Hit Me: My First Exposure to Gambling and the Relentless Craving that Ensued

Hit Me: My First Exposure to Gambling and the Relentless Craving that Ensued



Many institutions declare that gambling is addictive. I believe anything is addictive if you like it enough. As I have discovered, I like gambling a lot. It demonstrates the power the mind has over the body. It is a mental sport with incredible physiological effects. Cards on a table; I contemplate whether to receive more; accompanying this contemplation is increased heart rate, restless legs, tension in my neck and shoulder region; a decision is made; I lose and the stress ties a knot in my stomach; or I win and the tension in my body eases quickly like the release of a spring and all my muscles pop, sending a wave of euphoria from my lower back, up my spine and neck and into my head, whirling around and around. The body is never physically touched, nothing is ever consumed; the adrenaline rush is comparable to a life or death situation. All of this from gambling.

The closest I had come to gambling before moving to Montreal was scratching a lottery ticket. I grew up living in New Brunswick; the closest casino at the time was a four to five hour drive away in Halifax, Nova Scotia--and the legal gambling age is one year older than it is in Quebec, 19. When I arrived in Montreal to attend university at the age of 18, not only was there a large and well-known casino in the same city, but I was of legal age to gamble, which put going to the casino to the top of my bucket list.

First Trip to the Casino

The casino was glamorous. There were bright lights, modern architecture and lavish decorations. Walking through for the first time I was impressed, but in retrospect the setting is only a minor and unimportant detail. My memory of that first visit to the casino does not become particularly vivid until I recall preparing myself to sit at a blackjack table. The blackjack tables were in a darker section of the casino. Lamps overhanging every table made them the only thing perceptible. Nearly every table was full with the exception of an occasional empty chair. I stopped at the first table with a seat available but waited to sit. I watched two hands to see how it worked. Setting conventional perception of time aside, waiting to sit down was the longest portion of the night. I finally sat down. The minimum bet was 15 dollars; I put down 10 and was quickly corrected. Cards were dealt. I lost the first hand, then the next, and the three after that as well. Nothing major was happening to my body at this point. I had expected to lose; everyone eventually loses at the casino. It was a joke to me at that point. Then I won a hand, and then I won enough hands afterwards to double the original cash I had come in with. In an instant I knew what it was like to sky dive, win the lottery, win a fight, become president and save the world without ever having done any of it. It is all one feeling; the most intense feeling a body can feel. The degree of the situation does not change it. The rest of the night was a blur of ups and downs, but a tense-euphoria persisted continuously. Finally, after placing larger and larger bets, trying to win more or make up losses, I quit. I went into the casino with 100 dollars. I sat at the same blackjack table all night except to get up to withdraw more cash from an atm. I left the casino with no cash and I was 300 dollars poorer.

The Aftermath

I was caught in intermittent stupors the following week, mostly at night before sleeping. My mind would wander back to that night at the casino. I had had an amazing high and that following week was the inevitable crash. At first I cursed myself for losing my money, then, I cursed myself but also grinned at the excitement of the night. After only a week and a half my despair was completely forgotten and I was eager to try my luck again. I had urges to return to the blackjack table. I was not thinking about winning or losing, I was only thinking of the thrill that accompanied both. I did not return to the casino though. Three years later I still get urges to return to that blackjack table. I crave the adrenaline rush that accompanies gambling.

Gambling is Gambling

I found a way to satisfy my cravings. I realised that gambling is gambling and you do not need to be at a casino to do it. Through Loto-Quebec I started sports betting, specifically on soccer. I only bet two dollars per week so a loss is not as tragic, but a win still feels like a win. This sort of gambling is less risky but still exciting; however, the physical rush is dampened. You pick teams that you think will win, the teams have the control, they either win or lose and as a result you win or lose your bet; it is nothing compared to having the feigned control that gambling at the casino offers.

Everything in Moderation

Gambling, like alcohol and drug abuse, is not foreign to a university student's lifestyle. This is especially true for students in Montreal who have access to a renowned casino at a young age. Although not every student gambles, many, like me, at the very least try it. Rather than spend 100 dollars at a restaurant and bar you can receive another form of entertainment by betting at the casino. However, even the most common forms of entertainment, like video games, can be abused and will consume, consequently hindering, a person's life; gambling is no exception and the stakes are higher. Nevertheless, it is exciting. I will continue to gamble and I will undoubtedly return to the casino. I am addicted to gambling as much as I am addicted to watching moves in a theatre or checking Facebook every day. As long as I do not allow gambling to consume my life than it will merely remain an exciting form of recreational entertainment. I can continue to bet on sports for the price of a bag of candy per week and I can enjoy a night at the casino the same way I might at a restaurant and bar. So far my hedonistic approach towards gambling has had only pleasurable results without permanent remorse or regret, and unless there are any marring effects of it in my life, I will continue to enjoy the thrill and enthrallment of the many forms of gambling and perhaps make a couple dollars in the process.


Gotta watch it with that stuff, man! I knew this Qubecois actress gambling addict, we met at the whole 28d type deal, and her nasty thing was wearing diapers at the mackines so that she wouldn't have to leave a machine she had invested more than 2 hours in...

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