I believe the Statewide Gambling Therapy Service has saved my life.
My gambling story started in 1982. I went to the Casino and won big. What a rush. At the time I was in the airforce and after the win I went back to the airforce base where I worked but I was different.
I started betting on anything, I played cards with others bought bingo tickets and scratchies played the pokies and bet on horses. All to try to get that rush again. I started losing large amounts of money and making irrational decisions. The urge became unstoppable I walked 20Ks to have a bet and then put $300 on a 100-1 chance. The urge controlled me and I couldn't stop it.
I became suicidal and it affected my work. I was told by the airforce they no longer required my services. I received a large payout and the first thing I did with that I spent $500 on bingo tickets.
I was spending between $500-$700 per day looking the big man with wads of cash. I had lost that within 3 weeks.
I split with my wife within 12 months after leaving the airforce due to my gambling and moved in with my parents. My gambling escalated and they kicked me out, rightly so.
I then started a life of living between friends and rental accommodation and at my worse ended up living in a shed that was falling down.
I stopped caring about myself, I had no self esteem, I had suicidal thoughts, stopped washing and looked feral. I was on centrelink payments and ended up doing some courses through them just to get extra cash to gamble.
I eventually got a job but due to the nature of this have repetitive strain injuries and ended up on work cover. I have had multiple surgeries and continuing chronic pain up to date which only made my gambling worse .
I started borrowing from cash converters to pay my bills but I often gambled that as well so I borrowed more. I had no money left on pay day. I got to the point where I even stole food to eat. I was depressed, drinking to excess and lying to everyone.
I went to Gamblers Anon in the 90s and played the pokies on the way home, at that stage I still thought I was in control I only went there because friends asked me to. They knew I had a problem before I knew. Later I barred myself from the Casino and everywhere South through the Independent Gambling Authority – it helped a bit but I found myself sneaking in and gambling anyway.
I only realised I had a problem when I started borrowing to pay bills – that's when I decided I needed help. I found a brochure from Statewide Gambling Therapy Service, called them, and have not looked back.
I now have money, I can buy myself anything I want and I can even pay my bills in advance. I have regained control of my life and can do what I want.