Brisbane Lions player Allen Christensen has confided about his fears for recovering gambling addicts.
Brisbane Lions player Allen Christensen has confided about his fears for recovering gambling addicts.

Star Brisbane Lion's fear for ex-addicts in lockdown

An AFL star who had his life torn apart by gambling has spoken of the toll the COVID-19 lockdown is having on him and other recovering addicts - and his fears it could tip some over the edge.

Brisbane Lions player Allen Christensen confided to podcast Real Drug Talk he'd found the isolation hard and believed Australians were being bombarded with more gambling ads since they'd been ordered to stay indoors.

"I think it's tough for anyone who has been through something like this and then now going through what we are going through as a society at the moment. The ads I feel have really ramped up - I understand they have to make a living, I understand it's a job for a lot of people and I understand people can have a bet and be OK."

But it was "people like me" who could be in danger, the 28- year-old said.

"You've got to be able to go 'all right I can't put myself in a vulnerable position and that's where you'll find people will go 'all right do I really want to stay clean, do I really want to do this' or do they say 'all right I'm sitting at home saving a lot of money because I'm not going out at the weekend - ah f*** it I'm going for it.' That's the mindset that's really dangerous at the moment."

Finding something to keep themselves occupied at home was crucial, Christensen told Real Drug Talk founder.

"There's plenty of people out there who have lost their jobs and are relying on government help, being able to find what makes you tick every day is so crucial at the moment."

Real Drug Talk’s Jack Nagle. Picture: Jake Nowakowski
Real Drug Talk’s Jack Nagle. Picture: Jake Nowakowski

Christensen revealed last year he lost "hundreds of thousands of dollars" and it "consumed his life", with the gambling eventually leading him to being traded from Geelong to the Lions.

"My message to people now is, if you are feeling like the way I am at the moment, or if you feel like you've got that craving or that urge again this is a strange time … if you can get through … this is probably the hardest times you'll ever have as an addict … I think if you get through these next few weeks. you'll go 'wow I'm stronger than I thought I was'."

Christensen said that would allow them to "attack the rest of their lives with more gusto and freedom".

He and brother Aaron were putting together resources to help gambling addicts through their podcast Addicted to The Game, which will have new episodes next month.

 

Originally published as Footy star's fear for ex-addicts in lockdown



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