Darren’s Journey Through Gambling Addiction

Please join the All in the Addicted Gamblers podcast to hear Darren Crocker’s gambling addiction story, recovery, and advocacy. Learn how he transformed his life and now aims to support others through Rule Ette Out. It’s an episode you don’t want to miss!

Super summary

Darren Crocker, a reformed gambling addict, shares his experiences of addiction and recovery on the “All in the Addicted Gamblers” podcast. He details his journey from hitting rock bottom to establishing Rule Ette Out, a platform that supports those battling gambling addiction. Darren’s story emphasizes the importance of seeking help, embracing personal growth, and fostering a community of support. His ongoing work and future aspirations aim to create lasting positive change in the lives of those affected by gambling addiction.

Top 5 takeaways:

  1. The significance of seeking help and accountability in overcoming addiction
  2. Emotional support and understanding from loved ones can make a huge difference
  3. Rule It Out was born out of Darren’s personal experience and desire to help others
  4. A “one-stop-shop” for gambling addiction support in Scotland is being envisioned
  5. Darren’s dedication to raising awareness and fostering support for those in need

Hitting Rock Bottom and Seeking Help

Darren Crocker, active in the recovery community on Twitter, shared his story and experiences with gambling addiction on the podcast “All in the Addicted Gamblers.” Raised in Scotland, Darren was constantly exposed to gambling through football culture, watching his dad and mates bet on games. As a child, he enjoyed arcades and claw machines. However, his gambling habit didn’t escalate until Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) and casino-style games were introduced.

Darren only sought help when he hit rock bottom after losing £5,000 in one night. He realized he needed to share his problem with someone, so he began hinting at his issue, hoping someone would help without him having to say too much. When he finally opened up to his girlfriend (now wife), he found the accountability he needed to address his addiction.

Several events aided Darren in his recovery journey. A colleague offered him free life coaching sessions at work, which he hesitantly accepted. The coaching helped him realize he had the power to change his life’s direction. Simultaneously, he received an ADHD diagnosis, giving him answers and medication to manage his condition. Darren’s story is a powerful reminder of seeking help and seizing opportunities to improve our lives.

Darren detailed his experience with gambling addiction in the UK, involving both online and in-person betting at bookmakers. He described his emotional turmoil as he tried to cope. When he finally confided in his girlfriend, she was at a loss for words. She knew about his gambling but didn’t realize the severity of his addiction. Her support and willingness to manage his finances were instrumental in allowing him to work on his issues without the constant pressure of handling money.

Limited support and the Birth of Rule Ette Out

During his recovery, Darren had limited support. He attended only one Gamblers Anonymous meeting and found counseling ineffective. He believed talking to someone with lived experience would have made a significant difference, motivating him to start Rule Ette Out four years after quitting gambling. Darren aimed to document his journey and support others with similar experiences.

Rule It Out is a collection of short videos offering advice and tips based on Darren’s experiences. He shares these on social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and his blog. Positive feedback from those he has helped motivate him to continue his work. Although, he takes regular breaks to maintain a healthy balance between his online presence and personal life. Darren encourages anyone struggling with gambling addiction to reach out to him, stressing the value of connecting with others who understand their experiences.

Darren and his friend Brian discussed creating a network of people in Scotland who had experienced gambling addiction to support others. Their friend Chris was eager to push this initiative forward. Darren’s positive experiences with a life coach led him to become a qualified life coach. Although he no longer works with his coach, he uses the tools she taught him to control his thoughts and emotions. These tools have been crucial in overcoming his gambling addiction.

Admitting he is highly motivated, Darren found it difficult to relax and switch off, particularly during the pandemic. He was interested in coaching others struggling with gambling addiction someday, and Chris shared this vision, aiming to create a “one-stop-shop” for gambling addiction support.

When asked about using other recovery methods, like support groups or gambling therapy, Darren said he felt he got everything he needed from his page, which aided his recovery. However, he wished he had connected with support networks earlier in his journey, as he felt he missed out on opportunities to make valuable connections and learn from others. Despite this, he was excited about the growing UK and US momentum regarding gambling addiction awareness and political changes.

Self-Reflection and Personal Growth

Darren agreed when asked if it was only after overcoming his addiction that he became more self-reflective and focused on self-improvement. He used to struggle to keep things together but found himself in a much better mental state after addressing his addiction. He discussed how working in the hospitality industry with irregular hours and low pay negatively impacted him and how a more stable 9-5 job greatly benefited him.

Darren eventually started working in social work-type jobs, which posed their own challenges, as he supported others while still working on himself. He also spoke about his struggles with substance abuse, particularly weed and party drugs. Receiving an ADHD diagnosis and being on medication helped him understand himself better.

Both Darren and Brian shared that they struggle without structure and routine. Darren mentioned a meme he saw, describing how some people need structure until they’re bored, excitement until they’re overwhelmed, and then structure again.

Darren explained that those who have overcome addiction often feel the desire to share their experiences and support others facing similar challenges. He also pointed out that gambling addiction is intricate, uncommon, and often misunderstood, leading individuals to want to assist others in comparable situations even more.

Lessons Learned and Future Aspirations

Throughout his journey, Darren has learned much about himself and the reasons behind his past behaviors. He sees his gambling addiction as a form of self-harm, and running his page while offering support to others has become an essential part of his recovery process. The platform has kept him motivated and moving forward.

Darren’s story is a powerful reminder of seeking help and embracing opportunities for positive change. By sharing his experiences, he hopes to encourage others struggling with gambling addiction to reach out and connect with those who understand their journey.

Darren and his friend Chris aim to establish a comprehensive resource center to help someone with gambling addiction support in Scotland, utilizing the real-life experiences of individuals who have successfully battled addiction. Darren’s ongoing efforts with Rulette Out, and his plans to provide coaching services, showcase his dedication to positively impacting the lives of those affected by gambling addiction.

In conclusion, Darren’s story highlights the value of self-reflection, personal growth, and supporting others in overcoming addiction. By being open about his experiences and sharing them through various platforms, he aims to raise awareness and create a supportive community for those grappling with gambling addiction. Through his dedication and determination, Darren continues to make strides toward effecting positive change in the UK and beyond.

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