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Aaron's story

Gambling ruined my life even after I’d stopped. I have been struggling with gambling for 2-3 years now. It was all well and good when I first started a few years ago. I went on a winning streak for a while and won a nice sum of money in the ‘bookies’ (which I gradually lost). Two years ago, I met the most amazing person and she did absolutely everything for me. I took myself away from the bookies and started to play online, as I watched videos that showed you can win much more online than with the machines in the shops. That’s when the trouble started. I’d wait till my pay went into my account, and immediately, I would go online to play the slots till I lost the lot. This happened continuously every pay day. I told lie after lie to my family and girlfriend; thinking of every excuse I could find. My family didn’t believe me but my girlfriend did. This went on and on. I never had money to do things, for food/drink, got new clothes, nothing.

My girlfriend and I were living at my mum’s place at the time but I would never have money to pay my bit towards rent. My mum had enough and asked us to leave. This made us technically homeless. My girlfriend moved in with her mother, and I had to stay at my dad’s, which was a 45-minute drive away. It led to me changing jobs. I got myself into work immediately, but this didn’t stop me from gambling. At this point, my girlfriend and I decided we wanted to save for a place together. A little down the line, I was still gambling and lost a week’s wages in the blink of an eye.

That’s when I knew I HAD to stop, so I sought help online. I sat in a chat room with another person and was asked various questions relating to the matter. It wasn’t a pleasant experience as I had to be honest and bring up a lot of stuff that I have done due to the addiction. In some ways I felt relief but I also felt guilt. During the conversation, the person in the chat said that ‘self-excluding’ myself from online gambling was what I need to do. I immediately went to the recommended website and chose to ‘self-exclude’ for six years. The relief I felt over such a simple step was something I’ve never experienced before. The gambling officially stopped but the problems that it caused were still there. 2-3 months after the gambling stopped, my girlfriend decided to end things with me as she was worried that I’d go back to it and it will fall on her head. So not only am I sleeping on a sofa and living out of bags at my dad’s house, I’ve lost touch with my family and friends and have now lost the biggest part of me – her. Please, if anybody is having a problem with gambling, use me as an example and be sensible or don’t gamble at all. Even with help and support, the past still hangs over you. I hope my story can deter people away from gambling. It really is not worth the risk!