Awareness and prevention
I started gambling when I was about 12. It started as a hobby, but began to consume my life. I'd often lose more than I could afford and I was always thinking about betting when I wasn't betting.
Gambling infiltrated my social life. I had no time for friends and when they brought this up I was defensive and justified my behaviour, harming some relationships. Even when I did pull myself away from gambling, all I could think about was betting.
It is increasingly difficult in an age where all I have to do is pick up my smart phone and have a bet. I found myself devoting more time to it. I'd look forward to finishing work so I could go home to gamble. I'd bet on my phone while driving home and sometimes take my phone to the bathroom and bet.
When I lost, I'd get into a horrible mood and be impatient to recover my losses. I'd continue gambling into the night to try and win. I found myself lying to everybody about my wins and losses. Then I lost the lot. That was when I stopped gambling. I'd known for a long time it was bad for my wellbeing but when I was no longer making money, I could no longer convince myself it was worth it.
Once I stopped, I was lost. I began seeing a counsellor. It really helped get me through my darkest nights. The most important thing for me in stopping was talking about it to people I trusted. My mood has also been much more stable and I'm less anxious.
"The most important thing for me in stopping was talking about it to people I trusted."
The two things that I would say to other people potentially struggling, is try and be as honest with yourself as you can, and speak to somebody.
Although I knew on the day I stopped gambling that it was all behind me, I still have urges. They're less frequent than in the months after I stopped. The difference now is that my journey has given me the strength, resolve and resources to allow them to be there, yet not act on them.
Telling your story can have a profound impact on others and help them feel less alone. Sharing your insight into recovery and the challenges you've faced sends a powerful message to others going through similar issues.
I'm 15 years old and my dad has had a gambling addiction for the past year...
I think my mother's problem with gambling probably started after my father died...
Our web films are based on real stories from young people experiencing issues with their own betting or are worried about someone else. You're not alone, we can help you find your voice.
Jess' dad has a betting problem. She could never find the right way to talk to him about it until she talked to someone else.
Shane’s betting was out of control. He was losing all his money and it was all he thought about. He didn’t know what to do until he talked to someone.
Chloe's dad gambles. A lot. She's known something's been going on for a while and didn't know who to talk to about it, until she made a call.
Call 1800 262 376 for advice and support, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It's anonymous, confidential and free.
Or chat online with a counsellor at Gambling Help Online. This service is also available 24/7.
If you are deaf, or have a hearing or speech impairment, contact us through the National Relay Service.