In a raw and honest interview with Hope 103.2, listener Chris* shared how a gambling addiction spanning decades nearly cost him everything he valued in life.
At the lowest point in Chris’ life, he found an unlikely source of connection and inspiration through radio and was able to turn his darkness around.
He said God was able to reach him through Hope 103.2 to let him know that he wasn’t alone, spurring him to reach out to get the help he needed for the sake of his marriage and children.
“Well, I actually remember my 18th birthday and one of my brothers took me out to the local RSL. Back then poker machines were the ones with what they called ‘one arm bandits’, so I actually remember the first time I ever gambled,” Chris said.
“I think I was hooked from then on but it wasn’t until my early 20s that things kind of ramped up where I’d sort of gamble to to fund holidays if we went on holidays then I’d find myself gambling while we’re on holidays to try to make up any money that we’d spent.”
“So for a good 20 years that cycle continued over and over again – taking out loans and filling up credit cards and just building up massive amounts of debt by hiding it from my family.
“That happened sort of three times until the last time where I just thought why would my wife, forgive me.”
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Chris tells his story best
Chris said it was that moment he thought he would lose his relationship, house and children.
“With all the money that we owed I thought, you know, I’d lose the kids and would be divorced – it wasn’t a desire for the money because you won money but then you just gamble and lose all the money so it was just to fill a hole inside my heart I guess and it didn’t matter how much money you gambled, how much you lost or how much you won, that hole was just never filled,” he said.
“I hit rock bottom and realised that I couldn’t do this on my own and so I sought help through a 12-step program.
“I was renovating my house at that time, the station that I was listening to was Hope 103.2 – it seemed to be the only station that I liked the music on at the time.
“Hope was the only ministry that I was really getting and had pointed me towards Jesus,” Chris said.
“When I look back now, I know God was talking to me through the radio station… he was working through Hope to to give me exactly what I needed in order to find him.
“About six months into being gamble free, those urges were still there and I just really did not want to go back to where I was.”
Chris said he was in a very dark place and he needed to accept there was something greater than himself in order to start praying.
“For the first time, I didn’t know how to pray, I wasn’t exactly sure what to pray but I did – I prayed and I asked God to help me with it,” he said.
Chris said life is now a lot different for him and his family.
“Me becoming a Christian and finding Jesus has also led my wife back to church, so and the rest of the family things have completely turned around,” he said.
“In terms of gambling, I haven’t gambled for nine years.”
As for his connection with Hope 103.2, Chris said as soon as he hops in the car “those messages start flowing in”.
“It just reminds me to to be in contact with God, it’s a very important thing in my life.”
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* name changed for privacy purposes