Whilst working on front door at club I would see a man and a woman come in most nights to go and play the pokies and then a few hours later their kids would come up to me at the desk and ask me if I could page their mum and dad for them. It happened many nights and j remember thinking back to when I didn’t have money to buy formula for my baby and j felt sad for the kids but pleased that I didn’t do that to my kids. Years past with no machine playing. At 32yrs I started a relationship with another drinker that liked to bet on the horses. I got bored sitting and waiting for his horses to run or for him to finish drinking so I started sitting playing the pokies for something to do. That was the start of an around 7yr gambling binge. I have no idea how much I spent??? I got to $15+ per hit on the pokies. I thought if I’m going to bet then I’m going big (we had split 2yrs later but I was still gambling). Then at 39yrs I got into music. That took me away from the machines. I would write songs learn how to sing and learn guitar. No more pokies. I had something better to do. Don’t give up. Try something new you enjoy.
Thank you so much for sharing your story. It sounds like not only have you seen the devastation it gambling can have on others, you’ve also experienced it yourself! It can be a very difficult cycle to break especially when the gambling is serving a purpose for you – in your case to help pass time and it was convenient. It sounds like it was really helpful for you to find a meaningful activity that you enjoy to help distract you and pass the time. Having hobbies/activities is a great way to help you overcome gambling and gives you a sense of purpose and fulfillment.
Goodluck for the rest of your journey! I wish you all the best, take care!