When I lived with my ex-husband, his gambling, we appeared like a normal family but in reality we weren't. We were living a double life. His gambling was like the glue that kept us together and later it became the demon that tore us apart. The shame and the stigma was huge, it was enough to stop you getting help.
When I should have been sleeping, I would drive to TABs and pokie venues to look for him. And then I would be often looking in his pockets for clues that I hoped I'd never find. I would be very nervous when the phone rang. I lived with a lot of fear.
He created the crisis, I cleaned up the mess. I did a lot of rescuing and a lot of enabling and this went on for years. I had a moment of clarity when I was in hospital with a sporting injury. I was quite stressed and emotional, but it had nothing to do with my injury. I was more worried about my ex-husband. His gambling. He was home alone and that rang huge alarm bells for me.
When I got home, I sought professional help. My marriage ended. I realised I couldn't fix him and sadly I had to let him go. I am in a different place now. I travel locally and overseas. I enjoy gardening and reading, spending time with my grandkids and my family and I am still working part-time.
And recently I completed two Certificate IV units of study. Well, my involvement with ReSPIN has been extremely rewarding because it gives me a chance to share my story as an affected other.
And there's a lot of people out there like myself. Either affected or affected right now. And the message is that there's hope for everyone. And everyone can recover.