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Stock/Option "trading", I mean, gambling

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Re: Stock/Option "trading", I mean, gambling

Postby tbone3443 » Fri Jun 09, 2017 9:35 pm

I just cant believe it. I wrote this original post over 4 years ago, and my problem has not gone away. I have come back a few times, and reading my posts, especially from this March, I sounded so smug like I had kicked the habit. I didn’t, in fact, and I went right back to trading options this March thinking “this time” I had learned my lessons of the past. No, I had not. Starting out small in March, I ended up making about $10K in a few months, only to lose $18K very shortly thereafter up to today. I am here today because I once again blew out and cashed out of all my losing positions. Just two days ago, I had tried to buy a $GLD breakout, went big with call options thinking gold was going to $1500, and the gold market reversed immediately, almost to the minute I had bought my call options, and gold dropped $30 in about 48 hours and I lost almost everything . My mind is in an incredible state right now, almost psychotic in the sense that it almost seemed as the market knew my position and decided to go the other way as soon as it found out I put a trade on. Of course my logical mind knows I don’t control the $7 trillion gold market, but I am not thinking logically right now. How could I be educated and have this much experience and be so bad at trading? I know the reason of course, it is because I am a gambling addict. I have lost over my trading lifetimes a 6 figure amount, which if I had just put away in a index funds over this time, would mean I could retire right now.

So, here I sit, 4 years after my post, and 26 years after I started trading, at a bottom, an all time low in terms of money lost over my lifetime. Im so sick of it, I don’t know what to do. I was paralyzed at work today, not able to do anything but stare at quotes, and didn’t get anything done wondering how, yet again, it all could have happened. How could I not have learned the lessons of my past? How could I once again think this time is different? Wall street scooped up my money like it always has in the past like clockwork, and it is no different than a casino taking most of your money after a brief winning streak. Just like a million times before, the confidence I gained from winning only encouraged me to be bigger, only to be crushed by defeat with a blow out. I would like to say this is the end of it all, as I cashed out and promised myself that I would take my remaining dollars and put it in my bank, but literally within an hour or so I was thinking how I could get my losses back by trading again Monday, and suddenly the adrenaline started pumping again. This is a horrible horrible disease and I am profoundly sad right now. Madness is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, and that is exactly what I had done.
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Re: Stock/Option "trading", I mean, gambling

Postby blue_green_lake » Sat Jun 10, 2017 4:04 am

tbone3443 wrote: Madness is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result


Thank you for reminding me of this. I need to repeat this to myself, often!

I am sorry that you are still battling stock market gambling addiction. I think that for all types of gambling, the factors are the same. We want that rush of brain chemicals. But, in fact, we are PAYING big bucks for that rush. I will try to find other ways for the rush. Gambling, for me, is a way of "checking out" of life. The older I get I realize that I want to be fully immersed in life, as long as I can be. Life is short.
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Re: Stock/Option "trading", I mean, gambling

Postby NewSunRising » Sun Jun 11, 2017 2:16 am

Welcome back Theone3443 ,

All relapse has ever done for me was to prove that I was right to stop in the first place . That , and it hammered home the reality of exactly what I was up against .

Gambling addiction is a vicious cycle of exactly what you have described . The "win" that makes us believe we can make easy money fast , the losses that take everything and make us question our own sanity , then the urges to "try again " for a dozen good " reasons " .

Repeat until everything is gone . Money , health , self-respect.

It's time to break this cycle my friend . The bottom line is this , for a gambling addict :

It doesn't matter how much we "win " . The addiction will compel us to gamble it all right back . It needs food to survive and that food is our money . Every win is simply fodder for the next gamble . Sure , we may use some of it for ourselves , but rest assured that the addiction has already laid claim to the bulk of it . It needs it to survive and each time we feed it , it grows bigger , stronger and harder to kill .

If you haven't already , please look into GA or counseling for gambling addiction . They are powerful allies in this battle . We'll be here for you too .

You don't have to stay trapped in this madness . You can fight your way out .
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Re: Stock/Option "trading", I mean, gambling

Postby Fund Manager » Thu Jun 15, 2017 5:54 am

tbone3443 wrote:Just two days ago, I had tried to buy a $GLD breakout, went big with call options thinking gold was going to $1500, and the gold market reversed immediately, almost to the minute I had bought my call options, and gold dropped $30 in about 48 hours and I lost almost everything . My mind is in an incredible state right now, almost psychotic in the sense that it almost seemed as the market knew my position and decided to go the other way as soon as it found out I put a trade on. Of course my logical mind knows I don’t control the $7 trillion gold market, but I am not thinking logically right now.


I have a long-term stock market addiction and well understand your feelings of anguish and despair. Sometimes it DOES feel the market is out to "get you" and it can be very hard not to take it personally. Moreover, the gold market is insanely volatile and you are essentially playing roulette---some would say Russian roulette---with your hard-earned money.

tbone3443 wrote:Im so sick of it, I don’t know what to do. I was paralyzed at work today, not able to do anything but stare at quotes, and didn’t get anything done wondering how, yet again, it all could have happened.


As a first step, I strongly recommend you REMOVE YOURSELF from the gambling environment.

Endlessly staring at quotes after a huge loss only rubs salt into the wound and may even precipitate another major relapse. Better to shut down your computer* and refocus your energies and attention to something more productive.

Good luck, friend.


* assuming your "day job" is not related to the stock market, ie. professional trader, market maker, stock analyst
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Re: Stock/Option "trading", I mean, gambling

Postby betterchange » Mon Sep 04, 2017 6:52 pm

daermo wrote:
like many here I used to consider myself superior to casino gamblers but we are the same - the complexity of the market hides its true nature for the addict - a means to lose control and hurt our soul with the guise of solving a problem (figuring it out).


Said it before on here, whenever the idea of 'skill' creeps into gambling/trading then it is an even more tricky beast to shake off.

Like others point out, when I was trading/gambling I would often separate myself from the idea of people who play 'luck games' - e.g. casinos. I was far more in control, using my great ability, able to win etc etc etc...all rubbish of course. I could win for a while, but I would also always lose control, lose any skill, lose my money.

But games of 'skill' persist out there in the gambling world, and that will always draw people in with this aspect. Seeing problem gambling coming from casino players will have no effect on those who play such skillful arenas - they will always feel they are not trusting to luck.
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Re: Stock/Option "trading", I mean, gambling

Postby tbone3443 » Wed Aug 14, 2019 11:13 pm

It is now 6 ½ years since I first posted on this site, and fully 27+ years as a stock market gambling addict. The problem never really went away. Today I had a really bad day and I know that I have to end my addiction. Writing about it for me is hopefully the first step in the process, which I know will be a life long recovery.

I have probably made 200 trades this year with my online brokerage account, small amounts mostly but very frequent, and there are more days that I have made trades than I have not. I have had a lot of highs and lows, and both feelings of invincibility and the surety of my strategy, to lows of deep depression and feeling of incompetence. I had what you might call a breakdown last week, and decided to stop trading forever, and it was only about 24 hours before my mind had come up with a new “less riskier” strategy to continue trading. That has not turned out well. I spent the weekend and Monday laying out my new strategy, which had tight stop losses. Within just a day or so after my position started going against me, not only did I not stop myself out, but I doubled up, doubled up again, and then doubled up again, leading to a big loss and the loss of most of my trading account. It was devastating. I was so sure I was right at the time of my trades, that I was not even concerned that I had broken my most important rule (stop losses). It was devasting not even for the amount of money I lost, but for the realization that I have virtually no control over my impulses, which overwhelmed my logical mind to cut losses. Pathological gamblers like me don’t follow rules-they seek excitement. I know that breaking my rules to get a thrill will always happen in the future, as I am drawn to big risks, and I withdrew all my funds from my online broker today.

The guilt and remorse and feelings of lack of self worth are very high now, and I am fighting a very loud voice, even now, in my head that is wanting to “get the money back” that I lost just hours after I lost it and withdrew my money! 27 years of this same pattern of making money and then blowing out, is difficult to erase. Somehow, I have managed to stay debt free in my life, except for a mortgage, and have some savings, but I know if I continue this path, I am probably going to lose everything. At least part of my brain is working the right way, and at least today, overcame the bad voice in my head.

I have gone deep into my psychology to find out what is going on in my brain, and I hope you can too if you have the same problem. I think the reason I am obsessively trading has very little to do with making money (although part of my brain is trying to convince me of that). For me, I think it has to do with continually buying and selling stocks/options to avoid confrontation with boredom and depression. And then when I do lose, which always happens, it increases my depression. My brain needs stimulus and online training is the best and fastest way to get it. The brain is very complicated, as I have found out so painfully. Part of the mind will convince you that your “new strategy” will work, you get pie and the sky dreams of the returns, and this will get you to push the buy and sell buttons to get the dopamine. Part of your brain will try to convince you that you are smarter than everyone else, and that your high level of education entitles you to big profits in the markets, but again, that is just to get you to push the buy and sell buttons to get dopamine. There is a part of my brain that feels like it can simply not stop the dopamine injections from trading. I find that interestingly I am also addicted to other things, usually during non trading hours, including social media and alcohol, as my brain needs to be constantly stimulated by these other things which I know are harmful to me as well. I need to find other healthier avenues of stimulation. I guess the first step is understanding why you have the problem, which I believe I do now. I consider this the real Day 1 of my recovery from gambling addiction. I am a pathological gambler, and I am determined to help myself and hopefully others on this forum. Ending my suffering and hopefully decreasing the suffering of others with the same problem will be my therapy. I would love to hear from any of you.
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Re: Stock/Option "trading", I mean, gambling

Postby Notlookingback » Sun Aug 18, 2019 4:28 am

Yes you must confront the real life issues of boredom, depression, issues in a marriage, issues with our children, our careers and maybe even our mortality. This is absolutely life. They don't go away whether we gamble or don't gamble. However, its impossible to handle all of these issues properly while our brain is consumed with pathological gambling. Something is going to break-maybe our marriage or maybe our career. That is why our lives become unmanageable. While in the middle of gambling addiction, our only pleasure is gambling. After stopping, our brain will adjust and start developing other things that trigger our pleasure and contentment. It is one day at a time, Your first priority every day must be not to gamble for anything. If you had a list of priorities/goals on a piece paper, not gambling should always be listed as Number 1. You have to stop gambling at all costs. This will allow you to develop other interests, goals, feelings, friendships, and ideas.
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Re: Stock/Option "trading", I mean, gambling

Postby Notlookingback » Sun Aug 18, 2019 4:46 am

I expect you will feel shame and guilt for at least 3 weeks. I know I did. I experienced an overwhelming amount of shame/guilt when I stopped, since I too was surveying the damage that I did to my life. I think we eventually accept that we can't change the past but we might be able to change the path that our life was headed for our future. It takes some time for sure, but a gamble free brain will eventually work these feelings out and develop something positive from the hellish experiences we have suffered. I always like the part in GA where it talked about "pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization" and the "depths of their misery were fathomless as their dream world came crashing down." To me, this is all about the Dream World. We self-medicate and run to our Dream World until it comes crashing down. Eventually, we see that our dream is just that-simply a dream. "For without this dream world, life for them would not be fathomable." At first, that's what hurts the most. We cant run and hide.
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Re: Stock/Option "trading", I mean, gambling

Postby Fund Manager » Sun Aug 18, 2019 6:00 pm

tbone3443 wrote:I guess the first step is understanding why you have the problem, which I believe I do now. I consider this the real Day 1 of my recovery from gambling addiction. I am a pathological gambler, and I am determined to help myself and hopefully others on this forum. Ending my suffering and hopefully decreasing the suffering of others with the same problem will be my therapy. I would love to hear from any of you.


It appears your stock market gambling addiction is centered exclusively around derivative products (equities, commodities, indexes, etc).

I am a professional money manager but I am also a fully licensed derivative trader in my country with almost two decades of industry experience. For this reason, I can tell you with absolute certainty, derivative trading is a NO-WIN scenario for 99.999% of non-professional traders like yourself. To think otherwise is completely delusional, akin to you accepting a boxing match against Mike Tyson, Manny Pacquiao, and Floyd Mayweather... fighting all 3 (them) vs. 1 (you). Derivative trading is dominated by top tier Wall Street firms (and their foreign equivalents) using $300,000,000 AI-based supercomputer networks vs. your $3,000 home computer. Simply put, you have LOST the battle before even logging into your trading account.

I truly hope sanity reasserts itself and ends your multi-year stock market addiction. Good luck!

EDIT: I stopped my own derivative trading years ago.
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Re: Stock/Option "trading", I mean, gambling

Postby tbone3443 » Mon Aug 19, 2019 8:04 pm

Thank you so much Fund Manager.

About 10+ years ago, part of my gambling addiction involved online sports betting, but mainly blackjack. In my pathological gambling mind, I actually thought I could beat the blackjack machine, using my “strategy”. Those thoughts started when I first started playing blackjack and won about $300 the first day. In my warped mind, I figured it could just continue, that I would increase my betting size, and then retire in the next few years at that rate. Eventually I realized the online gaming company probably just turned up the probabilities of me winning as I first opened up my account, and eventually normal probabilities of winning blackjack were in play. I eventually lost many thousands of dollars back then.

I did eventually realize that I couldn’t win at blackjack or sports betting, and I stopped. But my mindset never changed as far as the stock market was considered. After all, I was educated and have a business degree and have studied the stock market for years, so why shouldn’t I have an edge? But you are right, I am mainly an option trader, and I know 99.99% of traders lose money trading options over time to the supercomputers that dominate trading. Many times I have come to this conclusion that I couldn’t win at trading over the years, but somehow my gambling addiction always led me to thinking of some new “strategy” that was going to work this time. At some level I realized the new strategy wouldn’t work, but there was part of my mind that so desperately needed me to trade, that this realization didnt stop me. In the end, I don’t think it was about making money but rather it was about the excitement of trading, and trading to overcome boredom through dopamine releases that I would get every time I traded.

I am going on Day 5 now without a trade, and every day I am feeling better that I understand what I was doing is harmful, illogical, and that my mindset is not capable of allowing me to win at trading. Thanks again for the response, it really helps.
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