We often hear from people who access our service that they have waited a long time to call, but that once they have they feel a lot better about it. Here is the story of one of our callers and the difference getting in contact can have.
We recently heard from Steve* who had been nervous about calling, but found it easy to speak to a counsellor once he had picked up the phone. He realised it was going to be ok and was glad he took the courage to call.
Steve gambled on pokies since he was 18. Over the past six months his gambling had spiralled out of control. It took a few weeks for him to call as he was not sure how to get started or what to say.
One day he blew his whole pay cheque on the pokies, and he was struggling to make ends meet. He decided to pick up the phone and call the Gambling Helpline. Despite weeks of planning the conversation in his mind, he did not really know what to say but knew he needed to talk to someone.
Steve was relieved that someone was listening to his story, which helped him to feel at ease.
But I feel uncomfortable
Feelings of discomfort are normal when exposing your vulnerabilities and sensitive information to an outsider. These feelings can make it hard to open up and access professional support.
As the conversation continued, Steve became more comfortable talking through his struggles with gambling. He mentioned that he won a lot of money the first time he gambled, and the memory influenced him to continue gambling.
As Steve discussed his pattern of gambling, he realised that boredom and stress trigger him to gamble. He said that playing the pokies is emotionally soothing, and the belief that could win was difficult to resist.
While he identified that he felt excitement before gambling, this feeling quickly disappeared afterwards and he always regretted it.
What happens next?
After Steve told his story, he said that it was time to implement some strategies to help him stop. We helped him to develop a plan around how to manage his urges and his money when he desires to gamble.
When exploring practical techniques, Steve said that simply telling himself not to gamble was not enough. Apart from gambling, he stated that he would often exercise after work and work on his car during his leisure time. However, gambling had replaced a lot of activities that he used to do. Steve admitted that he missed doing these activities. He made a plan to start some of these activities again.
As part of his financial goals, Steve planned to negotiate with his bank to reduce how much money he can withdraw daily. He found the money advice on the website very helpful in providing simple strategies to start taking control of his money.
He was also open to calling the Gambling Helpline again when urges to gamble come up, and to organise ongoing counselling to continue changing his gambling.
After the conversation with Gambling Helpline, Steve felt motivated and more confident in beginning to address his gambling problem and to improve relationships with his family.
If you would like to make that first step like Steve we are here to help. Have a chat with one of our professional and confidential counsellors or call the Gambling Helpline on 1800 858 858. You can get started anytime.
*Name changed for confidentiality