- Kate Seselja ran a earth moving business with her husband, Phil
- But she wasted half a million dollars gambling on pokie machines
- The mother-of-six plundered their savings account to feed the secret habit
- She said her addiction started at 18 years old when she won $1,000
- Now 37, she has started a support group to help other problem gamblers
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A mother-of-six was crippled with guilt after feeding $500,000 into pokie machines to feed her gambling addiction.
Kate Seselja, 37, who ran a successful earth moving business with her husband Phil, told that’s life! magazine that the pull of the pokies was a ‘toxic hypnosis’ and at the height of her addiction she secretly burned through $30,000 of their savings in a month.
Pregnant with her sixth child and engrossed in a pokie machine addiction despite the desperate pleas of her husband, she finally realised she had hit rock bottom
‘Toxic hypnosis’: Kate Seselja was hooked on the pokies after winning $1,000 as an 18-year-old
Mrs Seselja, from rural NSW, became hooked on gambling as an 18-year-old when she won $1,000 from a $20 bet.
The cravings went away for a short time in her early 20s, when she settled down with Phil and had the first of her six children.
But the urges came flooding back one night when she saw the flashing lights of the poker machines while visiting the pub with her mothers’ group.
Falling apart: The addiction took a heavy toll on her family life as it began to consume her. She is pictured with her six children (from left) Ethan, Hope, Lily, Zoe, Jonah and Isabelle and husband Phil
In the months that followed Mrs Seselja secretly fed her growing addiction through the family’s savings account.
‘That then continued on a path forward of over 12 years of just cycling in and out of addiction, self-loathing, shame, fear and regret,’ she told Fairfax Media.
‘I thought it was a cycle I would never be able to escape.’
She estimated that in 12 years she had wasted about half a million dollars in her frequent gambling binges.
‘I’d wasted so much money and was crippled by guilt,’ she told that’s life!
Reminder: She now wears this bracelet to remind her of how she overcame her struggle
The epiphany that finally broke the cycle came as she sat in front of a pokie machine while pregnant with her sixth child.
With her husband ringing every few minutes and pleading with her to come home, she realised once and for all that she needed to tackle the problem head on.
She sought counselling, re-built relationships with her family, and eventually started The Hope Project to help others battling addiction.
‘Although I lost 15 years I’ve finally taken control.
‘I’ll never waste my money on those machines again – you can bank on that.’
If you think you have a problem with gambling, call the Gambling Helpline on 1800 858 858 or visit: http://www.gamblinghelponline.org.au/
Kate Seselja’s story is told in that’s life! magazine, which is out now