7 February 2015 at 10:46 pm #3658Captain BeefheartParticipant
My Dad is a gambling addict. The first time I was aware that he had gambled heavily was a Christmas around 6/7 years ago when my Mum came in and showed me bank statements, where he’d spent several thousand pounds gambling in a month.
My Mum told me that she would talk to him about it, he promised that he would stop, that I shouldn’t worry and not to tell anyone else. I may not have told anybody but I couldn’t help worrying. It has since been something that is always on my mind. Here was this man, who is basically my hero, and probably one of the most sensible with money that I know yet here he was squandering it on something that to everyone else would seem so pointless. He switches energy suppliers every year, and always makes sure lights are never left on around the house. He seems to get as much a buzz from making these savings as presumably the gambling gives him. Maybe he even uses them as a perverse justification to rationalise his spending habits?
I probably then wasn’t aware of any more gambling until a couple of summers ago, this time he’d been on my tablet and left his e-mails logged in. I noticed a few that were notifications of deposits to gambling websites and rather than confront him I showed my Mum who again assured me she would talk to him about it and we continued to keep it between ourselves, this time he tried to justify it by saying that he’d won back more than he deposited.
Since then I noticed a deterioration in the relationship between my parents. I don’t know if this was directly due to the gambling or resultant money worries or trust issues but they started to argue a lot. It even got to the point where if something needed doing in the house my mum would come to me, for fear of asking my dad and sparking another argument, and I would oblige. I guess I didn’t realise in an indirect way this was a form of enablement, but I did recognise that my was mum modifying her behaviour to avoid arguments which was indicative that this was now in some ways an abusive relationship, though never physically, and I’m sure my dad wouldn’t see it that way.
We then come to around a month ago when again my mum tells me that my dad has lost a lot of money gambling and that this time she has had enough. It was all too much stress and she was fed up of being unable to have the nice things that her friends could, both my parents have good jobs and she has worked hard her whole life but now has a sense that it was largely a waste. She also said that she had insisted my dad attend meetings (though he was reluctant) and that if things don’t get better she is leaving. (We were also convinced that the gambling was part of a coping mechanism, my dad has never been one to share his emotions and as a family we’ve had a lot on recently. My younger brother had been suffering from depression, and unbeknownst to us had developed a serious drug addiction culminating in him attempting to take his own life last October. Luckily, I’d decided to ‘work from home’ that day after a night out and was able to call an ambulance after finding him.)
At this point I think I resented my Mum a bit too, I didn’t feel she had done enough to stop him and resented the fact that she’d been sharing all of this with me whilst my 2 siblings remained blissfully unaware. I think I was partly angry at myself too as I hadn’t had the courage to confront my Dad. I’ve always idolised him, and he knows that. I suppose I didn’t want to shatter that illusion for both of us.
However, on Wednesday I noticed my Dad starting intently at his tablet, and I’d already asked him when he was going to bed a couple of times as it was now around 1am. I suspected he was gambling, and standing up my suspicions were confirmed by a reflection in the window behind him.
At first, I just sent a text to my mum so that she could deal with it in the morning but as I was thinking about it I realised a couple of things. Firstly, that whilst my dad may be my hero it was long due that I realise that my parents aren’t infallible super humans, they are people, people with weaknesses and who make mistakes. Secondly, that I was grown up now and had been for a long time. It was ok for me to not only stand up to my dad, but to help him. Finally, I realised that it was unfair to have my mum shoulder all of the burden. So I asked my dad what he was doing, he lied to me, so again I confronted him and asked him if he was gambling and he confessed that he was. He saw I was getting upset and after a conversation he agreed that he would go to a meeting. I also demanded that he get himself blocked from any websites he uses, which I watched him do and he is setting up a bank account that will limit his access and require my mum’s authorisation to withdraw any money.
Anyway, he went to a meeting yesterday and he seemed to come back feeling positive and I could see my Mum felt slightly relieved. However, today it seems to have dawned on my Mum that this isn’t going to be a quick fix and there’s probably a long, hard road ahead.
I have to say I share her concerns. We might have limited the means and opportunities that he has to gamble but there’s less we can do about the desire. He might seem committed to recovery now but I’m concerned that he might just be going along with it until in a few months he thinks we’ve forgotten about it and he finds another way to get a fix.
I realise I’ve rambled on a bit but it’s just something I wanted to get off my chest and I don’t think any of the questions I have are ones that can be definitively answered but I guess any tips would be welcome.
Thanks for reading (sorry for the length!).7 February 2015 at 11:04 pm #3659velvetModerator
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, youll find the times for these if you click on the Group times box on our Home page. Now that you have introduced yourself youll find that many of the people you meet here have already read your initial introduction and theyll welcome you in like an old friend 🙂
If youre 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 isnt connected with GMA, please dont identify them either directly or indirectly just in case they decide to use the site themselves.
Youll find a lot of advice on this site, some of which youll follow, some you wont…but thats ok because only you fully understand your
situation and whats best for you and the people you love. So, take the support you need and leave the advice you dont because it all comes from a caring, nurturing place 🙂
We look forward to hearing all about you!
The Gambling Therapy Team
PS: Let me just remind you to take a look at our7 February 2015 at 11:28 pm #3660velvetModerator
The above is our welcoming post to you but this is a personal welcome from me.
Well done starting a thread and writing your first post, I suspect it was very hard for you to write.
I admire your realisation that your mum has shouldered a lot of things on her own and could do with some support.
I think it is hard when it dawns on those who love CGs (compulsive gamblers) just how far the road stretches out in front before there can be any real hope. There is something about a CG actually seeking support that makes those who love them breathe out with relief for a short time, only to come up gasping for air as the realisation hits them that this is not an end but feels like a very scary beginning.
It is late for me CB and I was just closing my computer down when I saw your post. I wanted to let you know as soon as possible that you had been heard and that you were welcome. I am going to close this post now but I will write again tomorrow. In the meantime I hope you get rest tonight having taken a massive step towards ‘your’ recovery from the addiction to gamble. Knowledge of the addiction to gamble will give you power over it – you are among those who understand and will not judge.
Velvet8 February 2015 at 10:59 pm #3661worriedmamaParticipant
I am the mother of a CG. Yes this is definitely a long road but the more your family can learn about this disease the sooner you will be able to restore some normality to your lives.
It is definitely a plus your dads gambling is out in the open as it thrives on secrecy. I always found it to be like the elephant in the room. By the end of an argument or conversation with the gambler the rest of the family ended up looking nuts while the gambler the perfect victim. As a result of their addiction they have become incredible liars and manipulators. I believe this isn’t done purposefully to hurt us it is just what needs to be done to keep the addiction alive.
I believe it was Velvet that said she did all the wrong things for all the right reasons and this is so true. When we first enter into this we are ill prepared to deal with a gambling addict … they really are not rational / logical people while in the midst of gambling.
Arm yourselves with all the knowledge and support you can find. It is a tough go but you can find peace and sanity regardless of whether your father finds recovery.
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