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We don’t expect any miracle cure from this, we’ve researched enough about it to understand that my son can have the appearance of absolute normality with all those around him who don’t actually know about the problem or even those who know the problem but don’t realise the extent. The impact, other than on my son and his immediate family, is negligible.

He believes he can control it himself. Well, he can. Until he relapses. Then we start all over again. First few days there is the remorse, the guilt and the depression at having lost it all again. There is a determination that help is needed and this needs to be confronted.

Then, a few days pass, and things don’t seem quite so bad and the memory of the loss is already fading. There is less of an inclination to do something about it, seek outside help, because its back under control, I can do this myself. In this period though, there is more “normal” social interaction with the rest of the family, a begrudging willingness to help out with the daily chore of living in a house where food and drink miraculously keep appearing in the fridges and cooked dinners hit the table on a regular basis.

Then things start to deteriorate. Now we return back to the resentment of his parents, because we are stopping him from doing the things he wants to do.

If he had carte blanche, he would shoot people on the internet from the moment he got up to the moment he had to go to work. He would be 10/15 minutes late for work almost all of the time, as he just needs to finish this game and then the next one. When he gets back, it would be straight into his room, headphones on and play it until 4.00am.

That’s been banned in our house for months now. He can’t play it at all, but the impact of that is that the resentment levels are cranked high as we are treating him like a child he says. Well, yes we are, because he is behaving like one.

The only mechanism we have for not having shouted/screamed expletives reverberating through the house, is to ban him from playing it. We also have banned him from vaping in the house. Now whilst I accept it might well be better than the smoking he did before that, he has the ultra powerful things that produce smoke like an out of control field fire. They smell sickly and unpleasant to us, so we simply said you smoke it outside.

Given the ability of an addict to lie, you would probably understand the number of times that we would come home to find him smoking it in his room. Ask the simple question, would you do that at work? No. Work instructions are sacrosant.

Parents are not respected and can sod off.

So our only ability to reign in a 25 year old addict, is to remove the things that he wants to do to get him to comply with the really basic, simply rules of the house. Keep your room clean and tidy. Don’t smoke or vape in the house. Help out with the daily chores. For that, he gets the run of the house, meals, drinks, bed, etc etc. all for £150 a month rent which is about 1/10th of his take home pay. The room is a sh*thole, the bed gets changed about once a month after someone goes ballistic at him (usually his mum), there is months of crap on the floor, unopened post, and the dishwasher gets emptied if you are lucky.

So the only thing left in the armoury to try and get a correction in the behaviour to us, is to remove the access to the house completely. We are on Day 4 of this now. Its been overnight a few times in the past, and on one of those excluded nights, he sat in his car and lost a fortune in a few hours, before calling us on the verge of a breakdown it seemed. Maybe rock bottom had been hit and there was a way forward. No. Go back to the start of paragraph 2 and read it all over again.

So we worry that by excluding him from the house that we might provoke a new episode of gambling, but it seems to us that the only way to get a change in his behaviour is to deny him what he wants until he complies, but that also just cranks up the resentment once he has returned again. Its a never ending circle that we cannot see any way of breaking, because we can’t break it. Only he can. He wants everything for nothing. He will openly say he doesn’t want to live at home, but he wont move out and rent a room in a shared house, he wants the living standards he has at home without having to lift a finger to do it himself. I’ve suggested a second job to earn more money so he can afford it. Why should he do that?? Just work all the time? Where’s the fun in that?

He sees my response of where’s the fun in your life at the moment as being a snide, negative remark rather than the objective bit of criticism that it is.

The bottom line for us is that we cannot stand watching him ruin his life. We have watched it deteriorate over the past 10 years and the last 5 have been ruinous to our relationship with him. If he is going to continue to game and gamble, he has to do it elsewhere. He has to pay his own way and take responsibility for his own life.

By letting him live at home for a pittance, we effectively subsidise his gambling ourselves. We will support him all the way if and when he wants to get help. I said to him I would do his job for him (and I could and would do) whilst he went to GM for three months, so he still had a job to come back to when he finished there. Still not enough.

I see my mates having a laugh and a joke with their adult sons. They can go down the pub and have a beer, or just chat about everyday rubbish and banter. I’m envious of them. Deeply so.