It is possible to be set free

Nick Taylor tells the extraordinary story of how he was set free from a gambling addiction in an instant.

Until four years ago, my greatest fear, was that I would be a gambling addict for the rest of my life.

For years, this addiction had consumed my life in the shadows.

At the age of sixteen, I began gambling on fruit machines, which over the course of nearly 20 years continued to progress and escalate to online gambling and high-street bookmakers.

It not only impacted me; it affected everyone around me that I loved: my parents, my wife, my children.

Over these years, not a moment would go by where my mind wasn’t thinking about where my next fix would come from. I would often lie awake at night consumed by that question and urge. I would gamble on my phone when my family was asleep or occupied elsewhere.

One terrible episode was after my gran died.  She left me about £40,000 in her Will. My wife Dani and I had decided we wanted to go to Australia with the money, and we also wanted to pay off our debts.  I told Dani I was paying off our debts, but I wasn’t – I was gambling it.  Eventually, there was nothing left.

I had lost thousands of pounds over the years. My life was full of darkness and hopelessness. It was all-encompassing – all the time.

I tried every method I could think of to stop: I went to Gamblers Anonymous – it didn’t work; I had cognitive behavioural therapy – it didn’t work; I spent years seeing a counsellor, although it helped me resolve many problems, it didn’t touch the gambling. I even tried hypnotherapy, whereas I wouldn’t normally recommend this, I was desperate and willing to try any method to be free from this addiction. Once again, it didn’t work.

I then met an ex-gambler who had been healed. He prayed for me and spoke the words from the Bible over me, that the Lord would “restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten” (Joel 2:25). In that one moment, something shifted! From that day, I never gambled again.

I now realise that in that instant, I allowed Jesus to finally be the light in my world that he promised to be. In that moment, I allowed Jesus to invade the darkness that filled my life. There was no more sneaking around, no more lies, no more secrets, no more shuffling money between bank accounts to hide the trail of my gambling.

My biggest fear was cast away.

I am certain that it was God. All the recovering addicts I have encountered since then, tell me of how they are still tempted every day – not me. I haven’t wanted to gamble once since that moment. I know that God has done an incredible miracle in my life. I stopped striving to be free and allowed God to do the work for me!

From darkness and hopelessness, Jesus has filled my life with light and restored hope.

If gambling or any other addiction is an issue in your life, I would consider it a privilege to pray with you so that you too can find freedom. You can contact me in the Church Office by emailing Alternatively, drop into the Healing Centre on the second Saturday of the month, and a member of the team there will pray for you. Jesus came to give us life and life to the full – it is possible to be set free.

Nick Taylor is the one of the Chanctonbury Kids Leaders and also Ashington Senior Youth Worker. He lives in Storrington with his wife and two children.