Hi Sans,
After reading your recent updates about your son, I was taken back to my sickly, painstaking experiences with my father just little over a year ago when I lived in fear and worry for his safety. I was at the point where I was on the edge of worry feeling in my gut that more bad things were on its way. In the end he was slipping at an alarming rate, homelessness, jail, people searching for him wanting to be paid back, that I had moments when I was on the brink of helping him more than I should.
However, there was a part of me that had a hard time doing so because I knew the addiction well. I knew it was counting on me to give in. SO the only way I saw that I could be there for him was to really separate the addiction from him. I would not give him money as this is like giving drugs to an addict and I would not give him what he gambled away. He was homeless because he would gamble his rent money, so I always kept this in mind when he would call wanting a place to stay.
So all I could do is love him because he is my father and I still do to this day. I would see him in his tough times when possible and I would let him know that I loved him, but I would not give in to favors and I explained why. I was there to help, but not financially. I would try to reason with him about his gambling addiction, but he wouldn’t hear it, even at his lowest point.
It is extremely difficult to love a compulsive gambler in denial but it is possible. You can still love them, yet you can always still stand your ground against the addiction. It’s a tug of war, sort of thing, but it can be done. Loving your son is what your heart wants, and what you should do but think twice about bailing him out. He will manage as they all do. Even at my father’s lowest moments, he still lived and unfortunately still gambled. We often think the worst when they are really fine.
Take care,