Ella, mother to 2 adult children, started with recreational gambling… 4D, Toto, and Mahjong. This past-time with friends eventually turned into a habit and one day she found herself, saddled with gambling debts of $170,000, which she had to pay off from a monthly income of under $2,000.
This was her fourth gambling relapse.
I was like in the sea drowning…
Already estranged from her daughter and constantly hounded by her debtors, both banks, money lenders and Ah Longs, she was at her wits end, and greatly burdened by the fact that she had brought such pain upon her family.
During one heart to heart talk, deeply moved by the love, forgiveness and support her son continued to extend to her, she realised that this was her last chance to quit gambling or risk losing all that was precious to her. Her son googled for help, found One Hope Centre (OHC) online and both mother and son attended their first meeting there in mid April 2014.
The OHC meeting was an emotionally charged one, as it was the first time she saw her son break down in public.
God gave me a new hope…
She credits coming to OHC as a major turning point in her life for three reasons.
Firstly, at OHC, she met Alan, a counsellor who would eventually guide her, step by step, all the way from Day 1 through to the place of financial and emotional well being she is at today.
Secondly, OHC’s bi-weekly support group meetings opened the door for her to find an “expert” and experienced community she could lean on for advice and to root for her, through the journey of going debt and gambling free. Made up of ordinary people who had also fallen prey to gambling and debt, and were on their way to financial wellness, they understood, were sincerely caring; and their counsel became an invisible protective wall around her, guiding her choices away from her past habits, debt and a gambling lifestyle.
Thirdly, through OHC, Ella found a new spirituality and purpose in life.
The relationships in her family gradually mended. Her debts, bit by bit were cleared. Joy began to spring forth for Ella as she experienced this restoration.
It was not easy. But I am new person now.
Ella declares, “I was sorry. I did not want to hurt my family anymore. I asked God to remove my desire to gamble. Really God helped me. He is guiding me through.
OHC is the route that changed me and helped. I want to bless others.
I want to be a peer supporter*. My time each day is meaningfully spent. God helped me through a lot of temptation. My friends (former gambling buddies) still call me, but I have no more desire to gamble.
Without God, I don’t know where I will be.
*Peer Supporters are people who provide knowledge, experience, emotional, social or practical help to each other.