“I’ve been seeing a Gambler’s Help counsellor every week since completing the challenge, and it’s really helping me keep on track. I’ve not gambled for over 365 days and I couldn’t be prouder.” - Matt Torcasio, 27.
Meet Matt, a 27 year old tradie who has battled with gambling for seven years.
What started as a flutter on the horses or a spin on the pokies, grew into a habit Matt couldn’t control. After a big win on the pokies in his late teens, he was hooked on gambling.
It was only a matter of time before things got worse. He started borrowing money to pay for his gambling, and quickly got into debt. He estimates he was spending about $1,000 a week over a period of six or seven years.
His gambling problem had begun to take its toll on his relationships and his life. His girlfriend, Lauren, helped him wake up to the reality of how his gambling was affecting his life. Things had to change.
When Matt joined the foundation’s ‘Fight for you’ 100 Day Challenge last year, he set himself some goals. And with support from his girlfriend, family and friends, he’s now well on his way to overcoming his problems with gambling.
His candid anecdotes reveal he’s had good days and bad days. Sharing his story on video helped him face the issues, stop the urge to gamble and fight for the real him.
He’s not gambled in over 365 days, a fantastic achievement for anyone battling an addiction. He says he hasn’t looked back since starting the 100 Day Challenge.
“I can now go to the pub to enjoy a beer with my mates and not even think about playing the pokies,” said Matt.
With a renewed sense of confidence, he has savings for the first time in his life, and hopes to buy a house with his girlfriend in the near future.
Matt’s journey has now taken on a new purpose. As an ambassador for the foundation, Matt is sharing his experiences with high school students and sporting club members through the Foundation’s ‘Gambling’s not a game’ programs.
He wants to inspire others to follow in his footsteps and seek help, and he hopes his experiences will help raise awareness of the risks of gambling to people of all ages throughout Victoria.
“Recognising you have a gambling problem and making the decision to do something about it isn’t easy. But once you do, there are many services available to help, including counselling and the 100 Day Challenge,” said Matt.
First launched in March 2013, the ‘Fight for the real you’ campaign has inspired over 3,400 people to sign up for the 100 Day Challenge and attracted over 300,000 visitors to the website.
Need help or more information?
Free, confidential help is available for gamblers and their families, 24/7 through Gambler’s Helpline 1800 858 858 or Gambling Help online gamblinghelponline.org.au
Find out more and sign up for the 100 Day Challenge at fightforyou.com.au