Get practical support with your gambling problem Forum Friends and Family Help please, I am heartbroken. I just found out about my brother

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    Hello and thank you for having me here in this forum. I already feel better by writing here.

    My brother just told me he is addicted to gambling. I didn’t know. It’s been going on his whole life ( ever since he was about 13yo, now he is 41). He lost a very big sum of money and owes about 75 000 € to the bank and 100 000 € to people (mostly to my parents and his wife and some friends) I am the only one he told and I am trying to help him. He is ashamed and feels very guilty and says he’ll never ever gamble again. He started seeing a physiologist (had one session so far). Problem is I live in US and he lives in Romania so we only do video and texting . I am trying my best to help him. How to start ? How to help him stay away from gambling? I know it will come back… I know now he hit the bottom with losing all that money and he feels ashamed. What should I do? I am heartbroken, he is such a loving and wonderful person and has so much to offer…
    Another question: we need to tell my parents and he says he can’t do it and wants me to tell them. All his life he has been afraid to admit anything to my parents and I always did it for him. He could never talk to them. He is a person who never speaks about his feelings, keeps everything inside. He is also very agitated always and likes to be in stressful situations (like at with he always likes to be stressed, he works in a bank and loves his jobs and the adrenaline work gives him) . He doesn’t get along with his wife and never has. They are planing to get divorced and she doesn’t know. They have a little girl that’s he is crazy about but he said even his live for her couldn’t stop him from gambling. He told me he did it for the feeling it was giving him – “floating above everyone else” he said and not for the money. He always liked money and had different ways to make extra money (legally) but now I think that maybe it was only because he could gamble it all. I don’t know what else to say. I don’t know what do to, should I tell my parents or force him to do it? I know that by forcing him I make him take the next step in his healing process – owning up to his actions and admiring it to my parents . But in the other hand I also now that when you force a gambler that now is seeking help they may relapse since he is feeling very uncomfortable with the situation and I don’t want that.

    Thank you all for your help !


    I wanted to add a very important item : my husband is sick and has a very serious and severe illness and I have 2 small children. I am struggling on how to take care of my family and how to help my brother our and watch him and how to manage my parents when they will find out (they will be devastated) . Over past week (since I found out) I did not do well and my family is suffering from that. I just don’t know how to balance it all and how to manage it…



    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.

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    Hello Little Sys
    I understand why you want your brother to be responsible and tell your parents, however, in my opinion, the fact that he has asked you to tell them is good. Your parents have unwittingly enabled him and maybe now they can seek support, as you are doing, for themselves. Understanding your brother’s addiction is not easy but understanding that his addiction is not his fault, or their fault, or anybody else’s fault will perhaps help. I think that maybe it is good that you have the initial conversation with them so that you can gently prepare them for what is probably going to be a terrible shock, they may well feel unnecessary guilt. It is important that they stop enabling your brother but in my view this is best said with kindness and understanding rather than in anger. Anger is understandable but it does not help anybody is this situation.
    Are your parents in Romania or the US?
    Obviously, video and texting are not the best methods of communication, but it is important to keep communication with him open.
    Your brother, sadly, owns an addiction that destroys self-confidence and self-esteem whilst offering him only failure, depression and misery. It is no wonder, I think, that he has a problem communicating his feelings.
    I think the best thing you can do for your brother is to keep listening and perhaps let him know where he can get further support. We have a terrific Helpline on this site and we offer great facilitated, gambler-only, groups, your brother would be welcome, understood and supported. All our support is anonymous so I suggest that he has nothing to lose by trying us and hopefully everything to gain. GA is great, he can meet people who are in different stages of recovery including those who live gamble-free.
    Your brother is, naturally, uncomfortable about what he is going through but he can live gamble free, if it were not so I would not be writing to you.
    Please keep posting but in the meantime please take care of yourself. You are not responsible for your brother but sadly his addiction can pull you down too – if you allow it. Well done writing, what must have been, a very difficult post.

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