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    Hi I am brand new to this site but looking for support and advice! My son who is 26 has always gambled had a really bad episode a few years ago we bailed him out financially things seemed to settle for a while or we didn’t hear about any issues. Them he has escalated it again, betting hundreds of pounds that he can’t afford and having debt problems, and can’t see that he has a problem, I have been so stressed about it and his behaviour has been quite irrational at times. His marriage broke up last year partly due to his gambling issues he has 3 children and in a new relationship but his habits are harming that too. Did move back home last year after his marriage break up and he used to stay with us at the weekends with the children and this lasted until very recently 7 months in total.he still owes me money but doubt I will get it back, I just want some advice about how to handle it to make sure I’m doing saying the right thing Told him he needs help and some CBT but all he says is he is fine


    Hi Blondie

    I don’t have long tonight as I have just finished my group but I wanted you to know that you have been heard and understood. Unfortunately I am away for a couple of day for a funeral but I hope to give you a longer reply on Friday. In the meantime I offer you the following: – your son can control his addiction; if it were not so I would not be writing to you. He is almost certainly lacking in confidence and self-esteem however much he is telling you that he can handle what he is doing. His behaviour will be irrational but you are wasting your energy being stressed about it. You losing sleep will change nothing but it will cause your health to suffer. His gambling debts are his debts, not yours and paying them off only allows him a clean slate to gamble further.

    I have to leave this here but there are a lot of things to say to you – not least of which is how important it is that you look after yourself. Try and put his poor behaviour out of your mind for sometime every day, see friends, enjoy hobbies and live ‘your’ life, believe me it is the best thing that you can do for you and for your son too. I will write again soon.




    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.

    Feel free to use the friends and family group, you’ll find the times for these if you click on the “Group times” box on our Home page

    Read about the friends and Family Online Groups

    Now that you have introduced yourself you’ll find that many of the people you meet here have already read your initial introduction and they’ll welcome you in like an old friend 🙂

    If you’re the friend or family member of someone who is either in, or has been through, the GMA residential programme please take extra care to make sure that nothing you say in groups, or on our forums, inadvertently identifies that person. Even if your loved one isn’t connected with GMA, please don’t identify them either directly or indirectly just in case they decide to use the site themselves.

    You’ll find a lot of advice on this site, some of which you’ll follow, some you won’t…but that’s ok because only you fully understand your situation and what’s best for you and the people you love. So, take the support you need and leave the advice you don’t because it all comes from a caring, nurturing place 🙂

    We look forward to hearing all about you!

    Take care


    Hi Blondie
    Unfortunately a gambling addiction gets worse and never better unless it is treated and sadly those who love CGs usually expend a lot of energy doing all the wrong things for all the right reasons – I know because that is what I did.
    I think that you are right that your son needs help but at the moment he believes, with all the arrogance of a young active CG, that he can master his gambling.
    In my opinion, telling him what you think he should do will fall on deaf ears.
    Maybe you could imagine your son’s addiction as a slavering beast in the corner of the room, poised and ready to jump when you speak to him about gambling. This beast is the master of threats and manipulation which takes control of the conversation when your son feels his way of life is threatened. Once the beast is triggered, it distorts your words, drastically altering reality to fit his personal perception. Your son will probably use lies and deceit to deflect responsibility because that will be his way of coping at the moment.
    In my opinion, it is important to ‘listen to’, rather than ‘talk at’, an active CG because once the addiction beast is triggered it will seek to make you feel less in control. When you begin to say what you think, the addiction has something to get its teeth into. One of the best ways to win is not to play the game.
    The good news is that although your son is controlled by the addiction beast, you are not. Never forget that you are stronger than his addiction, you can gain knowledge and be one step ahead.
    I think it is important to keep non-gambling communication open with your son, I think it is good that he knows you are seeking support for yourself – many active CG do not think that those who love them need support.
    Where is your son living now and is he working? An active CG can often stay afloat when he has a good well paid job but ultimately his addiction will bring him down.
    Perhaps you could download the 20 questions from the Gamblers Anonymous website for him, or give him the address of his local GA, or information about this site which he can access anonymously. We have a Helpline where he can communicate anonymously, one-to-one, with those who understand him and are willing to support him; after all he has nothing to lose as he believes he is fine.
    There is a lot of shame involved with this addiction, both in the CG and those who love them – it is unnecessary shame because your son did not ask for, or want his addiction anymore than you did.
    I will end this post by repeating that I would not be writing to you now if I did not know that your son can control his addiction and can have a fantastic life as a result. You are at the beginning of a really difficult learning curve but you can do it and so can he.


    Thanks so much for your reply it made a lot of sense!

    sometimes I feel that this will never end but I do have hope that together we can overcome this I will take your advice and try not to be so anxious about it sometimes being involved so much that can be difficult but I will try

    i find exercise helps me de stress so I need to get back into my routine

    your absolutely right about my sons self esteem and confidence is low it always has been he needs to believe in himself more

    im seeing him tomorrow and will have a talk with him, I know he feels ashamed about his gambling and doesn’t like how it makes him feel he feels rubbish gambles again and feels even worse

    will post in a few days time see how this week goes


    I’m a compulsive gambler who has been abstinent for almost two years. Unfortunately, I relapsed and am struggling to get into passive mode again. When I hit my rock bottom I finally confessed to my parents. They helped me a little pay my bills. I was never the type to go full overboard, my rock bottom was not being able to pay all my bills on time. Now, that I have relapsed, I’m too afraid and ashamed to tell my parents again.

    This disease we carry is full of shame and guilt. We lie, blame, deny, act irrational and do all sorts of ugly things to hide these feelings. Then we feel guilty because of how we have acted and want our problems to go away so we chase losses. It’s an ugly cycle, tough to break. I’m sorry for doing this to you.

    I don’t know at what stage your son is at the moment, but one thing you can always try to do for him, which will also ease your worries at least a bit, is suggest helping him control his finances. Tell him that you are here for him to keep his money, give him an allowance, manage it into savings accounts, safeguard his credit cards or similar. If he refuses, at least it will remain lingering somewhere in the back of his head.

    When he hits rock bottom and should you decide to bail him out again, make sure it comes with the condition of you handling all his finances and him finding help. Never ever bail out a compulsive gambler without setting terms and conditions.

    Good luck!

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