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Man Overcomes Gambling Addiction

Before serving as a Methodist minister from 2000 to 2010 near Nashville, Tennessee, John M. Eades spent two decades as a therapist counseling drug and alcohol addicts. But his professional expertise did not prevent his descent into compulsive gambling.

His downfall began when some friends pestered him into accompanying them to a casino. Although Eades had never been a gambler, the urge to play the slot machines that was sparked that night escalated into daily casino visits.

"I went every afternoon after work and stayed until late, and I'd go every weekend," recalls Eades, 68. Missing church was no concern. At the time, Eades only attended sporadically.

Within two years, he had maxed out 17 credit cards and amassed $245,000 in gambling debts. One night, driving home from the casino, Eades decided to kill himself. He pulled over at a rest stop and reached into the glove compartment for his .357 Magnum. The gun was gone. Upon reaching home, Eades hugged his wife, Karen, and thanked her for saving his life by hiding the weapon. But he was in for another surprise.

"I didn't take the gun to save your life," Karen told him. "I sold it so we could pay the electric bill."

Soon, the economic strain became too much for Karen. She swallowed an entire bottle of pills in front of her husband. After getting his wife's stomach pumped at a hospital, Eades tried to escape his own depression by going off to gamble.

Later, in a drastic step to remove temptation, Eades moved to a Tennessee town 300 miles away from the nearest casino. He agreed to Karen's request that they attend church regularly. Yet Eades secretly started stashing money in his car trunk for a planned trip to a Mississippi casino.

Another suicide attempt, this time by his 27-year-old daughter, Ginger, over a failed relationship, finally prompted Eades to change …. He opened his car trunk and gave the $600 he had saved for gambling to his wife.

Today Eades is in recovery and marvels at the power the addiction had over his life. "When you're in an addiction and you look back, it's just like you were an insane person," says Eades …. "You cannot believe the things you did."

Eades says there can be no removal of addictive desires or recovery without God's intervention. He also credits Karen, his wife of 48 years.

"When you're [an addict] you really want people to leave you alone so you can feel sorry for yourself and keep [up your addiction]," Eades says. "It's very important to have [someone] who loves you enough to stay with you through it."

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