Get practical support with your gambling problem Forum Friends and Family Just beginning the journey to help my son

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    I am not sure if I am posting this in the right place. (just let me know if it should be somewhere else) …

    My son is 25, in the defence services, has a trade and lives away at the moment (due to his posting). For intents and purposes he appears to have ‘his life’ together, although he has been seeing a physiologist for about 6 months for a few things … which is good.

    Over the last few months, (actually, maybe even up to year now I think about it …) during phone conversations, he has been (initially) ‘alluding to’ ….. Oh I went out, drank too much, and gambled too much … This has now progressed to (just this morning) …. I have a problem, I need to do something. (although in just the last 2 weeks he has said words to this effect before ….)

    I am just realising that he actually does have a real problem with gambling and it is time to really ‘face the facts’ …..

    Up until now, at different times, I have suggested, and we have discussed previously a few things like …. Hypnotherapy, asking his current psychologist for referrals etc … He just recently say 3 weeks ago, told me how he had actually self banned himself form a few places in the town he lives …(but last night he was in a different town) . And he has talked about getting a card that will not let him take out cash ….

    It seems to me that his gambling is spiralling, and I think I have to admit that I have been in denial over the past few months ….

    In reality, I guess or can see now, that this is a much bigger and invasive problem most likely for a longer time, than I have realised. I think he sess this too and/or maybe he has even known ‘how it is’ for a while.

    And so – Here I am.

    He is at work today and has said he wants to call me to chat tonight. I feel this is going to be a first real conversation where we will have to get real about what is going on, and to what extent is it a problem …

    I know I can’t fix this for him and there is no magic silver bullet.

    Just before I did text him the link to this site and he said ‘yea I have looked them up before ….’

    I have also just read in detail the steps to change (can not find the link again now ☹ ) – I guess my questions are –

    1. Apart from listening, what else should I do or say during our conversation tonight

    2. I think I should encourage him to share ‘this’ with his ‘family’ siblings and father – so we as a family can name and face this issue – call it out for what it is – A gambling Problem – he is a compulsive gambler who is not in recovery atm … – NOT to shame or humiliate him, but rather to face this head on … – What does everyone else think about this?

    3. What can I say or suggest, to move the conversation from …. “I went out and gambled too much again last night …” to something more action orientated. Can I just simply say …. “What are you going to do about this? “

    ANY other helpful tips or advice is really welcome …

    THANK YOU ….


    Hello Kath

    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

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    Hi Kath

    You are doing really well already in the way you are handling your situation and you are indeed in the right place for support. Unfortunately I am about to disappear for 2 weeks on holiday but I will try and answer all your questions.

    Listening is the most important thing you can do – you are listening for an acceptance of a problem and a determination to change that is more than just words. When he gives you an opening it is good to ask him ‘What are you going to do; what can you do that is different on the nights your feel the urge to gamble? Get him to think of the actions he is going to take rather than you trying to answer his problems. It might be a good idea for you to tell him that you have sought help and that you know there is good support available for him. The support on this site is non-judgemental and anonymous – our gambler-only groups are facilitated by a man who has controlled his addiction for many years and will understand your son. Out helpline is often manned by another man who has also controlled his addiction for many years and likewise understands your son. GA is excellent and there are dedicated addiction counsellors

    Sharing is great if he will do it and even if he will not, it is good that his father and siblings know he has a problem. Unity against an addiction is the best support a family can give provided they are all saying the same things.

    I don’t think there is any point in you calling him out, I think you are already aware that he is possible addicted and even if he is not he is in serious danger or becoming so – when he is ready to seek support he will be asked to admit his addiction. There should be no shame attached to the addiction to gamble – nobody ever asks for it, nobody ever wants it. It was his unfortunate lot to get a problem  – once he had started gambling and there was no way he, or anyone else, could have known. .

    If he tells you that he has debt, then maybe you could say to him that you cannot bail him out because you have been advised that this feeds his addiction and does not help him.

    I think that maybe the best support I can give you is to tell you that my son is a compulsive gambler who changed his life 13 years ago and lives a wonderful life in control of his addiction – so I know your son can do it.

    Keep communication open with your husband and his siblings if you can – the more knowledge of the addiction the easier it is to cope and do the right things.

    I will have to leave it there but carry on as you are doing, ask our Helpline any questions you may have. I will look for you in two weeks but in the meantime please look after yourself. It is so important that you protect your own life and health. If you are brought down by his addiction you will not be able to help him.


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