“We knew she liked to play the pokies, but we had no idea how far it had gone.”
When Jane* and John Smith* discovered their daughter had a gambling problem and had taken money from their bank accounts, they didn’t realize help was available for the whole whanau at Nga Kete.
But after being referred to us, the pair say the agency has helped to mend their relationship with their daughter and enable them to come to terms with what has happened.
This is their story:
In hindsight the signs were all there, the Smith’s say.
Their daughter had been dealt several emotional and relationship blows in recent times and her personality had started to change. Soon she was lying about where she was going and often she’d have no money.
Her parents didn’t realize she had turned to gambling as a way to escape her problems until Jane checked she and her husband’s bank account.
It was in over draught.
“I couldn’t believe it. But I just knew (it was our daughter)”.
A few days later Jane attempted to use her credit card only to find it was maxed out. When Jane queried the operator, she was told the venue of the latest transaction.
“And I just knew what had happened.”
In October last year John and Jane confronted their daughter who was quick to admit she had taken money from their accounts because she had a gambling problem (pokie machines and scratchie cards) and had exhausted her own funds. She desperately needed help.
The pair contacted the hospital and were referred to Nga Kete, where Sally* started attending weekly counselling sessions with Diane Mowat.
The Smith’s were offered the opportunity to come along and learn how to support their daughter and help to deal with what had happened.
“In my mind was I’ll come to let our daughter know we’re in this as well. After everything, we wanted to show our support.”
But after attending counselling with Diane, the pair found it very valuable.
“Talking to Diane, we found out the feelings we had were normal. There is a process of healing. It really does help to know it’s normal and that you’re not being too hard on yourself.”
The counseling for all parties helped open the channels of communication, they said.
“My relationship with my daughter is better and I wouldn’t have got that result if we hadn’t been coming here,” John said.
“We feel really fortunate that we had the opportunity. I never thought that this would have been available to the families of the addict,” he said.
Healing will take time, they say, but they’re positive their daughter is on the right track.
She has not relapsed once and is repaying the money to her parents.