Every story has a start, maybe this is mine.
You could say that Bingo was a family past time. My Gran loved it, my Nanny loved it and I grew to love it. When I was younger I used to go to my Nanny’s for a sleepover. Although quite frequently she wasn’t there because she went off to Bingo. It was just me and Grandad and I loved it! We watched the soaps, he made me sausage and cheese omelette and a cup of tea. I doodled and drew in peace and quiet (without an annoying little sister). It was heaven. And then sometimes (if I was allowed to be up so late) I’d see Nanny come home. She was either fine which meant she had a nice evening and she didn’t win, or she was super happy. She had a nice evening and she won. Coming from a family that never had very much, I’ve got to say winning looked pretty good!
Imagine then, when I had turned 18 and I had come of age. I got to go to bingo with my Nan and her friends. Sure it’s not what all 18 year olds are about, but I’ve always had a close relationship with my Nanny – so why wouldn’t I spend time with her?!
I’ll admit now that I enjoyed bingo. I liked the excitement and anticipation of ‘coming down’ and waiting for one number. It didn’t even matter if that number never came, the increase of my heart rate was always a bit of a buzz. Of course if I won the prize money was the icing on top. Back then gambling wasn’t an issue for me. It was more of a recreational activity that I did with my Nan. I didn’t spend more than I could afford and so it was fine. An exciting evening out with my beloved Nan, sometimes we’d treat ourselves and buy our dinner there (it’s got to be said that Gala did yummy food) and then it was eyes down.
This was back in 2003. My problematic gambling didn’t start until 10 years later. 2013 was the year the bomb started counting down and when it reached zero and exploded a few years later I had spent almost £100,000, destroyed myself emotionally, almost destroyed my marriage (more on that later in the blog) and almost lost the family home. Looking back 2013 was the year where everything changed and nothing was to ever be the same again.