Hi, Tricia here. I am a poker machine addict and I am out of control. Let me tell you a bit more. A couple of years ago I reached crisis point when I had to confess to my new partner that I was an addict. With his encouragement I went to the local GA meetings for months and tried very hard to work the 12 steps. But whilst I could easily understand I had no control and needed someone/thing to help me I couldn’t accept the quasi spiritual side of the 12 step program. So I went and listened to others and related and told myself it was beneficial. the gambling decreased but I was still addicted. After one horrendous week I felt an excitement when I told myself I was giving up. I hadn’t felt confident like this before and whilst I was scared it would turn out like every other time I had ‘given up’. This time, through no special or recognisable effort or impetus, I did give up. I was clean for 4 years. I was so proud, relieved and happy. You know what comes next – yes I started again. How I don’t really know. I just did. I haven’t told anyone, I am so ashamed and upset with myself. It has been almost 12 months now and I am sick and stressed and depressed and scared. I don’t know if I will get another chance to quit. I do want to quit yet I still can’t control the urge – once it pops into my head that’s it – I have to go and gamble until it’s all gone. I knw I can’t win, I understand all the logic against gambling yet still I can’t gain control. Any help appreciated


Hi Tricia,

Thank you for sharing with us here on Real Stories. It is really common for people to relapse after a period of abstinence from gambling, I’m sure a lot of people reading this can relate to your story. It is a huge achievement to be able to stop gambling for 4 years. It is certainly not an easy thing to do, it shows you have a lot of strength and resilience! I’m wondering what you were doing during that time that helped you to stop? It sounds like there is a lot of guilt and shame associated with your relapse, however, this is a normal part of the experience. I’m wondering if you have received support for your gambling, or if this is something you were managing all on your own? I would really encourage you to link in with your local gambling help service, they have gambling specific counsellors who are experienced in working with this issue. To link in, all you need to do is call the Gambling Help service on 1800 858 858 and they will be able to find the closest service to you. Alternatively, there are lots of resources on the NSW Gambling Help website that can assist you on your journey. It is really important to be kind and compassionate with yourself and realise that what you’re going through is incredibly difficult. You’ve shown yourself that you are capable of change, now it’s about giving yourself the support to continue on that journey. It’s not about how many times you slip up, but what you learn from it that is the important thing.

I wish you all the best. Take care!

Kind regards,

Counsellor Sam

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