Valerie’s family loved playing mahjong a lot, which provided ample opportunities for her to get involved in this gambling activity since young. She then developed a strong interest in mahjong and thought she got the sure-win tactics throughout the process.
Valerie once shared in a counselling session that, “When I was nine, my family members played mahjong at home as usual, but one of them did not show up, I then grasped the chance to be a part of them. My excellent performance astonished my family and I was highly appreciated!” She continued, “To my family, the young me can help substitute any missing member such that they could enjoy their daily entertainment. However, they have never imagined that this involvement sowed the seed of gambling addiction in my future.”
Because of long-term gambling behaviour, Valerie mistakenly felt that she knew the winning tactics of mahjong. “Because the tiles are combined randomly, winning chances can be increased by strategies adjusted with skills. Therefore, I have had a favourable condition to beat other mahjong players, including my family, friends, colleagues, and even people in mahjong parlour,” she shared. In later days, she only went to mahjong parlour, because there were plenty of skilled players to play with, which made her feel satisfied and excited.
Her thought of sure-win tactics made her feel that she could control the results. At the very beginning of counselling, she admitted that she once hoped to manage her debts using gambling. She strongly believed that so long as she was not greedy, with her experiences and skills, she could win in gambling to handle her debts. She lost all her money merely because she was not willing to leave.
Influence of gambling myths
Valerie had been suffered from gambling problem over 30 years. Her son expressed that he had witnessed how his mother was addicted in mahjong since young. When she lost, she blamed on bad luck and she claimed that she would win all back; when she won, she boasted about her skills. Regardless of win and loss, Valerie just kept gambling.
Valerie lost the money given by her son, which was his saving and intended to repay her debts. Her son rebuked her and questioned her for her reasons to keep gambling. She responded shamefully that, “I just wanted to win once, just one lucky moment then I can repay all to my son and for my debts. Who knows my thought does not come true…” Both Valerie and her son were then silent.
Valerie’s 30-year gambling problem did not only lead her into heavy debts, but also totally destroy her family’s trust on her, which put her family relationship on the edge.
Treatment and change
Valerie received our counselling service with her family’s company. Counsellor first listened to her gambling history, then helped her review her change in her gambling behavior. After that, counsellor guided Valerie to reflect on her thoughts and concept during her gambling process with an in-depth analysis, problem identification and rebuilding a correct mindset. Furthermore, together with some practical follow-ups, such as debts management, time management and development of new interests, Valerie could eventually step out of her gambling addiction and make positive and healthy changes in life.
After a few years of efforts, Valerie’s gambling problem was treated and she realized that there was indeed no skill to increase her chance of winning. And gambling could not help solve her debts problem, instead she could only work hard to earn money to repay her debts.
Along with Valerie’s change, her family relationship had also improved, which was helpful to strengthen her abstinence in gambling.