Declan McGarry is serving eighteen months behind bars for stealing from clients, the Inland Revenue, and even family members. The accountant from County Antrim stole hundreds of thousands of pounds while in the grips of a gambling addiction but has now taken the opportunity to apologise to his victims from his cell.
McGarry spoke to BBC Radio Foyle and said that he knows he did a horrible thing and he apologises wholeheartedly. He told of the gambling addiction that was out of control and how he ‘would have done anything for money’ while suffering with the addiction that ruined not only his life but also the lives of his family. He was keen to stress that he is a ‘decent human being’ when not affected by addiction.
He said, “Five years ago if I’d heard somebody who was in my position, I would have said, ‘it serves you right’, but the mental torture that somebody goes through in my situation, being in it, I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.”
McGarry said that during the height of his addiction, he was gambling huge amounts of money and that lies became a part of his life. He admits that the gambling affected him in a way that he just did not realise what he was doing.
While betting on horses, he lived for the adrenaline, but afterwards the realisation that he had spent another person’s money would hit home.
Despite being behind bars for his addiction to gambling, McGarry will only commit to quitting ‘for today’ and admits that there could be another bet in him. However, he says he could not go through recovery again and says that ‘for me to do that bet is for me to die.’
McGarry is not the only person serving time behind bars for crimes committed because of a gambling addiction. There are stories every day about people who have resorted to criminal behaviour in a bid to carry on with the addiction that is controlling their lives. There are a number of people serving in the same prison as McGarry because of their gambling habit and many hundreds more in prisons across the UK.
The problem with a gambling addiction is that it is so far reaching. Not only does it devastate the life of the person with the addiction, it can also affect many others who become caught in the crossfire. The very nature of a gambling addiction means that it requires a constant stream of money, and not many of us have access to limitless funds.
Once a gambler’s available funds dry up, he or she may resort to borrowing from family members. However, most of them will lie about what the money is needed for. They will try to hide their addiction from those around them for as long as possible. However, it often becomes the case that their habit begins to affect the finances of others, and they will eventually be found out.
If you or a loved one is suffering with a gambling addiction, you need to get help as soon as possible, before things spiral out of control. Rehab Helper can provide that help by offering advice and support to addicts and their families and by referring the addict to a suitable treatment provider. We work with a large network of providers across the UK, including the NHS, private centres, and charity organisations. We will assess your situation and provide you with information on the most relevant treatments for your type of addiction. Call today for a free and invaluable assessment.