Awareness and prevention
Gabi: In 1992 when poker machines got introduced to Victoria, within three to five weeks of trying them with a group of people, I found myself there every day, sometimes three to five times a day.
Basically as often as I could get money or time to go there. My behaviour started to change. From a very responsible mother and wife and friend, I became this person that was ruthless when I wanted to feed the beast.
I lost a lot of money, but what was more destructive was the impact it had on my family.
Peter: When I knew that she had a problem I started monitoring the finances more closely. Every time I sat down to talk to her about it, it escalated very quickly.
We never had that before, we never fought like that before, about anything. Sometimes she was fine and the Gabi that I knew and loved and other times she was a complete stranger to me.
It was very hard on the kids, especially when we were fighting. They got together one night and forced us to come down and they had prepared a meal and a glass of wine and put on some slow music and got us to dance together and those sorts of things because they were very worried. They you know, they didn't want us to separate or get a divorce or anything like that.
Gabi: It's always a work in progress. We've been married for forty years and our relationship, like every relationship, goes through stages. We're at the place now where there's the two of us, both of our children live overseas.
We rediscover things that we can do as a couple, not like just as a family. I feel like I can talk to him more honestly about things because of what we've been through. And I just hope that our next forty years will be, better.