"I had never even stepped foot into a casino before but it was like a magnet, it disrupted my mind," says Sonny, a retired law enforcement officer. "According to Darlene, she was trying to get my attention at the casino, to try and keep me from spending too much, but I was in a trance. When I played the slots or got involved in a poker game, I wouldn't talk to her—I just concentrated on gambling."
Darlene first noticed her husband's gambling problems when they went to a show at a casino. "Sonny had never even put a quarter into a slot machine, he was so against it," says Darlene, "but that night he sat down at a machine and said he wanted to play—I was floored. I couldn't even get this attention; it was like he was hypnotized.
After that he often slipped out of the house at night—Requip kept him hyped up so he couldn't sleep. I would get out of bed and find him gone. Once I got a call from a casino host—Sonny was there asking strangers if he could borrow money. She was concerned because he was so spaced out and she didn't think he should drive. I couldn't believe it, this wasn't my husband!
Right after that episode, I asked Sonny about our finances and when our bonds were maturing (all these 44 years of our marriage, he handled the money). That is when I found out that we didn't have any bonds left—he had gambled them all away. After that he cleared out our savings. Then he plowed through the railroad stock. This was money we were saving for our children--we were comfortable and looking forward to retirement until the crap hit the fan.
As well, sexually, he was wanting to do something every night—he is 70 and I am 64. I didn't resist but it was certainly not normal behavior. Requip could be the next Viagra! But this is the embarrassing part: the police told me that Sonny was soliciting prostitutes…"
Sonny couldn't understand the damage it was causing at the time, but Darlene took him back to his neurologist—who prescribed Requip-- and she explained his compulsive behaviors. Darlene asked if it was possible that Requip could cause gambling and sexual problems. He replied that yes, it was possible.
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Sonny was depressed because we were broke and then he lost his job. So we went back to the neurologist and I said something has to be done, I am even getting afraid of my husband. He suggested that Sonny gradually withdraw from Requip. Just last month he finally got off the drug and he has no desire to gamble anymore."
'We have two sons and this has really caused my whole family hardship," Sonny says. Casinos are built on losers, not winners. It is hard to describe what I went through, but I don't even think about gambling since I stopped taking Requip. I do know that I lost well over $200,000."