1 March 2021 at 11:11 pm #76040pennylaneParticipant
Hi, how are you?
I am writing because my 27 year old brother has a gambling problem. He started about 10 years ago. Last year a very good friend of his stole E8,000 from a neighbour and got caught. There was outrage in the community. My two brothers stuck by him when everyone else turned their backs on him and for that we are proud. That friend is now living in Galway, goes to GA and is also seeing a counselor. Apparently he’s been trying to reach out to my brother but he’s distanced himself from the friend in recent weeks.
After his friend was caught stealing my brother said that he had stopped gambling and it looked like he had. He was so happy for months, taking care of himself, joking and having a laugh. Then 2 weeks ago he relapsed, coinciding with the lockdown extension and the superbowl. He has borrowed money from a number of people and has seemingly lost it all. We have a very close knit family and we all know what’s going on. He thinks that only 1 brother and sister have figured it out. This has been going on for years and on several occasions he has gotten very drunk and ended up near rivers or the sea. My mother is terrified he will hurt himself so we are very careful when we try to approach him about it. He admitted a few months ago to his debts and my sister has been helping him manage his money to pay back a loan but he wont give full control as I fear he’s hiding extra debts. At this stage it seems like he’s lying to everyone, saying he’s never gambling again (something he’s never said before this week) but using it to get pity so that he can get more cash.
My other brother spoke to him yesterday saying that he needs to get help because he keeps going back to it but he refuses saying he can do it alone. He lives at home so no rent or bills. I’m also living at home for the last year and know by his behaviour when he’s gambling. To be honest it’s fairly obvious when his mood is all over the place, he’s watching random sports and glued to his phone but I’ve never called him on it because I know he won’t respond well to me.
Should we let him know that we’re all on to him? He’s definitely made headway in the last while and we have been very supportive and encouraging. His payday is Thursday and I’m scared it’ll all be gone by Friday, or he’ll win and it will further fuel the behaviour.
Yesterday I got all my family members to promise not to give him any more money. There are 8 of us siblings and he got money from everyone except myself and 1 other brother in the last 2 weeks, telling them all a different story. It was almost impressive how he played each person, knowing exactly what would make them pay out.
The culture within the GAA team he plays for is terrifying. Always talking about their winnings. His only outlet at the moment is meeting a few of those lads for sprints once or twice a week.
He’s admitted to having a problem but won’t get help. Please advise.
1 March 2021 at 11:13 pm #76042DuncKeymaster
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!
The Gambling Therapy Team
2 March 2021 at 10:47 pm #76064velvetModerator
Well done getting all your family members to help their brother by refusing to enable his addictiom. Secrecy makes it easier for a gambler to manipulate individual family members who naively think that they are the only one doing the right thing by ‘helping’ their troubled loved one out. A united front saying ‘no’ makes enablement harder and hopefully brings about a quicker awakening to reality.
I think it would be a great idea to let your brother know that you are all aware of his problem. Would it be possible to have an intervention meeting with all his siblings, thus bringing his secret out into the open and paving the way for a mature conversation about him taking responsibility for his life by paying rent and helping with the bills. Let him know that you are united in refusing enablement but that you all care and are willing to support him in all the ‘right ways’ to becoming gamble-free. Is he the youngest sibling?
Your brother can control his addiction Penny, or I would not be here writing to you. If it were possible to ‘do it alone’, sites like this and GA would not be necessary, after all, why try going it alone when you don’t have to. I have never heard of any gambler who has successfully controlled his addiction without support.
How about suggesting he calls our Helpline or joins one of our ‘gambler only’ groups, after all, if he is so sure he can control his gambling what has he got to lose Everything on this site is anonymous so he can ask any question he likes and put forward any point of view without fear of recognition. He can pit his wits against other gamblers who have either accepted their problem and are striving towards a gamble-free life or who are in control of their addiction but are more than willing to share with those who are still struggling.
It is obviously not helping him that his only outlet is with people who talk about ‘winnings’, some of which might be true but of course gamblers rarely discuss their losses. Maybe he could be encouraged to tell his team that he has a gambling problem. There is nothing for him to be ashamed about, he neither asked for or wanted this problem and it is possible that other members of his team have similar concerns.
I will leave this first reply here Penny and wait to hear from you again. It would be great to ‘meet’ you in an F&F group, the next one is on Thursday evening. We could communicate in real time; it is private and nothing said between us would appear on the forum.
4 March 2021 at 1:58 pm #76109pennylaneParticipant
Thank you so much for your suggestions. I think I will join a F&F group for further support.
Unfortunetely any suggestion of getting help is blatently rejected. We have passed on the information on this website to him so hopefully he might get in contact off his own back. Any direct attempt to open a conversation with him is met with anger and refusal to discuss. He’s admitted his problem to a couple of family members but an open conversation with the whole family or his sports team is not really viable. He may admit it to himself but wont to many others. I think he needs a little space at the moment, too much pressure might set him back. It’s difficult but when he refuses help, I dont feel theres much I and my family can do.
Thanks for the support,
5 March 2021 at 9:05 am #76134kathrynParticipant
You are right, your brother needs to find help on his own.
I think the fact that you have all banded together on this is wonderful, he doesn’t know it yet but it is. No money = no gambling.
Enabling him is not doing him any favours!
You have done all you can for him in terms of support, the rest is up to him.
I am the compulsive gambler in my house, I found this site almost 12 years ago and apart from a couple of blips along the way I have remained gamble free ever since.
So yes, this addiction can be managed, in saying that, when in action it is almost impossible to see….it takes rock bottom to get there! It took me many many years to get to the point of screaming for help.
Don’t be disheartened, this site is brilliant and you have a wonderful friend in Velvet.
His anger is the addiction, it doesn’t want him to stop. It’s not personal (easy to say I know) and when the time comes he will know you are there for him.
Keep sharing, you are important too and knowledge is power.
Your brother is blessed to have you in his life!
Take care, K xxx
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