A Journey of Success and New Friendships
As a mother of four with a husband on the road, Jennifer was left to take care of their children and manage their home. After many busy years, she grew tired and needed to find something to distract her from her loneliness.
With a fond memory of sitting with her father at the bar while helping him play pull-tabs, Jennifer turned to gambling. She began playing scratch off lottery tickets each time she stopped at a gas station.
“It became a replacement for going to work or feeling needed outside the home. I considered it my job and my therapy. I thought if I went, I would be able to contribute to the family.”
Scratching tickets became more than a small hobby or past time. It became all that Jennifer could think about. “There was nothing that made me want to get up and do something else. It was always scratching a ticket.”
The availability of scratch offs made it easy for Jennifer to get what she wanted at any time. “I would go into the gas station and my daughter would be in the car having a snack, taking a nap or playing on the iPad all while I was going inside to buy tickets for hours.”
Feeling in over her head left Jennifer more alone than before. “That is the saddest, saddest, most lonely place you can be – to be alone with gambling.”
Jennifer’s losses accumulated and amounted to more than money could buy. She became extremely stressed, suffered from memory loss and paranoia. Her life became a series of rushed and hazy days while she focused on the next gamble. Her skin began to break out due to the metallic dust from the scratch offs and she found herself unable to sleep as she anticipated her next play.
“If I could go back, I wouldn’t ask for the money back. I would ask for the time with my kids and for honesty and trust to have never been a question with my husband.”
One Day at a Time
Jennifer began her journey in Gamblers Choice on July 23rd after her husband gave her an ultimatum. She needed to overcome her addiction in order to save her marriage. It was then she realized she needed to quit. “It couldn’t get any worse. I was going to lose my family, my marriage and myself. If I lost that, I knew I would’ve been done. I wouldn’t have wanted to live.”
Jennifer hopes to inspire other women going through similar situations. She believes there are other moms out there that are wondering when they will be able to break the cycle. She hopes they can read her story and know that seeking help is the best solution.
“I could never have pictured myself doing the things I did, saying the things I did or spending the money I did. That wasn’t me, that was somebody else.”
Jennifer has learned to take things one day at a time. “If I can make it through one day, then I can make it. There’s always someone to call who will be there to help.”
This help comes from members she has met through Gamblers Anonymous and Gamblers Choice. Lucky, a 79-year-old Gamblers Choice member discusses the importance of new relationships she and many others have found through Gamblers Choice. “I’ve met a lot of great people who are really close to me now. It makes it very easy to go to group.”
Lucky found help through Gambler’s Choice just weeks before Jennifer did, after her daughter sought assistance. Lucky’s problem gambling begun after she lost multiple close friends. “I started to gamble after I lost a real good friend I was with everyday. Then another friend moved and another passed away. Then others moved to nursing homes and it just kept spiraling down.”
Like Jennifer, this loneliness left emptiness in Lucky’s life. Not noticing the problem, Lucky found herself driving to the casino more and more. “I’d be on my way to the grocery store and find myself on the way to the Hankinson casino.”
Through Gamblers Choice, Jennifer and Lucky have developed a strong relationship. They build each other up when they need it, listen to one another and enjoy each other’s company. Since quitting, Lucky says her new favorite hobby is going to group.
Though their journey isn’t over, they’ve been able to rebuild relationships and foster new friendships. “It’s not that we’ve all experienced the same things but the same sorts of things to be understood.” Since finding a new beginning through Gamblers Choice, Jennifer and Lucky have never looked back.