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Franco's story

I am 67 years old. All of my working life I have been involved in gambling. It took the place of my dad. A comfort zone. At first, money coming in. Money going out.

Wasn't too much of a problem in my twenties. It was a sense of chilling out with the boys. I didn’t know I was embarking on a path of self-destruction.

When I realised that gambling was part of my everyday life, I realised I had a problem. If I won, I wanted more. If I was losing, I would chase my losses. It got to the stage where I felt like ending it all but thought of my children. It wasn't their fault their father was a compulsive gambler and I didn’t want them to be fatherless like me.

I have never had a caress or a hug from either my mum or dad. The family unity had been destroyed through gambling and alcohol abuse. My only escape was to lose myself in the gambling circuit.

My beautiful wife suspected that I was still gambling but didn’t know the extent. When I reached retirement age I was in a vacuum. I didn’t know how to stop this addiction. The lying and pretending everything was ok got to me in the end. I knew the only way out was to come clean to my wife and family. I hoped that my wife and the rest of the family were strong enough to help me fight my addiction.

I have no home to go to. My marriage is no longer there. My life has become comatose by all this. I have now embarked on reaching out for help and I am starting to learn the value of money. My family is my life and I have destroyed the thing that I cherished most. Now I have also lost my self-esteem. I wish I could hug my wife and tell her that I love her very much and I hope this was just a nightmare.

I promised myself a life challenge - I would like to see all the family together, my addiction under control and learn day by day how I can achieve peace. I will never forget my evil but for the sake of my family and myself, I will strive to suppress it.