IT’S TIME TO STOP PREDATORY GAMBLING
FROM GOVERNMENT & STATES…
*TIME AGAIN FOR “THE NATIONAL WEEK OF ACTION TO STOP PREDATORY GAMBLING” SEPTEMBER 2016*
Fall is in the air and that means another week of ‘Raising Awareness, Educating, and Informing the Public about Problem and Addicted Gambling’ . . . . .
Most all my friends and recovery blog followers know I live my life in recovery for almost 10-year’s from gambling addiction and alcohol abuse. For my new visitors?
That is what this recovery blog is all about. It is my continued journey from my current book/memoir titled; “Addicted to Dimes (Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat) ” My story of my life and what I went through with gambling addiction and living with undiagnosed mental health, which cost me way more than the money lost, it almost cost my LIFE TWICE by SUICIDE.
So once again this year I will be blogging here all month long in “Honor” of My dear friend Ronda Hatefi and her brother Bobby Hafemann who had committed suicide due his gambling addiction. Suicide should never be an option to STOP GAMBLING ADDICTION.
. ( Ronda Hatefi and a Photo of her brother Bobby Hafemann )
My dear friend Ronda lost her brother July 20, 1995, and for 21 years she has been sharing his story and raising awareness of State Lottery Predatory Gambling. See, Bobby Hafemann became addicted to ‘The Oregon State Lottery Video Poker machines’ after they were introduced in 1992 throughout the State of Oregon, USA. And as Ronda knows, so was I later in 1997 on for many years. Shortly after Bobby’s death, she started the organization Oregonians For Gambling Awareness and petitioned Oregon’s governor to proclaim September 29 as “Problem Gamblers Awareness Day.”
I spoke with Ronda the other day by phone and told her that The Oregon Lottery and our State failed her, her family and Bobby by not having enough funding for Bobby from the lottery for treatment services they are supposed to set up for those who become addicted. There have been many articles written about Bobby Hafemann and his story through the year’s, here is one to get the full scope of Ronda and her families loss here: http://www.mentalhealthportland.org/since-brothers-suicide-ronda-hatefi-has-worked-to-raise-awareness-about-problem-gambling/
And the expansion of lottery and casinos? That will be another blog post topic here this month. And this is not taking into account all the Indian Casinos that have opened throughout my former state I lived in for over 26-years myself. Gambling machines were everywhere! So last year’s very first “National Week of Action to Stop Predatory Gambling” was to Honor and Remember Bobby Hatefi and were many events held with the help of Les Bernal and the fine folks of
Stop Predatory Gambling ….
Les has been National Director since 2008 when the national network grew into the organization of Stop Predatory Gambling. Like many of the thousands of citizens who have fought against government-sponsored casinos and lotteries over the last twenty-five years, Les was a convert to the cause. The more he learned about the spectacular failure of this public policy, so the more committed he became to work for a more honest, fairer, healthier and more hopeful vision of the path to American prosperity.
He has spoken and written extensively about online gambling, regional casinos, and state lotteries, all of which are being promoted by our government and states to citizens. He has testified before Congress, he has appeared on national television and radio including 60 Minutes, CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, National Public Radio and The BBC. He has been cited by more than 550 newspapers and magazines including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Economist, USA Today, and Sports Illustrated. He has also spoken before more than 1000 business organizations, college audiences and faith groups across the nation.
They are a great resource to see how gambling establishments are “impacting your community.” So visit their website, type in your STATE, and see what you can do to help in your community here: Check Your State
Now Ronda works very hard sharing her “Take a Break Campaign” that has been educating and raising awareness about addicted gambling. And Ronda will be with us all month sharing more about the campaign and how she advocates. But today, I wanted to share a little of what she and her family experienced and had gone through watching her brother, their son slip through their fingers as he became deeper into gambling addiction.
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THE PLACES LUCK WILL TAKE YOU ~ Ronda Hatefi
My story is about luck. You know, everyone today wishes to be lucky. Lucky enough to win the game, to get the promotion at work, to not get a speeding ticket when your late for work, and of course to win the lottery or just your local poker game.
How much does just plain luck have to do with these things? Are some people just luckier than others? Can you increase your luck by carrying a lucky penny, rabbit’s foot, or token of some sort?
I used to think these things were true. We always said that my brother was the lucky one in our family. As kids we would walk through the store together, he found a $20 bill near the register. Camping we all walked along the same log, he found the $10 bill. He was always picking up coins off the ground, and somehow we all just knew it was because he was luckier than we were. This did not stop in adulthood.
When he turned 18 he bought himself a scratch ticket from the Oregon Lottery. Guess what, $500 winner. How can one guy be this lucky? He continued to buy lottery tickets, winning some, losing some. He bought some mega bucks, and keno tickets as well. We heard a lot more about the winning than we did the losing so I can’t really tell you a percentage of wins to losses.
Then video poker machines came into Oregon. This was a new challenge for him, one that he took on like any other, with 110% effort. Again, he started out lucky, with wins; enough for him and us to all think once again, he was just lucky.
After some time, it seemed that his luck had started to run out. Things were not going his way anymore. He was losing more than he was winning, to the point of having to borrow and sell things to keep gambling, and he was passed up for a promotion at work. He continued to gamble, more than he had been to try to get his lost money back. Chasing that win, knowing that his luck would turn again. It didn’t happen liked he had hoped. For a guy that was used to winning, these were some pretty hard facts to face.
He became suicidal and spoke about it to only a couple of people who didn’t know what to do so they did nothing. I am not sure how long he felt this way; I know that he did write a few notes. The last one he wrote was the hardest to read. He spoke of a cruel world, (things weren’t going his way anymore), he felt like a ghost, someone that no one could see, and that he couldn’t see anyone else. You see, Bobby’s luck took him places for a long time, but when it ran out, he lost more than his money.
Before he lost his life, he lost his self-respect, his self-esteem, his quality of life, his love of life, and his desire to live and hope. He wanted it all to stop. This is way too much to lose; I think gambling with these things is too much to ask. My point of this story is that you really can’t rely on luck, you may be lucky for awhile but chances are it will run out. You hear about the good things that gambling does, the big wins, this is the other side.
If you can’t control it by sticking to time and money limits or if it controls your thoughts, or it is not fun anymore, it is time to get help. I have learned there are people out there that care, and that really want to and know how to help, that it is okay to talk about your gambling problem or your family members gambling problem without feeling the shame and guilt that Bobby felt. I know that if we continue to educate people on this issue that maybe we can help others not suffer the same pain that Bobby suffered and that we are still suffering today.
I have always said that the pain that my family and I have felt is sometimes unbearable, but it is nothing compared to what he must have been feeling at the moment he decided to end it. I can’t imagine having that kind of pain over something that is offered as entertainment by our State and Country.
Please help us continue to share about the addiction of gambling, and the trouble it can cause. Know that help is available. It is free, confidential and it works.
If you live in the State of Oregon, Please Call 1-877-MY-LIMIT ( 1-877-695-4648).
If in any other State Call The National Hotline: Gambling Helpline Network (1-800-522-4700). If you feel ‘Hopeless’ call The Suicide Hotline: Call 1-800-273-8255 Available 24 hours every day . . . .
Ronda Hatefi –Eugene, OR.
Founder Oregonians for Gambling Awareness Organization and Ronda Hatefi And The Take a Break Campaign.
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