Describing her recovery, she recalled another attendee: “One gambler told me she prayed every night for God to take her away; now she prays for another day.”
In talking with others, she began to find new ways to cope with life’s ups and downs.
That was her gambling money.
“My head was more clouded and one night I put money in the machine and it just solved all my problems. I gave up.
“I was so alone even though I had my family. Eventuwhere my wages wer arcade at lunchtime o” Soon Denise, previemployee, began to lolost herself in gambli”I was late back one and got a warning bu going back and gamb “I was always there became a person who who I could borrow m banks so people taking all my money ually it got to the stage re all burnt in the on the day I was paid.” ously a reliable ose track of time as she ng.
“But one night the bingo was shut and I played a machine. I deal with my problems now rather than running away.”
e day [from the arcade] ut it didn’t stop me from bling the next day.
“I’d phoned my dad as he was in Gamblers Anonymous and I said, ‘I need help’.
For information contact Gamblers Anonymous for free on 03700508881 or www.gamblersanonymous.org.uk
“I put that on him. All rights reserved.
“I said to my husband, ‘I’m going to go to a meeting tonight’, and it was never discussed after that. In the morning, I started being sick.. I thought, ‘What a waste of five pounds’, but home got worse.
It was after this attempt on her own life in her late 30s that Denise found an outlet – a way of freeing herself from her problems.
She said: “We would go to Strathclyde Park and my husband would play the machines and I would play the bingo with no problems at all. Some of the amounts lost are eye-watering.
“My biggest regret is my son. It has given me some control back over my life. It’s not if they win or lose, it’s the race they’re addicted to.
Her struggle began long before she slotted her first PS1 coin into a fruit machine.
“Doctors gave me 12 hours to find out whether I would live or die.
“But help is at hand because lots of people are staying away from gambling and living full, productive lives after stopping.”
She recalled: “With my child’s behaviour, before I started gambling, I took an overdose. a Support organisation Gamblers Anonymous work with people from all sections of society whose lives have been taken over by addiction. ell head-first into a hat took over her life. Overwhelmed by her sense of helplessness, Denise, now 48, tried to take her own life.
A spokesman said: “People with vastly different earnings can become addicted, from footballers to those claiming benefits. My whole personality changed. The damage I could have done to him was unbelievable.”
“Gambling is very pernicious in that if you get your wages and go into the pub you’ll drink PS20 or PS30 pounds worth and get tipsy and you can’t do any more. It was great.
Denise still attends meetings and takes her recovery one day at a time.
“The minute I won or lost “The minute I won or lost there was no buzz, it was when it was turning, waiting on it coming in.
“My logic had gone.
“My next bet would take me straight back to where I was,” she said.
Denise has not gambled since her first GA meeting. pay Paul and it was just constant. Fortunately, in October 2007, she found another option.
“I felt like I was in the middle of a room and there were all these doors around me and I’d managed to shut everything out of my life and nobody needed me.
The mother-of-two, from Glasgow, was lost in the grip of an addiction that, for three years, transformed her into a person who even she didn’t recognise.
“[My husband] was just glad I wasn’t having an affair. I think that’s quite a common thing.
“I had never been in spending all my monejoint account and I wabout, but my husban because I dealt with a”I robbed Peter top n debt before but I was ey, all the money in the as moving money nd was oblivious all the finances. He was good with his money and I was going into his room and saying that me and my husband would split up if he didn’t give me money.
LOW Denise didn’t know where to turn
“You’re coming back late but you’re not drunk so the thought is, ‘Where have you been?’ I was lucky, he was supportive right through.
Growing up with a family of addicts, she had never learned how to cope rationally with life’s problems.
“He says he doesn’t remember it being like that but that’s what I did. It that could have happe”When I got paid I w PS10 in’, but I was goinand then everything. I couldn’t function at all.”
“I took an overdose of pills in the house. own and I saw the bled for about three day I went into the was the worst thing ened.
Denise began attending Gamblers Anonymous meetings six nights a week to keep herself from gambling again.
She said: “I was just re-educated about what was acceptable for my behaviour and what was acceptable for other people’s behaviour towards me.
“I wasn’t addicted to the money or winning – it was the spin, the uncertainty and anticipation of what was going to happen.
“I took that on really quite quickly and I’ve never thought about suicide since the day I went into that GA meeting.
“I remember thinking, ‘I’ll take a chance and go and if it doesn’t work I’ll just kill myself as I can’t live like this any more’.”
“I understand others are the same if they’ve bet on a horse. I had always been the person that looked after somebody else but it was about me then.
“Any time anything happened, good or bad, I just went gambling.”
“Now I know I can go to a meeting and help myself. The arcade I won PS500. I couldn’t cope, I thought life was too hard. I used to say to him, ‘You’re crazy spending all that money on machines’.
Denise’s marriage survived even the darkest days of her addiction but she has deep regrets over the impact on her family, particularly her son, who was 20 at the time.
The tipping point came when one of her then-teenage children began having behavioural problems. If you’re a gambler with PS200 in your pocket you can lose it in a minute.
“People think gambling’s about money but it’s not. It’s the same feeling as an addiction of any sort.”
From those early days of gambling, Denise fepowerful addiction th”I worked up the to arcade and so I gamb years constantly. m.
When the extent of her problem finally registered with Denise, she considered suicide again. I was lucky, a lot of people don’t have it that easy.
would say, ‘I’ll just put PSng in and spending PS50 “I’d go to different bwouldn’t know I was out in one day. Some nights I would come home and there was no food in the house and I had two thousand PS1 coins in the boot of my car, but that was gambling money, there was no way that was coming into the house.
COPYRIGHT 2013 Scottish Daily Record Sunday
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
“I thought the overdose hadn’t worked so I told my husband, otherwise I wouldn’t have told anybody.
Byline: Clare Johnston
THERE was no food left in the house for her or her family to eat but the two thousand PS1 coins in the back of Denise’s car were strictly off limits.
Copyright 2013 Gale, Cengage Learning. He couldn’t spend his money for worrying that he was going to have to bail me out.
‘I’d go to different banks so people wouldn’t know I was taking all my money out in one day’
“It was as if it was taking all the pressure off me every time I put a pound in.
e for my kids but I o just wanted to see money from next.
LURE Thrill of the fruit machines
Gamblers Anon nymous putting lives back on track THERE are an estimated 450,000 problem gamblers in the UK, while further 3.5 million people are categorised as “at risk”