Belfast woman who gambled her monthly wage away finds recovery in cold water dipping

A Belfast woman who used to gamble her monthly wage away has swapped the slots for cold water dipping, which she says has been the key to her recovery.

Sarah Boyd decided to start playing online slot machines after only earning £35 in her job handing out leaflets in the city.

"I seen a few advertisements come up on my phone for slot machines and they were giving me £200 worth of free slots.

"That was me spending £20 out of my monthly salary into spending all my monthly salary on slot machines.

"When I look back, I can never see the line of difference of where that crossed over and I think that is what's so dangerous about online slots is that maybe it is just starting as a hobby but it's very hard to tell the difference of when it changes from a hobby into an addiction."

Sarah struggles with anxiety and depression and initially felt like gambling helped her feel less alone.

But soon the tables turned and her addiction began to make her mental health worse.

Sarah attempted to take her own life twice, once during her addiction and again during her recovery.

"I felt very very alone and hopeless... and when I came here to do cold water swimming it was so refreshing."

Sarah is now trying to spread awareness of how addictive online gambling can be and the increase of targeted ads towards women.

She also hopes to encourage anyone struggling with addiction to try cold water dipping.

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