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     I am married with two grown children. I live with my husband. My parents are still alive, my dad is a gambler and is in serious denial. He was always a great provider but retirement has changed him into a person who knows nothing else but gambling. He is destroying the family. My mum doesn’t trust anything he says anymore. Good days with him usually means something bad is coming…..he’s been upto something, he owes money perhaps or he’s been begging. Recently I am getting calls from friends who have seen him asking people at the supermarket carpark for money, he already leaves his weekly pension payment in the bookies, its never enough. We are mortified, angry, upset. He was caught on CCTV at someones door asking for money and ended up on FB on a neighbourhood watch page, we showed him, he denied it of course but the proof was there. We really thought he had realised you can get your face on social media nowadays and it might deter him from knocking on doors. He is telling people he is homeless, hungry and has no one??? yet by evening he is home by the warm fire, food in his stomach and a warm bed !!!! When he went to GA years ago he lasted 2 sessions and came away saying that the guy had told him he wasnt a gambler, what he was doing was’nt a problem and even if he went to group it was ok to bet once a week or so?? lies lies lies…. When you say, do you accept you need help, he’ll say ah its too late for me, i’m 78………78 or not, he is still a part of a family, my mother does’nt have her partner in life any more, he does’nt take her anywhere or do what people enjoying retirement do. Their hard earned savings were rifled through without mum knowing, he hides money everywhere and then asks for a lend.

    I believe, if he wont get help then changes must happen, there must be consequences, if he is making the family so unhappy then he cant be part of a family, no home, no food, no bed…….he is doing what he wants and still has his luxury at home……

    How do we get through to him ????


    Hello Gamblers daughter

    Thanks for starting a thread in the Gambling Therapy friends and family forum. This forum will provide you with warmth and understanding from your peers.

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    Hello Gamblers Daughter
    Maybe if you could unite with other family members, who are concerned about your dad, it would be possible to have an intervention with your him. Do you have siblings, aunts, uncles, other family members, close friends, who know what your dad is doing and are willing to confront him, calmly, and without judgement? A meeting of those who care about your dad and who would unite in how to support him may, make him sit up and listen.
    It is never too late for someone to change; I doubt very much that your dad likes the person he has become but if he believes it is too late to change then maybe he needs to hear that it is not. How much better for him to spend the rest of his life liking who he is rather than behaving in the unacceptable way he is doing now.
    I suspect your dad is afraid that he cannot change which is why he is refusing to listen to logic and reason. I wonder if he actually ever went to the GA meeting and if he did, I wonder why he went in the first place is he didn’t want to listen.
    Your dad tells lies because he doesn’t want to face the person he is, he doesn’t want to take responsibility for his actions. Lies are his way of coping, the only way he knows at the moment.
    It is sad but I suspect that as long as he is being given good food and a warm bed, without making a financial contribution or taking action over his poor behaviour, he will not see a need to fight his demons. Denying him creature comforts would be very difficult but how comfortable is he being allowed to be at the expense of all those around him?
    If he really believes it is too late for him and would say so to a united group of loved ones, maybe it would be possible to get him to hear that it is not too late, that those around him want him well and that he can be – if he really wants it. Perhaps you could take a look at the GMA project, if you want to know more about it then our Helpline would be willing to advise you. There is also a forum on the site for GMA residential treatment Q&A. It is an excellent programme and your dad would not be too old. We also have Gambler-Only groups on this site where your dad would be able to communicate in complete anonymity – facilitated by Charles, who lives in control of his addiction, they helpful, supportive and non-judgemental.
    I will leave it there for now but I hope you will post again. Your dad ‘can’ live gamble-free, he can enjoy his life without having to lie to his family and friends.


    Thank you for your reply Velvet.  Unfortunately for us as a family we are a very small unit, he won’t listen to anybody he thinks he is entitled to do what he wants Because he worked all his life he believes his retirement should be his time to do what he wants and that means just gambling.  You Wonder if he went to GA yes he actually did go because we went to the family support group on the same two occasions.  The reason he went was so that he could tell us that the group said he didn’t have a gambling addiction…… crafty eh ? He is calculating and manipulative, always ahead but he’s getting caught out now …. I had a bad week dealing with all of this I can’t even visit right now I’m so upset, my mum has just had enough, it’s so unfair he is impossible to talk to.  He knows the impact of his behavior is huge on us but he carries on just the same …


    Hi GD
    It seems to me that the person most affected by your father’s poor behaviour is your mother, is she seeking any support for herself?
    I think that you are right, there should be consequences for your father but how far is his family prepared to go? Is your father still getting food, drink and warmth in the home he shares with your mother and if so, is it possible for your mother to stay with somebody else for a while, to give her a break so that she can recharge her batteries?
    When you confront your father on issues such as him saying that he has been told that he does not have a gambling addiction, it is good to be concise about your disbelief and not to join in a discussion with him. Gambling addicts often enjoy an argument because they create opportunities to pass blame. make excuses and demoralise. Short comments such as telling him that you will only be ready to listen to him when he tells the truth and then walking away and doing something that pleases you, is better than trying to make him listen when he plainly has no intention of listening.
    Your father is choosing his addiction and as long as he makes that choice you cannot save him, however, your mother has not chosen to live with his addiction controlling her life. You write that she has had enough but what does she want to do, what does she feel she can do? Is she of a similar age to your father?
    Sadly, not all outcomes are good and sometimes difficult choices have to be made. I’m sorry I cannot tell you what to do, your mother has to decide what she wants to do as part of taking back control of her own life. I hope she knows that she is not at fault, there is no shame or blame to be allocated.
    It would be great if you, or your mother, could join me in an F&F group – communicating in real time is often a great way to off-load. Our Helpline is available to you as well – it is private and one-to-one.
    Speak soon GD

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