I worked in a bank until August last year when we were offered a chance for early retirement. After I got my package, a friend introduced me to casinos where he promised lots of money in returns from gambling. At first, I won some money then when I started putting in larger amounts, I lost almost half of it. Last December, I put in another significant amount in a local betting game and lost. Now, my husband is asking why my pension is taking so long as he wants us to invest it in real estate to boost his company. I don’t know what to tell him now and my doctor says I am moving into depression. I keep having weird thoughts about taking my life rather than face the shame ahead of me. Please advise me.
What the readers say:
Rachael, you were just greedy for more money but your husband had good intentions. Take the second risk of opening up to him, honestly, apologise and convince him that the lesson learnt is worth a million dollars then wait for his feedback. He may be irritated and begin to develop doubts on you but your consistency will make him trust you gradually. It will also free you of the anxiety, which may develop into lifestyle diseases. You will be free henceforth.
Your story is so real. There was a list doing rounds in social media about a group of people that are difficult to advise. The two in the list that I still remember are ‘a lady in love’ and ‘a person who wants to place a bet’. You fit the latter. I am sure for real that if anybody ever tried to advice you they would turn out to be your worst enemy. Never gamble with intentions of making money. Tell your husband the whole truth and even though it may take some time, he will come to terms with the truth. Accept the fact that you used your cash wrongly and that you are now going to handle what is left carefully. You have learnt your bitter lesson.
Your friends lied to you and have now landed you in a problem they cannot get you out of. Come to your senses and if you are left with a little money, start a small business to help you in future. Resist going near any betting area otherwise you may even ruin your health and future. Being a banker, you must have some knowledge on how to invest your money. It's not too late to start now.
Gambling is rapidly becoming the new addiction in our country. The emotional high gambling gives is equivalent to what any of the hard drugs give. This coupled with the prospects of monetary gains in this seemingly harsh economic times, can make one even more vulnerable.
Secondly the casinos are so deliberate in their thing. Look at their adverts, ambience and décor, it is all colourful and rosy and the environment oozes opulence this too plays into the mind of their clients. For a moment they are made to believe in grand possibilities.
Well, your pension is now gone and your health is failing. Do not let yourself hit the bottom. Surmon all the courage that you can and tell your husband the truth.
Take this as a tough lesson that you have learnt and see how to recover from it. Otherwise sitting down and allowing depression to take a toll on you will only subject your family to more torture and suffering.
Clearly you are not almost depressed but actually depressed. By now you should be seeing a therapist to walk with you. Do not overly condemn yourself. What you need is to begin to forgive yourself. I believe you are more than this mistake, you have done greater things in the past so do not allow this incident to define you. Then when you get on your feet, proactively find something to do so as to cushion the family from the effects of this huge financial loss.
In addition, this should open up your eyes to realise the kind of friends you have. Some people we call friends are frenemies waiting for an opportune time to strike. Rise up and dust yourself. You will get over this.
Hilda Boke Mahare has a background in counselling Psychology
Rachael, from your description of what is going on it seems you are already a compulsive gambler. A compulsive gambler is one who secretly gambles and they cannot restrain themselves from the practice until they run out of money. This often goes unnoticed by family members and friends until things get totally out of hand - like they have now after losing almost all your pension. Unfortunately, this gambling streak is likely to continue until you accept and admit that you have a gambling problem and subsequently seek help for it.
You need professional help from this Rachael and any further delay will resort to you taking more money to the gambling table in your attempts to recoup what you have already lost. At this point, you need to come clean and disclose what happened at least to your husband. This will ease off the tension that is building up between the two of you as well as diffuse the notion that you have money stashed somewhere and that you are just not willing to share it with him.
The thing about gambling is that in all instances, the house always wins. They may give you an impression that you can and will win but this is only to tempt you to play then once you are in they take your money faster than you can wink. Many gamblers fall for the illusion that that there are safe games and safer bets in casinos but this is only an illusion otherwise some people would never lose in betting.
It is never too late to reform from gambling. You can fight this addiction but it all starts with knowing that there is nothing like a free lunch in this world. Avoid situations that put you into temptations to gamble. One thing every person ought to know about gambling is that the owners of the schemes know exactly what they are doing. The basic and fundamental fact is that in any gaming arrangement, the only people who are gambling are those who are playing – not the house. They invest in technology, gaming experts, analysts and other forms of support to ensure that the house never loses.
Your husband may also need patience and understanding through all this. Do not be surprised if at first instance he decides to leave or he detests you for engaging in those schemes. With the right kind of support, he will come round and someday things will get back to where they were. If there is some money left, be sure to support him in his business ventures. In so doing he will not feel that he lost everything and this will soften things between the two of you.
Simon Anyona is a relationships counsellor
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