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Addicted to gambling: ‘I was running my whole life from issues that needed to be addressed’

A serious gambling and drug addiction drove Tom Boggins to the brink of suicide before he went into residential care and turned his life around. The 28-year-old talks about his journey to recovery

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Tom Boggins who is now completely abstinent from all processes and substances. Photo: Mark Condren

Tom Boggins who is now completely abstinent from all processes and substances. Photo: Mark Condren

Tom Boggins now works in landscaping and construction. Photo: Mark Condren

Tom Boggins now works in landscaping and construction. Photo: Mark Condren

Tom Boggins believes gambling is as prevalent in women as it is in men. Photo: Mark Condren

Tom Boggins believes gambling is as prevalent in women as it is in men. Photo: Mark Condren

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Tom Boggins who is now completely abstinent from all processes and substances. Photo: Mark Condren

Tom Boggins stood in the bar watching the horse he had bet on surge around the final bend and realised he was going to win. The Dubliner doesn’t remember seeing the end of the race, however. “The next thing I knew, the barman was standing over me asking what had happened. He said I just went crazy, I had blacked out from the adrenaline of the whole thing. It’s like a skydiver jumping out of a plane, the danger and excitement makes the mind shut down.”

In 2018, Tom had saved his money for the Epsom Derby that year and placed a ‘Lucky 15’ bet — 15 bets of equal value on a selection of four events. He won big — the cumulative amount he pulled in was in the five figures. But such was his compulsion that quitting while he was ahead was not an option for him. By the end of the day, all of the money was gone: Tom had put his winnings on different races and lost. The comedown from the earlier euphoria was intense. “I was a shell of a man that night,” he says. “It was like knowing what it feels like to be dead. But by then I was so far gone into it all, that I couldn’t feel at all.”


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