The next issue of DDN will be out on 3 November — make sure you send letters and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org by Wednesday 22 October to be included. Letters may be edited for space or clarity – please limit submissions to 350 words.
I was encouraged and pleased to read the article ‘Loaded dice’ in your September edition. It echoed my thoughts in terms of there not being enough help for the thousands of people in the UK suffering from gambling addiction/issues. My biggest gripe is that the government need to do more in terms of providing support and funding for the NHS, so that we can have more referral outlets that are able to offer the services greatly needed to tackle this ever-increasing social problem.
Be sure that this is a national problem that affects everybody and anybody. Not only does gambling addiction bring on other mental health issues such as depression, but it has a massive affect on those individuals’ families and friends, breaking down relationships and friendships with the very people who are close to us.
I’m one of the lucky ones who came out the other side, but believe me there are many who are not so fortunate. I lost over £500,000, and it took me a long time to come to terms with the fact I had a problem. If you feel that you may have a gambling issue, please get professional help before it’s too late. Denial is a major factor in a gambler’s DNA so I can fully understand why we keep silent and not let our family and friends in, but, believe me, in the long run you will be relieved you found the courage and strength to break that silence. It could save your life.
I have just set up my own company, and we aim to provide a service for the thousands of sufferers out there, and not just on the therapy side but just as importantly the prevention side, which we will do through our presentations throughout the UK.
It’s imperative we all work together to raise awareness and support those who are in real need of help, as it’s a crying shame that as a country we are not doing enough to stop thousands from a life of debt, illness and misery. That has to change and change quickly.
Tony Kelly, by email
Author of Red Card, www.kellysredcardconsultancy.co.uk
Cup of cheer
I wish to share with your readers the growing benefits of the social enterprise café run by our addiction recovery charity, the Spitalfields Crypt Trust (SCT).
Two years ago we launched a coffee-bookshop, Paper & Cup. It provides an open door to the local community in order to de-stigmatise addiction. It gives people in recovery a place to learn barista skills and gain work experience, while building social skills and self efficacy.
Paper & Cup has been a huge success and has enabled us to work in a new way with our service users, while creating relationships with local people and businesses.
There are no notices on the walls about addiction. Many customers come and go without realising that they have been served by someone who was homeless and in the grip of a serious substance addiction. Others pick up on our aims by chatting or by picking up our small leaflet. They all encounter recovery in an environment that is non-threatening and attractive.
In the past month a new chapter of the Paper & Cup story has begun. With funding from Comic Relief, we are opening as a ‘recovery café’. At 7pm each Wednesday, Paper & Cup turns into Choices Café – a coffee shop run by service users with greatly reduced prices, board games, fellowship literature and more focus on our recovery community aims.
These evenings provide a social space for people in recovery to meet, share ideas, form friendships and have fun.
Our recovery steering committee are keen to make Choices Café open to anyone and local people come in, keen to pick up a bargain coffee. We are delighted to see this ‘de-ghettoisation’ happening, giving people the chance to take that brave step Bill W. [William White] called ‘a bridge to normal living’.
Brent Clark, addictions therapist and community development manager, Spitalfields Crypt Trust, www.sct.org.uk
From the DDN website
On our September cover story ‘Loaded dice?’
I had a fruit machine addiction since my school days up into my late 30s. It was a real battle to stop throwing my money away – for me the real thrill was the losing, which happened on the rare occasion I won the jackpot. I could not wait to get those pound coins in quick enough.
With the right help and good people in support I overcame this. I want to say that this is a very real, addictive problem. We need to ban these machines that the government have allowed in every social situation. Kids get hooked young as I did, spending my dinner money then, as a man, my wages. It can and should be banned.
On ‘The whole detox’
Homeopathy has never shown any effect on any medical condition under any circumstances. What is most concerning here is that we have an apparently non-medically qualified person using a method she apparently just ‘made-up’ – which hasn’t undergone any scientific studies. She is then using this on people with genuine addictions who should be receiving professional treatment, rather than something that has never been shown to work for anything.
A very, very concerning situation.