A conversation with Jason: recovering from problem gambling

(Videographer, speaking off camera) I’m just going to do a clap, just to sync the sound later. Don’t be alarmed. (sound of hands clapping) (Interviewer, speaking off camera) So, maybe just start, you can just introduce yourself, you know, who you are,
where you’re from, what you like to do? Jason: (laughs) Jason: Hi, I’m Jason. I am in recovery from drugs,
alcohol, gambling. In the past I thought that gambling and drinking and drugs
were my problem, but they were really just a solution to move the empty void
that I felt inside of myself, and they would make me numb. I find that
connecting with people that have the same issues, they can actually understand
me, or they may not understand, but they can appreciate what I’m going
through, and give me advice to go through it. I am able to reach out and just help
other people, maybe not find a solution for themselves, but I can at
least be there to help them back up if they do fall, or to keep
them stabilized when they’re feeling weaker. Just they need an extra hand to
just be supportive, to know that they’re not alone. We have seven billion
people on this planet. There’s no reason to be alone. But it’s the first time my room’s
actually decently organized in my entire life. It’s because I actually have a room
now instead of just living on the streets. And, yeah, it’s like actually like
organized and clean, and just it’s my own little area,
but just, it’s nice. We had a boarder living with us, and I’d
get this guy, like he said, I could scratch the scratch ticket, and if
anything got won he’d split it with me, and like $26 was won, and I never
got to see that $13 or whatever, but I realized, “Hey, you can win money! I can spend $3
and I can win a whole bunch more money!” Because for an eight-year-old,
like 26 bucks, that’s a lot of candy. Gambling could bring me extra money. I
didn’t think there was actually losses, because if I lose on a scratch ticket, I
lose $3. If I win, I could win 50 grand or whatever, and I think I wasn’t
looking at the fact that $3 turns into six, which strings into 12, which turns into
24 then 48, then eventually you’ve spent 500 bucks,
and you know that that’s my rent, and I’m gonna spend 75 grand before I win the 50. And I started in a bowling league, which
because I used to bowl, and I teach it and now it’s like, that’s what I
do, like that’s my Tuesday night, as I go bowling in a league, so it’s fun, and it’s
just, it’s nice. Something from before, before I got really deep into
screwing my life up. That’s how I went on a Tuesday, cuz I had a little bit of
money, I’d go on Tuesday, and then I like I’d lose for a couple days, so I wouldn’t
go for a week, and then like a night think I was doing good I’m like, okay I
can go back, and then I’d go and I’d win so I’d go back the next day, and say I
won 200 bucks on Friday. On Monday I’d be going there assuming I’m gonna win
again and lose 300 bucks. And it just it was just a deadly, no, it was just a
horrible cycle of, over a few years of … It wasn’t an everyday thing, but there were
times when I was going everyday. Once I’m there, time doesn’t seem to exist. The
amount of money, I always assume I can win my money back, and once it’s gone
I’m done, like I get so depressed. It’s like somebody else takes over my body
and I’m looking at, I will be sitting there with chips in front of me, knowing
that I have to pay my rent and I’m like, okay, I should really leave, I should
really leave I should really … oh, but what if, just what if this is the next, I could
win this, this big one. If this next spin like, and I’ll be thinking about that,
I’ll be thinking, this next spin could be that big win that I need to make
me happy, to make me excited. I want to get the tattoo of Yoda that
says, “do or do not: there is no try”, just as a reminder that you gotta like,
you have to do things, you can’t just think about it. It’s about trusting that
there’s a way to overcome this huge dominating issue in one’s life,
in my life. Admitting to where I was wrong, owning up,
facing the fact that yes, I realized that I had made all these mistakes that may
seem huge and life-changing, and it’s helped me a lot, because I can actually
make it through a day without wanting to gamble. I can make it through a day
without wanting to do these things. I don’t need immediate gratification anymore.
I don’t need to go and watch the flashing lights, or do other, put other
substances in my body. I don’t need to numb myself, because I don’t have a
reason to numb myself anymore. I can go, okay today, I didn’t go, and I didn’t rob
somebody, I didn’t steal 20 bucks from the old lady’s purse, I didn’t steal, I
didn’t lie to my mom saying I needed groceries just so I can go and do this.
I didn’t do anything that will sit heavy on my conscience now.
So I can actually make it through. It’s not easy. It’s just, it’s a nice feeling, not
have to worry about things that I did. I have to worry about now is what I’m
going to do, and it’s not even really worrying, it’s I can plan now,
and make the right choices for my life. Got my friend’s daughter some Christmas
– two Christmas presents, because she’s an awesome little kid. Just being able to
get gifts for like, friends and stuff is nice. It could really be whatever you
want it to because it still wrapped up. If you can’t afford to lose it, don’t bet. And if you need to reach out or talk to
somebody, just make that call. It doesn’t… there’s so many help lines just
just, even reaching out to anybody. And if somebody needs help, just to do something
small, there’s an old you just wanna go and go gamble because of but do
something because you don’t feel good about yourself, or you just need
something to do the filters because you can’t deal with the mind. But you do some
service just help the old guy Ricky sleeves around the corner. Help, do
something the doctor find something that you enjoy to do with your time, cuz money
is easy come easy go but you don’t have to go and throw it away. You don’t have
to make somebody else rich. The trades, I don’t overly know. I can drywall. I can roof. I did a little bit of roofing and stuff, so
it’s just to improve my skill so I can do something like
to have a little certificate or whatever to help get a job in it. And apparently you get
paid for this one trade school, so … I want to start getting into having
something planned, and getting a better schedule, so I want to, like, look into
even a part-time. I’m working occasionally, but I want to get into,
something like daily, like get it back into school, or getting into dog
walking or something. I want to start getting back into the flow of having
something to do Monday to Friday and having a proper functioning schedule.
It’s the little things that are successful. If I remember to
make my bed, to do all these little things in my life, I consider that a
success. I don’t have, I can wake up in the house with the roof
over my head now, I’m not waking up behind the garbage can. I’m not thinking
I’m cancer so I can afford to go and eat. I’m not begging for change anymore.
That to me is a success. I believe that the universe of God has a special plan
and if I went to all that all the experiences I went to know my even if
they were troublesome for me if I can turn those around and be of help to
somebody else to help them get better then it’s a positive, then it’s a
positive experience, it’s a positive thing, now. Yeah.

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