Tim, 27, addicted to gambling

My name is Tim, 27 years old and I come from Berlin. I grew up as a single child and I am a qualified retail salesman. Since 2006 I have been suffering from pathologic addiction to gambling. My addiction made me go insane, ruined me financially, made me totally isolated and depressed and almost made me commit suicide in 2009.

Only when I was evicted from my apartment, did it dawn on me that: I needed help. In May 2009 I moved to the Christian Social Work ICHTHYS – my “livesaver”.

I grew up as a single child in an imposed Christian extended family. My father is an alcoholic and my mother tried to please everybody. Instead of his “parental love” I was given expensive things and I exploited this replacement shamelessly, since as a child I often had to endure his alcohol addiction. My mother was over solicitous and I got everything, especially a lot of “motherly care”.

I spent a lot of time with my aunts’ und their children, and each one of them had her own view on upbringing. My grandparents brought up their children very strictly concerning all areas of life and especially in “Christianity” – everybody extracted from that kind of upbringing what they thought was suitable for them.

When I was 16 I lost my uncle whom “faith” had tossed around in a way that he committed suicide at the age of 30. I didn’t understand the world any more and I developed into a spoiled, helpless, insecure and rather quiet sort of person with a big “doubt concerning faith”. When I was 21 I moved headlong to my “favorite cousin with her husband and child” on some “friends’” advice. A short time later I looked for my first own apartment in Berlin.

While I was still on probation, I lost my job and my cousin sadly and unexpectedly stopped her contact with me due to “reasons concerning faith”. I suddenly felt lonely, poor and simply unhappy. I was looking for a possibility to take my mind off my feelings and frustration and to fill my almost empty housekeeping legally. I did not want to ask anyone for help and I decided to go to a casino – “Jackpot”, I won and I was able for the time being to keep my head above water. The job center fully exhausted the processing time of my application, so I picked my luck up once more. That’s the way my addiction to gambling developed immeasurably.

ICHTHYS offered me a place of retreat, where I gradually regained my strength, my thoughts and my courage to face life. By means of two therapies and many conversations I am today able to accept my illness and also in difficult situations to evade my addiction and to use other alternatives for my problems. I also learn again how to handle cash. If everything goes well, I will be able by the opening of my insolvency proceedings to start a completely new life free from debt in a few years.

Over the last few years I got to know Christians who did not correspond to the picture I was given as a child. I have experienced tolerance and acceptance and I feel that some day I will be able to open up again to faith.

Tim A.


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