I needed to escape a series of pressures I was under. These were financial, mental, emotional and a general feeling of being unsafe. I had been kicked out of where I was living and needed an escape to where I felt safe.
I could not face triggers, including noises that would set off my irrational thought train and people, became overwhelming.
Strong urges to get to the pokies would come a couple of days before payday. I would think, 'it would be good when I got my pay'. There were not many smokes or food left at the end of that time. However, when I had money, that money was a worry to me. How should I spend it, there was not enough to go around, so who should I pay first. The pokies just may get me more money but often didn't and took more than I could afford. Then I would chase losses and get on a hopeless circle because of the pokies. Big wins were just as bad giving me a false sense of hope that I could win just like that every time if I played the same way. However when I had no money, there was no problem.
After visiting my GP with serious health issues, he referred me to Mental Health. They in turn referred me to Gambling Help Services, who offered Statewide Gambling Therapy as an 'in house option'. I took this, and realise now, I have to sit with urges and develop strategies to desensitise my anxiety and identify irrational thoughts and unhelpful feelings. What has helped has been the knowledge of understanding triggers that were sending me to the pokies, and then being aware of the traps of, and at, the pokies.
Although I am feeling more in control with my gambling, my physical health still impacts on my ability to engage in hobbies such as painting and leisure interests. It is still very easy to slip into the habit of pokies to fill my social gap. I attend a self-help gambling group regularly.
What would help now is a partner or carer who could take my card, and help me to manage that money and to assist with shopping and budgeting.
I have used twitter previously and suggest this could be a useful tool in prompting patrons to consider carefully before they spend all they have. A twitter network could provide instant support through an established network with anonymity.