During the COVID-19 lockdown gambling venues were temporarily closed. Men and women with gambling problems and addictions were unable to gamble. Families benefited from the financial increase in their houses, homes were more stable as the ups and downs of chasing and losing the wins were smoothed out into everyday life, and arguments were lessened, and to some people especially me the hope of the gambling nightmare being over started to fill my heart.

My husband, a man with a gambling problem, found himself after the long gambling fast, faced with the reopening of the clubs and pubs, his regular preferred venues, and the reawakening of his problem. On Monday, the clubs were opened and Monday night he spent the whole night shaking and sweating in his bed. His face was red as he lay awake fighting the desire to return, and the desire to rid himself of his addiction. In the morning, the battle was lost and my heart broken again to see that the lying behaviours were back. He stayed out the whole day, the next day and every day for a while.  In fact, the fast, once broken, was like an avalanche hitting him and us as he seemed to make-up the whole loss of gambling time.

The area of Western Sydney where we live, is one of the largest gambling zones in NSW, the gambling capital of Australia. I wonder how many men and women have problems like my mine in Western Sydney. I wonder how many children have gone without Christmas presents, new clothes, shoes, and a happy stable home because of gambling problems and addictions. I spend many nights wondering where my husband is? Who is he with? And what is he doing? And now because I know what I am fighting, I have had to fill many spaces in our family life: financially, emotionally, physically to provide for our children’s needs, so they can have a good life. In doing so I have had to grapple with a range of extra problems on top of the everyday problems, which seriously impacted my emotions and my health for a while. My take-away from this time, is that my husband did want to stop but found the fight too much for him. I still wish to see him free and functioning as a husband and father again. Maybe one day soon…

NB: These personal views are generously shared for the benefit of others by Sheree one of our GIS Consumer Voice team members.