Cheryl's story - hopelessly hooked on love and respect

Cheryl's story of giving up gambling

Hello, my name is Cheryl, I am 51 years old with 3 children, 2 of which are teenagers and still live at home. My eldest lives with her partner with my 4 lovely grandchildren. I have mentioned my family because my family are very important to me. You see I have had a very serious gambling and alcohol problem, which has worsened over the last 10 years. It came to head for me a year ago when I sought the help of a gambling counselling service.

I had completely lost control of my life and thank God I made that phone call because I don't think I would be here today to tell this story. I had contemplated suicide; you see I was hopelessly hooked on poker machines. I had started to borrow money from people. I was borrowing more and more and becoming more and more depressed. I had by now used up all available credit on my credits card. All my debts were due to gambling on the poker machines

I can thankfully say my family hadn't gone hungry or really gone without anything other than a mum and grandma. I believed I had become a very selfish person whom I hated so much. I'm sure my family still loved me but they didn't like or respect this conniving woman who was their mum.

I was out of control and not seeing things too clearly and I hate to say I didn't care. I felt that I deserved some 'time out', I worked hard, and I was the breadwinner, so why shouldn't I go out! Sometimes it would cost me hundreds of dollars for my couple of hours out by myself.

I can clearly remember the day I phoned for a counselling appointment. I was sick, broke, depressed and so very ashamed. I had sworn so many times before that I wouldn't go to the club again, but……….I felt a hopeless person and prayed that someone could help me.

I arrived for my appointment. The counsellor didn't seem to judge me. I had become so guilt ridden I felt as though everyone could see through me. I felt like lying to cover up, but thought, no, how can they help me if I don't tell the truth as awful as it was? I received so much encouragement and education, I went away thinking, this may work!

I can say to this day just over 1 year ago I have not been to a poker machine or had any alcohol. I am so proud of myself but I have to say with all honesty I couldn't have done this alone. The caring, understanding, encouragement and awareness I have found in counselling is something words cannot describe. I would certainly recommend counselling for anyone with a gambling problem.

An added bonus for me is that it is 2 months since I have had a cigarette, something else I was addicted to. Even though it has been very hard at times I know that things I have learnt about gambling have helped me to give up other addictions.

Even though my life is now in order, I still attend counselling on a regular basis. I don't think I would go back to my old ways, but I guess it is only early days for me.

I feel my story is a bit of a rags to riches one. I certainly feel rich, because I have a family who now like, love and respect me. I even like myself and have self respect. I can walk around with my head held high as I now have nothing to hide.

Thanks for listening.