My Story

Steve Girling Consultancy Headshot

Summary

Hi, I’m Steve!

I have been through an extraordinary life experience. Let me take you back 6 years…… On the outside I had worked hard for a great career (Executive Director and Chief Finance Officer of 7 companies) and had a loving family at home  (Wife and 2 children). On the inside I had been suffering with poor mental wellbeing for a number of years (Stress and Depression) which eventually led to me seeking an escape and self-medicating through Online Gambling.

I had always been a casual gambler, betting occasionally on Sports, but the Online Gambling started with being rewarded ‘free spins’ in an online casino. This soon escalated into a devastating addiction and shamefully, despite never being in trouble before, over a 3 year period, I stole £1m from my employer. My total betting stake was a total of £19.9 million.

Staking £19.9m

It wasn’t until I had received treatment, that I had learned about the chemical release in my brain (Dopamine) can be up to 10 times more than the amount natural rewarding experiences would produce. However, that initial ‘release’ could not be replicated, but the want and need for that, meant that I would play for longer – and then for higher stakes!

I was arrested in 2018, and then on 2 January 2019, I was sentenced to 4 years. As well as the theft I disgracefully neglected those closest to me. Consumed by the need for Online Gambling, I lost all sense of purpose. As well as the theft, I disgracefully neglected those closest to me. I was never present in mine and my family’s lives as I was often spending hours stuck on my phone.

The year before sentencing I was at rock bottom and on the brink of suicide. I literally had a choice – Suicide or Recovery and Prison. Thankfully, I decided the latter and threw myself into recovery before a forthcoming prison sentence.

With the support and love from my family I attended specific counselling for my Gambling with Breakeven and the NHS Wellbeing for my Mental Health. Both where fundamental in my recovery as they allowed me to understand what was wrong with me and how to start treating it. Yes, I had to tackle the Gambling, but the cause was my mental health so I needed to invest in both.

I was determined to thrive in recovery, and invested my time learning about addiction, therapies, mind-set and numerous techniques. I also started rebuilding my bond with my wife and children. Despite realising I would never be able to reverse my actions, I started to reframe my mind set to focus on the here and now to improve my future and really appreciate life again.

Being present

Throughout my time in prison, I listened to and supported fellow prisoners. Most were addicts and those suffering with a lost purpose. I continued with my investment into personal development, learning and being more aware of myself. I also enrolling and completed various courses and reading numerous books.

Despite the challenging conditions, I continued to look forward. I always reminded myself that no matter how much I wanted to, I would never be possible to change the past. The only thing I could now control was the here and now, so my focus shifted to being the best version of me possible. 

Prison – what was it like?

During my time in prison, I was often described by officers and staff as a ‘model prisoner’ because of my attitude and willingness to help those around him but most importantly, myself.

‘Steven has shown great motivation to learn everything he can from his experience in prison, attending courses to understand more about subjects (Drugs & Alcohol Addiction) he had no previous knowledge about and working to gain an understanding of fellow prisoners’

‘Has life skills to a high level and will act to support others with empathy and tact.’

‘Steve is fully aware of HMP Norwich and his reasons for being here but he has a high level of confidence in himself and his direction both with his time here and beyond’

Prison Officers & Staff

Having completed qualifications in Coaching, Mentoring and Counselling I want to continue to use my skills and this life experience to support and coach others, who are stuck behind one of life’s barriers to help them achieve their goal.

I want to help and support others to reduce Gambling Related Harm and also make important improvements within our Criminal Justice System.

I Co-Founded a not for profit organisation called Reframe Coaching C.I.C alongside my wife, Rashael. It is designed to support individuals ‘in recovery’ from a Gambling Disorder or individuals who have been affected by their loved ones Gambling.

I want to help and support others to reduce Gambling Related Harm and also make important improvements within our Criminal Justice System.

One last message…