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Hi Northerner
The biggest positive, that I can think to give you, is to tell you that I wouldn’t be here writing to you if I didn’t know that the addiction to gamble can be controlled and that your son can have a gamble-free future.
I really hope to get the opportunity to talk to you in the privacy of a group because the situation you have described is sadly common to many of those who love a CG. You are not to blame for your son’s problem and nor is he, he neither wanted nor asked for a problem with his gambling.
Your son’s feelings of depression and worthlessness are common; his addiction is one where failure figures in everything he does – a CG (compulsive gambler) cannot walk away from a gamble until, often, everything is lost.
Worriedmama is right that it is important to gain as much knowledge as you can because the reaction of those who are trying to care for a CG is often counterproductive – too much time can be wasted doing all the wrong things for all the right reasons.
You say you are unsure how to help if/when his plans fail and although I cannot tell you what to do because it is ‘your’ life I can tell you that giving money to a CG is the same as giving a drink to an alcoholic.
It is common for parents to feel they have only ‘rubbed along’ with their offspring, growing up is a difficult process and you could not have known that your son was seeking escape in gambling – it is not something you could have expected.
I suggest that when you talk to him you show enthusiasm about any positives in his life, the good thing that happened at work or the funny thing he maybe heard on the television – allow him to bring up his worries when ‘he’ is ready but be prepared to be firm. When ‘he’ mentions his financial problems maybe you could tell him that you have sought help for yourself and that you have been told that ‘his’ plan to hand his finances over to you is something that is recommended.
I will end here and write again soon but in the meantime when your son gives you an opening to talk about his problem you could tell him that if he wishes to talk anonymously to someone about his problem then our Helpline is brilliant. He will not be judged but treated with respect and the greatest understanding.
Keep posting, you are doing well and I think that looking for a Gamanon group, as Worriedmama has suggested, is great. Grab every support you can for yourself because knowledge will give you power over his addiction and help you to realise that you are stronger than his addiction.