LIKE many she began playing socially and became hooked after a big win.
But for recovering addict Sally, her addiction to poker machines would wind up costing her almost everything.
‘‘I started gradually, socially,’’ she said.
‘‘How it came to the depths that it was I don’t know.
‘‘Just over a period of time, the same way it might work for an alcoholic, they don’t know when they became an alcoholic they just kept drinking and drinking and it just grows and grows.
‘‘Probably the crucial escalation of the addiction came when they brought in the dollar machines and then to make matters even more horrendous, the machines that took notes.
‘‘I’m not saying that’s an excuse it’s just an escalation of the addiction because it was there anyway.
‘‘The first big win is usually the start for most people and that’s what it was for me.
‘‘It was a good win and I thought I could go back and do it again and it just went from there.’’
She didn’t have the resources to play everyday, but Sally said she spent much of her time planning and scheming for her next gamble.
‘‘Because of my addiction I found that I was forgoing the necessities of life,’’ she said.
‘‘I was working but I had resorted to finding money in an illegal way to maintain my life and that’s where I came undone because there is always someone smarter than you.
‘‘I was caught taking funds and I paid the price through the court system.
‘‘It resulted in losing a job that I’d had for 30 yers and everything that went with it.’’
Sally said she was miserable and considering suicide.
Quitting was hard, but made easier due to the support she had from her husband who took control of her money.
‘‘That was probably the key initially, but abstinence is not the only answer,’’ she said.
‘‘Someone becomes addicted to something because something is not right.
‘‘The problem is that when you’re in the throws of addiction, you’re in a place where you can’t see what’s right.
‘‘And if you do know things aren’t right you won’t accept them or you deny the impact that they have.
‘‘So that’s what changed for me.
‘‘Finally being made to stop was the shock factor when I could quite easily walked away from everyone and just done what I pleased.
‘‘If not for the support that I have I may well have ended it all, that came close.’’