63 - Tackling Addiction with Cold Water Therapy with Craig Tampin
Hannah: [00:00:00] Welcome to Happily Ever After, the podcast where we talk about life's big stories. From breakups and breakdowns to icky secrets and happy endings, it's the stuff that makes us human. I'm your host Hannah Harvey. I'm a writer and a parenting blogger at mumsdays.com. That's M U M S D A Y S dot com. I'd be really grateful if you could subscribe and leave a review, because it basically means more people can find the podcast.
And I also really love hearing from you, so please do contact me through Instagram, @Mumsdays, with any of your stories, really, and, you know, how you relate to the episode, or even questions that you may want answering. You can find all the details from this episode in the show notes.
Hello and welcome to Happily Ever After.
It's me, Hannah, and today I'm joined by my new friend, Craig. Hi, Craig.
Hannah: Thank you so much for coming on today.[00:01:00] I first came across your story through Sea Dipping with Dip Club.
Hannah: Which I, it's basically been 19 weeks since my very first dip and it was with them. But yeah, they basically featured you on their social media channel.
And I was like, interesting, this guy's got a... A difficult but hopeful story, which I really liked and then I didn't realize when I joined KFC, which is like the early morning dip club, that you are very integral to the starting of that. And what was it? I think we've renamed it, haven't we now? It's been rebranded to something a bit more family friendly.
Craig: So obviously it had to - Am I allowed to swear?
Craig: So obviously at first we were coming up with loads of names and I don't know, my brain's just constantly going, you know? So I thought of King Eddie's and then I thought of cold water therapy and I was like, I need to add an F in there somewhere and I'll have KFC.
So then I added the word fucking for some reason. But then [00:02:00] I obviously had to change it for fabulous because there was people who, you know, I think, not that they don't like swearing but, you know, it's a bit more family friendly, so.
Hannah: Yeah, so it was originally King Edward's fucking cold water therapy.
Craig: Yeah, and now it's fabulous.
Hannah: Now it's fabulous, darling.
Craig: Yep, exactly.
Hannah: And we have, within that group, there's like a WhatsApp group and we've all sort of started sharing our stories and connecting with each other, which is amazing. And it was through, like, the first couple of weeks, you'd be posting videos as you were, like, walking and doing your stuff and sharing the days when you're like, I can't fucking get there.
There's stuff going on in my life. But I just loved how open you were. So I just thought from then, I was like, please will you come on? Obviously, so now we've made it happen. But yeah, how did the group start?
Craig: I went to dip club with Lindsay and Rachel. So, initially, obviously, my sisters gone travelling now, but my sister used to come dipping with me and Rachel.[00:03:00]
And then, obviously, with what happened with Rachel in Hudson, I said that I would look after her and try and get her as many dips as I could. So then there was like five of us and we decided to make a, well, I made a sort of WhatsApp group with Lindsay. And then it just started building from there.
People are you know, passing the message on. And then there was about 20 or 30 people turning up, and I was like, God, this is like, you know, I never dreamed that it would be like something like that, but then when you look at all the friendship groups, it just sort of, like, happens by itself. There's no, like, force needed, like, you've got the lads who are lads, you know what I mean, and then the lasses go out together, and then as a group, we've, like, had bonfires, and marshmallows, all the kids have met each other, and I just think, like, It's what you need.
Do you know what I mean? You need like a good support network regardless of whether you're in recovery or not. I feel like you just need that in general life. So then obviously it built up and then we decided to do Monday, Wednesday and Fridays and then Friday is what always seems to be the big one [00:04:00] where a lot of people can turn up, aye?
So, I must admit I am finding it hard getting there at the minute. It's not anything to do with like weather or, I just... Life gets in the way. I don't know.
Hannah: Yeah, but yeah, so for context we meet first thing for sunrise.
Hannah: So when I first started coming I was setting my alarm at 4 30 a. m And that's pretty early.
Hannah: It's not so bad now, but obviously the Sun rises much later So we're actually dipping in the dark.
Craig: Yeah, I know. I mean like you say in the summer. I think it was, It was special, you know what I mean, like, watching the sun rise and I think it's a sense of achievement, the fact that, you know, that potentially there's like 20 people there, up at half four in the morning, ready for the sun and, and just getting the benefits of cold water therapy.
So, aye, I'm just, I'm really proud of the group and I love everyone that's in there, so.
Hannah: Great. And then, so Rachel for, again, for context, she lost her baby in, what's it?
Craig: It was about 14 weeks ago, I'd say, now, maybe longer.
Hannah: [00:05:00] Yeah. And you know Rachel because she's friends with your sister.
Craig: Best friends with my sister, yeah.
Hannah: And Lindsay is a nurse who trained with Rachel. And so that's how they know each other.
Hannah: Just so everybody's like, who the fuck is Rachel and Lindsay? I know them, obviously. So yeah, they're both nurses and, yeah, work very hard. But then you've also got a whole group of lads that you've already been dipping with for a long time.
Hannah: And so how did you all get to know each other and why did you start?
Craig: I played for a football team called George Street. It's the same place where I go to my gambling meetings. And it's for, well it was a team for people with addictions. Whether it was drink, gambling or drugs. And it was created by Dan.
And obviously Dan goes to KFC, Dips Dip Club and so on and so forth. And he wanted to try out cold water therapy. Cause he said that it aided muscle recovery after football. So, we went down in November when it was freezing. Turned up with a plastic bag and we just looked like [00:06:00] so, so out of place.
Everyone had dry robes and that and I just say, oh, what am I doing? I went in for 20 minutes and I was absolutely freezing. It was fucking Baltic, you know what I mean? Like in November. And and then Trevor started coming along. Dodsey started coming along and it was just like... Everyone that I sort of hang around with, we all sort of like, do the same things together.
So we do a running together, we do a dipping, we do, you know, everything else. And then that led to going to obviously Ice Guys. So Ice Guys is like a men's mental health dipping group. And you'll find that when you go there, everyone's there for the same, same purpose. And it's like... Bit eye opening, because you just think that they're turned up because they're like going on the side, but it's a lot more to it.
A bit deeper, you know, as the weeks go on, you find out more about people. And you find out that they're in a very similar boat to yourself.
Hannah: Yeah, exactly. I haven't really, I don't think I've met anybody who gets in the sea that hasn't [00:07:00] got something that they're working on and something that they're probably struggling with.
Hannah: Everybody turns up with their story and they throw it in the sea
Craig: Yeah, aye basically, aye. I don't want to go as far as washing away your sins, but I suppose sort of similar. You know, it means like cleansing, cleansing yourself. So that's the way I look at it I think.
Hannah: So it's coming up to two years since your last bet.
And quite a few of the lads that come have had, are in recovery. But yours specifically is gambling. Yeah. I know you've quit drinking and all that kind of stuff as well, but it started with gambling, right?
Craig: Yeah. So when I was 15, as early as 15 it was sort of like a norm I used to get like scratch cards for Christmas I was old enough to go into a pub, and I think my first ever win was a thousand pound, off a pound aye, when I was 16, so I won like a thousand and sixty seven pound.
I still remember the name of the horse [00:08:00] and everything. So I think that'll never, obviously never leave us. And then, I think that thought process, thought, right, you've got a quid off a thousand pound. It's easy. So, and then...
Hannah: Easiest money you'll ever make.
Craig: Aye, and then it just snowballed. So I tried many times to stop. Went for months on end, but then I would always try something different. Like lottery. And then, I'd think to myself, right, because it's not football. It's not betting. But, it was gambling. So anything that I sort of, it was like trying to create like a false, something false in my brain to say, you know, because you're not doing that anymore you can try something else.
So I would stop lottery and then I would do scratch cards. And then I would stop scratch cards and I would do raffle. Do you know what I mean? It would just be one thing after another. And I think the chasing feeling, that's when it starts getting bad, like when you're chasing your money. So for instance, you could put a bet on and in your mind it's already won, but it hasn't. [00:09:00] And when that team lets you down, you've already spent that money in your head. And then you have to try and claim that money that was never there. If you know what I mean.
Hannah: Yeah. So you are going into it being like. Oh, I've already paid for this thing, but I know it's fine because I'm going to win this bet.
Craig: So for example, I had a bet. I remember it clear as day. It was it's called both teams to score. So basically you need either team to score in the game and throughout a 90 minute period. And I'd put two pound on, and it was for 800 pounds stake back. And seven of the teams had came in and I was waiting for like a late kickoff and I had 800 pounds spent in my head.
I was like, you're gonna get this, you're gonna get that, and the game finished 1-0. So, I had to try and claim back 800 pound in my head. And that's just the way certainly my brain worked, but I think when you go into these rooms and you explain these scenarios, you can see people nodding, as if to say, I've done that, I know what he's talking about.
[00:10:00] So like that's what led me down to... The path that did, you know, all these times chasing fake money that was never there, so.
Hannah: Okay, but do you think you were also chasing that initial feeling of winning that £1,000? Cause I'm trying to relate it to something like the first time you take drugs or the first time you get really drunk, like, is it a connect?
Is it a similar kind of endorphin rush that you're seeking or is it you're now in an absolute fucking trap of, I need to make that money back because I need to pay, you know, robbing. What's the saying?
Craig: Robbing Peter to pay Paul.
Craig: I got to ask this question not long ago and I feel like.
I feel like the desire took over the rationalised thinking side of it, so like, what I knew was wrong, I would always I would always want to just keep, keep going, because the desire of wanting to press the button or the desire of [00:11:00] ticking the scores as they came in was just too much, that feeling, like I can never put it into words, the feeling, and like even when I go in the sea and stuff, it's like, yes it's good.
But it's never been as high as what I felt like when I was gambling. And I think that's why, obviously, when we say we're trying to replicate it, it's not like trying to replicate it. It's just, I don't know, trying a new, trying to find a new habit to sort of at least attempt to get to that. Do I mean?
Which is why, obviously, I love running and the dipping and stuff. But I just think it's accumulation of everything. Obviously, you do try and win the money back that was in your head. But But ultimately I think it was the just the desire because it wasn't it didn't come down to money at the end like I was betting on anything.
Egyptian football, Iceland, Icelandic volleyball, it was I wasn't even bothered like if I'd won it would be the worst thing for us because the buzz had gone. The buzz like of waiting for it to come in had totally gone so I could win like £1,000 and [00:12:00] be devastated.
Because the whole, you know, like walking into the betting shop. Writing it out. Waitin for it to come in. It's like you build yourself up like a volcano. And then, when you win that money, it's like erupted and then startin all over again. So like, the money was just, obviously you had to have money to put the bet on.
Craig: But winnin the money, sometimes was the worst thing, ever. Cause you'd just be ten times worse, cause you'd wanna like, go back to zero. To get the
Craig: Mm hmm. So like, I've won, I've won like, five hundred pound on a slot machine before. And, When I should walk away and use it for like debt or whatever else I just sit there like a robot, pressing the button till it went to zero.
And I think it's because you're waiting for like, you know, when the bonus comes in, bonus, bonus, and it just misses it, and you're like, oh, and it does it again, and you're like, oh, and it comes in, you're like, oh, get in. But then, like I say, you win it and you're devastated. [00:13:00] So
Hannah: I've got to sit here again.
Craig: I think that's the difference between a compulsive gambler and a normal gambler.
Compulsive gambler is just, just wants that feeling. Not bothered about the money. Whereas like a normal gambler will put like £5 on to win £100. And they'd be happy to walk away with that 100.
It's, I think it's all different. I think it's different for each individual gambler. But, I think the primary comes down to -you just want to keep that, that buzz going in your head.
Hannah: Do you know what, it's reminding me of Deal or no deal. You know when you watch people and you're like, Why the fuck are they not taking the money?
Craig: It's like that all the time, aye.
Hannah: And they're like, I'm gonna go for it. And you're going, no, why would you do that? You've got to leave now, you've got all that money.
Craig: Mm hmm. That's what you get. Me brain like, even now, like, I'm nearly two years down the line, I could be watching a match and me brain be going- god, you would have had to watch him two and a half goals or you would have had Harry Kane. Do you know what I mean like, you just can't stop it.
And it's not, it's [00:14:00] like, I feel like now I treat it as like filing cabinet. So like them thoughts are locked away and I never let the filing cabinet open. Whereas like, they're still going to be there. I'm just not letting them, you know, manifest and let me walk in that betting shop. Whereas I feel like last time I just had no control.
Like. There was papers flying everywhere out of the filing cabinet. I couldn't put them, couldn't put them away. Do you know what I mean? It was just, it was just relentless. And every time I did try to put a few of them away, something else would come up and. It's the only sort of analogy I can use, you know what I mean, to try and describe it like.
Hannah: How much time do you think you were spending doing this?
Craig: 24 hours a day, probably. Like, obviously I was work, I was working and family life and that but it was all I could think of.
I would go to sleep thinking about it, waking up, thinking about it. Every opportunity, like, you know, I'd say, Oh, do we need milk? Yes. Right. Champion. I can go on my phone. I can go to the betting shop. There [00:15:00] was times I went, I went, I took 20 pound to get my haircut and the barbers is before the betting shop. But once I'd made me mind up that I was going to the betting shop.
Craig: No stopping it. And a 20 pound haircut cost me 500 quid . So did you get your haircut? I did in the end. Aye. I did. Actually walked away with 500 a quid and that was like one of only a few times it, it, it's mad. 'cause like I say that there was a lot of the times where I wouldn't, and I watch it go to zero and then there was other times I feel like it was like the rational side going- haway, you can pay a bit of your debt off here. And then. Obviously I think that rational side now is just like me 24 7 now, like, the real Craig. You know what I mean, like, sees sense all the time, but, like, I think it was like 5 percent of us back then. Whereas like the desire and compulsion was like 95%, just taking over all the time.
Couldn't even sleep, couldn't, I was just so out of shape and just everything, everything took a back seat. I wouldn't shower for days and, you know, just [00:16:00] not look after my health and that. It's just, it's embarrassing to talk about, but... In a way, like, it just shows you the extremes that you'll go to, do you know what I mean?
Hannah: Yeah. There's nothing to be embarrassed about. I think people experience it with all sorts of different addictions. And I can definitely relate to that. You know that feeling just before you're about to, like, eat an amazing meal, or have a drink, or...
Hannah: That's the chemical. There's a whole book called the chemical of more and it's about the dopamine release that you get. You don't even need to do the fucking thing. You just need to think about it and think you're going to do it and it releases the chemical, but obviously you need to, you then follow through. And I remember being like thinking about drinking a very similar way and then that like skipping to the kitchen because I've made the decision that we are going to have a drink actually even though it's Tuesday night.
Craig: Yeah, it's what you get.
Hannah: And it's what you [00:17:00] do afterwards, and getting yourself out of it. That's been, like, just fascinating to see you in the guise of what you're actually doing.
Hannah: With your recovery.
Craig: I find it a bit overwhelming sometimes. Like, when I look at all the things I've done. Because I think, like, how can your brain be so fucked, like, fucked up? To now being like so focused, you know what I mean?
Hannah: Yeah, and it's overwhelming as well to have all that clarity.
Craig: Mm hmm, and peace. Like, I remember the other day I had set my cold tub up, and I sat in the garden for ten minutes just, and I found it really hard. I think it's because I've had so much chaos going on in my mind and everywhere, my stomach and everything, that I find even peace hard.
Hannah: Yeah, I do too.
Craig: I sit there and I go like, when's like something going to happen? Do you know what I mean?
Hannah: My, when I first left my ex [00:18:00] because he had issues with drink and drugs. My brother was saying to me, you're addicted to the drama.
Hannah: So I'd quit drinking, but I'd replaced it with like trying to fix him in some ways.
Hannah: And so when you then start removing that thing that was distracting you from whatever it is inside and you're left with the, just you and this vacant feeling, you're then like, well, what am I going to do to distract myself now?
Craig: Yeah, I get it. I've been an anxious person for so long. And I feel like this year and a half I've been in recovery.
I struggle a bit, like, sometimes I feel like my brain goes, like, why are you, why are you sitting in peace? Like, what, why are you doing that? Like, we need to be anxious. And, like, I'll create something out of nothing. Like, whether it's a heart [00:19:00] palpitation or. Do you know what I mean? Like, I know it's probably just, like, overthinking and stuff, and I am, like, gradually getting better by doing, like, meditation and breath work and that, but, god some days it's like really hard.
Craig: Like really hard when you've been like 20 odd. You know, and it would take 10 years and you, and I think that's what people keep reminding us of, you know, I've only been in recovery for a year and a half. So I can't like expect to like be cured overnight.
Craig: And but I feel like in regards to my anxiety, it's getting, it's getting there like, and obviously that's why I do the videos.
So I feel like it helps us. I feel like. Putting a face to words is better than typing a message sometimes. Because I feel like people can see the feeling in your face, or like, how you're actually coping on that day. Because it's alright to say I'm having a bad day, but if, you know, I physically say it and I'm on the video, I feel like people can sort of relate.
And I think that's why I try and be true to myself now, and I don't just [00:20:00] say all the good days that I've had. I tell people when I'm struggling. Because what's the point in... You're just being fake then, you're not being true to yourself, so. Just trying to help people, that's all I want to do.
Hannah: That's really good, because it's in those days when you're like, oh my god, I had one of those yesterday where I was just like, don't even know what to do with myself or who to speak to.
But then, you know, when you're, this is my business, you know, I'm trying to work on getting better and I find sometimes I have to come back to those darker days when I'm feeling better, so that at least I process some of it and I can, that's when I, I write. Cause I'm like, if I can write it all out, then it makes sense for me.
And then hopefully I've got a message of hope. As well as like, oh, that was really shit.
Craig: Yeah. No, no, I get that. I've just started journaling myself, do you know what I mean? And I feel like when you look back on, say, the day before, like, obviously memories stick [00:21:00] forever, you know? But like, when you journal something, I feel like, just like a quick reflection of what you've done and stuff like that.
Like, so I done a, I done my biggest ever run yesterday. Furthest ever run. And then I've got like an app where it's got like how many days I've been gamble free and stuff, but there's an option to journal on it. So I've just like added a journal yesterday saying like, what a fucking achievement, you know what I mean?
And then I just looked back today and I just smiled. And I thought like that's all you need sometimes. Even if you're having a bad day, you just have a look at stuff you've done and just be proud, you know what I mean? So.
Hannah: So what made you finally say enough is enough two years ago?
Craig: It was accumulation of obviously everything. I didn't wanna continue hurting my family.
Hannah: Did your family know?
Craig: What as in like that I had a problem.
Craig: Well I tried to stop when I was 24, so I went to Gamblers Anonymous when I was 24, and I got a year coin, but I didn't wanna do [00:22:00] it for myself then. And I know I didn't, I know I got like, sort of pushed into the room, you know?
And obviously complacency creeped in and started betting again. And that led us to like seven, seven more years of absolute destruction. And then.
Hannah: And were you with your partner that whole time?
Craig: Yeah, but I wasn't like gambling all the time, but it was like, I would sort of give myself like nine month, six to nine month periods of where I wouldn't do anything.
And I'll go, right, you're all right again.
Craig: And then it would just like, I came to the realization, like obviously. My last bet was the 17th of December, 2021, and I came to the realization on that day that I can't just put like a pound bet on, you know, like it's, that, that's just the way it is. It's like all or nothing approach.
And I remember sitting in my living room and I was just stared at the white walls. I like, literally remember this day. And I just like sat there just crying. I was like, like, is this what my life is? Is this what my life is? Waking up. Gambling. Looking after [00:23:00] my family, working and then essentially just dying, you know, like, that's what I thought my life was and I don't know what made me do it.
I really don't because I remember the day before I was I just got absolutely hammered. Like I was on a Christmas night out at work, got absolutely hammered, didn't come in till 8 o'clock the next morning.
Hannah: Oh my God.
Craig: And I bet on the, I don't know, I was like European football on then. And I don't know if it was just an accumulation of being like, you know when you're not thinking clearly when you're hungover.
I wasn't like, you know, still drunk, but like I've certainly you know, the effects of the alcohol were still there. And I just went upstairs and just told Danielle. And I just said, look, I says I've got something to tell you. I just said, I'd been gambling again, and I just says I don't want to...
It just says I don't want to die to this disease, you know what I mean? I really don't, like, I've... I felt like if I didn't tell her there, I probably wouldn't be here now. And that's God's honest truth, like, I just... Amount of times I thought I would kill myself, like... So many times.
Hannah: And [00:24:00] why did you feel like that?
Craig: Just... Because I just felt like I couldn't. It was all them times I tried to stop. Couldn't.
Hannah: And you still couldn't.
Craig: And I thought, like, I've tried Gambler's Anonymous before. Like, what's going to be different this time around? And I always, like, this past year and a half, and I've proved it to myself and everyone else, like, whether they believe it or not, it's a different matter, but, the butterfly effect's been unbelievable.
You know, like, I went into the room, and within two months I met Trevor. Trevor's like, he's like, he's like my brother. Like it really is, it's like, me so much and then met Dan and met Dodsy and I was like, where were these people at 24, when I was 24 ? But then I think maybe I had to do that seven years to get to this place now.
And then as the months are going on, I was thinking, fucking hell, I'm so glad I didn't kill myself, you know what I mean? I'm so [00:25:00] glad I didn't follow through because life's worth living. And then when I put myself forward for all these things. I did a charity boxing match I'd done. I went to Wales and had a life coach for the weekend and just all these other achievements that I've done.
Cold water dipping, creating the KFC group and then coming on podcast. I just think, like, I never thought I had a purpose in life. I just thought I was existing. I just thought I was going to exist and then, then die. And then, when you hear people, you know, like yourself, mentioning the fact that it helps you and or it inspires you or whatever. Gives us like goosebumps, you know what I mean? Because I feel like all I'm ever doing is talking and being myself. But ultimately I feel like that's my purpose now is to help people. And I feel like there's going to be a job opportunity come along whether that's five years, ten years or tomorrow. And I'm going to end up taking it and it's like going to change people's lives, you know what I mean?
Craig: And I just think there's a [00:26:00] massive, massive stigma around gambling addiction. Because you're not physically putting something in your body. And I think that's what people don't understand, or find hard to understand. Which is why I'm determined to get the message out there. You know what I mean?
Like obviously, I've got a few people along the way helping us and stuff like that. But I just, I just don't want anyone else to suffer like I have. Do you know what I mean? I don't want any more deaths. I know that's inevitable and, you know, but all these charities that you, that hear about gambling with lives and the big step, like, they're all based around people who've committed suicide to gambling, and I just think, like, God, like, I think suicide is, like, underneath rock bottom, you know what I mean, when you can't see any of the light, at least when you're at rock bottom there's, like, a glimmer of hope, and you I'm just glad that-
Hannah: it's like over the cliff edge.
Craig: Aye, basically, yeah.
Hannah: There's just no hope.
Craig: I'm just glad that I obviously didn't follow through, you know what I mean?
Hannah: Mm hmm. So... Have you [00:27:00] and Danielle talked about it since? Like, the impact it's been on her and...
Craig: Not really, no. She's very much... She's a really strong woman.
Hannah: You're lucky there.
Craig: Like, she really is. And like, I tell her all the time like how appreciative I am of her. Obviously I know the impact that it had on her. I could see it, do you know what I mean? And that for me was a barrier in itself to never, never do this again. Because I think at 24, I'd only just like started seeing her. Whereas like now I'm like engaged and two kids, a house.
And I feel like, it's like if I was to bet again, I'm like gambling with their future. Do you know what I mean?
So, obviously it had a massive impact on her. And I remember like, I got kicked out straight away. It was like, you know, mutual decision. But it was more like, I wanted to do it to show her that I, that I wanted to change.
And so, I think after about three days I was I was like reading [00:28:00] Charlie a book over the phone. I was like, I don't want to do this man. Do you know what I mean? I don't want to be that, that dad. And as the weeks went on, they just, they, you know, I don't think the trust is ever going to be 100%, and we always say that at the meetings, and you don't ever want it to be.
You know what I mean? You want it to just be like 99. 9 percent and then have a little bit of a doubt about you because you've got, you've got to, you know what I mean? Because that's, I think that's when complacency can sort of start creeping in.
Hannah: Do you feel like you've altered the way you behave to her. Like do you try and show her more than you would have done in the past?
Craig: Oh, 100%. Aye just just in everything
Hannah: And reassuring. It's communication. So there's been loads on Instagram today about how you communicate within a relationship.
Craig: Communication's key
Hannah: Do you think that's improved?
Craig: Oh aye.
Hannah: Do you talk to her when you're feeling shit. Do you tell her when you're struggling?
Craig: All the time. We talk more or less if she's not asleep we talk about every meeting. So like, obviously I'll go to my meeting after this.
Hannah: [00:29:00] Yeah.
Craig: And then I'll tell her. And then she's obviously invested in Dodsey's story. She's invested in Trevor's story. And she's actually become really good friends with them. And she just loves the journey I'm on. And like, I'm so lucky because I've heard like, horror stories where people get kicked out.
And like in that respect I feel really lucky. But I feel like she can see obviously with the videos that I've done with Dip Club and all the other stuff that I'm doing. I'm going on all these courses to try and better myself and try and raise awareness. And obviously I've got the walk and then the dipping group and she's just like, and I got asked by my local church today to do a speech on Sunday and I was like, do you know what it is?
Like things just come at you when, when you least expect it. And she just, she just loves it and I think she just loves the, loves the father that I am now. Loves the partner that I am now. I think, even though I've done bad things, I think it's turned me into a really good person now. [00:30:00] So, I think she's, I think they're all seeing the impact of it in a good way.
Hannah: Yeah. Yeah, I can. Like from the side of I guess I was interested in hearing that side of things 'cause I felt like I couldn't stay 'cause it was enabling and all that kind of stuff.
Hannah: And obviously you need the other person to be like, oh yeah, I do have a problem. And I guess that's-
Craig: Aye, I think she wanted to help me. I think she didn't want to see me suffer. And I think when I mentioned like, it wasn't like a sort of guilt trip, but I think when I mentioned the whole. You know, I don't wanna die off this. I think she thought, fuck me, this must be serious. You know what I mean?
Craig: like, 'cause when you think about that, like, you know, you hear all these stories where people don't, people don't speak about their problems and then, and the next thing you know, they're getting buried, aye.
Craig: And I just think, I don't want to, I don't wanna be that person then.
Hannah: And I think the fact that you took action [00:31:00] immediately and you went and got help, and now you've got this amazing community of people around you that you still see.
Hannah: That's what I really. . I dunno. I just love to see it like a whole group of men that are all really committed to their recovery.
Hannah: And you guys are meeting all the time. You are still committed to going to meetings.
Hannah: You've just done the Great North Run.
Craig: Mm-hmm. . We've done it all together. Do you know what I mean? And it was incredible.
Hannah: You've got your team around you now. and I think that's so important when people are going through recovery.
Hannah: That. You know who you can turn to when you feel shit.
Craig: I think that there's one thing that I learned from 24, is that you can't do it alone. You cannot do it alone. You can tell your family, but they're not like minded people.
Hannah: Yeah, they won't understand because they didn't do it themselves.
Craig: So when, say for instance, if I, if I ring Trevor, he'll go, Yeah, no problem, I know exactly what you mean.
Or, you know what, we can just go for a coffee. And I think that's what's totally different. I think like, it was about three months ago that I got rid of. Let's say friends, probably associates, [00:32:00] whatever you want to call them, but I got rid of them from school. So I'd known them since I was 17. And I found it really hard.
Craig: But, they asked us if I wanted to go out for a meal. And I said no. And they went, why? And I went, because that'll lead to drink and that's not me anymore. And I got a private message saying, are you alright? And I was like, why wouldn't I be? Just because I don't want to come out. Just because I don't want to drink.
And, I just feel like with the likes of Dan and Biscuit and Trevor and that, I could go, just go with a coffee.
Craig: You know what I mean? And like, I think, hey, what's, what's wrong with the world now? Like, why, why can't we just go for a coffee or a walk? Why do we have to just go and get absolutely plastered and hammered everywhere?
And I think some of the best times that I've had, probably in my life, are with the people that I've been in recovery with. And it's just like, I don't know, like. I actually miss them when I don't see them. If I haven't seen them for like a day or two, I'm like, Trevor are you alright? But like we talk every day.
Hannah: Yeah. [00:33:00]
Craig: I think we've literally talked every day. Whether it be face, phone or text. And obviously I'm in four WhatsApp groups with him, so it doesn't help I'll be on WhatsApp Anonymous next, so.
Hannah: Yeah, that's it. I went for a walk just before without my phone and I was like, Oh my God.
Craig: I know.
Hannah: Because it needed to charge so that we could video this. And I'm like, such a weird feeling.
Craig: Aye. Get a bit much sometimes, but you know, like at the end of the day, I feel like the groups that I'm in are beneficial to me.
Craig: They help me, like the KFC group, I love it. Absolutely love it. I love seeing everyone's pictures in there. And then me and Trevor are admins to the, the Gamblers Anonymous one.
So we decided to create one outside of the room for people who aren't confident enough to speak in the rooms. So it's essentially a meeting outside of the meeting and then people can put like the struggles and stuff. And then we've got one that's sort of everyone that was at the great North run. And that's like basically fitness and it's just like so [00:34:00] focused and everyone pushing each other on it's just. Just unbelievable like the amount of like personal bests that were done last week It's just so like.
Hannah: Every time i'm on instagram. Someone's smashed a new pb.
Craig: It's so inspiring man. It's like, you know I don't know. I just can't put into words. Hey, but it's I feel like it's something that i've always never needed but never knew that I needed. You know what I mean? So when I found it, I'm like, this is what, this is what I needed all that time. Just needed someone to speak to.
Hannah: Do you not think, like, I've thought back to the times when I felt really desperate and like, what's the point in carrying on?
Hannah: And it was always when I felt shame and I had secrets.
Hannah: So I can imagine you had quite a few going on. Do you think that took a toll on your body?
Craig: A hundred percent. I mean, amount of times I went to doctors when I was, when I was in, when I was gambling, 'cause I thought I was either dying or whatever, but I knew it was accumulation of stress, [00:35:00] anxiety, you know, sleep deprivation, whatever you wanna call it. And I think it just took an absolute massive toll on me body. Like, and I think I'm only just sort of recovering now. Mm-hmm. like catching up on all the sleep that I lost.
Hannah: And yeah, your body's like getting used to not being in that state of stress, which then makes you anxious because you're like, why am I not stressed?
Craig: Yeah. And then just whenever you did get the okay off the doctor, your mind would go, he's talking shite.
So I'd get a second approval off another one and I'd be like, he's talking shite. And then it was just like, yeah, and then, but aye the gambling it's just, the thought process just took over. Everything. Like I say, your hygiene took a back seat. You are eating takeaways all the time because you couldn't be arsed to cook.
And you'd never treat yourself because you always wanted your money for something, for the bets. And then you started selling things and, so, aye.
Craig: Borrowing. And then taking money out of birthday cards and, [00:36:00] aye. Like I say, just. Something that I'm not proud of, like one thing that I talked about a lot early on in the meetings and it was something that I felt proper guilty of and I was just like, how can I repay it, but, like, I feel like giving someone a tenner back, it's not repaying them, it's like, I feel like what I'm doing now is repaying them, by showing them that I can be a better person and, like, I think if I said, oh, like, I've took a tenner out of your card, like, I think, aye, it's, you know, it's one of them things, it's, it shouldn't be done, but I feel like, I get texts off my auntie and that all the time, and mam, saying like how proud they are, so I feel like that's my redemption, you know what I mean, like just making sure that I keep, keep this up, and keep this going, and I'm never going to replace any of the money that I stole, or, because I couldn't even tell you how much I stole, so I would be selling trainers, I opened catalogues, I opened a J. D. Williams and Studio and stuff like [00:37:00] that out in catalogs to order PlayStation games to sell on eBay to then get the money to bet.
And then I'd be paying the minimum payment on the catalogs.
Craig: So I wasn't...
Hannah: Oh my god, that's so complicated.
Craig: I know, but like...
Hannah: You must be like a financial whiz.
Craig: I was just, oh, honestly, the amount of time, like, so this is why, obviously, if it's alright talking about payday loans I used to absolutely hammer them, like, Wonga and Quick Quid, and there was one time, and I honestly don't know how I did it, but like, I'm sure I borrowed like 900 off Wonga and 800 off Quickquid, but I was only getting paid 1600 at the time.
So then, I think it was only recently, it was like a year ago, I got a compensation claim. Basically saying that was irresponsible lending. So I got like a grand and a half back off Quickquid. And I was just like.
Hannah: Are those things gone now?
Craig: Yeah. Yeah. Everything's gone.
Craig: I don't have anything. Yeah.
Hannah: No, but I mean, do they still exist? Cause it was like such a crazy.
Craig: Oh, there's, I mean, I could probably rattle off about 10 in my head like [00:38:00] peachy loans bay loans, lemon loans. Like they're just stupid names, but like they would just stay in my head because I'd be like, if I can't get any money, more money off Wonga, I'd go to the money shop.
If I can't get any more money off them. I get them, but it wasn't just gambling. Like I would borrow money off Wonga just to go on a night out cause I didn't have any money.
Craig: But that was, that was like the sort of mentality I was at. Like if I haven't got it, you just get it anyway. Whereas like now, if I haven't got it, you don't get it.
So then it's like, if I haven't got money now, I'm not going to like buy, buy clothes. I'm not going to put myself into debt to get it. Whereas like back then, I couldn't give a fuck about my credit rating or nowt. So I think I've learned a lot from the gambling phase, like, and, and borrowing phase. And I've actually got money in me savings, £30 and five pence. So it's better than nothing, innit?
Hannah: Yeah. Definitely. You've got to start somewhere. [00:39:00] So what's been, what would you say, like, the most important things were for your recovery? Like what's been the thing that's made the difference?
Craig: So I've done a talk for a gambling charity and we call them like non- negotiables and it's basically like things that you have to do to make sure that you stay on track.
Craig: And I think the top.
Hannah: Like a daily tick list of stuff.
Craig: Well, no, it's just like, I think the, so for me, I made sure that Monday was my meeting regardless of whether I was like, you know I had a job booked in.
Hannah: Coming on a podcast.
Craig: Apart from this, aye. Doctor's appointment. I would make sure that I would change them and I think in like almost two years I've only missed one meeting and that was because I had COVID and I think once that becomes a habit, because like I'm not, I don't want to slag people off, but I feel like some people come in and they'll not come back for six weeks.
And then they'll say, Oh, I've had a [00:40:00] relapse and I'm like.
Craig: You know why though?
Hannah: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Craig: They don't say why, but like in my head, I'm like, you know why? Cause you haven't made the effort to come to the meetings when you get told to.
Hannah: And you might be like. I know it all already. It's fine. I don't need to go, but it's nothing to do with whether you know it or not. It's your commitment to your recovery. So number one is always go to your meeting on a Monday.
Craig: Communication. You have to speak just anyone, obviously mainly a partner, but also your support networks. Say the lads, for instance, we put a lot of sort of videos that I do, but we put them in amongst our chat.
And just basically like, if we're having a bad day, we'll put it in, and then people will comment on it, and like it, and give them advice. But, I feel like, when I look back, the amount of videos that I never sent to people would have all just been staying inside [00:41:00] here.
Hannah: Yeah, it's the shame thing.
Craig: It would have just stayed in there, and stayed in my head. And then the amount of... Stress I would have been on, that was like, incredible. So the fact that I, if I'm having a bad day now, I can just literally rattle it off, and it's done. So like, communication, that'll be my second one. Talking about how you're feeling, talking about the meetings. Just talking about general shit really.
And I think, third one third one is probably your support networks. Like I think I said previously, you can't do it alone man. Like, you need like minded people around you and whether that's people, like minded people who you have like an interest with, whether that's the cold water dipping or you're running, but ultimately, if you've got an addiction, you need people around you with that same addiction because they need to know sort of how you're feeling and, you know, how you're acting because there's been times where I've messaged people out the blue going, are you alright? Because you don't seem yourself. And they'll do it to me.
Hannah: Mm hmm.
Craig: And like, I know that I'm just [00:42:00] having a bad day, but I never communicated with them. I never told them. So like, it all just sort of comes together as one, and communication and your support network are absolutely crucial.
And like, I honestly don't know what I'd do without them. Like, I just, I feel like all these people, like Trevor, Dan, Dodgy, they're all just put there for us. And then they'll probably say the same. You know, if you ask them, they'd probably go, I know, but like, we just click so well. I mean, there's other people in their meetings and I feel bad sometimes when I'm talking about, like, how we've done the Great North Run together.
But then I think, why should I? Like, it's just, it's just the bond that I've created with them. And it's not like, it's not like I left them, other people out. It's just... That's how it is. You know, I've slept, I've slept over at Trevor's and everything. We've had a lads night in and we've been at Rio's, we've had coffees, we've been trips away.
And it's just, I think that's all I ever wanted. And I feel like when I look back to me old [00:43:00] friends, I used to be the, always the one who was getting like hammered constantly, feeding the shots, you know? And I was just like, I just think back now, I was like, now it is. They just took advantage. They simply took advantage of us.
And I think that now. I, I love nothing better than having a dip and having a coffee. It's like perfect, perfect morning. So, very peaceful.
Hannah: And a very long run to get there.
Craig: Aye. Aye, basically, aye.
Hannah: I'm setting off at four, I'll see you there.
Craig: I know. I think if I, if I had one more thing, I think discipline. Discipline's a, like for me anyway, discipline's crucial.
Hannah: Discipline in what?
Craig: Just I feel like if you say you're going to do something, You know what I mean? It's more like, obviously, accountability as well, but like, the whole fitness side.
Hannah: Fitness has been huge, hasn't it for yours?
Craig: Aye, like...
Hannah: And, I guess, nutrition, are you looking after yourself?
Craig: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So I do, like, my fitness pal, track all my calories and stuff like that. [00:44:00] And I feel like, when you're in recovery you have to take the mental side of it first. You have to start looking after that. But then, you realise that you're... You let yourself go, and then you think, wait, I need to start.
So once I think your mind and your body are on the same track, you start to become like unstoppable, like like I mentioned, the group that I'm in with The Great North Run, it's like, so inspiring, the people in there. Like, it's incredible, like Dan ran 18 miles, I'd done 17 miles, there was a 10k personal best broke in a day, there was a 5k personal best, and we're all tracking our calories, we're all losing weight, and it's just like, I mean, if you added up all the weight loss between me, I think you're looking at nearly 200 pounds maybe, in weight since like Christmas, and I think like, fucking hell, like, all we're doing is just running and gymming and walking. It's such simple things, but creates discipline and [00:45:00] creates habits.
And if anyone's watching, I, I recommend Atomic Habits 'cause it's a class book. Really good.
Craig: Mm-hmm. Yep.
Hannah: Oh, okay.
Craig: I listened to that on Audible and it was just.
Hannah: That really helped did it?.
Craig: Mm-hmm. Yep.
Hannah: Okay. I have, I've read like other people's notes on it, but never read the book.
Craig: Oh yeah. It's really good.
Hannah: Okay. So. If someone's struggling with addiction right now, or has a partner who's struggling what would you recommend they do?
Craig: I think obviously first of all you have to admit to yourself that you need, that you need the help. I think when I obviously sat there, staring at them walls, I think that was me succumbing to gambling addiction, you know, and saying I need, I really need help.
Don't know whether that was a pride thing or ego thing, but I feel like you just, once you admit you need help, then you can start sort of get things put into place and then you can start looking [00:46:00] for your meetings and you can tell your partner that this is the route that you're going to go down and I think obviously you've got the NHS Gambling Clinic, you've got gamblersanonymous.co.uk and if you type in your postcode it'll give you. The closest meeting to your postcode, there's three meetings on a week at Newcastle, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. And I, finally I feel like you need to want it. Not, yes you need to sort of accept the help, but you need to really, really want it.
And I think, it was, see when I stopped and I told Danielle, It wasn't a prolonged period before I was in the rooms. I was in the rooms within a day. I think it was like maybe a Saturday or a Sunday, and then I went to the rooms first thing on Monday, and I basically poured my heart out to a room full of strangers.
And I think that's what puts a lot of people off, going to these rooms. But they're the best thing that ever happened to [00:47:00] me. I mean, I've got the tattoo on the back of my leg, Like, and it's... It's... That room sort of... But it did save me life, you know what I mean? Like, ultimately, obviously I've wanted it, and I've accepted I need help.
But the people in them rooms, the stories that you hear, trying to keep yourselves going, it's, it's inspiring stuff. And when you hear some of the stories, like, there's been many a tears in that room, and, you know, celebrations, and you see people coming back that haven't been for years, and you wonder what went wrong, and then You start thinking about what went wrong for you, but I think three things, just you need to accept you need help, look for your rooms and communication.
So that's, that's any really advice I can give and I'm hoping that maybe if someone sees this, that they do come into the rooms from it [00:48:00] and they realize that it's, it's not as bad as what it seems.
Hannah: The first step is always the hardest.
Craig: It is, isn't it? But, I think one meeting turns into two and then next thing you know, you can be like me and nearly get your two year coin, you know?
So it seems like yesterday when I walked in the room and, and I look back now and I just, just smile every time. Because I know that, I know that I deserve it. And that's not like a vain or cocky way of looking at things. I know that I've put the effort in. I've chaired the meeting. I've chaired the meeting like three or four times now and I just feel like people are looking to me.
Do you know what I mean? Sometimes it's like a, not like a guide, but like, I don't know, maybe that's, that's why I feel like my purpose is helping people. So I feel like that's the vibe I'm getting off of those. Like they're looking at me for answers and I'm like, just follow me.
Hannah: You've been there and you've, you've managed it and you've noticed what you needed and went out and got it and committed to it as well.
Craig: Like, I've, [00:49:00] I've got a few people in the rooms, people that are still there now, and I'm proud to sit amongst them going like, you know, they're here, not because of me, but I mean like, you know, they got into contact with me, and I sort of tell them what needed to be done, and, and then, it's not just the, the meetings, they, they sort of follow my habits, so then they get into cold water therapy, and then they try the sea for the first time, and they think it's incredible, and then they start running, and then, They'll do it the next person.
Hannah: Exactly. Pay it forward.
Craig: Mm hmm. Just like a ripple effect, innit? So...
Hannah: We have got a walk coming up, haven't we?
Hannah: So along these kind of stuff. Of like, raising awareness and I guess getting people together
Craig: Aye. It's just, I mean, I think what sort of opened my eyes a bit was the I went on a walk and...
Last year it was called The Big Step. So basically it's trying to do a [00:50:00] protest into the big sort of football clubs to get gambling advertisement off their shirts. And we marched like 18 miles to like three of the major clubs in the North East. And I thought like, what, what if I can do like, you know, like a sort of littler scale of that, with the following that I have, you know, like the different groups and, and all that.
And I suppose I take out all or nothing, but like, once I had this sort of vision in my mind, I like, had to go through with it. So I got in touch with Calm, who was like, a charity, like, a campaign against living miserably, and just basically told them what the, what the crack was, and they sent us out T shirts, badges, flyers, and then I managed to get in touch with Joe, and Joe goes to my meeting, and he does flyers, and then he made the flyers for the walk.
And then I, I just want to raise awareness in regards to gambling addiction. Cause like I say, I think it's a very touchy subject, even in 2023 sort of raise awareness along side suicide because [00:51:00] obviously suicide and gambling addiction come hand in hand. And just if anyone would like to come along and dip as well.
It doesn't have to necessarily mean in, in, in addiction, but if your mental health's struggling and you're, you're looking for a sort of group to get involved with the QR codes on the, on the leaflet. So starting at nine o'clock, nine o'clock, Saturday, the 7th of October, starting from King Eddie's Bay at the top of the stairs.
And walking all the way along to St. Mary's Lighthouse and then back and then optional dip for whoever wants to come in and, I mean, we've raised £185, you know, like, I don't know. I don't know what I visioned, but like, I just want these flyers to go out and one flyer may go to someone who secretly has a problem and then they go, Oh, right.
And then. You see, that's all it is. It's about helping one person and that's all I ever do when I do these things and it [00:52:00] ultimately helps me. Helps me massively. You know what I mean? Like the fact that I can speak about this openly and I know that it's going to get watched and listened to. And I think in the past I was a bit of a bit ashamed.
You know what I mean? Like where I was like, I don't know, talk for a charity. And I sort of used my name as Mark. Used my name as Mark and I didn't have a photo. Because I didn't want people to notice me. Whereas like now, committing myself to do these, it's, it's more a case of, I'm proud of what I've done and where I am.
To being ashamed of what, what I've done, because that's gone, that's gone now. It's always going to be there as like a reminder, but I'm never going to let it like eat us up. It's more a case of like, what I can do now in the future to better myself and, I'm just going to, go on as many courses as I can.
I'm going on a suicide awareness course on Friday down in London. So, it's all paid for by the Gambling Charity, so looking forward to going on that.
Hannah: Amazing. Well, I'm really looking forward to coming on the walk with you. I'm [00:53:00] going to drag as many people along with me as I can.
Craig: Aye, I think we've got some good numbers so far, by the sounds of it, so.
Hannah: So if anybody wants details about that, they go to your Instagram, which is...
Craig: @craigtampin. T for Tango, A, M for Michael, P for Papa, I for Indigo, N for November. I do that all the time on the phone because people go, Tampon, Tampax, and I was like, oh, fuck's sake. I wish I could just change my surname, but at the end of the day, it's unique.
Hannah: It's very unique. And I will link to all the show notes and you can also find, it's, you can find the. What's it called? Just giving page. Yeah. It's the very first thing that's linked from my Instagram as well. Yeah. So if you go into my Instagram at Mumsdays, then it's the first link when you go through that.
If you want to just give us some money or if you want to come along, it's on the 7th of October, 9am, King Eddie's Bay.
Craig: And if anyone wants to give us a follow on Instagram, you're more than welcome because that's where me recovery journey. [00:54:00] Is. So you'll, you'll see the real me. You'll see everything that I've done and everything I'm going to achieve.
So, this is just the beginning.
Hannah: Well, thank you so much for being so open and for sharing that. We'll get Danielle on next time.
Craig: Oh God. That'll be funny. Not.
Hannah: Bless her. She must have been through it. But yeah, thank you so much, Craig.
Craig: No, it's okay.
Hannah: See you at the next dip.
Craig: Aye. Yep. Thank you very much.
Hannah: Thank you.
Hannah: All right, then. Thank you so much for listening, and I'll see you again next time for another episode of Happily Ever After with me, Hannah. It would be amazing if you could leave a review and subscribe. And of course, if you've got a friend who might enjoy this episode, please do pass it on. For anything else, you can get in touch with me through Instagram at mumsdays or by my website mumsdays.
com and did you know that I've got a newsletter so it's the best way [00:55:00] to stay in touch and to make sure you don't miss any podcasts or any freebies or competitions that we're running and again you can sign up to that through the website.