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Soccer gambling kicked me to rock bottom

Updated: May 16, 2023

No one believed what I said anymore.

Wesley started with soccer gaming online. He enjoyed the game and soon started putting money on his plays. He eventually became hooked to the “kick” he got whenever he played and won 10 matches at a go, and a harmless game quickly turned into a compulsive habit.

It took him 14 years to hit rock bottom because his family kept stepping in to help pay off his debts. By then in November 2014, married, his gambling debts had spiralled to well over $200,000.

Harassed by licensed moneylenders and banks, he had run out of people to borrow from and lies to tell, because no one believed him anymore.

OHC don’t nag…

He visited a few organisations that reached out to gambling addicts for help, but chose OHC because he sensed the sincerity of the people there and felt that they understood his situation. He says, “Parents and siblings nag. OHC don’t nag. OHC observes your behavior and what you say. They put effort into understanding your situation before judging.”

We need help, but we don’t know what kind of help we need. OHC, quite immediately, empowers you with the “Hows”…

Wesley’s key turning points in his journey to freedom from debt and gambling were as follows:

The first few questions OHC counsellor Alan asked him in their very first meeting together, set him thinking, and completely changed the way he viewed his world. It helped him put action into his words to his parents as well as get a better handle on how to prioritise his debt repayments.

Wesley’s 92-year-old grandmother was his role model and anchor point through his journey. Watching her live life without complaining or nagging, helped him do likewise and to just focus on “getting on with it”, one day at a time.

Wesley quickly figured out that maintaining a positive mindset was vital and so early on, he made it a point to google for positive quotes to use to engage his mind with, just to get him through each day. This kept the negative thoughts away; that his friends were laughing at him and thinking how foolish he was to keep going to OHC...

He also took a decision to “stay away from negative people because they will always be negative” and resolved to keep going and working on changing his life.

In 2016, he quit smoking as a Mother’s Day present to his mom. He shares that this was a powerful gesture quite aside from the money he saved, because when this happened, his mother stopped her nagging by 90%. And, his father realised that if Wesley could quit smoking, he could quit gambling too.

If you want to quit gambling and you still want to be alone, it is very hard. Very hard.”

Wesley credits OHC’s support group meetings and especially the seeker sessions as the most vital part of his recovery journey. He explains that the counsellor facilitated bi-weekly support group meetings were not enough for him. He found that meeting with other OHC clients and peer supporters over weekly evening coffees at MacDonald’s, just talking about life, work, building friendships, very constructive and affirming.

Whilst he still experiences the urge to gamble every now and then, he finds that the time spent together in seeker groups with his peers helps “keep him away from thinking” (his old thought habits), and the presence of a group of people who understand and trust him, renews his strength and resolve to continue onward in his journey.

My family is happy now that I am on the road to recovery.

Today, family is his priority, (not pleasing his friends), and the time he spends with his grandmother and wife over a simple dinner is precious to him.

He is still, slowly but surely, and systemically, paying off the debts he still owes to various members of his extended family, even though they have not asked him to.

He believes there is still room for improvement and looks forward to the day when his already good relationship with his dad can evolve to a situation where they are “really like friends and can talk about anything”.

He hopes gamblers will come to OHC before giving up on themselves.

"Coming to OHC changed me. Not just the gambling, but the whole package. OHC helped me change my perspective of things and my attitudes changed as a result. I no longer scold my parents any more!"

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