Gabriela Byrne, p2

But as soon as Gabriela got into the pub, she started to put money into the machines. When she couldn’t get any more money with her cards, she left the pub and went to a casino where she was well known. For a while, that casino lent her more money so she could keep on playing. When she couldn’t get any more money, she called her sister-in-law and asked her to keep the children. She phoned her husband and asked him to come back to Melbourne right away. Then she went home.

When she got home, she knelt on her kitchen floor. She cried and screamed. She asked God to forgive her. She was filled with guilt and shame. She even thought of killing herself because she had lost hope. She had tried as hard as she could to escape, but she was still an addict.

However, that night Gabriela did finally escape. Her husband says that when he got home and saw the expression on her face, he was sure that Gabriela wouldn’t gamble again. He was right. After more than four years of addiction and after losing more than $A40,000 of her family’s money, Gabriela stopped gambling for good. And she went to work in the anti-gambling movement trying to help people who were going through the same things she went through. She created a successful counselling program called ‘Free Yourself’. She worked on educational materials for teaching high school students about the dangers of gambling. And she got involved in campaigns to get the Australian government to regulate gambling more strictly.

- information from: The Guardian, (London, England) 03.02.12, (Max Daly); The Guardian, (London, England) 04.08.31 (Simon Mayhew); AliveMagazine, 00.03, (June Yu); www.freeyourself.com.au/gabrielabyrne.html