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Hi Chalsteve
Even if your son didn’t use and lose money he is addicted to the gamble; this is known as ‘dry gambling’. Many CG abstain from gambling for money and believe it is enough – but abstention is not control. Some newly abstinent gamblers say that they are keeping track of what abstinence has saved or cost them but mind bets keep their brains in gamble-action which eventually builds to the excitement of gambling for money again. Once the brain is excited the CG cannot shake off the urge to gamble.
‘His desire to game is stronger than his desire to gamble” is his addiction because as long as he plays/gambles in his brain he will keep his addiction alive and sadly growing. Those around CG generally understand the value of money and see the illogicality of losing it for a game/gamble; we tend to see the addiction as being money related but it isn’t – a CG is motivated only to get enough time/money to play/gamble.
Cathy (worriedmama) has mentioned Gam-anon and I too share her belief in this terrific organization where you physically share with others who understand – it was in Gam-anon that I found my salvation; maybe you could have a look in your area for one.
I don’t usually mention it because there is no need but the CG in my life is my son, so I know where you are coming from. The big difference between us is that for 23 years I unwittingly enabled because I had never heard of an addiction to gamble and for the next 2 years I didn’t believe it although I stopped enabling. In the final 2 years I did what you are doing now and sucked up all the information I could get and that is what carried me forward; finally taking a course in addiction counselling, going to Gam-anon and arriving here. It was my efforts to learn that made the difference to me and eventually to the relationship between me and my son. You are aware of what is going on, you are learning about something that confuses us all, which is good because you can protect yourself, your wife, your home, your possessions and ultimately your son.
The battle is tough. Knowing the man, that is ‘now’ my son, helps me to know that your son can be the person ‘he’ wants to be. My son grew to hate the person he had become and that is what changed his life. I didn’t save him, I couldn’t: I didn’t stop him gambling, I couldn’t; I was estranged from him in the final year because he was destroying me; he hit his rock bottom without me but I know that looking after myself finally and ceasing enablement was the right support for him.
Keep posting