Following the end of Responsible Gambling Week, one Sky Blues supporter wanted to tell their story and help raise awareness for those who may need help.
Responsible Gambling Week 2019, is part of the industry’s year-round commitment to promote safer gambling. More than 120,000 staff at thousands of gambling venues and online sites are taking part, and this marks the second consecutive year that clubs from the Premier League and English Football League are participating.
Nick Rogers, 60, is a Sky Blues season ticket holder along with his wife Donna and despite living in Glossop, he travels down every weekend to watch City in action.
And, with a public awareness campaign about gambling, which is used to trigger a national conversation about what it means to gamble responsibly, Nick wanted to speak about his past addiction, his journey to rehabilitation and who you can turn to if you are ever in trouble.
“I left home at seventeen and felt a lot of disappointment after not making it as a professional footballer. I’d met somebody, left home and moved up to Manchester and I got very much into gambling in my young adulthood and that sort of went on for thirty years really.
“It starts off probably like most addictions in an innocent way and then it subtly gets hold of you where your life becomes dependent on it.
“I joined lots of gamblers anonymous groups over the years but my addiction just spiralled completely out of control, I lost hundreds of thousands of pounds gambling over the years and in the end I lost a business and a marriage and my relationship with my kids, my family and everything.
“It culminated in me ending up spending a short space of time on the streets in the North West and then having a breakdown basically. I was in the psychiatric ward for the best part of five months and then ended up in a halfway house in Eccles in Manchester.
“Depression and suicide - that’s why I was hospitalised for so long because I just had suicidal tendencies all the time. I kept going to gamblers anonymous, but I found a strong faith and I became a Christian. I have a strong faith and I think that’s the main thing that turned my life around really.
“I’ve been seventeen years free now and life’s good.”
After finding Christianity and a relationship with Jesus, Nick turned his life around and now he wants to help others and try and turn the lives around of people who may have found themselves in a similar position to himself.
Nick and his wife opened a Christian Café, called ‘Café Jericho’ and they offer people in Glossop and anyone who wants to attend the chance to be in a safe place where they can come and talk and share their stories.
The main way Nick believes to overcome an addiction is by talking to people and not being afraid to ask for help.
“I would definitely recommend people seek help, because there is a lot of help out there. There are lots of different gambling agencies out there and gambling anonymous does work, and it works for thousands and thousands of people and there are meetings every night.
“You need to get as much help as you can and keep talking. Gambling causes depression and other health issues, so go and seek help from your doctor and keep talking about it and that’s probably the most important thing - to talk about it.
“A lot of addictions are secretive. I worked in London in the 80s and I had a job with an American bank and when it all wrong for me because of my gambling, people didn’t have any idea that that was my problem.
“You don’t necessarily have any physical side effects like you do with drinking and drugs. I work with people where you can see an obvious tell that those people are struggling, whereas with gambling you maybe can’t.
“I’m not saying to everyone do not gamble, because some people can do it responsibly, but I know the way I was and how deep my addiction was I can never gamble again, and I will never gamble again.”
There is information and help available to help you stay in control of gambling, or if you or someone else you know may want to quit gambling. If you would like information or need to talk through what's on offer, you can contact GamCare for free and confidential information, advice and support:
- By visiting their website: www.gamcare.org.uk
- By calling the FREE National Gambling Helpline: 0808 8020 133
You can also contact the Responsible Gambling helpline which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week on: 0808 8020 133.