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Kieran's story

Hi there, I'm nearly 32 and work hard as a chef but I play hard too. If you're reading this you are a sad unlucky gambler like me. I started gambling at the club and pubs when I was 18 ... 20 in the pokies, 20 cents a hit. If I won $10 to $20 I'd be so happy. I'd look at other people betting $5 a hit thinking how crazy they are. Didn't realise I would be that person one day.

Slowly over time it builds up, bets become bigger, losses become bigger. Started to bet on all forms of gambling pretty much at age 20, I'd stop sports betting and races for a period of time and then start again or pokies for a bit; I've always gambled weekly in some form. I play poker weekly, I keep to my limit most of the time I tell myself ... big denial ... it's just a fun game.

If I lose at poker ... I go play pokies to make myself feel like a winner. I've lost savings often chasing over the years. I will control my spend for some time then I'll go big again. I always say to myself I'll just put $20 - never stays at $20. $20 becomes $50, then $50 becomes $500 or more. I lie to myself I won't blow a big sum again but I do it again and the cycle continues again. All up I've lost $180,000 to $200,000 over the years if not a bit more.

I've finally sought help and admitted to myself I am a problem gambler after probably my worst loss I have just recently had. I have just blown $9800 on sports betting in two days ... happy new year to me. What a great way to start the year.

My ex partner would always be on my case about gambling, I'd tell her I just spend $50 or so a week at poker no big deal. But that isn't the truth a lot of nights I'd lose way more. I found myself out with family eating a meal and I'd say I'm going for a smoke but I found myself getting a quick play of the pokies in behind their backs. I never really had big wins been pretty much chasing my tail my whole betting life. Often blew my pay and tax returns. I'd save money up for a few months and then I seem to have a big gambling splurge and it's at zero.

I've had suicidal thoughts and the hangovers, blamed God for forsaking me. The sick feeling in your stomach, fixated thoughts of how much I've just blown. How am I going to chase this money? Then when the money is gone, the guilt comes in, feel bad to my partner at the time and I have a two year old bubby girl too so now it's the guilt and disappointment, it is worse than ever. Beating myself up in my head thinking how dumb I am ... There's no joy in gambling for me if I am $100 up playing a machine, I ain't content, it don't mean anything to me, I need at least $300. Money is just a number at the time but then the bills come and it's been a struggle at times and it shouldn't be.

I ain't a big income earner; I have an average wage but it is enough if I didn't waste a lot of it gambling. I hope the cycle will stop forever and I can live a gamble-free life and never experience the emotions after a big loss ever again and hold onto my savings. Time to be a better person and move on to a better life after all I have a little princess who needs me to be the best person I can be for her as well as being better emotionally and financially for myself.

Thanks for reading my story I hope it allows you to see the light out of this dark tunnel called a gambling addiction. I wish you all best of luck for the future. PS don't compare yourself to others like I used to ... 'I ain't that bad, I haven't lost that much money' ... that's my advice to you.