BAD BET I first gambled at the age of EIGHT – it left me suicidal, says ex-gambling addict
A gambler who felt suicidal urges others to seek help.
Tom Boggins, 28, started gambling at 8 when he doubled his father’s Grand National bet.
As a child, he didn’t see anything wrong with gambling and was often a ‘docket runner’ while with his father and his father’s friends.
At age 15, Tom started making his own beats, and by the age of 21, he considered it to be a serious issue in his life as he spent more time in the bookies, horse racing, and casinos.
While at the time he was having fun, Tom now looks back and admits that he never had any money, which resulted in detrimental effects on not just his own life, but the lives of those around him.
Tom, who now works as a landscaper in Dublin, couldn’t keep a job, and his addiction caused a massive strain on the relationships in his life.
He felt isolated, anti-social, and reclusive and didn’t want to leave his home.
In 10 days in the UK, he attempted suicide twice.
Tom checked into a Co. Kildare rehab center in September 2019.
Tom admits he felt unwelcome due to his addiction, but he wouldn’t be where he is today without rehab.
Tom said, “I’m normal again.”
He can now do everyday tasks like go to the store.
Tom hasn’t bet in three years. “My life has turned around,” he said.
He advises those in a similar situation to speak up and seek help.
Gambling Awareness Trust launched a new support service this week to help problem gamblers.
PROFESSIONAL HELP AVAILABLE
19 Family Resource Centres (FRCs) are being created across the country through the ‘National Problem Gambling Support Service’ to provide professional and confidential counseling to those experiencing harmful gambling and their families.
Gambling Awareness Trust found 55,000 problem gamblers in Ireland.
Pam Bergin, executive director of Gambling Awareness Trust, said at the launch that harmful gambling can affect mental health, employment, and relationships.
“We’re pleased to partner with the FRCNF on this service, which will be community-based and accessible nationwide.
“We hope this new service will encourage both problem gamblers and their families to seek help.