Light at the end of the tunnel's story
My gambling commenced in 1980 at the age of 15 at the TAB on my way home from school.
I regularly gambled on racing and Lotteries until 1991, at the time Pokies were introduced to Victoria. Within a very short time I was finding myself at a venue most days of the week. With the gambling calculator I estimate that I lost well over a million dollars. As well as two marriages, my home, all my assets, access to my children, my mental health and almost my life.
In 2014 I had a light bulb moment and sought help (peer support), within a short time I had stopped gambling, the urges were still there but I had regained enough control to abstain. My mental health improved almost immediately, I bought a home, reconnected with my children and family, I was able to pay off a large amount of money that I had borrowed and I was able to pay my bills and food.
I was determined to help other who were suffering as I had, in 2016 I joined a group who undertake talking engagements to community groups on the harm of gambling and in 2018 I started a facilitated peer support group for those who have suffered or are suffering Gambling Harm.
The results of peer support are outstanding. A facilitated program that runs for eight weeks (now running my third program). In all I have undertaken 30 talking engagements to over 1200 people and have provided peer support to more than 30 people. After the eight week program additional peer support is offered each week.
Peer support is such an important part of recovery, I am now getting offers from many other areas to provide this service. So if you find yourself at the bottom of the barrel, remember there is a light at the end of the tunnel, it is a struggle to reach the light but it isn't impossible. If you can get peer support please do.