As a former high school administrator–and one who had knowledge of pathological gambling–my suspicion regarding staff and students with gambling problems–came to be true in many cases. I even had a Guidance Counselor running a pool from his office in which he involved other staff members AND students. I found out about this when I went to his office and found a line of staff and students making their “picks.” They all seemed oblivious to the fact that it was against district policy to gamble in school and that it was against the law to be running an “office pool.” There response to me when I said there would be no more pools run in the school was that “Everybody does it. What’s the harm?” The large no. of students that I would catch at library computers playing Texas Hold ‘Em and other online games grew every year. Then, I once found a student who had illegally stayed in school all night who I found sleeping on the floor in a classroom because he had been thrown out of his home due to his parents finding out how much trouble he was in because of gambling. On the other hand, there were times when I told parents about the extent of their son’s gambling only to have them say that it was okay because at least he did it at home and was not taking drugs or getting drunk. What I did not tell them, because I told the son he had to do that, was that he had maxed out their $25,000 credit card! Gambling is so ingrained into our society that people do not see it as a problem until it “hits home.” Most high schools have 50-50s at events and raffles to raise revenue, and I have had at least two math teachers tell me that they teach math with “Fantasy” sports teams as a teaching tool, because “it holds the students’ interest!”
Sure, everyone loves to gamble . . . if they win. But, the person sitting next to you in church, the man in line at the grocery store, or one of your co-workers; any one of these could be involved with a gambling problem. Imagine your grandmother committing a crime to support her gambling addiction. I am a recovering alcoholic, gambler, and have recovered from other addictive behaviors. I published a book, Gripped by Gambling, where the readers can follow the destructive path of the compulsive gambler, a prison sentence, and then on to the recovery road.
I recently published a second book, Switching Addictions, describing additional issues that confront the recovering addict. If a person who has an addictive personality, doesn’t admit to at least two addictions, he’s not being honest. Until the underlying issues have been resolved, the person will continue to switch addictions. These are two books you might consider adding to your library. I also publish a free online newsletter, Women Helping Women, which has been on-line for more than twelve years and is read by hundreds of women (and men) from around the world. (www.femalegamblers.info). I have been interviewed many times, and appeared on the 60 Minutes show in January 2011, which was moderated by Leslie Stahl.
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