Posts Tagged ‘warren whitfield’

You deserve better

Written by Warren Whitfield. Posted in Articles, Music Videos, Quotes, Videos, Warren Whitfield's Quotes


by Warren Whitfield – Originally written as a Facebook note

You deserve to have someone hold your hand with love and devotionYou deserve to enjoy what you do.
You deserve to dream and follow your dreams.
You deserve joy and fun.
You deserve financial freedom.
You deserve to be a person who is less stressed.
You deserve to be respected and treated well.
You deserve to be adored.
You deserve to feel loved.
You deserve to have a life that is fulfilling.
You deserve friends who treat you with respect, who stick with you through thick and thin, who tell you what you need to hear not what you want to hear.
You deserve an attractive, loving, caring, kind, loyal and intelligent partner who contributes to your success and brings out the best in you.
You deserve to enjoy your day.
You deserve to have your opinions respected.
You deserve to have your contribution appreciated.
You are a worthwhile person and you deserve to regularly experience the magic and beauty that life has to offer.
You deserve to copy this note, and write it down.
You deserve to put it somewhere where you can see it everyday so that it will remind you of what you deserve.
You are needed and your contribution to society is sorely needed.
You are a blessing to everyone that crosses your path and you deserve to believe all of these things.
You deserve to replace every “You” with “I” in this note and to look yourself in the eye every day and tell yourself these truths.
You deserve to stay in front of that mirror until you believe every line in this note.


Life With A Problem Gambler – Gambling and Drug Addiction

Written by Warren Whitfield. Posted in Addictions, Articles, Rehab

gamblingCredit: David Steynberg – People

Sarah’s husband Karl (not their real names) got hooked on gambling. It destroyed his marriage and robbed a year of his children’s lives.

Pretty, blonde-haired Sarah is just left with “ifs” after a three-year-long gambling problem steadily took hold of her husband, Karl*, and ripped her young family apart.

Welcoming us into her dimly-lit Woodmead sectional title home, the 38-year-old mother of three begins with her story almost immediately. Speaking in a slightly hushed voice, possibly wanting to protect the ears of her nine-year-old son playing in the room up the tiled stairs, Sarah begins with a story of how she, her husband and their children would be given accommodation and airfares to casino resorts around the country just so her husband could gamble. “It was crazy,” she says, the words from her lips tripping over themselves.

Asking her to backtrack, to start at the beginning, Sarah tells People that she met her husband through a friend back in 1998. At the time, she was a single mother with two young daughters and, Sarah admits, “he supported us; the kids saw him as their dad”. “In the beginning gambling wasn’t a problem,” she says, explaining that because he is Chinese, gambling is part of his culture. “They all gamble; just like they all smoke and drink. It’s about being a man in that culture. There were no casinos in Cape Town then and we would fly to a casino resort for the weekend – it was something that he couldn’t just get up and do because it needed some planning. While there, he would spend only a few hours gambling. There was no problem – he did, however, say that he needed to get a silver card, a gold card. That that would give us discounts on accommodation. That was until GrandWest (stet) opened.”

Sarah says that after GrandWest Casino and Entertainment World opened in Cape Town, just seven minutes away from their up-market Milnerton home, that’s when she believes her husband’s gambling problem started. “He could just drive there,” she tells us. “It wasn’t something that he had to plan anymore. He would go there during the day and just delegate his work to his driver. The nature of his work made it easy for him.” Karl was working in the family business which was involved in buying shark fin from the ships in the Cape Town harbour. “He always had R100 000 on him at any given time – he had to in case he got a call to collect a consignment from the harbour,” she tells us. “When his parents went to Beijing he would gamble the business’s money and lose it. To get the money back, he would gamble even more.”

Sarah attributes much of the blame on the casino industry. “Three years before we were separated, a casino in Dubai flew us there for a week,” Sarah says. “We were put up in five-star accommodation, our airfares were paid for and we were given spending money – all just so Karl could gamble. He would get phone calls and SMSes offering him deals and discounts – these casinos are profiting from and encouraging harm!”

gambling-addictionThat’s something the Addiction Action Campaign’s Warren Whitfield is fighting tooth and nail to get the casino industry to take responsibility for. “About 5% of gamblers are problem gamblers,” he tells us. “But from that 5%, the casino industry receives 15% of its profits! What we need is treatment, not advertising campaigns for ‘Winners know when to stop’!”

According to the National Responsible Gambling Programme (NRGP) annual report, measured between March 2009 and February 2010, just over R2-million was spent on advertising (it also received over R500 000 in discounts). Funded by “voluntary contributions from the gambling industry”, it receives 0.1% of gross gambling revenues which in the past financial year amounted to R15.6-million (based on this, the gambling industry made R15.6-billion).

One of the programmes of the NRGP is its counseling line, which received 18 737 calls. In truth, only 3 480 of those calls had anything to do with actual problem gambling counseling and in- and out patient treatment referrals. More should certainly be done, but where does the buck stop? Where should gamblers be expected to take responsibility for their own addiction?

Warren says apart from the casino industry and the individual, government also needs to account for what is happening. “Company tax, VAT and so-called sin tax – where does this money go?” Warren asks.

Sarah agrees: “Government has got at least R6-million in tax from my family alone. He once lost almost a million rand in a single week! Where is that money? Why isn’t it being used to help my family?” she asks.

2-drug-rehabs-rehab-alcohol-rehabs-clinicsBut Karl’s gambling didn’t end in the casinos. According to Sarah, the sanity she saw prevail after he admitted to the casino that he had a problem and was barred from entering the building for six months, was destroyed by the online and telebetting industries. “He started by  betting on the horses. At any time of the day he would call and place a bet – even when I was in the kitchen, cooking food,” she says, adding that after he discovered horse betting in the UK, he was  constantly on the phone. “He was betting R20 000 each on six horses at a time! I’m not joking, but our phone bill was R60 000 a month just from calling the telebetting numbers. Online gambling was even easier – he could do it from bed or while I was sleeping.”

Sarah says that Karl would sit for hours in front of his laptop just gambling. “He never went to the toilet and I had to bring him his food,” she tells People. “He was even using my credit card and opening accounts in my name after scanning and sending my ID! That’s how easy it was.”

Sarah and Karl were together for 10 years before they finally got married. During that time they had a son together and lived under the same roof, despite Karl’s ever-worsening, seven-year-long gambling addiction. “I know, you’re thinking I should have left him,” she says, pursing her glossed lips. “I decided to stick with him in good and bad. I probably should have left him sooner, but I’m a very determined person and constantly felt I had to help him.”

No sooner had Karl developed a gambling problem when he started smoking Tik – something that made home life incredibly strained for Sarah and the children. “He stopped paying them any attention,” Sarah says. “He would walk in the house after coming from the casino and head straight past his children to his laptop upstairs. It was  impossible to reason with him. One time I walked in on him and one of  his friends while they were smoking Tik – I lost it! And he stormed out the house.”

Karl had his own way of stamping his authority – he would stop paying for his children’s school fees, make getting to school or the shops virtually impossible because he had left with the only working car, and literally left his wife and children to starve. “Once after he had left I had R100 in my wallet and R2 200 in my bank account,” Sarah says. “I put R100 in the car because the children’s school was 30-kilometres away and I knew I still had some money left in my account. But after dropping off the children I stopped at an ATM and found that my account had been emptied. He had taken my last bit of money. For a week we ate what was left in the house: two days’ worth of popcorn and then two-minute noodles. When he did finally come back home, carrying bags of groceries like he was Father Christmas, he admitted he had cleaned my account because he had wanted me to starve.”

The saddest part of this entire ordeal for Sarah is the effect it has had on her children. “They lost a year of schooling because of constantly getting kicked out of private schools due to non-payment,” she says. “In one year alone they were in four different schools!”

Sarah moved her children from Cape Town to Johannesburg in an attempt to provide them with a semblance of normality and stability. Her eldest daughter, who is 16 years old, “no longer dances and hates Johannesburg”. “She was president of the student Representative Council and was very outgoing,” Sarah says. “She misses her friends. If GrandWest had never come to Cape Town, my family would still be together. Gambling is not a hobby, it’s an addiction that gives way to other addictions.”

For help in finding treatment for a gambling or drug addiction, visit or call (011) 476-4351.


Addiction Nation – The epidemic of addiction in S.A. today

Written by Warren Whitfield. Posted in Articles, Books

Addict Nation The Epidemic Of Addiction In South Africa Today - W.H. Whitfield

Addict Nation The Epidemic Of Addiction In South Africa Today - W.H. Whitfield

Addict Nation is the first book from author W.H. Whitfield. Its a highly informative book detailing all the different types of addictions, drugs, recovery programs etc, and equips the reader with knowledge of statistics and the rights and standards in South Africa.

This 300 page A4 book is the first from author W.H. Whitfield. Whitfield is the founder and chief executive of  The Addiction Action Campaign which is an organisation which lobbies the issues South Africa faces with government and corporates. He is himself in recovery from addiction, an addiction counsellor and Auricular Detoxification Specialist. He has counselled over 1400 addicts and worked as a counsellor, lecturer and detox program manager in two centres in South Africa. He has also run his own support group called the Refinery Group in Johannesburg for about two years.

He is a graduate of Rhema Bible School Counselling and for at least two years handled all of the addiction enquiries for the counselling centre and the Rhema T.V. helpline.

After studying to become a specialist in the U.S.A. he returned to South Africa with a strong determination to see the problem of addiction here addressed properly.

He is currently challenging the constitutionality of profiting from addiction in the High Court and Constitutional Court.

Buy this ebook here

Can addiction be prevented?

Written by Warren Whitfield. Posted in Articles

By Warren Whitfield

The short answer is yes and no. See also this article published on


Warren Whitfield

Yes because the extent of people who are in active addiction (which includes addiction to substances, behaviours and emotions) can be reduced. We call this principle Harm Reduction. Theoretically we can reduce the amount of people who enter into active addiction by providing proper education and prevention programs to children at the right age. We can never stop the supply of addictive products or services, but we can have an effect on the demand. We can also reduce the amount of people in active addiction by making treatment affordable and accessible.

What we are seeing is that prevention programs in high schools are “too little too late”. On average, between 15% and 30% of the pupils in high schools already admit to having a substance abuse problem which they believe needs treatment. This means that prevention needs to start at a much younger age. The motive of education in schools needs to change from producing people who are economically useful to people who are emotionally independent, who know what they want and display a knowledge of the life skills required to compete in the game called life.

In terms of nature or nurture, the disease or “dis-ease” of addiction is not entirely nature’s fault. It’s also nurtured by our parents, role models and environments. In other words, we can have an effect on how people see themselves and what choices they make in life if we reach them soon enough. If people believe that they lack anything, they desire what they believe will make them whole or what will improve their life. If people see themselves as whole and complete, they do not desire any substance, product or service because they understand that it cannot make them better.

However for all of this to take place, taxes which are collected from addictive products or services must be re-appropriated for addiction prevention, education and treatment. Also, corporates that profit from people who cannot control themselves must become accountable by spending the profits which are generated from addicted people on harm reduction.

And finally no addiction cannot be prevented entirely because there will always be addictive products, services and behaviours available and marginalized people who have no access to prevention, education and treatment will continue to enter addiction and to remain addicted & pass their thinking and behaviours on to their future generations. As long as people have “stinking thinking” (i.e. believe that anything will make them better, significant, acceptable, more confident or happy) addiction will continue.


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