Hi San
I am so pleased it all went well and that you have met the flatmates and that the reality was as your son had said.

I think it is a shame when any family members is excluded deliberately from family occasions but it is important to realise, as I am sure you do, that family occasions can be fraught with sibling rivalry in the best regulated families. It is the addiction to gamble that is unwelcome and I’m afraid it can slip through when, Complacency, the underestimated guest leaves the door ajar. I think we will probably talk about this nearer to Christmas but following your excellent trip and with your daughter hugging her brother I think you have good reason to hope for a happy time.

Shoes, gloves and food were good things to give – I am glad you were in the pound shop and not Harrods.

Without judging and with the usual proviso that I cannot tell you what to do – if it was me I wouldn’t go into a gaming shop with a CG. What did happen in the shop was find fine and I agree it is easy to jump to the wrong conclusions but I think it is good to say ‘I cannot stop you going in to such a place but I chose not to go with you’. It could certainly be argued that it was better that you were with him and therefore able to see that what he was doing but gaming shops are not good for CGs.

The pathological gambler, while not technically gambling, (not using money) has a number of ways of ‘staying in action’. Pathological gamblers must continue to use money and while they stop gambling with it, uncertainly and risk continue to be part of their lives. Many games can keep the mind distorting addiction alive. If you feel the game could encourage ‘mind bets’ then maybe you could encourage him in other pursuits and hobbies

I admit I do want to hear that your son is seeking support as there is a minefield of danger around of which he will probably be unaware. We often get CGs in ‘My Journal’ who are hoping that their gaming is going to be passed as acceptable and it is always better when another CG tells them, it is not.

However I don’t mean to put a dampener on your smashing trip. Your son has progressed and is recognising his problem, he has friends who are not CG who are trying to help him and he has seen his mum, who has cuddled him.

I know we will talk again soon but in the meantime if you want to come back on anything I say, you know where I am.