Pirate FM News 6 minute read

Dad from Truro reveals gambling almost cost his life

Dad from Truro reveals gambling almost cost his life

Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 8:42am 30th January 2020. (Updated at 1:23pm 20th February 2020)

A man from Truro has revealed how his gambling addiction almost cost him his life.

Lee Russell racked up spiralling debts from online betting sites.

The dad reckons he lost more than 100 thousand pounds in 12 years.

Now on the road to recovery, Lee has set up a support group for other addicts.

"It took me to a very, very dark place"

Scroll down to read Lee's story or check the advice if you think you have a gambling addiction.

Former Gambling Addict, Lee Russell
A man from Truro has told Pirate FM how his addiction to online gambling almost cost him his life. Photo: Lee Russell


Lee's Story

Lee Russell from Truro believes that over the space of 12 years, he gambled away more than 100 thousand pounds.

He has told Pirate FM how his addiction to online gambling almost cost him his life.

"I had written suicide notes for all my family.

"I was just fortunate enough that a friend of mine, almost forcefully, entered my house because they knew something wasn't right.

"I spent the next two hours literally just sobbing into them".

Lee Russell

Former Gambling Addict, Lee Russell
Lee Russell from Truro is setting up a support group for other addicts after losing more than £100k in 12 years. Photo: Lee Russell


Now, as well as working to set up a support group, Lee has been going into schools to talk about his struggles with gambling.

"My perspective is that the gambling industry is ever growing and the statistics are there that unless we ourselves as human beings and a community don't address this and help each other that it will spiral into unimaginable consequences. 

"When you hear now of CEOs of gambling firms earning as a basic salary in excess of £200m, not to mention shareholder bonuses etc that they take on top of that, and people don't bat an eyelid at how many lives have been destroyed or even lost.

"I would like to raise the profile and understanding of the gambling addiction and how it can manifest and the destruction it entails. 

"On the turn of the year I am setting up a gamblers anonymous group in Truro, premises still to be confirmed.

"It has taken me a long time to get to a stage where I feel contented in my life and a lot of that is down to attending Gamblers Anonymous and turning my life over to the 12 step program. 

"Step 12 of the programme is about carrying the knowledge you have to other addicts and helping anyone who is struggling. 

"My story is very different to that of any other attendees or GA; we all have our own unique stories and even if my story can resonate with even one of your listeners, I will be pleased to have been able to get through to them. 

"My journey has been an interesting one with many destructive habits rearing up along the path, but for today I am in a much better place for working the 12 steps".

Lee Russell

How can I get support to deal with a gambling problem?

Gamblers Anonymous is one of the main support groups for people with a compulsive addiction.

It runs a 12-step programme to help addicts with the road to recovery and has the following advice.

What is a compulsive gambling?

"There are many and varying interpretations of compulsive gambling. The explanation that seems most acceptable to GA members is that compulsive gambling is an illness, progressive in its nature, which can never be cured, but can be arrested.

"Before coming to GA, many compulsive gamblers thought of themselves as morally weak or just “no good". The GA concept is that the compulsive gambler is a very sick person who can recover by following a very simple programme, to the best of his or her own ability that has proved successful for thousands of other men and women with a similar problem".

Gamblers Anonymous

What are the 12 steps suggested as a programme of recovery?

  1. We admitted we were powerless over gambling - that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to a normal way of thinking and living.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of this Power of our own understanding.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral and financial inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have these defects of character removed.
  7. Humbly asked God (of our understanding) to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God ( as we understand him) praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having made an effort to practice these principles in all our affairs, we tried to carry this message to other compulsive gamblers.

You can contact Gamblers Anonymous on , via email on info@gamblersanonymous.org.uk or via the Gamblers Anonymous website.

The group Gambling With Lives, set up by the families and friends of young addicts who have taken their own lives, also offers support.

You can contact them on 07864 299158, via email at info@gamblingwithlives.org or via the Gambling With Lives website.

The NHS also has advice to overcome problem gambling, including a list of contacts for other support groups.

You can contact Lee for details about his new support group on Leebart20@aol.com

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