PlaySmart

Your Voice

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation and KnowYourLimit.ca present Your Voice

Terry Finn

Recovering Problem Gambler

My name is Terry Finn and I’m a recovering compulsive gambler.

Once I got to the point where I realized that I was not going to be able to win my way out of my problems, I finally faced the reality that it was time to stop.

At that point I self excluded. And when I self-excluded I was given some information to contact the facility in Ottawa that I took three years of one-on-one counseling at.

My primary reason for self-excluding really was that I felt I was making a contract with myself to stop. And it’s brought real significance to it. It was a move that said I’m going to do this, and I’m willing to sign a paper saying that I’m going to do it.

I didn’t feel it that was the responsibility of the gambling venue to stop me from gambling. That’s my responsibility. It was then and is now.

But certainly they’re there to help. To provide information to me that allowed me to take my counseling and really come to grips with my problem.

It’s really been a road whereby I’ve regained my self-esteem. And I’ve been able to overcome the problem and to really be a good person again. Feeling good about myself, feeling good about my family.

Life is too precious and too good to gamble it away.
If you think you might have a problem, go and talk to some people to find out.
They can give you an idea of some of the warning signs.

I’m not ashamed of who I was. I’m proud of who I’ve become.

Michelle Nogueira

Addictions Counsellor / Problem Gambling Counsellor
Homewood Community Addiction Services

My name’s Michelle Nogueira and I’m a problem gambling counsellor at Homewood Community Addition Services in Guelph.

Most definitely I recommend that people who self-exclude also seek treatment. And some of the reasons that that’s important, is I think the two of them together is a really good match.

With the self-exclusion program it only looks at creating a barrier and maybe a deterrent to keep them away from the gambling venue, or to help them stop gambling. But what treatment provides is it gets to the root of the problem and it actually deals with the gambling issues.

So I think it’s really important that if people do self-exclude that there is also some assistance to really help them understand the scope of their gambling, explore some of the underlying issues. And treatment provides a really safe and non-judgmental and confidential place for them to further explore their relationship to their gambling.

When I think about people that have developed a healthy recovery and engaged in treatment, it’s often not only the treatment but the self-exclusion as well has been an important part of that process for them.

There’s always hope. I have had the pleasure to witness really really miraculous changes. And when people get the support that they need and they follow through on the different interventions, whether its healthy lifestyles or the recommendation to self-exclude, I see hope come back to them. I see a spirit in their eyes. I see hope in their eyes. I see direction again.

There’s a saying that says often people when they’re in addiction, or when there’s problems with gambling, it’s like they see light at the end of the tunnel but kind of think it’s a train coming their way. And I find that with treatment they see light at the end of the tunnel, and maybe for the first time in a long time that it’s not a train coming their way. That they start to believe that they can make changes in their life and that the quality of life for these folks can really substantially improve.

Karen Williams

Manager, Responsible Gaming Resource Centre, Woodbine

Hi My name is Karen Williams. I’m the Manager of the Responsible Gaming Resource Centre at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto.

The Responsible Gaming Resource Centres are on site at OLG facilities across the province. We provide information, assistance and referral to those people who have concerns about their gambling or someone that’s close to them.

Part of this role, we’re involved with the self-exclusion process and we assist people through this process. And how we assist them, they come down and we provide information and resources available in the community for them, so that they have this information to make the process of self-exclusion easier. When someone self-excludes, then they have resources available to help them through that. Maybe some Problem Gambling counseling in the community, it may be some self-help information, it might be financial counselling. Whatever the person needs, we will assist them.

When people come down to the RGRC, immediately there’s a sense of relaxation.
They come in and it’s a very welcoming environment; it’s a very comfortable environment. It’s a way for them to relax before they go through the process.