Mindy and Brad's Story

Mindy and Brad are both in their early 30’s and they have a new baby daughter.

Mindy called the Gambling Helpline after discovering bank statements that made her suspicious that Brad was gambling. She was referred to Relationship Australia SA’s city office.

She attended an initial counselling session seeking some guidance on how to raise her concerns with Brad.  She then went home and showed the statements to Brad who admitted that he was gambling on pokies, though he didn’t see either his gambling, or the credit card debt, as a problem. Brad agreed to attend counselling with Mindy as she insisted it was a problem for her and he valued their relationship.

During counselling, Brad disclosed that he had enjoyed occasional, social gambling on pokies since he was 18. He acknowledged that his gambling had escalated throughout Mindy’s pregnancy and after the birth, such that he was now gambling most lunchtimes and evenings, most often alone.  Brad’s work was strenuous work and he felt he needed down-time to manage his work stress. Gambling was fulfilling this need for him. Mindy said that with the advent of the baby, she had anticipated extra support from her parents but this didn’t happen because of changes in her birth families circumstances which required all of their time and attention. This amplified her experience of post-natal depression and increased her dependence on Brad, which Brad found added to his stress.

At this point in their relationship, they had not shared their income details or spending habits with each other. The financial arrangement they had put in place was that Brad would contribute a sum of his choosing to a joint account that was intended for household needs. In addition, they had a joint credit card, which they had set aside for family emergencies only. It was the use of this card that triggered Mindy’s awareness of Brad’s gambling.

Counselling helped Brad and Mindy explore the impact of becoming a family, and how to sustain and grow their close, intimate relationship. In particular, it helped them consider their financial relationship and what money meant to each of them. Mindy had recently given up her own income and she recognised that her wellbeing was connected to financial safety and security; whereas Brad trusted in his capacity to earn what they needed and address any current or future gambling debts. It was agreed that Mindy would take care of their finances for a period of time while Brad stopped gambling. Brad repaid the credit card debt and increased his contribution to the household account. Both renewed their commitment to their relationship, and to increasing their time and communication with each other. After some time had passed, Brad noticed that coming home to his family and sharing in family activities, not only deepened his connection to them but also assisted his work stress management.

Immediate help is available now. Contact the Gambling Helpline now for free and confidential support, 24/7

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