I can’t stop crying.
I can’t believe I have done this again.
I’m a young, social, outgoing woman with a steady career. It just doesn’t make any sense. It shouldn’t be a part of me. I thought you had to be an old, lonely man or woman to have an addiction to poker machines.
None of my friends know.
My mum knows I “used” to have a problem.
I could blame it on my dad dying last year. It had such an impact on my life and I miss him so much, it hurts.
But really, it’s an addiction that started when I was 19. And now I’m 33. That’s just embarrassing.
I can’t explain it to someone who hasn’t had an addiction before. I know from experience that I have what is referred to as an “addictive personality”, but it’s still no excuse. If you know you are more susceptible to negative things, then you need to seek help. But I haven’t. I believe I’m stronger than my addiction, however time and time again I prove myself wrong.
I remember it started all those years ago with my boyfriend at the time. One of his friends introduced us to pokies and for some reason we were both immediately hooked. At the start we would bet twenty cents each spin, then after a few months of playing, and a few too many drinks, the twenty cents wasn’t enough and we started betting a dollar a hit. Then it became two dollars.
We won a thousand dollars one day. I can still remember how wonderful it felt. That was two weeks wages in one go, and paid for our holiday to Queensland. However, it was quickly lost again.
Every week we would wait until we got paid and then withdrew the money from our account just so we could gamble. When that money ran out, my boyfriend started stealing money from his parents. We would spend all that we had until we had no money, not even for food. We would survive on what we had left in the fridge, which more often than not left us hungry. After about a year I ended up weighing 45 kilograms.
You think after all that time I would have learned.
One of my friend’s brothers has an addiction to alcohol.
He will go without other necessities just so he can pay for another long neck of beer, or cask of wine, even if it means his rent is paid a few weeks late.
That doesn’t make sense to me.
So I know that an addiction to gambling won’t make sense to anyone who hasn’t been addicted to it.
Therefore, like I am with my friends brother, I know a lot of you will be reading this thinking, “just snap out of it” or, “what is wrong with you?” And, to clear the air now, I completely agree with you all.
I don’t set out to gamble knowing that I will lose all my money. I start of thinking, especially now, that I’ll just have a bit of a flutter and be able to leave after spending, say, $50. It’s like I need to prove to myself that I can gamble without spending a thousand dollars.
Although, before I know it, I’m chasing the money I have lost and, like tonight, end up leaving the pub without any money at all. It’s just pathetic.
I’m writing this to let people know that gambling can really impact on anybody’s life, and it’s not just something everyone can simply walk away from.
If you’ve ever heard The Whitlams song “Blow up the Pokies”, it’s about one of their old band members who had an addiction (to pokies) and ended up killing himself. Unfortunately that is something I have thought about doing on countless occasions.
I know one day I will kick this addiction. I am just hoping that day is today.
The author of this post is known to Mamamia but has chosen to remain Anonymous.
If you think you have a problem with gambling, please visit Gambling Help Online here.
Do you have any advice for Anonymous?