Mark Jessett

Your stories
Your Stories
June 15, 2022

I spent years gambling excessively and smoking methamphetamine to block out past trauma I hadn’t dealt with properly. But it was ruining my life and I couldn't see a way forward, until I engaged with Nga Kete’s services. Now, I'm looking forward to a bright, positive, clean future.

My name is Mark Jessett, I’m originally from Christchurch and I was addicted to methamphetamine and gambling for almost as long as I can remember.

I moved to Invercargill when I was 15 and spent some time living here and on Stewart Island. I had a good job and my former partner gave birth to my beautiful son. Life was good but I was struggling with childhood trauma and, as a way to numb it, I started gambling and smoking methamphetamine.

Things eventually got pretty bad. Although I was working full time, I was struggling financially because everything I earnt was being gambled or smoked away. All of my relationships were being affected, especially with my son’s mother and soon we had separated.

I was in denial for years. I never actually thought I had a problem. I just knew that if there was any kind of tension or anything wrong in my life, meth would numb it and I’d deal with it later.

But eventually it came to a head and I knew I needed to get clean for myself and my son, and I had to deal with my childhood trauma or things would never get any better. I spoke to my GP about my concerns and I was referred to the Gambling Harm Counselling service at Nga Kete.

The healing process started as soon as I came to Nga Kete. Being able to talk about it and feel comfortable with the counsellor was huge for me. It all seemed to be in her approach. She managed to completely change my mindset around gambling and I now know how harmful it is.

The counsellor helped me to understand what triggers me and how to find different ways to cope. It definitely wasn’t easy to stop and I felt like I was absolutely at rock bottom, but I’ve been free of gambling now for 10 months and meth-free for 9.

I would never have been able to do it without the counsellor’s support.

Following the counselling, I was referred to Whanau Ora and then the Building Financial Capabilities Plus services. The support has been amazing! I needed a sense of direction because I was at a standstill in my life and they helped me to set goals and to get into a health and wellbeing course at the Southern Institute of Technology.

I am completely shell-shocked at how much I have learnt and grown.

I had issues with finances for years but Rachel from the BFC+ service has helped me with everything, and I can talk to her about anything as well. I’m finally on track with my finances, which is such a huge relief.

I have also been attending the Te Rongo Pai peer support group, which has been amazing.

Throughout the process, I have come to terms with my past trauma and I have learnt to forgive. I can’t forget but I knew if I couldn’t forgive I would never find a sense of inner peace to be able to move forward. I no longer want to live in the past.

I’m studying full time now and I’m really excited about the future. I could never have done all of this without the support of the staff at Nga Kete.

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