Hi Megan,

Glad that your search landed you here; it did the same for me about three years ago. This place became my saving grace when I felt all was lost. The support and wisdom from the numerous members here, family and friends, and cg in “The Journal” always had my back 🙂 Though at times I felt my stomach drop reading the truth, it was what I needed. Of course, there isn’t any judgment here but often true words can shake us; yet they are the ones that make us grow stronger.
First, as you know, there is nothing you or anyone can do that will stop your mother from gambling. Begging, pleading, or threats won’t stop her. This brought much relief to me because I thought there was something I could do, in my mind I thought there was some action I could do to make my father stop.
However, there was someone I could control and that was me. I learned that my reactions were just as important as when my father chose to gamble. I was no longer going to enable him in any way. When he called wanting money, or a place to stay, I would not help. This was incredibly hard and emotionally torture for me, because I loved my father. But I did not love the addiction and regardless of how many times I would try to talk reason to him about his gambling, he brushed it aside and protected it. So my philosophy became, I am not going to give you what you gambled away. I knew if I did I was only allowing the addiction to grow stronger in him and I did not want to be part of that anymore.
I have been to very dark places with this addiction. I went to court two times in regards to my father. I went on stand when I should have never, but again I was not going to let his addiction manipulate me. When I read about your counselor saying, you should have your mother arrested. I immediately thought, you are not having her arrested rather, she would get herself arrested for not following the law. I called the cops on my father after pleading with him to stop but he didn’t listen.
Years ago when I came here, I was bitter and I know that because I was harboring a lot of anger towards my father and what he did. I separated myself from him in a way where I had no contact with him for two years. I felt it was the only way I could live without being a total mess. I didn’t want to know what was happening in his life when he was gambling. I sought recovery here and I learned how I could have a relationship with him by separating the addiction from him. I would see him once a week and we would just have our father and daughter moments, which would work at times and sometimes, would not. The addiction would lurk out and try its best to get enablement and I would retreat back. Still it was tough but I was able to love my father and that was what I missed so much. I could see him and just enjoy him. At the end it got bad and again I had to do what I did before, but that is the only way I could have a relationship with him.
I really feel the best thing you can do now is to still love your mother and be her daughter, but you are not responsible for her financially or wellbeing. You already did this in the past and really nothing good came out of it (I did this too with a major loan). So let her deal with her financial woes and if she loses her car, it is not your concern. My father had to take a bus for a few months because he didn’t have money to make repairs and I wasn’t going to pay for it either. Your mother has got to want to stop gambling and seek recovery, there is no use trying to force her. Even if she were to promise that she is done with gambling this moment, don’t bail her out. You can love her but don’t be a puppet to her and her addiction. As you get stronger with your recovery you will see it is the best thing that you are doing for yourself.
This addiction will do whatever it needs to get enablement and it often bluffs, but we become so afraid of our loved ones words and actions that we cave in. When we feel overwhelmed by the demands of our loved ones it is best to do nothing. Let them deal with the mess they have made and be good to ourselves.
Take care,