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Fred's story

On the way to the casino I'd fantasise about having a big win and being seen as the hero. My body would tingle with nervous and excited energy and I'd even break into a sweat. I decided to take a break from gambling midway through 2015.

I realised that I'd lost half of my $225,000 inheritance and it dawned on me that if I kept going the way I was going, I was in danger of losing it all. The break was really empowering.I slept better at night, I felt more in control.

But, after two months I was back at the casino. I felt really ashamed. I was completely trapped in a guilt and shame spiral. I was only 18 and I knew that I had a problem. I could feel it, but I couldn't stop all I wanted to do was win. In late 2015 I started weekly  sessions with a therapist. At first it was really hard opening up to someone new, admitting that I had a problem.

But it was a really rewarding and worthwhile experience. It helped me improve my self-awareness and gain the skills to self-manage. I started understanding why I wanted to gamble, what drove me to gambling and how I could manifest those into healthier habits.I got my first job in before and after school care and as a soccer coach. And I was in the gym when I wasn't working.

I lost 30 kilos and basically I was redirecting my desire to win into healthier forms of life that made me feel much happier. The most important step in my recovery was admitting I had a problem and then reaching out for help.

Now I can watch the footy and occasionally that urge to gamble will arise but I can just let it pass. The best part of not gambling is I wake up in the morning without guilt and shame. I'm really happy with the direction of my life.

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