About 12 years ago I first visited the pokies for fun and some light social entertainment.
I could control the amount of money and time I was spending there, I considered myself to be responsible and did not think playing the pokies would become a problem for me.
Over a five year period several tragic family events occurred, my son’s partner died in a car accident, two years on I lost my eldest son under tragic circumstances and my youngest son has a drug addiction. The stress of these events took a toll on me and I became disillusioned and depressed.
Visits to the pokies increased, while there, it was an escape from reality. I did not recognise that it had gone from being fun to an uncontrollable urge.
My family arranged for counselling, it was very helpful but I still had the uncontrollable urge and would sometimes do things out of character for me. Like staying out all night chasing my losses. I was becoming even more depressed, socially isolated and lost interest in activities I enjoyed.
I realised I was out of control and desperately needed help.
I was watching TV one night and saw an item in the news about the success Flinders Therapy Service was having with problem gamblers.
I contacted the service and made an immediate appointment. The therapist explained the programme and treatment options, this gave me hope and I decided to do the 2 week intensive therapy in the hospital where my co-morbidity was addressed.
This was followed by therapy sessions and support group visits.
It has been fifteen months since the treatment. The treatment gave me the confidence and courage to confront and extinguish my urge to gamble.
Problem gambling does not discriminate; it affects people of all ages from all socio economic group. It is a hidden addiction which can destroy families and individuals.
I am now involved in the community with volunteer work and have become a consumer consultant in the therapy service.
My life is now fulfilled and in retrospect I can see how miserable and unhappy I really was and I don’t now know where I found the time or interest to gamble on pokies.
I would like to give hope to problem gamblers and their families, you can beat this powerful and wasteful addiction and get back to living a happy and productive life.
It’s never too late to seek help call State wide Gambling Therapy Service and release yourself of the burden.