19th January, 2017
Sarah has a serious gambling addiction. By playing online she successfully managed to hide her addiction from those who knew her for over 15 years. However, being convicted and sent to prison for a crime she committed to feed her addiction was the first time friends and family were made aware of the scale of her gambling addiction. She is now seeking help at Living Room Cardiff to deal with her addiction. Sarah is supporting Flutter-free February in the hope that it will encourage others to seek help.
Sarah said, “My gambling addiction has led to me losing everything. I’m now homeless and in debt. Getting arrested was quite an extreme way for people to find out I had a serious gambling problem. It’s now out in the open and I’m determined to do what I can to stop somebody else ending up in the situation I now find myself.
“I don’t know where it all started as I don’t know of any other gamblers in the family, but there were other addictions. I was brought up in a pub environment so I guess I was always surrounded by fruit machines and perhaps it became quite normal in the end. I know I was certainly gambling long before I was legally allowed to do so.
“As I start my therapy I am fully aware how few women there are seeking help. I know many women gamble – you only need go down the bingo halls every day to see it for yourself – but it’s a well hidden secret. It’s a big lie which you try and hide. It’s not substance abuse so there’s nothing physical you can really spot either so as an addiction it is relatively invisible.
“Access to gambling is also easier than ever. Until last year I’d never been to a betting shop, but there are so many now that they almost invite you in. I think they target people who are quite lonely as they offer tea and coffee, make you feel comfortable and you almost feel wanted.
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