Strength to Live: Gambling addiction could lead to thoughts of suicide
Tuesday, June 12th 2018, 2:32 pm CDTTuesday, June 12th 2018, 6:12 pm CDT
By Marie Waxel, Anchor/Reporter
SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) -
The music, the flashing lights, the thrill of the next win.
"It is sort of the hidden addiction. You can't see someone on the street and point to them as a gambling addict," said Chris Miciotto, a recovering gambling addict.
"Where you can if you see an alcoholic who's drunk or somebody who's on drugs," he continued. "You can point to them and say that person has a problem. But for gamblers, we mask our addiction very well."
Gambling can be a real problem and, if untreated, can lead to suicide.
The good news, help is available. And it's free if you live in Louisiana.
"Slot machines. Starting out at lower levels, 50 cents, $1. And then it became a point of where I was doing the $10 slot machines, even the $100 slot machines," Miciotto recalled.
"It started out trying to take small attorney fees that I had and turn them into larger fees by gambling. Unfortunately, I had some early success in that area; and that led me into more more gambling.
"And, eventually, your lucky streak does run out as everyone knows," Miciotto continued.
"And it was the snowball effect. I just kept gambling more and more, losing more and more. And then, finally, I reached a point where I did something that attorneys get in big trouble for, and that was take money out of my client trust account to gamble."
Ronda Rivers said her gambling addiction got to the point to where she was missing work.
"I would go at lunch and I’d be gone for the rest of the day," said Rivers, who also is a recovering gambling addict. "I was spending $400 to $500 a day."
Two different people, battling the same addiction behind closed doors.
"I was pawning things that didn’t belong to me," Rivers said. "I took a loan out on my husband's car that he didn’t know about."
She hit rock bottom after gambling away her daughter's college tuition.