“After many years of chaotic, stressful festive periods – I can honestly say that Xmas 2020 at Gordon Moody’s residential centre in Dudley was a period of peace, laughter and reflection.
“I felt part of a therapeutic family – and can only thank all the staff for their generous provision of food, activities, gifts and care.
“Like most compulsive gamblers, the Christmas period (for me) in the past would involve living beyond my means, a string of broken promises and stressful living.
“Christmas 2020 at Gordon Moody was quite the opposite, and as I continue my journey of recovery from a crippling addiction – I felt safe, secure and optimistic that the future will be do much better than the past.
“It was a special time to reflect and connect with fellow residents. Sometimes genuine care and laughter really can be the best medicine.”
“Our state of mind defines every relationship in our life”
One of the biggest challenges and also one of the biggest unlockers in treating gambling addiction is understanding where people’s mental outlook is at at any time.
This can be challenging enough in ‘normal times. But the times we are currently going through are anything but ‘normal’.
In late November, we thought we were getting back to a semblance of ‘normality’, through our centres being up and running again and people completing their residential treatment.
It still wasn’t an easy period, with massive uncertainties about what was happening in the world and what the future held in store for us all as individuals. But we were back to doing what we feel we do best, providing a safe supporting environment to help people tackle their gambling addiction and move to a life free from addiction.
Then, a few days before Christmas and subsequently, the new variant of coronavirus and a new national lockdown threatened to throw everything back to square one.
We took a decision at GMA, however, that we weren’t going to let that happen. The challenges we had were added to by a small outbreak of covid cases at one of our residential centres.
Staff at the centres and across our services took the brave decision to stay open, knowing that what we provide is too important for addicted gamblers and their families, and we needed to deliver a bit of certainty in uncertain times.
So, we set about ensuring that we would keep the centres open and functioning to deliver what our residents critically needed at this time.
To apply for treatment at Gordon Moody visit www.gordonmoody.org.uk or for more information call us on 01384 241292.
The National Gambling Helpline is available 24/7 call free on 0808 802 0133
Lessons of lockdown
Learning from the first lockdown we had introduced a number of procedures and safeguards so that in the event of a positive test we were able to continue to provide therapy to our residents, with the sessions being delivered online through video calls.
This ensured residents were able to safely self-isolate, their treatment could continue, and our frontline staff were protected.
Our centre manager Dave, along with the support of his wife went above and beyond to arrange the delivery of supplies and run the necessary errands to ensure residents had everything they needed as well as a few extra food treats for Christmas dinner, some home cooking as well as a movie and a takeaway in place of the weekly activity.
As best we could we made sure residents had all they needed. But this was a challenging time for them – as it has been for anyone who has had to self-isolate. Their commitment to their continued treatment and their resilience in getting through this challenging period has to be admired and applauded.
It was a terrific effort by all, providing the therapy sessions as well as other support that allowed residents to get on with life and enjoy Christmas together through mutual support.
At both of our centres, we managed to keep things going, cards and presents were sent to loved ones and residents managed to celebrate Christmas in style if the lunch they cooked is anything to go by.
Ready for 2021
And, having got over that bump in the road, we are hoping that 2021 will see our charity make significant strides forward to continue delivering high quality treatment and support that allows gambling addicts and their families to rebuild and improve their state of mind and relationships.
We know 2021 will not be without its challenges. But challenges can be both good and bad.
There is a lot of hope that the vaccine will help us to operate and deliver great services for the many people and their families who we can help to tackle gambling addiction.
And, there are a lot of very positive challenges for Gordon Moody this year.
We will be opening the first women’s residential centre later in the year. It is also our 50th anniversary in the autumn, and we want to celebrate what has been achieved in that time and look confidently to the future where we can provide more services and support.
Part of that celebration will be about sharing the stories of our residents, alumni, family members and staff and supporters.
We are also working on to develop a new look and feel for the Gordon Moody brand and you’ll start to see that in areas like our website later in the year. At the same time, we’ll continue to improve our online support and assistance.
We will also be working hard to influence Government in their review of the Gambling Act. We see this as a great opportunity to argue for more resources for capacity in residential treatment and move forward the public health conversation on the link between mental health problems and gambling addiction.
The response of our staff last year fills us with confidence that we will meet these exciting challenges and develop a stronger set-up that helps deliver better ’states of mind’ for all in the Gordon Moody family in 2021.