In recent weeks a well known footballer has openly spoken about his past struggles with gambling addiction. This sort of media exposure to the perils of gambling is a welcome development and will hopefully encourage more problem gamblers to seek help for this damaging affliction.
The footballer Michael Chopra has spoken with great openness about his gambling addiction and the risks it posed to his career. The 27 year old sports star is now a recovering gambling addict and has decided to speak out about his addiction. He said, “It’s a huge relief to get all this out in the open... I just wish I'd done this five years ago.'
Chopra’s addiction began when he used gambling to alleviate the boredom and loneliness of a footballer’s free time, but his behaviour soon grew out of control. He explained, “You’ve got the internet that's available to you all night. You can do it on your phone too... I got to a stage where I'd be waking up during the night betting on football matches.”
Chopra’s gambling addiction led to a lack of sleep, mental and physical stress, and anxiety over the mounting cost of lost bets. His football skills began to be affected. These gambling addiction symptoms did not go unnoticed. Chopra spent time in a private rehab for addiction treatment three years ago, but returned to the addiction treatment centre in October 2011 for further treatment and help with relapse prevention.
Of his behaviour while addicted to gambling, he has said, “Gamblers are the best liars around. I'd lie to [my parents] about where I was and things like that. My mum and dad have said to me this week that this is the first time in a long time that they’ve been able to have a proper conversation with me.” Chopra’s admissions about his gambling addiction may now reach other gambling addicts who bet on football games, perhaps encouraging them to seek treatment. He now hopes that his football career will speak for him, showing both his fans and his critics that his gambling addiction treatment has been a success and he is recovering well.