A poem TO a runaway.

Now I don’t know about your life,
Or why you run away.
What you’re running too,
Or what you’re simply searching for.

All I know is I’ve walked those roads,
So here’s my tips from life.

Cuz even if you don’t see it yet,
You’ll appreciate this guidance.
When your chance comes for life to feel normal,
When it comes, just fight for it.

Now I’m not saying you can always change things.
Life is complex and you may be searching for better things.
Or simply wanting to not be sat still,
Like many of us do.

And I know everyone says what I’m about to say,
There’s no avoiding that it sounds cliché,
But those things you love, those passions you have,
That’s your runaway energy that you can transform,
So whilst you’re young don’t waste it.

Not in computer games, or the mind games people play,
When you feel some things are pointless, it’s no wonder people run away.
But what I wish that I’d done, when I was your age,
Was keep focusing on what was good for me, when I’d found that out.

Sometimes it’s there, or sometimes we wait,
But when it does come, don’t run away!
That sense of freedom can soon become habit,
But when you’ve the chance to excel, then make sure you grab it!
And maybe your openness to feelings are needed in this so-called normal world.
People ask you questions, as to why you run away,
But when I was young, I too didn’t even really know myself.
I just wanted my own dreams.

But many years later, after quite a lonely childhood,
Fighting off the people that could see me out on my own,
They don’t always come with scary faces that give us warning,
But will often be those that offer to help,
When they see us out alone.

That’s why you’ve gotta fight to be you, and do what you love.
But start searching for it now, whilst you have you a home,
Because it’s a hard thing to do,
When you’ve got nowhere to sleep,
And running from the police.

That exciting feeling that you get, when you know you won’t be found,
Can instead be something more worthwhile, to turn your life around.
You need to learn about the subconscious, and how those thrills become addictive,
It’s obvious the best thing, is to keep yourself healthy and active.

Music, sports - whatever it is,
That passion you have, will be your own bliss.

Why changing FOBT stakes to a maximum of £2 is simply not enough.

Please sign my petition at https://www.change.org/p/theresa-may-mp-help-protect-our-communities-from-gambling-harm-with-sufficient-self-exclusion

Why changing FOBT stakes to a maximum of £2 is simply not enough. 

They've been saying they are going to change the stakes on these electronic betting machines (FOBT's) for as long as I can remember. 
Whenever I've brought up the subject it's often been the first response I've heard back from people.
"Oh it's been in the papers that, they're changing the stakes."
"They say they are" I often reply. 

I've been in this game long enough now to accept that most people don't understand or even care about this subject. My attempts at getting people to see past the immediate image of the problem gambler lost in a trance at the machine have all but failed.
To many folk, the children in poverty, families breakdowns, mental health problems, suicides, crime poverty and the many other knock-on effects are simply not a part of the story that most are willing to accept.

It's easy to stand on your high-horse and say that you're not foolish enough to gamble or that you too once had a win but that it didn't leave you addicted. Well done you.
But are you thinking it all through properly? 
Do you even know what happens to a lot of lottery winners? 
A surprising big win out of the blue can be a very very dangerous thing, Neurologically- even psychically.  And if you don't know that... then you don't know problem gambling. You don't know addiction. 

But without me going on a tangent here, I'd like to talk about why changing to stakes on FOBT's won't change much in the overall landscape of problem gambling in betting shops. 
It's important to remember that that focus here is on roulette, the game that got me hooked after I walked in a bookies to keep dry out of the rain and after putting around £3 in I eventually won around £500. 

It's what got a lot of other people hooked at the time. But it's important to remember that we are over a decade on from that now, and is roulette even the game of choice anymore these days.
As online casino's provide a whole array of different slot games - betting shops have tried their best to keep up with them.
You can even play the same games on betting shop FOBT's than you can online.
The reality is indeed very blurry.

So let's not fool ourselves here. A £2 maximum is great to slow down roulette players, agreed. But when it comes to overall gambling it only serves those with a higher disposable income.
I've been there many times playing slot games at even just 20p to 50p a spin, and still lost huge amounts of money.
The time-frame always changes so despite your subconcious thinking it knows how to work it all out, it never really can. Sometimes I win or lose quickly...other times it takes a while whilst being drip-fed small wins. 

So it doesn't solve everything. Do I have a better proposal?

But all I can ask is that for those that really do wish to tackle their gambling problems is that they are allowed to do so reasonable.
In my petition I explain how the self-exclusion system really doesn't work in favor of problem gamblers wishing to escape the trance.
I have put up a reasonable and achievable proposal which can be found on my petition, and I think I can feel it brewing that I will have to get this pushed out to more people somehow so watch this space! I can feel it coming ;)

Thanks for reading and please remember I work very hard to blog, write and put petitions etc together but it's all rather meaningless without your support and shares, so thanks for helping me get this out there.

Big Love.