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    I never thought I would be writing one of these because my dad has always been like a role model, an idol. He or at least we all thought never smoked, drank, gambled, etc etc… The perfect person so to speak. Intelligent, kind hearted and hard working man who loved his kids and family so much. Well this image of my dad is falling apart in front of my eyes and I cant stop the physical heart ache like it actually aches in my chest that I have to hold myself. I am beyond sad.

    To give you a littlw preface we came to the United States from a different country and had to start New, from scratch and we did it as a family. Dad and mom had to sacrifice alot and work odd and multiple jobs to keep food on the table and roof over our heads. Our youngest sister was born a year after we moved and that added to some of the financial stress but when she was about 4 years old things got so much better. Dad did not have to work multiple jobs, just one that paid really decent and mom was working full time still. She was so driven to work even despite her body aching just to save money to afford even a better life and save for retirement. Well they both lost their jobs about 2 years ago and it has obviously been a downhill since then. Dad had 20k in his 401k that he had to take out to keep paying mortgage and mom is disabled from pushing herself so hard so now she can only do basic stuff and cant work anything other than what she used to do because her english is not good because as a child she was never sent to school so she has very limited reading and writing skills.

    There is even more to this chaos where I was the only child that somewhat could help but met my boyfriend 3 years ago and had a baby with him last year. I had a good job but couldnt keep working in order to take care of her.

    I am the oldest but my younger brother has 2 kids already. Barely graduated high school and his girlfriend has another kid from someone else so he has to support 3 young kids as well as himself and he is only 23.

    I am saying this to explain that there has been alot of stress in our family that I think contributed greatly to why my dad is gambling.

    Anyway to keep things short just last month when I was at his computer just checking my emails noticed a paper declaring his earnings of only $2k in slot machine winnings. I told my mom and said wow I guess dad won and I was surprised to hear from her that she thought he had lost money because he was really sad the other day. After much going back and forth I decided to check his account. I have access to see his bank account which is a joint account with my mom. I did not see anything deposited except his payroll checks and when I kept looking I noticed that for the past month every single day he withdrew hundreds of dollars that totalled to $20k alone. The fees for withdrawing at the casino ATM alone was about $400. Now keep in mind this is half of their whole savings as a family. No other retirement money or asset exists. Anxiety set in. My heart beat racing thinking of all the sacrifices we made. Thinking about how I cut from my own spending to help with mortgage and grocery for the whole family and how he gambled away the little savings that they had to their names. Also consider that my brother could have used some of that money or it could have been used to fix the house as it needs alot of repair. His car was falling apart he could have used it for that or so much more. My mom tries to work for another lady 2 days out of the week even with her condition just to help financially. The job he has now doesnt pay like the old one and does not even offer health insurance and so it really bothered me. Told mom and sisters so they are aware and of course the little one was so sad. She is only 15. My mother and other sister get really verbally agressive. So it was alot of arguing. Not cursing but talk negatively like “how could you have gambled away that much while our son is struggling” , ” yoi cant be this stupid” etc etc and I was sad that I told them because if he really has a problem then I dont think he needs to hear this kind of talk so I asked him kindly to stop and that he is making us all very sad. Showed him how much he spent and he was shocked himself and sad but he told me he is in control and he doesnt have a gambling problem and on and on. He got a bit mad that I told mom. So basically he is in denial or just lying to get me off his back. I cant bear seeing him alone and pushed aside either so when I noticed he took out money again on july 22nd I told him i was angry and why. He gave me another excuse and said it was actually to pay back his friend from this one time he borrowed and not to rouse the others because it is the last time. He promised and I kept my mouth shut also for my mothers sake. She gets too emotional. Anyway noticed again yesterday that he took another 300 on august 4th and I am so sad. I dont know what to do. If i tell mom and other sisters I know they are going to make him feel worse. Is it okay to make him feel bad? Wouldnt that make him want to gamble even more?
    My brother doesnt know at all. My dad is known as the good guy in our friend circle so no one except us know. I confide in my boyfriend when I cant keep it inside anymore because I want to talk to someone about it but I dont know if its okay to talk to him about this. I wonder if he will ever in the future change into my dad and use this against me. My trust in others is completely wobbly. I feel like I cant trust anyone anymore especially if the man I believed to be so right and true and ethical turns out to be a compulsive liar and gambler. Sad part is he wont even admit to it. Please help.



    Hello Lala

    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. 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

    The Gambling Therapy Team

    PS: Let me just remind you to take a look at our

    privacy policy and terms and conditions so you know how it all works!


    Hi Lala
    Writing that post must have been really difficult for you; you have given me such a complete picture and I understand everything you have written – well done.
    I am sure that your father is still all the things you believed that he was but unfortunately at some point he has gambled for pleasure or possibly a quick return. He probably won and felt something that you and I would not feel which meant he couldn’t stop once he had started – he was addicted. With the addiction to gamble comes very unpleasant behaviour that causes great distress to those who love a CG. Your father is a fallen idol for now but I would not be writing to you if I didn’t know that the addiction to gamble can be controlled – which is something your father is probably not ready to appreciate yet.
    You have handled everything so well. You told your mother which, in my opinion, was the right thing to do because even if her reaction was to call him ‘stupid’ and say ‘how could you’ (which I agree doesn’t help), it was an understandable reaction.
    You have a greater chance of being heard if you talk kindly but unfortunately your dad’s addiction will not want to listen. The following method of coping is not recommended by professionals but many of us have used it at the beginning and found it works.
    Imagine your dad’s addiction like a snarling beast in the corner of his mind, always awake and ready to defend itself. When you talk to your dad, provided you don’t provoke his addiction, the beast stays quiet but as soon as it feels threatened it puffs itself up and fills his mind and does anything to protect itself. The addiction beast is the master of manipulation and threats, it lies to protect itself and it doesn’t want to hear that it can be beaten. Once it is control it fills your dad’s mind leaving no room for kindness, logic or reason and it reacts with lies and promises that mean nothing – as you so rightly say, he wants you to back off. With the ‘right’ treatment he can begin to tip the addiction out of his mind leaving room for goodness and honestly.
    Talking to him gently therefore is preferable because it can confuse the beast because it would rather have argument which in turn gives it a reason to gamble.
    Maybe you could download the 20-questions which you will find on the gamblers anonymous web-site. This is a way for your dad to hopefully see the damage he is causing which may help him realise that he has a recognised addition but that there is support if he wants it.
    Maybe you could suggest to him that he talks to our terrific Helpline, or comes into a CG group on this site, or joins in the CG forum entitled ‘My Journal’. All these things put him in touch with CGs who are living in control of their addiction or are seriously trying to do so. He will be very welcome and he will be understood in a way that you and I cannot understand. Maybe you could find your local GA group and ask him if he would consider going to get support for himself.
    Your question ‘will making him feel bad make him worse?’ is an excellent one. Your father will already be feeling worthless and a failure because as a CG, he will always, ultimately, lose the gamble causing his lack of self-esteem to grow. I hope that having read about the beast you will be able to make up your own mind on this..
    Even if they don’t realise it, your parents are very fortunate to have a daughter like you and it is important that you look after yourself. Look after your baby, keep up with your friends and your hobbies, talk to your boyfriend about your concerns, keep posting here – do everything and anything that keeps you secure and safe. In his addictive state your dad will not appreciate what you are doing but if he controls his addiction he will know where the strength lay and be proud.
    I have written more than I meant to – keep posting, I will be here for you.


    Thank you for your kind reply. I keep trying to reply but for some reason it is not letting me. The website keeps showing an error message all the time. Please help


    Hi Lala
    As you have got this short reply on the forum, i am not sure what you mean.
    If you have a technical problem it is best to contact our Helpline, – my IT knowledge is very limited
    Hope to hear from you soon


    I keep trying and that somehow went thru. Thankfully. I have emailed the helpline but havent received a response yet. So i hope this goes thru.


    Hi Lala

    Would it be possible to contact me on the helpline between 09:30 and 16:00 please



    Hello velvet,

    Thank you so much for your kind support and help. I will be contacting the Helpline for the technical issues I am experiencing so that I can continue to post. I will try to post my original reply hopefully once I figure out how. Thank you again and hope to talk to you soon.


    Thank you so very much Velvet. Words can not describe my appreciation of your kind words, support and for this site being here. I am so sad that I have not been able to sleep lately and I know I have to take care of myself and my baby first. However, some days I find myself constantly thinking of possible solutions. I want to figure out a way. Like last night I just decided that maybe I have to tell my brother in a nice way as much as possible just so he does not give dad any money. And I was thinking to take away dad’s bank card and I totally forgot to mention that he works at a casino! so it makes it more difficult. If I take his debit card then I fear it might provoke the beast as well. I feel like anything I do or say is met with his defensiveness. And I know he probably gambles the little he has in his bank account with hopes that he will win because he stresses that he cant help my brother and he cant pay the bills comfortably like he used to. But its even more burdensome when he gambles away the little thats left in the account. I want to yell and scream at him too. I want to take away his wallet and have my mom drop him off and pick him up from work. He is not that bad. He still gets to have what he wants but its mom that gets the worst end of the stick and it makes me soooo mad. Then I feel bad for him thinking about how he hates his current job that hardly pays the bills. He feels like he is worthless there but does not fight as much for looking for another job. It stresses me so much because I have worked so hard to help. I helped get a modification for the house so they dont lose it. Now even tho the mortgage went up to 40 year term at least its more affordable than if they were to rent. Plus he had a car loan that cost $600 a month and after he lost his job and right before I gave birth I paid it off 1.5yrs had left of the car loan. Just so he didnt have to worry about that and could focus on other bills. But recently that was falling apart so helped him trade that car in for a better one. He went and boughy himself a new Iphone with credit card. While my mom does not even buy herself new clothes and pushes herself for a few hundred a week so she can take care of the grocery bills. My dad continuing to splurge himself like this makes me mad! He went and bought a printer for $ 200. So you can see he wants to keep on living like he was making the old job money. He doesnt even want to go do that job because it would be an hour of driving and he says he would be too tired. I told him he can stay with me because I am closer to the city but he says he wants his own house and bed. Etc etc. So i fear that we will lose the house, if this continues. Nothing I say seems to get to him. I will print out the 20 questions as you recommended. My boyfriend thinks my mother is going to end up having to leave him. Its a shame because they have been together for more than 30years and she depends on him to do paperwork she cant do since she cant read and write. Its so stressful I just want to crawl up and cry by myself. I fear I cant be kind with him sometimes and so I stay quiet like I did not confront him about his Aug 4th gamble. I havent told mom and sister about his last two gamblings within 10 days of each other. I worry about my little sister. She is only 15 years old. And she is very close with dad. They adore each other. I hate shattering that best dad image for her. Or for him to ever try to use that for his gambling in the future because I know that it will get ugly when he gambles away the other half of that savings then there will be nothing left and I am afraid. Will he take loans out from other people? Should I tell family back home? No one can lend him money anyway over there but maybe friends here might. Should i tell them? It will destroy his reputation and might make him feel worse so perhaps not?

    My boyfriend and mom keep pushing me to get my dad to give me the savings thats left which is not much anyway but I dont think he will give me and I feel so stressed out because of it. I would feel terrible if I cant save that money for mom and little sisters sake.

    I am sorry for the length of this. I am so confused. There is so much to say but I feel like they all want to come out at the same time. I dont want to deal with this. I wanted to have a peaceful bonding with my daughter and build a happy life with my boyfriend but my family seems to have so much drama. First my brother and now my dad. And for someone reason it always falls on me. Dont get me wrong I love my family and will do everything I can do help but I just wish I didnt have to deal with all this. But I cant just cut them out so I struggle like this. I wish dad was smarter than this. He knows better. I am so dissapointed in him. I hope he gets better and takes control before its too late.

    Thank you for listening and providing much needed advice.

    Big Hugs!


    Hello Again,

    Harry said he will contact the developers regarding the technical issue I am experiencing with posting. So I will try to post quick and short replies.

    I have been regarding others posts and I have to admit, it brings me both some solace and sadness over my situation.

    As I sit here in the middle of the night, as my 18 mos baby and boyfriend sleep so peacefully, I cry and cry because of the fear and the unknown of whats going to happen in the next few months.

    I just checked my dad s account and he just transferred whats left of their savings. I knew he was banking on it. I am taken to the times when the major cause of stress and tears was my brother. I remember sleeping with the car keys and wallet under my pillow and in my hands. Those days I do not want to repeat and I cry and plead with God (whom is the only hope I have left with possibly helping but my brain reminds me- there is no Santa Claud… So I cry some more). I pray that we wont have to re-live those years of hardships again and this time with dad. I pray that he wont put the house and the family in jeapordy. I am scared and fear that he will continue to gamble. Leave me and my mother to clean up behind his mess. I hope he wont but I am trying to imagine the worst but I know that life is more imaginative and more creative than I, so I feel even more scared of what lies ahead possibly for my family. I wish I was a careless, selfish person sometimes but instead I am a worrywart, panicking hopefully about something silly.


    And so velvet. Why does my mom and sister insist that my boyfriend doesnt know about all this?
    1. How is it even possible? We live together and share everything so its hard to keep this from him when I am constantly watching my dads account and stressing out about all this?
    2. They keep saying he shouldnt know and my sister specifically feels as tho her boyfriend and so therefore mine too might feel like they can use this against us somehow?

    So because my dad gambled again just a few min ago and therefore I had to call my sister to go catch him. But instead she waited at home for him and tried to coerce him to come home via text. But anyway how can I hide this even if I wanted to from my boyfriend when I am having such urgent conversations with my sister. So its not only impractical and unrealistic but shouldnt relationships be built on trust? And call me naive but I wouldnt use this against my boyfriend if he was going thru the same thing. I would instead do my best to help him cope with it. So please let me know if I should be aware of any special circumstances where I need to cover this up from my boyfriend.

    Lastly my sister is still in denial and does seem a bit reluctant to get more information about gambling addiction because she doesnt think we have all the facts just yet. She is adamant I do not tell mom. At least not yet. She says for moms sake and for her wellbeing not to stress her out with details. What do you suggest?


    Hi Lala
    I cannot ‘know’ what your mom and sister mean when they tell you not to talk to others about your concerns but what I can tell you is that a family will often keep the addiction secret due to a feeling of shame. This belief is, in my view, completely mistaken because there is no reason for shame – the addiction is not your family’s fault and that includes you father.
    I know that when I lived with the addiction and kept its secret for years I assisted it which allowed it to flourish – I protected it and I was wrong.
    I believe that the relationship between you and your boyfriend is important for you and I fail to see the reasoning behind telling you not to talk to him in case he uses it against you.
    In all families faced with this dilemma Lala, each member deals with their own pain and divisions can, and sadly do, occur – different people have different levels of understanding, each seeing the problem as to how it affects them and their relationship with the CG. I think you have summed up the differences between you and your sister well – she is reluctant to find out because she doesn’t want to face what you are telling her and yet she feels able to tell you what to do. I think it is important, however, that you keep your good relationship with your sister so maybe it is best not to try and force her to accept truths she doesn’t want to see – none of us can save other people, we can only save ourselves. I have brought my thread entitled ‘Siblings’ up for you which I hope will help you.
    I believe that the more you know the better you will cope because if your father is a CG (and he certainly appears to be) then putting your head in the sand and hoping it will go away is unrealistic.
    How much does your mom know and how is her health? If your father is gambling all their joint savings then I would have thought she deserves to know so that she can try and protect herself before he has squandered everything.
    Keep posting Lala, I hope it helps you to write your thoughts and worries – I often recommend keeping a journal when living with this addiction and this thread will act as that journal. One day, hopefully, you will look back and see how far you have come because your recovery matters here.


    Thank you Velvet. Yes I agree. I think they worry about shame and hurting their reputation too which enables them to continue the cycle. I have read your post about cycles of the enablers and I agree. I will do my best to identify exactly what we or I do and change it somehow. I will also read the one about sisters.

    You are right. I can only do so much and my priority is doing my best to save whatever is left of their savings so my mother doesnt end up desperately broke as a result. My sister kepts saying she didnt need to bother herself with details of how he took out money most recently. In the last 20 days alone he spent over $900 which again is money that could have went to bills. Anyway you are right. I cant spend my time on trying to fix my sisters perspective. Perhaps its difficult for her to accept this harsh reality so she chooses to bury her head in the sand. She told me that each time he takes the money out that I tell her and she will go and berate him so he eventually will not go. It sounds like thats also a possibility. What do you think about that?
    I fear that my father is going to cause so much pain in the next few months. And I might be the one everyone hates for a while. But I am willing to be the bad guy to shake things up, because thats all I can do at this moment.

    My mother has alot of chronic back and leg pains. She is also overly dramatic and emotional as a result of her own past, losing work, being unemployed and partially disabled as she cant physically push her body to do things she used to do. I believe her perspective naturally affects her and rightfully so but when she is sad and overly depressed her hands and feet get more numb and sometimes she cant get out of bed. But I think its partially because she drowns in “I gave up, life is too tough, I cant go on” mentality. She is a tough woman but she is bitter and does not know how her words affect others so she is sure to feed dads monster the way she reacts. So this is where I am struggling the most.


    Hi Lala
    Your last post was so much more upbeat, well done.
    I think it is shame that you feel you are to be the bad guy. You have realised that your sister is happy to put her head in the sand and you have suggested that your mother is likely to feed your father’s addiction. What are you intending to do that will stir them up? Unfortunately the cycle you have detected whereby you tell your sister and she berates him will not change anything.
    I don’t think it is a good idea to have your father come and live with you – being a distance from an addiction is a lot easier than living with it in your home 24 hours a day.
    Did you manage to give him the GA 20 questions? Have you had a chance to point him to GA or the helpline and support groups on this site?
    It would be good to get an update.


    Thank you so much for your kind reply. I am in the process of moving in the midst of all this so I could not reply right away.

    I did tell my mom. The obvious followed. She nagged him and yelled at him and made him feel bad probably. He ended up ahowing her the cash he withdrew the other day to prove that he didnt gamble. It was just missing $100. Which proves to us that he did and luckily maybe that he didnt lose all of it.
    I asked my dad to give me money to help pay for some of my moving expenses. It was rather a cover for me to try and save any last bit of their savings. Because now there is nothing else left. So I got my dad, with the help of my mother to gave me half of which dad had transferred back. I made him finish his loan to his friend and a little bit that he paid towards my brothers credit card bill with the left over. So now their savings is officially no more. Nothing left. Nada. He wants to always help my brother, which in my opinion is something he has to ease up on. Anyway thats another issue in and of itself. Then he withdrew $500 for himself because he said he prefers having cash versus using a credit card. Deep down I know that its because so he can gamble whenever he gets the chance but I couldnt stop him from doing that. I put the little money he gave me aside so that if my mother ever needed money I ll help them with that but in the mean time I keep checking my dads account to see if he goes to gamble… Everyday I look at his account or as often as I possibly could. For example after I finish typing this I will go to check his account to see if he has gambled recently. This is soo tiring Velvet. I already have anxiety issues so this has really been the cherry on top. I went to the doctor for the hives I have been getting and he said it could very well be stress induced eczema but couldnt be sure, of course. Anyway I know I will be ok it just feels like in between trying to run a house and take care of my handful child, trying to navigate this gambling issue has me exhausted.

    As for the 20questions you have mentioned. I found it. Read it over a few times. Print it out and just could not give it to him. Because I dont know if its going to do more harm than good at this particular moment. I have already typed up all of his casino ATM withdrawals and totaled them year by year and at the end with a yearly summary and their total as well. I showed this to him because the issue is still he denies having a problem. Its such a strong belief that I end up getting confused like he makes me rethink it too, despite my better judgement of what is clearly an issue. Its black and white and its on the paper but still ignores knowingly or not knowingly. I am not sure at this point.

    My mother told my brother too that perhaps not right now but in the near future if he were to ask for money not to give to my dad because he gambled away alot of money. He had to go to his other job so they really couldnt talk much but at least he is aware as well.

    Now I am simply watching his account and thats all I have time to do. And tell my mother so she knows. Thats my strategy because when he starts to nag I know none of us want to deal with it. Its like torture hearing him nag.

    What do you suggest at this point?

    Thank you and hope you have a great weekend.

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