Sarah* knows the impact gambling can have on your life all too well.
Up until 12 months ago, she had never really thought too much about it other than putting some money behind a horse at the Melbourne Cup.
That was until her partner, Cameron* came to her with a confession – he had been gambling in secret for years.
“It was like the rug had been lifted out from under me and my world changed,” Sarah explained.
“The joint financial goals we were working towards, and the discussions of our future all felt like a lie.
“My whole life was turned upside down and I had no control over it.”
So, Sarah started to look for help. She reached out to a psychologist who directed her to CatholicCare Social Services Hunter-Manning’s GambleAware team.
While she was initially looking for help for Cameron, she quickly realised that she needed some support too.
“I had a wonderful counsellor who helped talk me through the numerous emotions I was feeling,” she said.
“I didn’t know anyone in a similar situation and having someone knowledgeable to listen and help was invaluable.
“My counsellor helped validate my own feelings and help me work through my thoughts, so that I could move forward.
“My partner’s counsellor was also wonderful, and with his permission, gave me updates on his progress to help us move forward.
“They also provided my partner with financial counselling to help him look at his history and create healthy habits for the future.”
Fast forward to now, after months of hard work and learning, Sarah and Cameron are in a good place.
“I am in a happy relationship with open communication. We have complete financial transparency, but even better we have actually managed to save money. Excitingly, last month we bought our first home,” Sarah said.
“Twelve months ago, I never thought it would be possible to be here, but with the right tools and support we have done it.”
Sarah is sharing their story to encourage others to get help if they need it. During GambleAware Week (17 to 23 October) she, along with many others, is asking people to consider how gambling is impacting you, your family, or friends.
“My advice is don’t suffer alone, your own thoughts can often be worse than the reality of the situation,” Sarah said.
“[Also,] having supportive friends and family around you as well as a team of professionals who know what they are doing, how to help guide you in the right direction and push you forward is invaluable.”
If you or someone you know is in need of support, GambleAware Hunter New England is a free service to support people to be gamble aware with information on how to gamble safely, plus free and confidential help for people who gamble, and their families and friends.
For more information, call 1800 497 065 or visit catholiccare.org.au/gambleaware
*Names changed to protect identity