gambling totally.