Personal Stories


Experiences from the Recovery Community

Gambling addiction, often referred to as ‘the hidden disease’ because it can be so hard to identify, has devastating consequences. These harms, which impact both the gambler and those close to them (“affected individuals”) include financial, mental and even physical harms.

Below are some real life stories from people who discussed the harms they experienced, and who received the help they needed to begin their recoveries.

Recovering Gambler

Marc Lefkowitz

Marc Lefkowitz, ICGC-II, is a recovering gambler who lost the opportunity for a promising career in the technology industry as it was exploding onto the scene in the late 70’s as a result of his gambling. He eventually sought help and treatment and has now been in recovery for nearly 40 years.

Since entering recovery, Marc has worked in the problem gambling treatment and prevention fields, as both a counselor and nationally renowned speaker. He is currently the Director of Programing for Kindbridge, a tele-therapy company focusing on treatment for problem gamblers and gamers.


A woman, whose anonymity is protected in this video, describes what it was like to be a gambler for more than a third of her life.  She takes you through her re-marriage, her life raising children, her successes professionally in finance, and overcoming life’s obstacles while dealing with a rapidly increasing addiction to gambling that would eventually cost her everything.  

She discusses how labels that were once associated with her such as mother, wife, helpful, honest, and ethical turned into divorced, unemployed, criminal, despair, and liar and how even after being convicted of a criminal offense, she just could not stop gambling until it became a question of choosing life or death. The choice of death would mean her being remembered as a gambling addict, while the choice of life would mean giving up the one consistent companion she had chosen over everything in her life: gambling.

Affected Loved One

Donna Brown-Agins

A professional writer by trade, Donna Brown Agins has published two biographies for the school library market, including a book on Maya Angelou that was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work!

Donna was married for nearly four decades. Her husband, a successful attorney, was a disordered gambler who committed suicide as a result of his gambling. In this emotional video, Donna shares her story with you.



The wife of a problem gambler, whose identify is hidden for anonymity, tells the story of how she met her husband; of how they began dating, of how the pressures of her culture led her to continue dating him and of how they ultimately got married despite concerns she had over his gambling and absences from home.

She explains her personal struggles during his years of gambling, of how their relationship deteriorated as a result thereof until he ultimately sought treatment and entered recovery, and of how his recovery ultimately presented a whole new set of challenges in their relationship.