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This week I made myself sit down and begin to reconcile my bank accounts in my finance tracker – the one that my
professional financial advisor will be going through with me at my next meeting in 2 weeks time.

Transaction by transaction I categorised my spending and incoming funds. I knew it was bad, but seeing the transactions add up, hundreds of item lines day after day to an online casino… this may have been one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. I broke down in tears from the desperation and the shame it made me feel to see my reality and behaviour right in front of me.

But you know what? Now it’s done. My entire accounts have now been categorised and how much money I have lost is there, in fact, for me to now process and disclose to my advisor.

I’m pleased that task is done because ignoring it did not mean it was going to correct itself. Hard work, professional help and my commitment to never gambling again is going to help fix it, over time, one day and one pay day at a time.

Today I had my 3rd counselling session since I began to seek help. And I joined in his group session for about half an hour before hand. I got to meet two other problem gamblers and hear a short snippet of their stories. And I shared mine with them. I found myself having much respect for each of them very quickly as I began to see and understand what gambling had done to their lives and how much hard work they have been and still are putting into the rebuild of both themselves and their lives.

I felt relieved to be there. The more I talk about it the more I understand that, while my gambling has been “short term” in the scheme of things, my losses have been huge and here is real potential for it to completely undo ALL of the positive progress I have made these past 8 years after my accident.

I am grateful for my counsellor. I don’t trust easily but I feel really comfortable around him and he already is very supportive of me, helping me to see things I haven’t been able to see myself.

It’s going to be a bloody hard week until I get paid next, but I truly feel if I can get through to them financially, I am going to be able to turn all this around and get my finances and happiness back on track.

Something I said to my councillor today actually surprised me. He asked me if I had thought much about gambling since I last gambled and self excluded 10 days ago. I said I had, and that at the moment the strongest emotion I feel as a result is an overwhelming relief that I no longer have to gamble, that I no longer have to log on and spend money to try and fix all my losses in pure desperation. I no longer feel like I have to wake up at 5am and log on in bed on my phone and try and fix it all. I feel an immense sense of relief.

I have never felt the excitement, the high or the thrill that I know others have or do feel gambling. I’ve only ever felt desperation and shame at myself, and cried many tears when another hundred disappears from my screen that I simply couldn’t loose.

I no longer have to gamble to fix my messes, and it’s that feeling of relief that makes me believe that I can truly feel happiness again in time.

Very grateful for coming across this free counselling service. I hope I can grow from all of this and the conversation that will be had.