Brian is a client of the Gambling Help Service. Here he shares with us his story of recovery from homelessness, depression and gambling addiction.
Brian is in his seventies. His journey to recovery was a long road, but one that has led him to a fulfilling new life.
Growing up in an unstable family environment, Brian developed mental health issues at a young age and spent time in a psychiatric hospital. With no access to schooling, activities or visits from family, this experience had a long-term impact on his wellbeing.
In his late teens, Brian joined the Army Reserve and later the Air Force as a firefighter. He describes this as a good period in his life, but his discharge from the Air Force coincided with his marriage break down and the tragic death of his brother.
“This was a time of real loneliness and grief,” says Brian. “I gravitated towards hotels and pokie machines. It was an escape from the way my life was going.”
Playing the pokies quickly escalated to a daily habit as Brian spiraled into depression. He accumulated credit card debt, sold his house, and eventually began living out of his car while continuing to gamble.
The Salvation Army referred Brian to the Gambling Help Service (GHS).
“I had been a gambling addict for 30 years. I didn’t tell anybody until I met my counsellor,” says Brian. “With her support I learned to manage my anxiety with mindfulness meditation.”
Brian discovered a love for painting and drawing through an art group at the Hutt Street Centre. He has recently moved into an affordable housing unit with the assistance of the Returned Service League and has completed the Consumer Voice Training Program with Relationships Australia SA.
“I can’t believe that I now have another chance at a stable, secure life in my own place. My bills are paid on time, I have regained my health and my depression is under control. I’ve got a life now.”
I once was lost but now I’m found,
I’ve got my feet back on the ground.
With guidance and companion came an angel pure and wise.
The journey that has brought me here, from sadness, darkness and despair.
A place where I’ve got much to live for now abounds.
My life has turned around.
The friends I’ve made, and love of life, fulfils my days in many ways.
Rediscovering how to heal my soul and journey through, my spirit shines again