Everybody needs a little help sometimes. We all seek help from others for all sorts of problems: how to make pancakes, how to change a tyre, how to discipline the kids — how to stop gambling should be no different.
In some situations, it is easy to ask for help (pancakes) or easy to outsource the job to someone else (changing a tyre). But for other issues, people may feel that asking for help reflects badly on them. When shame and embarrassment are added to the mix, people are often reluctant to reveal they have a problem. The decision to make changes to gambling can be one of those issues that people find a little sensitive. Sometimes, when it comes to those delicate issues, we might feel best talking to people that we know have been in the same situation.
People often ask us at Gambling Help Online if they can speak to someone who has experienced problems with gambling themselves. Thankfully, there are a lot of options to get help from people with lived experience. Many people who have recovered from gambling want to share their experience. As Denzel Washington once said:
“At the end it’s not about what you have or even what you’ve accomplished. It’s about who you have lifted up, who you’ve made better.
It’s about what you have given back.”
As people climb their way back from gambling harm, we’re so grateful that some reach back and offer their compatriots a hand.
So where can you find help from people with lived experience?
Many services offer peer support groups where people can gather to discuss their experiences. Some examples are:
- The Gambling Help Online Forums, a safe space we provide 24/7 for anybody who wants to discuss any problem related to gambling.
- Gambler’s Anonymous
- SMART Recovery
- Peer Connection Program, a telephone peer support service available in Victoria on 03 9450 2007.
The role of podcasts in helping people not feel alone in their troubles has become increasingly important. If you are struggling with gambling you may find the following podcasts particularly helpful.
- Addicted to the Game: Brisbane Lions player Allen Christensen and his brothers host this podcast dedicated to ‘breaking the stigma of addictions, adversity and talking some sport’. Available on lots of podcast apps.
- Not a Dollar More: Presenter Shayne Rodgers quit gambling after years of struggle in 2012. He has used his experiences to help people still struggling through volunteering roles with the Peer Connection Program, and now this podcast.
Other People's Stories
Stories can inspire hope that recovery is possible as well as giving practical advice on how people managed to stop their gambling.
- Trent Cotchin’s Story: Richmond Tigers Captain Trent Cotchin shares how important it was to him to make sure the team was a safe place for people to share their struggles, even with gambling.
- Real Stories: People share their lived experience with the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation.
- Personal Gambling Stories: People share their experiences with Gambling Help NSW.
- TEDx: Lies, Compulsion and Recovery with Shamil Gillani: Shamil shares his story of his journey from “uncontrollable” gambling to chairing Gamblers’ Anonymous group and campaigning for legislative change to help people who are struggling with gambling harm.
- TEDx: The fall and rise of a gambling addiction with Justyn Rees Larcombe: Former Army Major shares the story of how he found hope and restoration after struggling with online gambling.
How to use these Resources
- Listen to a few of the podcasts to see if things being said resonate with you. Think about what has been said and how this compares with your experiences. If one story does not resonate, listen to another.
- When troubled, remind yourself that others have known this feeling, look what others have done and use the same strategies.
- Download the podcasts and listen when you get an urge to gamble as an alternative activity.
- Jump on our forums to share your reflections with your peers for further support encouragement.
- If the stories trigger unmanageable anxiety for you, take a break and give us a call.
People who have shared their stories on these sites and podcasts all speak about the difficulties they experienced in giving up, and how important it is to reach out for help. We’re here to chat if you think you could use a hand to get started, take a step forward, or figure out your next steps.