The former gambling addict turned her life around after she was jailed for stealing from her former employer to finance gambling. Tracey Holzheimer explained that spending time alone in a jail cell for six months gave her an opportunity to reflect and change her life. She was sentenced to spend six months in the jail after being found to have stolen money and gambled it all away.
She confessed to all of her crimes and was handed a three-year jail sentence, to be suspended after six months.
Mrs Holzheimer said it cost her more than just her freedom. It affected her career, broken friendships and the trust of her family. She went on to say that problem gambling is never about money. “Gambling is not about the money, it never is, it is about emotions.” She said, “Gambling is either about the emotions that it gives you or about the emotions you are trying to suppress, this is what leads you to gamble”.
Gladstone is a gambling addict haven
The Gladstone resident in the state of Queensland admitted that her hometown may be reaching crisis status due to gambling. She says despite this, the local Gamblers Anonymous group that she visits remains small in numbers. Mrs Holzheimer also added that in her hometown the benefits of gambling surpass its losses.
“In Gladstone, the wages are so high it means gamblers recover quickly from their losses. Essentially, they can escape the issue, but the issue doesn’t escape them.”
Deciding to confront her problem gambling meant Mrs Holzheimer was forced to change the routes she walked. As well as the people she surrounded herself with and even the days she bought the newspaper. Spring racing carnival is a dreaded time of year for not only herself, but many of the former gamblers she knows. “You never know what could trigger a relapse,” she said. “In the end, if they want to gamble, nothing can stand in their way.”
“It was a very frightening time for me. I had never even known someone who had been to jail due to gambling,” she said. Mrs Holzheimer said jail was only the beginning, with Gamblers Anonymous meetings helping her enormously in her road to recovery.