real life

"What started as an online game with friends, quickly turned into something else..."

I don’t do mornings. I walk around the house hugging my coffee in a dazed slumber. Once I have had my quiet time on Facebook, checked my email and the coffee has kicked in, then I can do mornings.

I have friends who not only do mornings, there are Instagram uploads of their morning runs with snapshots of distances and best times, followed by images of green smoothies blended to perfection.

Images like this:

Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100 per cent authentic and written in their own words.

Humans are funny creatures, what works for one, certainly may not work for another, and mornings are only one example. I always sleep on the right hand side of the bed. As for hubby, he gets the left side by default. I sleep with two pillows and he needs four. The list goes on, because not everything works the same for every person.

As well as my quiet time on Facebook, checking my email and drinking my coffee, playing the game Candy Crush on my phone was one of the things I did every morning.

But what started as a game with my online friends, quickly turned into something else. The game became an expensive compulsion. Sometimes what starts off as a bit of fun in our everyday lives can change and grow into a problem without people realising. I deleted the app, cold turkey and never looked back.

There are times when even the smallest of things can change into a problem you didn’t even realise you had. How we deal with those problems and seek support to overcome them is different for everyone.

Gambling is one thing that affects people from all walks of life. With new technologies and increasing advertising budgets, gambling is entering our homes in ways never before possible. For some, gambling is even part of their mornings. And their afternoons, and nights.

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Only one in 10 people with gambling problems get help.

Only one in 10 people with gambling problems get help and it can be difficult to take the first step to helping someone. Sometimes it is as simple as starting with, “I am worried that you may be having a problem with gambling.” Asking someone and opening the lines of communication should be the first step.

Sometimes despite having the best of intentions, some strategies are counter-productive for a person experiencing problems with gambling. Don’t become involved in arguments about gambling. Don’t attack the gambler, forgetting that the gambling itself is the problem and not the person. Do not be judgemental and never forget that this is far from easy.

Picking up the phone and seeking help through a help line, talking to a friend or even seeking face to face help are ways that someone can start to take those early steps to getting in control of their gambling. Online support is also available and offers a non confronting solution to something that can be a heavy burden.

People with gambling problems can be offered help in many different ways. Talk about it and keep the lines of communication open. Be honest, sensitive and never be hurtful or aggressive. There are many ways to gamble and more importantly many ways to get help. Let’s shed the misconception that gamblers are cardboard cut-outs of each other and wake up to a society that acts to increase awareness and accessibility of the help available.

Not everything works the same for every person. Coffee works for me. Runs and green smoothies work for my friends.

Getting help works for gambling.

What little things do you find yourself doing everyday? Have you ever been able to break a bad habit before it got out of control?

If you or someone you care about is experiencing problems with gambling, there are many ways to get help. For free, confidential support call Gambler’s Help on 1800 858 858 or visit gamblershelp.com.au to find the support that’s right for you.

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