Woman who once felt she didn’t know how to live without gambling finds help, wins award for her gambling support group work
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Stacey’s struggles with gambling almost led her to taking her own life, but with the help of others, she is now three years gamble-free and has won awards for her work with a gambling support group to help try and break the stigma of gambling harms.
After her 18th birthday, Stacey got a job working in a bookmakers and saw a number of customers that she felt gambled ‘too much’. One day whilst she was working, she went with a friend to a different betting shop to get some change, but whilst there she put £1 in the betting machine and won.
“It was an incredible feeling, I couldn’t believe it. Like I was so lucky, it was an absolute buzz and that was one of the single worst moments of my life,” she said.
Unfortunately for Stacey, that buzz didn’t last too long as £1 wasn’t enough. She made a promise to herself that she would never put a banknote in a betting machine, however that promise was broken quickly.
Stacey confessed: “I would travel from town to town, bookie to bookie just so people wouldn’t question what I was doing. I felt like I was dependent on gambling.
”I didn’t tell anyone because I was a woman and ashamed and because I never went a period of my adult life without gambling, I didn’t know how to live without it.”
Stacey’s gambling got so far out of control that she tried to take her own life, simply because she felt she couldn’t live without gambling, even though she wanted to stop.
An important part of her journey was when she won a jackpot - in the moment she thought that it would fix all of her problems, including her debts and a feeling of loneliness.
Within minutes this feeling quickly turned to sadness as she didn’t know how to live without gambling, and ultimately gambled away her winnings. This was when she knew things had to change.
“I was very lucky that I found a place out there that helped women with gambling problems,” added Stacey.
“I walked into a room full of women and all I did was watch two of them have a conversation about a feeling that you get when you wake up and remember what you did the night before.”
It was only when Stacey went to these meetings that she realised she wasn’t alone and that there were other women that had the same problems she had encountered.
“I believe that talking changes the stigma around gambling. For me, it’s about opening up the conversation. I had a problem with gambling, but I’m not ashamed to admit it anymore,” she remarked.
Stacey has now been gamble-free for three years and has been granted a Pride of Britain award for her work raising money for Gordon Moody, a gambling support group.
GambleAware wants to break the stigma around speaking about gambling harms and offers free advice, tools and support for anyone who is worried about their gambling or that of a loved one. Search GambleAware to find out more and let’s open up about gambling.