second chance

second chance

A Story by Thanh

Second Chance

Nguyen Nhon Thanh

Everything was going perfect in my life �" great job, happily married, gorgeous home, and beautiful children. I was truly living the "American Dream" I had only gamble a few times socially, before I truly entered the world of gambling.

When time my family got together; we always played friendly card games. Even though it was a friendly game there was always money being gambled. The most I had ever lost was fifty dollars. When I think back now, the biggest question is. How did I go from losing couple dollars in a friendly game once in a while to losing everything I had? 

I learned how to play cards when I was little. Uncle Bao, my fathers’ youngest brother, was the one who taught me how to play cards at one of our family functions. He taught me various card games. Throughout my college years, I split my time between school and work. Any spare time that I had left, I looked which was very little gamble action. No matter how big or small the action you always would find me there. There were times I walked out of the card room with thousand of dollars in my hands. However there was a time I was lost a couple of thousand in one night. Now you ask where the money came from? How did I get that kind of money to gamble? Well, I did work part time as car salesman. Sometimes I had no money. Sometimes I would take things from around the house or from work that I could sell for money. Back then, was when I started stealing things to support my gambling habit.

A few months after graduation I started working as an accountant for a law firm in L.A, which meant I was closer to Las Vegas. Every other weekend, I would go casino hopping in Las Vegas. During the week, there was always a game or two at one of my coworkers’ homes.

 I met the most beautiful girl while I was working at the law firm. Her name was Loan. Loan was a good friend of one of my coworkers. Soon we started going out together. I could not believe that I had a chance to date her. We had so much fun together, and we fell in love. During the time we were dating, she already knew about my Tuesday night game with the guys, but she did not know how much I actually gambled. Within a few years we got married, and after our first child was born, was she finally found out my gambling problem?

Since I was also an accountant at the law firm; most of the lawyers had asked me for help with their financial records. I kept telling my wife that I needed to work late at the office. Instead I went out to gamble, and I used that extra “income” to support my gambling habit. When ever I decided to try my luck in Las Vegas I told her that the law firm was sending me on a business trip. Loan never had a clue. One weekend I came home with a couple of thousand dollars, but usually I came with nothing.  

Not only did I come home with nothing, I also would usually have a fight with my wife over something stupid. Nothing she did on such a night would please me. I still remember the day that I lost a couple of thousand dollars at my coworker’s house. That same night was our third wedding anniversary. She had planning a romantic evening for of us was going to surprise me. 

She asked me before I left work in the morning, “Can you come home early tonight?” She smiled at me and said “I will make your favorite dish.”

“I will try my best to be home early for dinner.” That night was my card night with the boys I knew there was no way I would be home early. Instead I lied to her that I would try to get out of work on time and come right home.

Right after work, instead of going home, I went over to Mike’s house for the card night. I planned to play couple of hands and then go home early, but that did not happen. I lost the first couple of hands, and instead walking away, I stayed trying to win back the lost money. The “couple of hands” I was planning to play became a couple of hours and I had lost a couple of thousand dollars when I finally arrived home. I had a big fight with my wife too.

“Where were you tonight?” My wife asked.

“I had a lot of work need to be finished by tomorrow morning.”

“Why didn’t you call home?”

“I did not realize how late it was!”

“Do you remember what day is today?”

“What?” I totally had no clue what she was talking about.

“You don’t know what is special about today?”

I was thinking in my head the only thing special about today is that I had just lost two thousand dollars but I said “What?”

She became angrier and repeats the question again. “Do you remember what day is today?”

By this time, she had give up on me and told me “Today is our third anniversary. Don’t tell me you forgot it?” 

Should I pretend that I remembered our anniversary but forgot the presents at work, or admit that I had forgotten about it? I started an argument with her. We were going back and forth fighting about everything. Where were you? Why didn’t you phone home? Did I remember our anniversary today?  How come the house was so dirty? Where the kids? We were fighting almost all night. This wasn’t the only time we fought. I came back from my card night. This was not the only time that I had forgotten my anniversary or my children’s’ birthdays.

 I was spending more time with the guys gambling and was losing lot money in the process. Every time I walked out of the card game; I told myself that this would be the last time I played. However, when Tuesday night again I would return to the card game again expecting to win. It was hard to explain to everyone the excitement of knowing that you would out-play everyone that night. Knowing when the card was on the table you outplayed everyone. The energy was indescribable; the only way you can understand this feeling is by sitting at the table playing.

During this time, I was losing so much money that there was not enough to support my gambling. All the money that I made as a private consultant was not enough to support my habit. I admitted that I had been deceiving to my wife about gambling and the money from consultation that she never knew about. Usually, I split the consulting money into two accounts. My private account that my wife never knew about that account was to support my habit. The remainder was put in our savings account. Since I was losing more than winning, the first few months I was putting all my consulting money in to my private account, but soon I started taking all the money

Loan found out that someone was taking the money out of our savings account. She started asking me questions. “Do you know what happened to our savings account?”

“What do you mean?” I pretended this was the first time I heard about it.

“We are missing some money in our account.”

“Really? How did you find out?”

“I just deposited some money into our saving and then realized that we are missing a couple of thousand.”

I told her that I would go to the bank and ask what happened to our saving account. I comforted her by saying I would take care of the whole situation. The next day I borrowed money from one of my coworkers to put it back. This was now the life I had to live to support my gambling habit: I had to start lying to my wife and borrowing money from friends. Not only was my relationship with my wife challenged but also my relationship with my three children was affected. I became short tempered with them. I started yelling at them for no reason. Sometime I would hit them. Now, I knew it was wrong for me to hit the kids like that but my temper got to me. Gambling is like any other addiction: it affects everyone around you.

By this time not only did my short temper upset my family, but I also started stealing from my family and from my work. First started taking money out of the family account to transfer to my private account for gambling. By this time I had owed different people over ten thousand dollars. I tried to find different ways to make extra money.

I had become my worst enemy. Not only did I lie to my wife about the money, I borrowed money from people and hadn’t repaid it. Now I begun to scheme on how to get money. One of the ways was to embezzle money from the company. I knew the whole thing was wrong, but I needed money to support my addiction. At this time, there was no longer right and wrong in my mind. The only thing I knew at this time was to figure out a way to make money at no cost. Since I was the company accountant, I could figure the way to get money without getting caught by my boss.

No matter how much more money I had, that was not enough money to support my habit. I was now thirty thousand dollar in debt to different people. Everyone started coming after me now. I didn’t know what to do. Where could I find thirty thousand within the next couple of days to pay everyone? The only thing I could do is to start dipping in our saving account or our kids’ college fund. After a serious time thinking I decided that the kids college fund was the best way to go.  

The scary thing about the whole thing was I was taking our children’s college fund to pay the debt. Three months after the incident, I was back again. This time was worse than before. I owed more money to a lot of people than before but these people were more powerful. This time they threatened that me if I didn’t pay, they would kill my family. This time I decided to come clean with my wife. I began to tell everything from the beginning to now.

“How much do you owe?” My wife asked.

“Fifty thousand dollars!”
 “What? How much?”

Slowly I answered “Fifty thousand dollars.” I could tell that she was still in shock at the amount. She did not know what to say other than just sit there looking at me. After a few minutes she walked away from me and headed to the bedroom for a long time. I was walking up to our room to see what happened to my wife.

“Honey, please let me in.” I asked.

There was a silence coming. My wife refused to talk to me. I knocked couple times and repeated myself couple times. I gave up and walked downstairs to leave my wife alone. She needed some time to think. I decided to leave her a quick message and then go for a walk. I believed that she needed some time to cool off and at the same time I needed to think about how to make a quick fifty thousand dollars.

This was the lowest point of my life. How could I cause this to happen to my family? Where was I going to find fifty thousand dollar in next couple of days? My mind was on the fifty thousand and the people who would come after me in the next couple days. How am I going to raise that kind of money?

All kinds of questions were on my head. The next thing I realized was that I was at a local park where I used to go when I had something in my mind. I sat at the same bench where I normally sat. I must have sat there several hours before I started back home. When I walked into the house my wife was sitting in the living room.

“Hi honey!” I said in a low tone of voice hoping for an answer.

“Where had you been?” She asked in a calm voice.

“I was at the park; I just needed to get out of the house to do some thinking.”

“Did you come up with an answer?”
          “The only thing I can come up is to take out of our saving account to pay.”

“What? You want to take our saving to pay for that!” She was in shock of what I was thinking

“I’m sorry that the only solution I can come up right now.”

“Our saving? Do we have fifty thousand dollar in our saving account?”

“No, but we can pay at least half of it.”

“When you sit at the table gambling? Did you ever consider of “WE” in there? Why should I helping you now?”

I didn’t know how to answer her because she was right. All the money that I was winning went into my own accounts; why should she help me? “You right honey, there’s no reason why you should help me with any problem.”

I sat down close to her and put my arm around her shoulder. “I am sorry to hurt you, but when I sit at the table nothing could stop me.” I then tried to explain to her the feeling I got when I sitting at the table. No matter how I described the feeling; she did not understand me, and after I explained everything, I promised there would be no more gambling for me.

I could tell that was not good enough for her, but she considered my solution. She then told me “But we don’t have fifty thousand in the bank.”

“No, but at least we can pay the one that is threaten us. The other one we will figure out some how.”

With the determination and the help from God and my family I have paid off everyone; I had lost over sixty thousand dollars and my job.

In desperation, I turned to Gambling Anonymous helped me overcome my gambling addiction. They helped me understanding the danger of gambling and after five years of there help I am now stopped gambling. I am thankful that I have over come my addiction. I almost lost my family and job at the same time. It took the danger of losing everything for me to understand the dangerous of gambling. I guess not until you almost lost everything then you will learn to chance. Why can we learn the first time? Why do we always waiting for worst before we are chance?  


© 2010 Thanh

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A nice story about the dangers of gambling and how addictive it can actually be. Yet you must work on your writing skills, there are words that are missing to complete a sentence properly. But in time you will improve and learn how to write better. Just keep writing, maybe get some books on writing will help.

Posted 13 Years Ago

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1 Review
Added on August 5, 2010
Last Updated on August 5, 2010



westmister, CA

These are some of fictional stories i had wrote in the last few years. I hope you like it. there are few minor errors in these stories. I need a feed back from you. These stories will be put together.. more..

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A Story by Thanh