Arriving in the city, with my chest out, I was beaming with confidence that I would be very successful at sports betting.  Moving to Las Vegas and staying with my uncle there gave me close access to sports books. Viewing the myriad casinos, l was eager to start betting.

My early wins gave self-validation to my ability to win.  When I experienced losses, l found myself attributing them to mistakes.  Even as the losses accumulated, I rationalized that they were the results of my accidental choices.  The logical fallacy being that I rarely attributed my wins to mistaken choices.

Sports betting quickly became a mental drain.  I worried during the games; when I was unable to watch the games, I worried as I waited to hear the scores.  Sports betting took over my thinking.  Whether I was planning on making a bet, in the process of betting, or had made a bet, betting thoughts dominated my psyche.

Spending days, weeks, months, and years attempting to win at a system set up for loss, I realized opportunity cost in that I could have been working on achievable goals.  I contemplated how the time could have been better spent attaining a higher education degree, learning a foreign language, feeding people in need, or doing something else worthwhile.

While sports betting at Lake Tahoe, a representative at a sports book hinted to me that I should move on.  The representative had witnessed my losses, and could see my demeanor deteriorating.  The gentleman felt sorry for me and knew that I should be doing something better with my life.  He told me stories about other sports bettors who he had witnessed destroying their lives through sports betting.

As the losses continued to build, my confidence waned.  And I eventually began to break down.  One day upon arriving home, my uncle found me - not beaming with confidence, but curled up on the couch like a fetus.

I recall my former statistics professor saying that it is experts in his profession that casinos hire or consult with to ensure that the mathematical odds do not side with bettors.  A stubborn student, I went on to learn a tough lesson that the glitter and excitement of sports betting can be a cunning facade to a perilous undertaking.

But it took getting to a broken state - financially and emotionally - for me to gain the realization, will, and determination to deal with my sports betting addiction.  Doing volunteer work, continuing my education, and pursuing other goals have replaced my sports betting. Instead of cluttering my thinking with sports betting concerns, I am concentrating on productive thoughts.  Life has much better things to offer.