Playing to Lose (Author Interview)

Playing to Lose looks like an interesting personal journey.  What type of readers would be interested in your book?

The audience for “Playing To Lose” would be anyone who wants an inside look at this insidious and progressive disease and the stranglehold it has over those addicted. It’s a biography, a human-interest story, a battle between good and evil, a love story and it’s about perseverance and hope. If anyone is considering reading a book about recreational, problem, compulsive or pathological gambling, this books for you. Playing To Lose takes the reader on an epic journey of ups and downs spanning my 35-year addiction to the bet. I would recommend this book to anyone who is addicted, knows someone who is, or would just like to know more about this illness.

Can you tell us a little about the book?  

This is not a story about hedonism, adventure, and the inevitable collapse of my gambling escapades. In the book, I dive into the very start of my addiction and how it manifested over a lifetime, I try to find some insight into why it was so hard to push back against the poison that made me feel so good. As I begin my recovery treatment, I discuss what’s working, not working, and why recovery is so difficult to achieve, in real-time. Gambler’s Anonymous and therapy have unearthed some of the emotions, memories, and perspectives that led to my addiction that I now need to purge and confront as they arise.

My addiction became unmanageable and I didn’t know why or how to stop, and I felt conflicted about my behavior every day. I struggled with my addiction as a Christian and how it went against everything, I believed in. I felt lost, empty, and alone with the looming fear of the mounting debt and how it would affect my loved ones as a result of my decisions. A prison of isolation was built from my shame as I attempted to keep my feelings to myself and figure it out “on my own”, only to find redemption from the loneliness when I found others occupying the same prison.  

Sharing my story is one of the many ways I’m not only attempting to help others fight alienation but to find clarity and answers to my own questions. 

What will readers come away with after reading it?

I would like readers to recognize that addicts are not bad people trying to be good, we are actually sick people trying to be well. I want them to see how isolating addiction can be from an addict’s point of view, and why it’s so difficult for us to stop. My hope for the reader is exactly that, HOPE. I hope they will walk away with a deeper appreciation for the challenges we face and the shame we carry resulting from what the addiction does to us. If I did my job when telling my story, they will walk away with and understanding that addiction is isolating, but recovery, when surrounded by loved ones doesn’t have to be. Lastly, I believe the reader will recognize how important a higher power is to the recovering addict.  
What inspired you when writing Playing to Lose?   

In 2014 I attended my first session with a therapist, signed out of my first casino and started going to Celebrate Recovery meetings. It was in those days that I was asked to start journaling my activities, thoughts and feelings. Unfortunately, over the next five years, I went off the deep end only a few months into my early attempts at recovery and walked away from the help I so desperately longed for. In late 2019 my world was collapsing, I was being sued every few weeks, my home was in pre-foreclosure, the car was up for repossession and I was broken spiritually. One evening, during this period of deep depression and devastation, I started reading my old notes to my wife. She made a loose comment that I had amassed enough notes and stories to write a book, to which I agreed. Since I was now back in treatment and making headway, I decided that no matter what happened to me moving forward, I was going to tell my story because the world needs to know how devastating gambling addiction can be. Writing was incredibly therapeutic to me throughout my recovery journey.

When writing Playing to Lose did anything stand out as particularly challenging?  

The biggest challenges I experienced when writing this book was being honest with myself when trying to articulate the feelings and emotions I had in the midst of my addiction and recovery. I found them increasingly difficult to write. Talking about things like my struggles with suicidal ideation, faith, being honest with myself, and facing my shame were the hardest. It was hard for me to write while in early recovery since I was learning new things about myself every week.  

What do you like to do when not writing?

All the traditional things families do, like spend time with loved ones, going to the movies, watching and playing sports. Outside of family related activities, I enjoy studying WW2 history, Egyptology, Early Church History and the American Revolution. When time permits, I love to play trivia games and puzzles.

Where can readers find out more about your work?

They can find me on Facebook, Instagram, Email or on my website. And of course, they can always find my book or E-book on

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