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Ali's story

I grew up in a family where my father was abusive towards my mother and I’d also lost a brother when I was 6. Not having a great childhood, I wanted to avoid being at home so I started using drugs, and started to gamble at the age of 14 – slowly, at first. Fast forward to having a family together for decades, then to a mum in prison and father living his life overseas, my life turned for the worse. For years I was taking drugs and gambling, not having someone to look up to was painful, to say the least.

As I started slowing down on the drugs, the urge to gamble worsened. I would work, only to spend my pay on the pokies. If I had to go to Officeworks for work supplies, I would go to the local pokies first. If I had to get lunch, I would go to the pokies. I would win large sums, averaging $2,000, and the most I’d won was $5,000, but I would then spend twice my winnings in hopes to double my win or just get my money back (which never happened). At one point, my mum would ask me to join her at the casino and we would drive there at 11pm. We would win and then lose it all. I remember we won so much, we ordered the most expensive cocktails all night. Little did my mum know, I was secretly becoming addicted. ‘Was it her fault?’ I believe it is completely my fault.

We always blame others because it is easy to do so, but in hindsight we are the ones walking into the casino/pokies room. I owed a friend $5,000 that my mum paid back, yet the pain I caused her wasn't enough. I lied to my grandparents, who I love dearly, that I needed money and so they would give me money just to make me happy. I have been gambling for more than 15 years and I really hate it. I get caught up in the adrenaline of winning but realistically, gambling has ruined me. Mentally, emotionally and spiritually. When you start becoming aware of the issues you have had over the years, you tend to become angry and sad at the same time. Don't let fear and anxiety overtake your life and mind. I'm writing here to say you are not alone and it's never too late to give up.