I racked up £20k debt and was left bankrupt... through my addiction to psychic phonelines

Friend's death left Hayley unable to cope without premium-rate reassurance

The Sun, UK/August 22, 2012

When Hayley Fraser first rang a dial-a-psychic line she expected advice on life, love and the future - but instead ended up BANKRUPT.

The lonely mum became so dependent on the £1.50-a-minute premium rate service that she was soon racking up bills of £300 a month.

And at the end of a year and a half as her addiction deepened she owed a £15,000.

She declared bankruptcy aged 21 to clear the debts - but STILL could not kick the habit of four 45-minute calls a day.

Years later, after piling up a further £5,000 debt she finally took control of her own future - with the help of her partner - instead of leaving it up to strangers on the end of a phone.

Hayley, now 29, says: "I lived my life by what they told me and without it I felt completely lost and unable to function.

"I didn't have anyone else I felt I could talk to and the psychics would listen to my problems and offer advice, visions into my future and contact from beyond the grave. I spent my days wondering what I'd find out on the next phone call and as soon as I hung up on one I was already thinking of new questions for the next."

Hayley first fell under the spell of the fortune tellers aged 19 after the death of a cherished friend and the birth of her first child, Stephen, who is now ten.

She recalls: "I felt lonely and, without close family and friends, craved a confidante.

"I came across psychic phone lines online and they seemed to offer everything I needed.

"Just a quick phone call and I might be able to hear something from my friend, or find out if I'd feel better in the future."

And it seemed to work, giving the grieving teenager extraordinary comfort.

She says of that first fateful call: "They told me my friend was safe and that, although I was going through a low period in my life, that things were about to get better.

"It felt amazing to think I was still in contact with my friend but when the call ended it was like I had lost her all over again."

Day by day, her reliance on the lines grew.

Full-time mum Hayley, of Glasgow, explains: "When the psychics told me that it was going to be OK I believed them. It felt so reassuring to know someone had seen into my future and that everything was going to turn out right.

"But hearing those reassuring words was addictive and it became an obsession to call up and ask what was going to happen to me, just to make sure nothing would change.

"I was desperate to find out what was going to happen to me in the future and the more they told me, the more I relied on them."

Not even when the debt began to be overwhelming did her faith waver.

She says: "To try to pay some money back, I took a part-time job in a chip shop.

"But it didn't even touch the repayments.

"I was in denial about my bills and continuing debt."

Eventually, at 21 and £15,000 in the red she sought financial help and was advised to go bankrupt - but her calls continued.

She says: "It was scary and I didn't know if there was going to be a way out until I declared myself bankrupt.

"I thought it might be a clean slate for me and a way to get on with my life without the help of the psychics.

"But I was an addict, and no amount of bankruptcy was about to cure my craving, so I carried on."

Her faith even withstood some spectacular foul-ups. She laughs: "I was trying to pass my driving test and I'd call to see if I was going to pass.

"It took me five attempts and every time they told me I'd be successful."

By then she had a second child Danielle, now nine, and had split up with the kids' dad after two years together. But she was in love again with new man Thomas Fraser, 42.

But she still clung to the phone as her main source of support.

She admits: "Although I fell for Thomas, at the start of our relationship I still called the psychics daily. I wanted to tell them about my new man and see what they thought of him and if they saw him in my future. I'd talk about whether he was good for the children and ask questions about our relationship.

"It was more addictive than before as everything they told me made me more excited to be with Thomas."

Eventually she confided in Thomas about her past financial problems and he begged her to stay away from the lines. She couldn't - but she did start hiding the bills.

She says: "It was so hard lying to Thomas but my addiction had such a strong grip.

"I felt lost in my own life without the constant reassurances from the psychics.

"I worried I'd break down without being told my future looked bright."

But eventually, three years into their relationship, Thomas discovered through a friend Hayley had confided in that she had racked up £5,000 worth of secret calls.

She says: "I confessed for the first time how addicted I really was.

"Once he had got over the shock he really helped me. He talked to me and encouraged me to open up to him instead of the stranger on the other end of the phone.

"He supported me and the kids, and my feelings of loneliness slowly went away until I realised the psychic phone lines were only making me isolate myself from the world.

"In fact they make you feel more alone as you begin to rely on the faceless person on the phone - it's a dangerous addiction.

"Now my life has changed so much, I met Thomas, we got married in June 2010, moved house and I'm happier than I've ever been - none of which the psychics predicted.

"I've had some lapses, like every addict, where I've given in and called.

"They sent me a voucher in the post for £10 of free psychic time which I couldn't resist.

"But it didn't make me feel as good as before and I've realised that I don't need it in my life now.

"I'm happy I got out when I did and have an amazing family standing by me.

"That's all I need to know to help me step into the future."

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