When he was a kid, Brad would place bets on the basketball court or in card games. He went to his first casino in college. His gambling wasn’t yet out of control, but Brad knew he had a problem. He also developed an addiction to alcohol. The situation escalated when he moved to Rochester; he’d go to the race track and OTB to bet on the horses or to the casino. Before he knew it, he’d maxed out more than a dozen credit cards and started writing bad checks.
“There were times when I walked away with thousands of dollars in my pocket,” says Brad, a 31-year-old Buffalo native. “But the money wasn’t the thrill, it was the gambling. So I never was able to hang onto it.”
Two years ago, Brad was managing a restaurant in Chicago, not the best environment for an alcoholic. He hit a personal rock bottom after receiving a DUI citation, when he was arrested with three times the legal amount of alcohol in his system. He barely remembers it, because he was in “an alcoholic fog.” He was court-sentenced to attend counseling, which he put off until he moved back to Buffalo. That’s when he came to Horizon.
“The funny thing was, I’d rarely drink while I gambled,” says Brad. “I actually avoided drinking then, because the gambling was all I could think about. I knew I needed help.
“Gambling is a very vicious thing,” he says. “I started opening other people’s mail and doing other things I am not proud of. But then I found my spirituality and my commitment to self-help and things began to turn around.”
“Horizon helped create an environment that made change possible for Brad,” says Judy Tejada, his counselor. “He has been extremely successful in redirecting his life.”
Brad credits his spirituality, Gamblers Anonymous and Horizon with providing phenomenal support in his efforts. He’s been sober for two years and hasn’t gambled in more than one year. He voluntarily had himself barred from local casinos. He quit the restaurant business and went back to graduate school; his goal is to teach physical education, and he starts his student teaching in just a few weeks. He knows the only thing between him and his addictions is his recovery program, and he’s taking it one day at a time.
Path To Recovery
The Path To Recovery includes true stories of consumers who overcame many obstacles with the help of Horizon Health Services to turn their lives around. Last names have been omitted for privacy.