Reformed gambler to parents: Guard kids from online games
The computer online games considered as a leisurely activity could be a trap to gambling if its use is not regulated and monitored.
A reformed gambler has advised parents to monitor the Internet activities of their children not only for the unfavorable content of sites they are accessing, but also of seemingly innocent activities such as online gaming.
“Wilman,” who has been sober from gambling for two years now, said children may unknowingly be exposed to gambling when betting is included in a leisurely activity such as online games.
“Parents, be careful sa mga anak na gamers. Dapat may oras lang kasi gaming can shift to addiction and even cross to gambling lalo kung may pustahan na,” Wilman said in a press conference that discussed various forms of addiction.
A compulsive gambler for 34 years, Wilman said he started by placing small bets but these bets which he first thought were insignificant have started increasing until he found himself wanting to gamble more.
When he got hooked on gambling, he said it came to a point where he sold or pawned everything his family had just to finance his vice and even neglected his family, as he spent most of his time in the casino. “Kulang na lang pati asawa ko isanla ko,” Wilman said.
Wilman said his time of awakening was when he realized he was no longer the same person. “I had character defects. Naging sobrang mayabang. I lost not only just money but also time. My father never saw me get rehabilitated and I did not get to spend much time with my children who grew up with some resentment.”
Wilman said while he recognized that he was already addicted, his self-will to stop was not enough which necessitated for him to seek professional help.
His reformation started by detaching himself from triggers such as people, events, or places that could lure him into gambling. He said his family relocated from Manila to Baguio and he committed himself into a private rehabilitation center.
He said turning away from a vice was not an easy process but through the support of his family and his admission that he needed help, he was able to pass the rehabilitation program and has not been gambling for two years now.
To avoid a relapse, Wilman said he constantly makes an effort to join fellowships and be with people who support him in fully recovering.
He does not have cellphone where his former gambling buddies could contact him and keeps a minimal amount of money in his wallet just enough to use for his daily essential expenses.
Wilman said avoiding exposing people to gambling at an early age can prevent the possibility of them getting addicted to computer games and turning into gambling and other vices in the future.
Milestone Wellness Center Baguio Managing Director Ed Castillo, himself a reformed drug user, said family and community support are important components in the rehabilitation of individuals who are hooked on vices.
The presence of experts and a facility for rehabilitation greatly helps in reformation.
As part of its social responsibility, Milestone Wellness will be providing technical assistance to the city government of Baguio for the planned construction of an LGU-managed drug rehabilitation center.
Castillo said since the center can only accommodate a limited number of clients and there are those who cannot afford, the presence of a local government rehabilitation center could be of great help to those who want to undergo rehabilitation but hesitate because of the cost and distance.
The nearest government rehabilitation center is in Bataan.
The city government is planning to build a rehabilitation center which will be jointly managed by the City Social Welfare and Development Office and the City Health Services Office. – Rimaliza A. Opina