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
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.