Everything was fine, until that fateful day. Well, I thought it was! I had a life, a plan, loving children and a caring partner. The next day I had lost it all, my children and my partner. I had lost my children because I was a gambler.
That was over 18 months ago. My children are now 5, 3 and 22 months old, and as a result, I only get to see them for just an hour every month.
I was a gambler and, on that fateful day, I was gambling again – and lost. After I had drowned my sorrows with a bottle of wine, I finally went home. My partner was not happy as I had only popped out for some provisions – 5 hours ago!
“Where are the nappies?” she yelled at me. “There is no money left for food or nappies, because I’ve been gambling!” In her frustration and anger, surprising us both, she threw several things at me. As a result, something hit my head and it started to bleed. Well, she had never done that before. I shouted back, “But I was trying to get more money, as we don’t have enough!”
A neighbour called the police and we were taken down to the police station. For this reason, Social Services came and took the children into care. Because this was a one-off incident, the police did not press charges and let us both go. However, Social Services kept my children!
I have never had a drinking problem. I only drank to forget my losses. My children are now in foster care. Possibly they might go up for adoption!
Roll on 18 months and, with the help of my counsellor, Nuno, I proved to the court that I had dealt with my gambling problem. With my gambling and drinking no longer an issue, however, they still decided against releasing the children back into my care. This was mainly down to the Psychologists report. She stated that to stand a chance of gaining my children returned, I would need to deal with my deep-rooted childhood issues. She was talking about, amongst other things, my relationship with my Father and the bullying I suffered at school.
I was feeling; disheartened, demoralised, demotivated and disillusioned. I was in a desperate state and needed help.
When I contacted Nuno, the Counsellor who had helped me with my gambling addiction, he immediately invited me to come out to his Gambling Retreat in Portugal.
Nuno said, removing myself from everyday distractions would be beneficial in tackling these issues. It is the most calming and beautiful location, and I was thankful to be able to go. Here are some photos of the inside and of the outside.
I was running out of time – unless I could prove I was capable – my 3 lovely children would be put up for adoption, and I would never see them again!
Please read, Part 2 to see How LBTH helped change my life.
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