The (Re)Making Meaning Project
The conceptual thinking behind the project is drawn from the experience of hundreds of gamblers who identify the ‘void’ that is left in their lives at the point that gambling ceases to be their central focus. They report to Gambler’s Help counsellors and others that the space that gambling consumed in their lives is empty and they have neither the confidence nor the required skills to fill the ‘vacuum’ in ways that are appropriate and sustainable. This re-building work will often be extensive and beyond the scope of the counsellor to undertake.
It is worth noting that for some of this group the inability to socialise effectively and get into, and remain connected to recreational, sporting and social options was never a skill they adequately possessed, even prior to the out-of-control gambling. For this group the anonymity and purported experience of “community” and “connectedness” marketed by the EGM industry is highly seductive. The reality however for most is that the “appointment to experience community” turns into a disappointment, and by this time they have developed a serious and deleterious dependence on playing the machines. At the point then, when they start to move away from harmful EGM playing they re-experience the emptiness of their lives prior to pokies, and are arguably even less skilled and equipped to address this deficit than before.
A critical deficit in the lives of many of the people who find themselves in this situation is that they have traditionally found making and keeping good friends difficult. For many of us we believe that this ‘friend-making’ skill is intuitive, however the lives of many people are devoid of friends despite their best efforts. The project will create a safe space and intentional supports throughout the twelve months to assist people in ‘friend-making’.