Nat a 20 year old university student shared his story recently, gambling addiction does not discriminate, it can affect people of all ages and from all walks of life.
I never played the pokies until I was 20, then my girlfriend of 2 years broke up with me… I was living alone going to Uni and feeling very down. I lived across the road from a bigish club that I used to drink at and have dinner sometimes. One night I decided I didnt want to sit at home feeling depressed so I put some money into the pokies a couple of hours later I left the club half drunk and feeling good after winning about $80. I remember the next day sitting in my flat after Uni feeling down about my relationship ending and remembering how good it was to escape that feeling playing the pokies and having beers. That was what I started doing a couple of times a week.
I didn’t lose much back then, maybe $40 a time, which I could afford. But it gradually got worse and even though I was no longer upset and depressed about my relationship ending I was upset and depressed about losing money so I was trapped in a cycle that I couldn’t escape. I gambled to escape reality and depression but it was the gambling that was causing the depression.
It has been ten years since I started gambling and I’m still doing it. I have tried to stop many times but was to embarrased to see anyone about it. But that is changing. I have just sent an email off to arrange a counselling session and have signed up for the SMS service on the www.gamblinghelp.nsw.gov.au website. I have started talking to my partner about it and I am committed to getting over this. When I think back about my time gambling I cannot think of one positive that I have had from it. But there are hundreds of negatives. Keep your fingers crossed for me.
It was wonderful that nat had the courage to share his story with me. And good on him for putting some great supports in place to help you achieve the changes he wants.
I’ve seen many people who have found themselves stuck in the cycle of gambling, depression and stress, and many people feel ashamed and embarrassed about the problems their gambling is causing. It can sometimes feel like a huge step to make that phone call or send that email to engage support – and it is a very important step. Remember all Gambling Help services are confidential and non-judgmental. So many people say they feel so much better just by talking to someone about what is happening for them.
Often people try a few times to stop gambling before seeking help or before they succeed – this time round Nat will have support that wasn’t in place before. This can only be a great thing.