Diane: My husband had a gambling problem and I had no idea about … and I found out about it when he came home one day and was dismissed from work and told me that he’d stolen a lot of money from work. He said that he was playing pokies at lunch time, so he was going and playing like hundreds of dollars at lunchtime. And so what he was doing was stealing it from work and transferring it money in our bank account. So … didn’t notice anything strange and there was always the right amount of money in the bank account until then when he told me had a gambling problem and I had no idea about it.
The fact that he was so … deceitful and hid it so well from me…and three years it had been going on for and I had absolutely no idea. And it was just … it knocked me for six!
I had to deal with police charges; I had to deal with the shame and embarrassment, you know I was too scared to go down the shopping centre because I would see someone and they’d know...and also our basic financial collapse cause I was at home on maternity leave and that was our only income. What am I gonna do now? I have to go and look for a job, so that I can bring some money in because he wasn’t able to work.
You know, I had days where I just lay in a ball and cry. And I just couldn’t…I just couldn’t do anything else and I’d just ring my mum and say ‘you need to deal with the kids today’ cause I just can’t do it… I guess I just fell into a big heap, I …I wanted to know the answers why…. Why where you gambling? Why? And he couldn’t give me those answers and that was the most frustrating thing about it.
Support & Counselling
Diane: I had very strong family support but I felt as if everyone in, everyone that was around me had an agenda you know… if it was his mother or my mother or friends… and you were too scared to tell friends because… while it was okay for me to say that what I wanted to say to him how angry I was I didn’t want to hear it from other people. Straight away called umm Gambler’s help.
Having a counsellor it’s someone you can go to and you can tell them absolutely anything. You know, for me at the time, I had, we had huge financial problems so there was financial counsellor who we went to see through Gambler’s Help.
You need that mix of having your, the people that you feel comfortable with supporting you, .but also someone who’s just totally away from the situation and can give you the gambler’s point of view as well as your own… Because that’s how in our counselling sessions she used to play devil’s advocate a lot; “Well how do you think he feels?” or...Whereas… I didn’t really see his point of view. I thought he is totally at wrong; “he is not entitled to a point of view”. But, he… There was obviously things that made him gambling in the first place. There was obviously things that kept him gambling. And um, it was...it was good to have someone say, you know, give me what they think what his point of view may have been, or just to make me think about was his point of view could have been.
What I did was I took completely over the finances. If we were to stay together then there was absolutely no gambling. Zero tolerance. I wasn’t going to risk myself and the children ever again.
Every single day of our lives, there’s always a reminder of what’s happened but with counselling and with time, the time that’s passed… While you are in that whole cycle it feels just so dark like your never going to get out of it. But there are people to support you and there is light on the end of the tunnel and you can get through it.