A YOUNG man who stole from his family to feed an online gambling addiction has urged others facing similar problems to get help.
Darryl Devine from Plumbridge told his story to the Chronicle in a bid to raise awareness of the dangers of gambling.
The 22-year-old recently checked out of Sister Consillio’s Cuan Mhuire facility in Kildare after an intensive rehab programme.
Darryl said that at the height of his addiction, which began when he was a teenager, he spent hundreds of pounds on a daily basis and stole from his family.
“I was always around horses from a very young age and developed my interest in racing. About five years ago I went over to England for work and that’s when things began to get bad in
terms of my gambling,” he said.
“I had started working, but the money was only feeding my addiction. I just felt really isolated because everything was hidden from my family.
“My lowest point arrived last autumn when I was waking up every morning just thinking about gambling and what my next bet was going to be – I was crying because things had just become so bad.
“I was spending more and more money every day. One morning I remember putting a large bet on a dog which then lost. I was stealing cash from my family and using credit cards as well.”
Darryl says he thought nothing of spending £500 or more a day on online bets. “My life was consumed by gambling,” he said.
“I thought about little else and stopped socialising with friends. But as things got out of control my life started to become unbearable.”
Darryl hit rock bottom but that also became a major turning point as he realised late last year it was time to seek help.
Within days, he had been admitted to Cuan Mhuire in Kildare and says it was there that he realised just how important it is for those with addictions to have the courage to seek help.
Cuan Mhuire is Ireland’s largest voluntary provider of addiction treatment services and residential rehabilitation, helping people suffering from alcohol, drug and gambling addictions.
Their closest centre is in Newry but are also located in Kildare, Limerick and Cork. Darryl spent 12 weeks undergoing treatment at the Kildare centre, before returning home just before Christmas.
As a result, Darryl says he now feels ready for a new start in life.
“There’s people out there who might be going through the same experiences as I did and are afraid to get help.
“My message to them would be to have courage and take that first step because that’s what I did and it was the best decision of my life.
“Cuan Mhuire in Kildare has given me a completely fresh and different outlook on life.
“I was going through hell for five or six years and could see no way out of the addiction that had me in its grip.
I’m just hoping that my story will inspire others to realise that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and that there’s no need for them to be afraid.
“I wouldn’t take that life back again for anything.
“I can go out with my friends now and do all the things that someone of my age should be at.”
Posted: 11:40 am January 26, 2020