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Godly Greek's story

Problem gambling is a silent killer which effects so many people and aspects of your life. Each gambler is individual in their reasons for gambling problematically: for me it was a broken home, violence, very low self-esteem and future path that was not meaningful in my life for a very long time.

The amount of missed opportunities to do a lot more social things with friends and family I will never get back. It is an isolating behaviour that drives you to not want to be around others because of the shame and guilt, and it would be time away from the machines. Also not having the funds to do things because most - if not all - of your money has gone into the machines.

Relapse and recovery are two things that we are very familiar with. Yes I have used many excuses to go and gamble but at the end of the day if you don't own 100% of your choices then you will not recover and live a meaningful life. You have to admit that part of you still wants to gamble, other parts include chasing the big losses and boy, have they been big!

Another powerful thing I had to accept is the bad choices I made in order to self soothe and fund my own gambling at the expense of others, including those I love. It was painful to look back at some of my behaviour and lies: it is an important step that will cause pain but then great healing. Accepting and forgiving is important.

Those around you scratch their heads as to why anyone would go and sit in front of a machine for hours and hours and feed it your hard earned money. If I didn't gamble in the past I would have my own home paid off: a hard lesson to digest but I have accepted this and have moved on to create other goals in my life.

I have been around the world, my own talents now have opened more doors. I write as well and decided to focus on my positive gifts that can help others. I now work as a counsellor and help others with problem gambling and other addictive behaviours.

I have been lucky to gain knowledge on the machines, the psychology behind them, and let me tell you that no machine is produced without the assessment of a psychology team, from colours and sounds to features on the machines. All are geared to stimulate and entice. If the machines were just a plain computer screen without the bells and whistles I don't think many people will find them enticing to play.

The new trend now is online and mobile gaming: it is that easy to entice new gamblers - especially young people - to get hooked on gambling and this is what I see more of. This industry is a "golden cash cow" that will not go away any time soon, looking at the amounts each month gambled in this country is just shameful and I was part of that once.

Lastly, one thing I live by and actually saved my life is the following quote: "I think therefore I am, what I think I believe and what I believe I become." Our thoughts determine every step, so be mindful of your thoughts. Thank you for listening to my story.