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Erica's story

Hi guys, where do I start. I am fairly young... almost 30, I have been struggling with a gambling addiction for eight or nine years. In this time I have lost friends, relationships and a house I was renting because I couldn't stop playing the pokies. I would get myself in debt then spend everything I had thinking I could win and pay off my debts; but just kept repeating that vicious cycle.

I have completely lost the value of money, I am still in debt with every remaining friend I have left. I have even pretended to sell something and kept the money to feed my habit because I was so desperate to get out of debt. I have almost become bankrupt but entered a Section 9 debt agreement. I still cannot stop playing because I am constantly stressed about all the money I owe, and just need that one break to fix it all – but that will never happen.

I don't know what it is about these things that gain so much control over us? For me, when I am there I don't think about anything else and that gives me a break from my reality which is attractive, also they are designed to make us feel like we are winning even when we are not. All the lights and sounds tell us we are being rewarded; but we are not, we are being robbed. I think gambling addiction is the most loneliest addiction out there and one that isn't taken seriously – it doesn't change our appearance like drugs do, you can't physically see the effects it has on us so it can't be that bad right? Well that's wrong, it has led me to dark, scary thoughts... it scared the absolute daylights out of me but this is also the very effect it has on our mental health.

I am not even 30 and I can never get a loan for a car, or a house or anything for a very long time. These things have ruined my young life. I plead that if you think you could get yourself into trouble with this: go seek help, don't put it off because the longer you let it be, the harder it gets and I can assure you guys, I would be so afraid for my safety if this got anymore harder on me.