Personal stories

Catherine X

July 2013

Like many players, Catherine’s gambling started modestly, but as time past she found herself upping the stakes. After losing her job, her home and nearly her life she decided no game was worth what she was going through and reached out for help. This video outlines her experience

Everything changed last October when my wife learned that I was gambling – Anonymous

May 2013

First I would like to comment on who I am as I feel it is important in understanding my situation. I am a trained professional social worker. I have had a successful career and am currently semi-retired. Initially, gambling was of little interest to me. During the past ten years I would dabble with the nickel machines. When I say dabble I mean I would throw in $10.00 to $20.00 at a time. This was really nothing in the sense it had no impact on our financial status. Then there seemed to be a change in my attitude. About year and a half ago I started putting more money in the machines. I went from $20.00 to $60.00 then to $100.00 and at the end I could waste up to $500.00 at one sitting. The machines seemed to have a hold on me. I needed to show them I was in control. How did I do that? I put more money in. It seemed I could not stop. I would try for a day or two and then I would be right back at them.

Everything changed last October when my wife learned that I was gambling. My wife detests gambling and I lied to her about it. I have to say it was a very sad day to see my wife so upset. She was angry and hurt. I had disappointed my wife and I could not take it back. I wasted money that could have been used for our pleasure. My wife was ready to call it quits. I begged for forgiveness. She was not ready to forgive me and I soon realized why she felt that way. She had a right to be angry. She eventually agreed to help me deal with my situation. It was at that point that I phoned the Gambling Support Network. I was reluctant to contact local professionals because of the embarrassment of having to speak to my peers. I did not feel it was fair to put my wife through that, as she too would have dealings with the same professionals.

It was difficult at first to make the call and ask for help. I was always the helper who extended my hand to help others. Now I was faced with asking for help. After the initial call I realized it was the right thing to do. I needed to learn what drove me to this point. I was normally a very frugal individual.  How could a coupon user go to wasting $500.00 in a day? It did not make sense.

Having a professional to speak to regularly was a great asset. My counsellor offered support that made me think and forced me to find my own answers for my behaviour. She was not judgmental but supportive. She helped me to examine my behaviours and forced me to ask myself some revealing questions.

The thought of losing my wife and the family style we had was very upsetting. There were days when I thought I would be better off dead and everybody else would be too. That was short lived. Why would I put my wife and family through such an ordeal?  I want us to be the way we were. However, I now realize that will never be the way. I understand that I created a situation that will affect how we live each day. That is not to say that things cannot be better than they were because I believe they will be better. But it will be different than it was.

I have to say that gambling has not been an issue since I made my first call to the Gambling Support Network. I have not played a machine, nor do I want to play a machine. My wife is far more important than the rush the machines provided to me. I realize the hurt they have caused my wife and I could never again subject her to that kind of sorrow. I know that she still lacks trust in me; however, she is trying. Hopefully, that trust will rebuild over time. She still allows me to handle the finances, but we have built in safeguards. I now like to let her know what I am doing or am going to do.

The gambling problem made me confront other issues in our marriage. We are slowly trying to deal with them. Life has certainly changed. I like to think that I have changed. I have a greater appreciation for my wife. I do not take things for granted like in the past. I realize that we have a lot to be grateful for. It is my hope that my future days will be spent showing my wife that she was right in choosing to help me with my gambling problem. To gamble and waste money was foreign to me. Yet, I let it grab hold of me for a short time. I am glad to say that I have seen the light.