These stories are based on real people’s stories and have been told to us by people with lived experience of gambling harms. The project set out to hear the voices of parts of society that we don’t normally hear from in relation to gambling harm – Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME), children and young people and women. There is a lot of stigma and shame associated with gambling and people often feel that the harm and problems they experienced are their own fault. Much of society doesn’t see gambling as causing harm – it’s a bit of fun. Therefore, for many reasons, it has been difficult to reach those with lived experiences and we have had to draw on the voices of those who have experience of telling their story already or gone through recovery. We’ve based these stories on real-life events and have developed composite stories to protect anonymity. A composite story brings together experiences shared by multiple people to tell a single story. The language used in the stories and the images reflect the language and understanding of gambling harm of people with lived experience.

Some of the themes identified within these stories include: mental health, trauma, self-harm, parenting issues, accessing and signposting to support, affected others, criminality, substance use and suicidal thoughts.

The stories highlight what has helped people to seek support, to identify the harms they or others were experiencing as a result of gambling, as well as the supports that have aided their recovery journey. These include: relationships and support from people around them, professional support, accessing support services or organisations in their community, talking about their experiences and changes in behaviours and habits.

These stories are emotive, and as we all come with our own experiences and emotions, these can impact us in different ways. If you feel affected by any of the topics discussed, we encourage you to seek support by talking to a trusted person (such as a friend, family or colleague) about how you are feeling. If you require additional or professional support, we have highlighted key information on our Support page

Stories written by Alison Irvine

Money for Milk

The only time I could ever press collect was when they were flinging me out of the bookies. I always wanted more. Needed more…

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See. Recovery

Recovery is more powerful than addiction…

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Conversation Through a Window

On the way to my daughter’s, I walked by the betting shop I used to gamble in. Normally, I refuse to look in the windows…
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Lifecycle of a Caterpillar

He’s been gone for an hour. The crisps are done and I need a pee. Hayley is breathing against the window…

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