SINGAPORE: If there’s one word that would characterize how Mr Raymond Lim is feeling right now, it would probably be grateful. Mr Lim has a difficult past but is not ashamed of telling his story.

The 46-year-old founder of business and management consulting firm RL Consultancy has a compelling story of how he overcame a gambling addiction and mounting debt. He is now at a place in his life not only for success but also for helping others.

At the age of 18, he was lured into Casino Blackjack, Jackpot Machines, Toto, 4D, Horse racing “and every known gambling vice,” an obsession that only got worse three years later.

“The thrill of winning and excitement ensnared me further into the abyss. Working part-time as a bartender, drawing a salary of S$1500 to S$1800 were used to liquidate the debts incurred.

At the legal age of 21, the obsession escalated. Armed with an array of credit cards and credit lines to feed my compulsive addiction got me into a vicious cycle of debts piling up,” he writes on his website.

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His crisis peaked when he was 25, when Mr Lim worked as an Assistant Sales Engineer, earning S$3000 a month. By then, his debts had reached S$186,000 from 10 different credit cards, and he was in turmoil as creditors pursued payment.

“Fears of my family unveiling my predicament along with the inability to settle the debt, I was driven to the brink,” he wrote, adding that he had even thought of suicide.

However, at rock bottom, instead of giving up, he decided to dig his way out, thanks to his now-wife’s support and drawing strength from his Christian beliefs.

With the goal of repaying his debts, Mr Lim took a job in insurance.

He told Yahoo! Finance that he lived on S$20 per day for several months, consuming just “pau, bread and water,” spending S$10 on his commute, and treating himself to cai png when closing a deal.

“I worked about 14 hours a day, seven days a week. I was out prospecting, street canvassing, doing road shows, door-knocking, or even industry door-knocking. Then, the commissions came in. When the ability to pay (my debt instalments) became achievable, I became very motivated,” Yahoo! quotes him as saying.

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While he struggled with addiction and even gambled again in the months after making his life-changing decision, he made it through with the support of caring people around him, settling his debt in full after only 14 months. However, with interest rates, he probably paid back between S$250,000 and S$300,000.

Today, he is a successful business owner and entrepreneur, taking home S$100,000 a month.

“Life has a funny way of teaching us valuable lessons. There was a time when I hit the lowest point of my life. But you know, it’s a lot like a ball; when it hits the floor, it bounces back. I’m just so grateful that the ball didn’t burst,” wrote Mr Lim in a Facebook post on Sept 15. /TISG

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