Raymond Lim: Overcoming Gambling Addiction to Be a Better Husband, Father and Businessman

From immense credit card debt to earning a seven-figure salary, Raymond Lim of RL Consultancy opens up about overcoming gambling addiction.  

“When I used to go to the casino, I could gamble for 72 hours and get by with only two hours of sleep. There was this running joke that if I did the Subaru Car Challenge, I would have definitely been the last one standing.

When you’re addicted to gambling, you’re addicted to the high of winning. You feel in control because you predicted certain outcomes correctly, and you were rewarded for it. But you don’t realise that your compulsive gambling is controlling you instead.

Raymond Lim the person and Raymond Lim the gambler are two very different people. I’m typically a nice and pleasant person, but once the gambling takes over, I change. I get agitated faster, and my attention span becomes shorter. 

At the peak of my gambling addiction, I was only 23 but $186,000 deep in credit card debt. I worked as a sales engineer and brought home nearly $3,000. I would withdraw money to gamble while still trying to pay off my monthly debt of $5,000. It was a vicious cycle.

Back then, when my wife was still my girlfriend, I would lie to her and deliberately miss appointments just to gamble. I would come up with an excuse and meet her two hours later, or reschedule to the next day because I had ‘something on’.

It reached a point where everyone started to get suspicious of my behaviour. I was always absent, and the excuses I gave didn’t tally. I was also looking very haggard, especially after I lost a lot of money the night before. My wife picked up on that quite well.

When I eventually came clean, my wife told me that if I was willing to change, our relationship had a future. I also told my trusted mentor at work, and two of my closest friends from secondary school who later became my colleagues.

Having them stand by me despite knowing the truth helped with my breakthrough and transformation. Coming clean was empowering because it meant that I had to honour these people, and I honour them by taking accountability for my actions.

I took out all of my credit cards and showed them to my wife. With her help, we cleared my debt one card at a time, and then we cut all of them up and got rid of them. It took me two years to clear my debt, but overcoming addiction took four to five years.

During that period, I was tempted to go back to gambling, and I did relapse a few times. That is why eliminating all chances of falling back into addiction is so important. Now, I won’t even step into a casino because I don’t want to entertain any unnecessary temptations.

Replacing gambling with something positive was also very important. In those four to five years, I really focused on my insurance career and doing well in sales. I started RL Consultancy where I do keynote speaking and coach and train people to do sales.

Having overcome gambling, I’m in a position where I feel empowered, so when there’s a chance for me to share through RL Consultancy, I will. I speak about change and transformation, and I help companies increase their revenues and hire the right people.

I currently earn a seven-figure salary from my collective businesses, but my relationship with money is so different now. In the past, I made money through gambling. But now, I earn it through hard work. It’s a more predictable arrangement that’s much healthier for me.

Being a father to two kids strengthened my resolve to be a better person. I started to understand that when you gamble, you don’t just lose money – you’re also losing precious time with your loved ones.

My father himself was an alcoholic and absent father, and I think that’s where my compulsive gambling stemmed from. He was a very hardworking man who worked two jobs, so drinking became a way to relieve stress.

He became a very reserved person who didn’t have much time for me, so I never really understood him. That is why I was always spending time with friends I made from my days working in hotels, banquets and bartending, most of whom gambled.

When you’re earning a high income in your youth, you become addicted to that independent lifestyle. So I would study just enough to get a pass, work, and gamble. It felt like gambling was a source of income – an occupation even – especially when you win.

My relationship with my father has reached a point where I’ve learned to love him. He didn’t fail us as a father. He worked really hard to provide for us and was never in debt. He might have been a missing role model in my life, but that only showed how I can be a better father.

It’s been over 10 years since I overcame gambling. It’s still a constant struggle. Every now and then, I do think about it, but the key to recovery is choosing your friends. I changed literally 80 percent of my friends, and kept the positive ones by my side.

At work, my mentor and best friends would observe my demeanour, energy and overall presence. If something feels amiss, they will ask if I’m lying, or tell me that I’ve been looking listless. I don’t feel attacked because I know everything comes from a place of love.

To my wife and the core group of people who’ve helped me overcome so much, thanks for supporting me when I was at my lowest, and thanks for understanding me as a person. Being understood and not judged really freed me and empowered me to grow and change.

I’ve learnt that when you gamble, you don’t only hurt yourself, but you hurt the people closest to you as well. So now, it’s not just about not wanting to fail myself, but also not wanting to fail the people I love.” – Raymond Lim

Interview by Arman Shah

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1 Comment

  1. What a heart warming story of triumph over addiction. It takes such courage to step forward and open up, admitting to something like this, especially to those that we love – and for that, we salute you Raymond. And the response from Raymond’s wife, family, colleagues and friends was also so wonderful read – their support, care and understanding have certainly played an important role. Sending our best wishes to Raymond and his family, for a bright and happy future. And thank you again Arman, for a wonderful story. We’re glad to hear that you took a well deserved rest, spending time with loved ones. Warm hugs. Justine and Michael. x

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