This is John’s story, as told by one of the Betknowmore UK support team.

When I first met John, he was with his key worker. We had a chat about how we would work together and I explained my background to him. We quickly found common ground through our shared interest in football and cricket. John seemed a bit anxious on our first meeting. After I engaged with him I found that he was particularly worried around his feelings and urges to gamble. What he liked to bet on was dog racing, and we spoke about this in an open and transparent way. John was assessed using the PGSI assessment tool to monitor his at-risk gambling behaviour and the Core 10 assessment tool to assess around how he was managing his emotions and feelings. He scored highly on both.

The second time I met with John, and for the rest of his sessions, he came alone, and we worked on his feelings of anxiousness towards gambling. We discussed his interests and how I could help him reengage in the community. During his sessions with me we would have coffee and chat in John favourite café. Each time we met he felt more comfortable with me, talking and engaging more. He would email me in the week telling me what he’d been up to. As John and I discussed his gambling urges and triggers, we found boredom and a lack of routine was crucial. I took him to darts with the elders’ club and a walking football club. The big turning point for John came when I took him to walking football. He loved it! The guys at the club were so welcoming of him; it was lovely to see. He got really involved and now goes to the club every Tuesday and Saturday by himself.

During our last session John said that he couldn’t believe we had come to the end. His whole demeanour had changed since I first met him; he was laughing, joking and truly relaxed. I was thrilled, and particularly touched when he handed me a lovely card and some chocolates. We filled in the last session paperwork, administering the assessment tools again. All John’s PGSI scores have significantly reduced. He was happier in himself and had a much lower risk of problematic gambling behaviours. Indeed, from the start and throughout the whole process John had stopped gambling. I have left the lines of communication open with John. We still email, and in the future, I will meet with him once a month to check in with him and see he’s still doing well.”

If you feel worried about your own gambling, or feel that you are not able to control urges to gamble and would like to arrange some help, you can either read our self-help resources, or get in touch with our team.

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