This is National Gambling Awareness Month, and one of LifeWorks NW’s Gambling Therapy clients wanted to share her great success story.
A client we will call Helen came to LifeWorks NW Chemical Dependency (CD) program for her methamphetamine addiction. She worked with LifeWorks NW’s CD team for a long time, during which her gambling problem became apparent. Substance use disorder sometimes goes hand in hand with an addiction to gambling and one can serve as a trigger for the other.
Helen was diagnosed with a pathological gambling disorder, as well as severe amphetamine use disorder. These addictions, along with her mental and physical health problems, led to homelessness and at times threatened her life. Helen was unable to keep a job and frequently put herself in dangerous situations.
Through LifeWorks NW’s integrated, holistic team-based care, Helen has been successful in managing her mental and physical health, as well as her addictions. She believes that LifeWorks NW, with its collaborative, whole-person, consumer-centric range of services, saved her life.
“Even now, when I go by a video poker machine, I tell myself to keep going and distract myself; that was not possible before I entered treatment for my gambling,” says Helen.
Helen is now in college working toward becoming an addiction counselor. She’s earned her peer mentor certification, has a place to live, money in the bank and a full-time job, which she has kept for more than a year.
Because of a chronic illness, Helen still receives physical care from one of LifeWorks NW’s medical partners and recently graduated LifeWorks NW’s problem gambling program. It has been over a year since Helen has gambled and over two since she used drugs. As part of her dream to become a CD counselor, Helen is eager to help people with housing insecurity achieve stable living conditions. Possibly the most satisfying part of her commitment to this work is her opportunity to reconnect with her children.
“My life is so full, I am happy, joyful and I have finally found the true meaning of peace,” says Helen. “LifeworksNW and my counselor, Patti, saved my life by giving me resources. They were my angels and they inspired me to be an angel too.”
Individuals with gambling problems, as well as their family and friends, are eligible for Oregon’s free, effective and confidential help. The counseling is available through LifeWorks NW and other providers throughout the state. Please call 1-877-695-4648 or text 503-713-6000 for more information.