Problem Gambling – Gabriela Byrne

Problem Gambling – Gabriela Byrne


I believe it doesn’t matter what you take
into a gaming room… if it’s loneliness,
if it’s boredom, if it’s unresolved grief,
if it’s anything, if your senses are distracted
it give you the illusion that for that time
nothing matters and people refer very often
to that they’re in ‘a zone’ and that’s
what they’re after and that was what I was
after. While I was there my issues didn’t
matter. It was just me and the machine.
I was there every day, sometimes three to
five times a day; basically, as often as I
could get money or time to go there. Now,
from a very responsible mother, wife, work
colleague and friend, you can imagine my behaviour
started to change.
There were endless lies about where I was,
why I never was where I was, why I was always
late, why, specifically, money was always
an issue for us.
I often refer to it as a love affair, right.
So, at the height of my addiction my family
didn’t matter, my children didn’t matter.
I remember taking money out of my daughter’s
money box and I came home that night and she
had found the note that I’ve taken the money
and I remember sitting at her bedside and
tears running down my face when my little
girl said, “Mummy, can’t daddy buy you
a poker machine, so you and the money just
stay at home?”
You know that hurt, but… and at that moment,
I would have done anything to stop, but when
the beast talked to me and said, “Let’s
just go and play ten dollars and this time
you can control it” I wasn’t strong enough
and I switched from the Jekyll into Hyde and
all I wanted was to feed the beast.
So, they had trouble dealing with me, as a
mother that wasn’t the loving and caring
person that I should have been. Going back,
looking at my affair with the pokies, the
consequences of my behaviour for this… over
these four years is something that I have
to live with. They’ve all forgiven me; I
have forgiven myself, but nobody can give
me the time back.
There’s lots of indications that more and
more the gambling beast became stronger and
I became weaker.
I would see this ugly thing talking to me
and I’d talk back to it like I would talk
to my worst enemy. I’d say, ‘hey, you
would like to go and spend ten dollars, I
don’t. So, you just get lost’. So, it’s
just one of these strategies that helped and
I put all those in a program and called it
The Free Yourself Program, and I’ve been
teaching it to many people over the last,
probably ten years and what I’ve found is,
it gives people, besides the hope that they
can make it, actually something hands on to
do.
Peter, my husband always says, if you go to
a gaming room every day and you sit in front
of a poker machine everybody gets hooked,
because that’s the way they’re designed
and
I agree.
I went to Gamblers Anonymous. I went to Psychologists,
Psychotherapists and I learned a lot about
myself. When I relapsed after a prolonged
period of not going, I started to research
brain chemistry. I understood that I was a
drug addict; I didn’t have to push a needle
in my arm, I produced my own drugs. Walking
into a gaming room, adrenaline was pumping.
When I look at a gaming machine now, it’s
like looking at the old flame and thinking,
god, what on earth did I ever see in them.
So, I know that I’ve been changed to a point
where they won’t be an issue for me anymore.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *