While gambling may be a socially acceptable behaviour among Asians, losing control and having a problem with it is not.
“If I had not gambled so much in the past, we would have had enough money to own blocks of apartments.”
This was said by a now-retired senior citizen who gambled his family’s fortune away in the early 1980s.
In the early 80s, fortune befell him when his lucky numbers struck the big jackpot in a 4-digit lottery played in Malaysia.
But ever since then, he has been placing even bigger bets (at times, at the expense of his family) to chase that high of striking jackpot again.
It’s been 20 plus years, and he still has not won as much as he did in the early 1980s.
In an interview with Neue, the now-reformed gambler, who wished to remain anonymous, said, “Gambling is fun, but the minute you lose control, it becomes a sickness.”
When asked if he had any regrets, he said, “Words cannot express how grateful I am that my wife stuck by me when I was at my lowest point in my life.
“She’s a strong woman. She’s the rock in our family’s foundation. She never gambled. She saves whatever money she can for the good of the family.
“One of my biggest regret was when I was suffering from a gambling addiction was withdrawing my wife’s savings from a joint account I had with her. I did not win. Instead, I lost it all.
“The look on my wife’s face is something that I’ll never be able to erase from my mind.
“It gets complicated when you borrow money from friends and family. Or worse still from loan sharks.”
I could not help but wonder if this senior citizen had been part of a support group back in the 80s or 90s, would life have turned out differently for him.
I wondered how many families were suffering in silence because of a loved one who has a gambling problem.
On a side note, with the 2018 World Cup just around the corner, I sincerely hope that people who are planning on betting their entire life’s savings over football matches would think twice before doing so.
According to an article published by Priory, a leading independent provider of behavioral care in the United Kingdom, the thrill of gambling is linked to the natural high that comes with risk-taking. The effect in some cases is similar to that of stimulant drugs.
If you are worried that you or a friend or a relative has a gambling problem, here are the main symptoms and patterns of behaviour to be aware of:
- Spending lots of time on internet gambling sites.
- Loss of interest in other hobbies.
- Increasing bets to recoup lost money.
- Spending significant amounts of time in betting shops.
- Constant interest in gambling articles and literature.
- Unexplained debt.
- Stealing money to enable gambling.
- Mood swings.
- Becoming more secretive and concealing time spent betting.
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