Get practical support with your gambling problem Forum Friends and Family Have Any of You Exposed Their Secret Against Their Wishes

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    Hi everyone. 

    I posted on this forum about 3 months ago. My mother is the gambling addict. She stole over $140,000 dollars from my trust account, remortgaged her house, and has lied to every member of her family. So far, since catching her redhanded, she has been making huge strides. She has been regularly attending GA, has self-excluded, has gotten a second job, is selling her possessions, and has given me full access to all of her bank accounts. She has already paid off $14,000 of her debt. She will be paying me $65,000 in January by adding it to her mortgage. So far, 4 family members know (5 including me). However, her parents (my grandparents) do not know. 

    She agreed to tell them after Christmas in January sometime, so as not to “ruin” Christmas. But now, she is backtracking and saying that she does not want to tell them. My grandparents are 85 years old and my grandfather has had a history of heart problems. He also had a heart attack about a decade ago. The 4 other family members who know also think that they should not be told, as they are old and they don’t like bring their problems to them anymore. However, my mother got an early inheritance from them ($100,000) and she completely squandered it. Now, it’s not like she stole the money from them. But shouldn’t they know? 

    I can actually see her and my family’s point of view on this matter. Stress can cause heart attacks. My grandpa has a history of those. I would hate if it was this information that did him in. She also said that they would not understand a problem like this. To be honest, I don’t think that they would either. To a non-gambling addict, this just seems like a totally crazy, outlandish, and frankly STUPID “illness”. She says she is scared that they will be disappointed and that they will never get over this. Keep in mind, my mother is 60 years old. She’s acting like a child who did something wrong.

    So yeah, I get that I shouldn’t be telling other peoples secrets, but at what point is it enabling? Isn’t there a saying that goes: “you’re only as sick as your secrets?” Doesn’t my grandparents being in the dark leave them open to manipulation? I’m also nervous that Christmas is just around the corner and my grandparents are known to give scratch’n’win lottery tickets in their Christmas cards…even though this was not my mom’s style of gambling (she went to the casino). Anyway, I’m curious to hear from the whole community on this one as I am really struggling with it. Would you tell? How much privacy does the addict really deserve? After all, it was the hidden and “private” aspect of this addiction that allowed it to progress to such a state…


    Hello Sawmymind

    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

    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 Sawmymind
    I don’t think it is question of whether or not an addict deserves privacy – I think it is important to weigh up all the different factors in your particular situation before making a decision on what is right for you to do.
    Your mother appears to be trying to live gamble-free and I appreciate that this is a difficult time for you; early recoveries are fragile and scary both for the gambler and those who love them. You are trying to do the right thing for everybody and that is not easy but sadly it is very easy to do the wrong thing for the the right reason.
    Your grandparent’s reaction to hearing their daughter has an addiction to gamble, I believe, has to be offset against how much good or harm such knowledge would give. You may be feeling that coming completely clean to all those around her is important to your mother’s recovery – but if that knowledge hurts your grandparents who are also your mother’s parents irrevocably, then I would question whether or not it was worth it.
    You have listed good reasons why they should not be told and in my opinion those reasons are valid.
    What benefit could come from your grandparent’s knowing that their daughter had squandered her inheritance money?
    I believe, your mother should be encouraged to talk about how she will cope with receiving scratch cards if the situation should it arise, it is something maybe you could ask your mother to talk to her GA group about.
    Keep communication open with your mum and please keep posting.

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