8 March 2017 at 4:18 pm #5542daughterofgamblerParticipant
My name is Anna and I am the 34 year old daughter of a problem gambler. My father has been gambling as long as I can remember, long before I was born. His father was a gambler as was his brother. His gambling has caused many problems in our family and while he swears that he is no longer gambling I cannot be sure. No one can. We have been down this road many times before, particularly after big losses. There is always some level of anxiety that he is still gambling or will gamble again in the future which creates a sense of financial insecurity in my mother and the rest of our family. After all, as they say … the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. I often wonder to what degree will my siblings and I need to financially support them as they approach older age and have recently retired.
My father has been engaged in a number of different types of gambling over the years but sports betting has been something he has done consistently for as long as I can remember. When my siblings and I were younger he took all the money out of our life insurance policies to use towards gambling or pay for losses without first consulting my mother. Although he was part-owner of a restaurant that was successful for a number of years, my mother worked two jobs to ensure that we had enough money to pay the bills and to give us an education. Time and time again he would withdraw large amounts of money from their joint banking accounts and would not be able to explain to my mother where the money was going or what it was used for. Hundreds of times she has asked him promise to talk to her before taking out large sums of money, and he hundreds of times he promised to do so, only to break those promises each and every time. Bills at his restaurant went unpaid and he would show up to my mother’s work asking for help when the city threated to turn off his electricity or water.
There are numerous other examples of the financial difficulties he has put my family through with his gambling but the losses were not just financial. His gambling also affected his behavior and personality. When there wasn’t a sports game on he was an attentive parent and loving husband but when he was watching a game he was distant, focused on the television, and nothing else seemed to matter to him. You couldn’t have a conversation with him. He would disappear into the basement or garage to make secret phone calls. My mother is non-confrontational by nature but I saw my parents fighting about my father’s gambling on a handful of occasions. More often than not, I saw my mother upset and not knowing what to do since time and time again he promised he would stop after each devastating loss but soon after he would do it again. She eventually began having threating to leave him if he did not stop. As you can imagine, this tension and instability in the household was extremely stressful for all of us.
My feelings towards my father have always been conflicted as he is an incredible person and father in many ways. I love and admire him for his great qualities (he is loving, kind, charismatic, a social butterfly, adventurous, a lot of fun, has great taste in music, etc.) but I also resent how much damage he has done to the family with his gambling and how much hurt he has caused my mother through the numerous lies, deceit, withholding of information, and general “shadiness” that comes with his gambling problem. Even as a small child I was perplexed by how one person could be so wonderful at times and so withdrawn and distant at other times. Perhaps some of you can relate to this.
Until now I did not realize how much his behavior influenced my desire to pursue a deeper understanding of human behavior through the study of psychology. I am now in a doctoral program in clinical psychology and my dissertation research is on examining the impact that problem gambling has on family members. Having read through many of the threads detailing your difficulties with the program gambler in your life, I know that many of you have been affected in a similar way. I have joined this community to share my experience with you and also to ask you for your help.
I hope that you will complete my survey. It will only take 10-15 minutes and on it are questions that address mental health, stress, family cohesion, and general family impact. It is completely confidential as no identifying information will be asked of you. If you wish to be entered to win a $50 gift card to a vendor of your choice you are free to email me that you participated at the email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. If I select your name for the gift card I will ask where you would like it sent. I am hoping to have 100 participants so I really hope that you will help. The findings from my survey will help to inform future support and treatment initiatives for family members and friends of problem gamblers.
Here is the link to complete my survey:
(you may have to copy and paste it in your browser if you cannot click on it).
Thank you in advance for your help. I greatly appreciate it.8 March 2017 at 7:42 pm #5543lilyParticipant
Hi There DOAG, Has your father ever had any treatment for his gambling? Without treatment of some kind (ie GA, counseling, GMA etc) it is extremely difficult to become free of the addiction. How long has he in recovery (or saying he is recovery?). I always think how much harder it must be for a family member of a gambler as those of us who have a partner who is do have a choice to an extent (though you can’t help who you fall in love with).
I am unsure if you wish to get support on the forum or whether you are just wishing to enlist people for your survey but either way know you are amongst friends here, we all support each other.
Lily x8 March 2017 at 10:55 pm #5544velvetModerator
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!
The Gambling Therapy Team10 March 2017 at 3:28 pm #5545twilight16Participant
Glad you are here for support as my father is a cg too. Much of what you have shared, mirrored much of what I went through with my father, the damages his gambling did to our family.
I tried to understand the addiction to gamble, trying desperately to help him and get a handle why he was gambling, and seeking what I could do to stop it. However, regardless of my best efforts, he continued to gamble. He continued to take money that was for the family and with each passing year, my mother and I suffered. He had his good side, which I would remind myself whenever he gambled again.
However, years passed and his addiction kept on gaining strength and on the flip side my mother and I kept losing ours.
My parents divorced when I was 18, my mother couldn’t take it anymore. I was devastated but it was for the best.
Years again kept passing and he kept gambling. I was his lifeline for help. I kept his gambling a secret from many especially my mother, helping him when he had nothing. Only to see him gamble again and guess what? I became depressed because it seemed every second I was awaiting a call from him needing money or a buddy of his would needed to be paid back. My life started to suffer and through many confrontations with him and his I don’t have a care in the world attitude about his gambling. I finally cut him out. It was the hardest thing I ever did, but for about two years I did not see or speak with him. I did everything to free myself from the addiction. Once I stopped the enablement he had to face the consequences of his gambling. He had to face not having a place to live. He had to face the pennies in his pocket. He had to face that his gambling was sucking everything good in his life. He had to face his actions. He had to face not having his daughter or grandchildren in his life. He had to face the hard facts.
I don’t believe in enabling an addict. However, I do believe you can love them. There is a big difference between enabling and loving an addict. Giving in to any demands of an addict is the addictions greatest reward. It never helps.
I wish you well.
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