My husband has a pokie addiction

Pokies take from you wallet and your relationship

It’s hard watching a loved one destroy their life.  Gambling can afflict pain not only on the gambler but also on other family members. I received a letter from Louise recently, a woman helping her husband through his gambling addiction…

I don’t actually have a gambling addiction, my husband does…. And I don’t know how it all started, he has an addictive nature previously being addicted to drugs and alcohol, but he went through counselling, psychologist, psychiatrists and he has been cleaned for a number of years. The only problem is that his addiction has once again reared its ugly head in the form of the pokies. He can’t remember the first time he put money in and had a win, even though it was only around 6 months ago. We’ve had his ATM card cut up and we tried to get him banned from the local pub where he blows our money. Unfortunately the government needs to be tighter on this, because our local pub can’t ban him, we have to travel to the centre of the city (Sydney) which is an hour away and on a weekday (we both work Mon-Fri) to ban himself from pubs and clubs because they don’t open weekends (when most gamblers are spending their cash). So we will both take a day off next week to go to the city to get himself banned.

He’s also worked out my password on my personal own account and has used this card to take all my money – I now have to change my password with my bank. I cry to myself nearly everyday and it is affecting my moods at work. We have no money to buy food or petrol. Luckily I have paid all our bills already, but we are now borrowing money off my family – which brings me such shame. Pokies just need to be banned fullstop. I guess I’m writing this story for anyone who has a family member or loved one and is going through the same thing, as well as my own sanity to vent, understand and work out my next plan of action. If anyone has a gambling habit please think not of yourself and your next win, but of the pain you WILL bring your family when you lose, because you will lose your money, and if you do win, I guarantee you, that all up you’ve lost way more money than you’ve won.

I can only imagine how hard that must have been for Louise to sit down and write that letter.  It sounds as though she is a very strong and caring wife, helping her husband through his addictions and coming out the other side can certainly take a lot out of a person, but it seems as though it has made her stronger!

Louise has made some amazing progress, cutting up ATM cards and accessing professional help, but as she has discovered,  a gambler can be very innovative when it comes to getting more cash to gamble with. This leads me to wonder if she has  had any professional support herself?   Louise writes about her husband seeing counsellors and psychologists but where does she get help and much needed support?

Supporting a partner through an addiction is hard work. I think Louise should consider getting some professional advice from a gambling counsellor.  A Counsellor can help both Louise and her partner with tools and information to control gambling, and importantly counselling can also give Louise an outlet to talk about the frustrations of living with a problem gambler.

It’s great to see that Louise has taken steps toward getting Self Exclusion, although it looks as though it has been difficult process for both Louise and her husband. Once this process has been undertaken it may help reduce Louise’s anxiety about her husband’s gambling, but she needs to remember that although he will be excluded from venues his gambling will still need to be addressed.  Exclusion takes away the access but not necessarily the need or urge to gamble.

For those struggling with gambling, remember counsellors not only help people with a gambling problem, but can help family and friends with information around protecting themselves financially and provide support. To find a gambling counsellor near you just visit the gambling help site here. http://www.gamblinghelp.nsw.gov.au/GamblingHelp/HelpNearYou/Search.aspx

I wish Louise and her husband all the best on their journey to freedom from the pokies!

For anyone else wanting to exclude themselves from gambling venues, you can find information herehttp://www.gamblinghelp.nsw.gov.au/content/take-action.aspx

A gambling counsellor can also help you with the process of excluding yourself from pubs, clubs and the casino.

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