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    Jane 123

    My 22 year old son is a CG he has stolen from us and goes from completely shutting down to talking normally. He said he wants to kill himself which is what I am most worried about, my husband just doesn’t understand – I feel so alone and lost I just don’t know what to do. He asked for help and I arranged a dr appt but he wouldn’t go.



    Hello Jane

    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


    Hi Jane
    Well that’s the official welcome and this will be a short post because it’s late and you deserve a considered reply.
    What I meant to say to you earlier was that if you are identifiable with the username you have chosen and want to make yourself less so, contact our Helpline during the day and ask for your name to be more obscure. This obviously is an open forum but the Helpline is one-to-one and private and you know about the group. Please feel free to use the Helpline too, you will find great understanding there.
    I will write soon as promised


    My heart breaks for you. You don’t have to feel so alone… keep talking on the forum and find a nearby Gam Anon group. This is a very difficult thing to go through without some support.

    My son is 28 years old and is a compulsive gambler… has been since he was about 18. We too have had the death threats and some (half-hearted?) attempts. It is awful and can make it near impossible to function normally. It is all consuming for both you and your son.

    I know it’s very difficult but trying to find a way to distance yourself from the drama and chaos while also trying to be supportive will help you both. This is why outside support is so important. Left on our own our perspective and sense of reality becomes so skewed and it is difficult to make decisions that help not hurt.

    Please keep reaching out and looking after yourself. You can get through this.



    Hi Jane
    It is great to see Worriedmum in F&F again – already you can be sure you have a few mums understanding and listening (along with the rest of the community), so I hope it helps.
    Your son has temporarily lost himself so I am also hoping that your husband will find it in him to support you through this because it is not an easy ride and your son’s addiction is divisive which is something I think he should be aware of even if he snubs the rest. I suggest keeping your husband informed of all you learn because the more knowledge you both gain the easier it is to cope. I did this by saying to my husband that I needed to push thoughts around for my sake and in this way he found himself listening , supporting me and knowing a lot about addiction without realising it!! Any questions or doubts your husband may have about the veracity of the addiction to gamble will of course be answered too.
    Before I write anymore with what I know is a tough message, I repeat what I have already said and that is ‘I would not be writing to you if I did not ‘know’ that the addiction to gamble can be controlled and that fantastic lives can (and are) lived as a result’. Hang on to that knowledge Jane.
    A lot of what I will tell you is what my CG (compulsive gambler) told me some time after he had taken control of his addiction and when he knew that not only had I stood by him (as best I could) but I had bothered to learn all I could about his addiction. I am not suggesting you do this but I took a course in addiction counselling and during the course he opened up to me to help me get a good grade telling me things that F&F will seldom, if ever, hear. It is his words that I often pass on in the F&F forum together with my own experience.
    Placing conditions on an active CG rarely works. My CG told me that it was ‘my need’ when I pleaded with him to stop lying and change his life (I was unaware there was anything called an addiction to gamble) because it was his firmly held belief that ‘his need’ was to gamble and that only through gambling would he know happiness.
    I hope the following will help you understand what is happening when you talk to your son, although not recognised professionally it has been a coping mechanism for many of us – and I know it works – it worked for my CG too.
    Imagine your son’s addiction is a slavering beast in the corner of the room. Every time you speak to him, his addiction is awake, poised and ready to jump – but as long as you keep your cool and don’t threaten it, it will stay in the corner – but never forget, it is always there and listening.
    It is important to remember that although your son is controlled by his addiction, you are not; you can gain knowledge and be one step ahead. In time and with knowledge you will be aware that you are stronger than his addiction even though you don’t feel it now. When your son is threatened with conditions or demands to pay money back, the beast will leap between you and control the conversation, probably turning it into an argument. Once the addiction beast is between you, you will not hear your son, you will only hear his addiction – and because it knows only lies and deceit, it will seek to make you feel blame and demoralize you. In turn, when you speak to your son, his addiction is distorting your words, drastically altering reality to fit his personal perception – he will not be able to comprehend your meaning. Your son is still in there somewhere and it is him that I want you to keep communication open with, which I know you are already doing.
    My CG explained this to me. The addiction to gamble is an addiction of constant failure and misery so your son really believes he is completely worthless. Because ‘he knows’ he is no good he will probably believe that you must be lying when you tell him you love him and that his life would be better if he stopped gambling – why would you (and your husband) love someone so worthless? Believing himself to be without worth your son will fight back with distortion and deception because sadly, at the moment, he doesn’t have or know any other coping mechanism.
    I believe the best way forward at the beginning, is to accept that you cannot trust him because in doing so you will be receptive to a lot of distortion and manipulation. Stand back and do more listening than talking – hopefully it will become easier to stay out of an argument that has no point apart from making you feel less in control. It is easier when you know your son cannot trust himself. Once you begin to try and put your side, the addiction has something to get its teeth into. I know this all sounds negative but the positive side is that it removes you from the centre of the addiction giving you time and energy to look after you. It also stops you trying to reason with an illogical addiction that is determined not to be beaten.
    I cannot begin to tell you how important it is to look after yourself first and that by doing so, you will become stronger, you will reclaim your own life and be able to cope with this addiction. Your son will not be deliberately hurting you so one of the best ways to win is not to play the game.
    I know this post is far too long and I apologise for that but I wanted to give you a head start as soon as possible. I have also brought up my post on ‘Siblings’ for you which I hope will help – this was an area I made a complete hash but thankfully using all the knowledge I have gained my family is whole and well again.
    You are at the beginning of a really difficult learning curve but you can do it and so can your son – there is loads of good support around for him and you will learn where to look. The more support you can give each other the better. There is so much more to tell you but I will leave it there for now.

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