I migrated to Australia with my family in 1954. Life had been tough.... war, floods and a very aggressive father; there was hope for a better life. We had been here for about 18 months when I met the love of my life and was married in 1955 on Christmas day. We had not been married for long when I discovered my husband suffered badly from depression and anxiety which he kept under control by drinking brandy.
As the years went by and the family grew, so did the flask of brandy and his depression. It was like looking after 7 children instead of 6 and I was looking after him 24/7. It was very stressful so I started going out sometimes with some of the girls that I had worked with in the past, not realizing by that time that I was depressed myself.
I started playing the pokies for fun with others but soon enough it became a problem. I would go by myself and spent more than I intended to. My husband eventually went into a nursing home and this gave me more opportunity to spend time and money at the pokies. I did not want anyone to know what I was doing as I was ashamed and was unable to stop.
Things got so bad that I spent most of my time at the nursing home or at the pokies and I know my children were concerned but I didn't tell them. I was spending money that I couldn't cover and knew I needed help as I was really addicted to the machines.
At the regular venue where I played I made friends with one of the staff who eventually suggested that I might need some help and I finally accepted that I couldn't stop by myself. I called the Gambling Helpline and I went to a Gambling Help Service for counselling.
I now feel better than I have for a long time and am sharing my story with others as I never believed that you could become addicted to poker machines until it happened to me and that you can get help to stop.