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“Gabes was a really neat little boy. Very, very active. Very curious. Very normal. Very happy little kid. He had lots of friends. He was always very well-liked.

He and his girlfriend came home one weekend and we were going to have like a big dinner and stuff like that. So I said to Gabes would you go and get some stuff I need from the supermarket. So I gave him some money and off he went to get the food. 

I sort of expected him to back within about half an hour. After about an hour and a half I said to Corina. "Oh, I wonder why Gabriel's taking so long. What's going on?" She said "Well, if you really want to know you'll probably find him at Stella." At that time Stella was a gaming venue.

I became aware that there was some gambling issues which I couldn't really get my head around. So I tried to talk about it, although I was quite nervous of him. Quite anxious about having that sort of conversation with him because he was so irritable.

I talked a lot to my best friend about the problem and that was the support I needed. I think looking back as a family we could have benefited from some support.

Everything fell apart. No job. His girlfriend left him. He couldn't afford the flat so he did actually have to come home. He came home. He spent quite a lot of time just on his own. Feeling a lot of pain and it was about eight months before he started coming out of that.

And once he started coming out of it things just kept getting better and better. I struggled the whole time to understand it. I eventually sort of put it in a framework that I could more easily understand. Which because I'd worked in alcohol and drug field.

I just stopped thinking gambling and I just sort of started thinking addiction. Going through that experience as a parent was very significant experience for me to have. And it helped me to understand and to get a feel for problem gambling.”

Naomi's story

Naomi speaks about the range of people that visit support services.