4 December 2018 at 7:21 pm #6512
My son is 26 years old. He has a degree and is quite intelligent. About 6 years ago, he started playing poker with his friends occasionally and this increased to the point that he was playing online poker every day. There have been times where he has won vast amounts of money, and
after one of these wins, he put a large deposit on a property. He refuses to get a day job because he says that he doesn’t want to succumb to society’s expectations. Currently, he is unable to pay his bills and we have asked him repeatedly to start a job search but he becomes upset. This
isn’t how we raised our son. I’m worried that he will lose his property etc., and yet he becomes upset with us for not being supportive of him. Every calm discussion, turns into his twisting of words to say that we don’t understand or support him. He feels that he would like to quit poker and try
something else when he is financially stable and he feels that poker is the only way for this to happen. I do realize he has an addiction. Not sure what to do. I spend a great deal of time worrying.4 December 2018 at 9:58 pm #6513
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 Team5 December 2018 at 11:08 pm #6514
I do not need to meet you to know that your son’s behaviour does not reflect his upbringing. PLease believe me when I say that your son’s addiction is not your fault, you could not have stopped him becoming a compulsive gambler.
Your son didn’t deliberately set out to get himself into a mess with gambling, he could not have known when he started playing poker that for him gambling was not something he could pick up and put down at will. He doesn’t cope well with calm discussions because he will perceive such discussions as ways by which you try to get him to stop gambling, thus proving, in his mind, that you do not understand him. His way of dealing with this is to become angry and manipulative to distract you.
Sadly your son does not understand himself, he is confused; he will almost certainly be lacking in self esteem because the nature of the addiction is that he will ultimately fail every time he gambles.
I hope that maybe you will sleep better knowing that there is somebody who understands what you are going through and who knows that your son can control his addiction and live an amazing life, possibly more amazing for having taken on such a destructive demon and won.
It won’t be easy Jolene for you, or for him. It is so hard to understand his thinking that only poker will allow him to become financially stable but knowing what he is thinking will help you do the right things. Knowledge of his addiction will give you power over it and help you cope.
I will leave this first reply to you there – I wanted to let you know that you had been heard and understood.
I will write again soon and I hope you will keep posting.
Velvet6 December 2018 at 10:50 pm #6515
Thank you Velvet for your reply. It is nice to know that there are others that understand the position that I am in. My son has been routinely able to pay his bills due to his “wins” but for the last few months, he has had a downward turn and is now admitting that he can’t pay his bills. He still believes that continuing to play poker, will soon result in an uptick and things will be okay again. In the meantime, I helped him pay his mortgage for this month, but financially I can’t afford to keep doing this repeatedly, nor do I want to bear that responsibility for someone who won’t seek help.He said for the first time the other day, that if things don’t get better, he will have to begin a job search but he wants to first “follow his dream.” He will tell me that he is developing and researching new approaches to his game strategy etc.,. I love him, but not sure what to do. As I said, financially I can’t help him by continuing to pay his bills, nor do I want to and yet I don’t want to see him lose his house. Really unsure as to what is the right next step.9 December 2018 at 4:17 pm #6516worriedmamaParticipant
Boundaries/responsibilities get very mixed up when you are the parent of a gambling addict . We all want to help our kids … it’s what we do. Problem being when they are an addict this help keeps the addiction alive and when they can’t get what they want from us the problem is all down to us for “not supporting” them.
Try and step back from the situation. What would you say if it was a friend telling you this same story? I am not saying that will make this any easier to deal with but it puts it into perspective. Lending him money will not help him get well. Unfortunately he may have to lose his property 🙁 to hit a point where he realizes he needs help. Us intervening in them hitting their natural rock bottom just doesn’t help.
I know you are sad, angry, frightened watching this trainwreck. Is there a Gam Anon group in your area? Getting real life support was a lifesaver for me.
I’m so sorry you are going thru this… Please keep reaching out.
Cathy11 December 2018 at 11:12 pm #6517
It is a shame that your son cannot hear other addicted gamblers repeating the well-worn mantras, ‘when ‘a’ or ‘b’ happens I will stop gambling; I know that my luck will change; you don’t understand; I am researching a strategy ……;’ and then to hear that same gambler’s pain when realisation dawns that the dream was never theirs to have.
In my opinion, the ‘wins’ that your son has experienced have in actuality been his losses because they will have fuelled his belief in an impossible dream. The addiction to gamble is not about money, it is solely about ‘the gamble’ and money is merely the means to that end – it is ‘the gamble’ that is distorting your son’s thinking. A compulsive gambler cannot walk away and will always lose in the end.
I cannot tell you what to do because all decisions have to be yours but I hope you will keep posting because there is so much more information and help these days for those who seek support.
I think it is good when compulsive gamblers know their loved ones have sought support for themselves because it often doesn’t occur to them how damaging their addiction is to those around them. I believe it can also show that their loved ones are trying to understand and support in the right way. It is great for me to see Worriedmama writing to you, like her I think that Gam-Anon offers terrific support.
I believe in giving gentle signposts towards seeking help because I know that ranting, raving, pleading, threatening, weeping doesn’t reach the addicted mind. An active compulsive gambler cannot listen because he has to believe in his plan to ‘win’ and he has to shut the doubter out.
Speak soon Jolene, you are in my thoughts
Velvet14 December 2018 at 3:03 am #6518
Thanks for your response Cathy. Just today, my son called to say that he is out of money and is upset that we are not “supporting him” in his time of need. Yes, he may have to lose his property. I’m not sure yet if there is a Gam Anon in my area-this is the first place that I have looked for help. If it was a friend telling me the same story, I would more than likely give very similar advice to what you just gave me. His gambling isn’t new, but his not winning a windfall to get him through is new. My husband and I work hard to pay the bills that we have, and today, when he called to say that he was out of money, I felt sick about him asking when he doesn’t hold down a job. I’m anxious about the increased conflict and no resolution or plan of action on our son’s part-other than his feeling that he will change his strategy. Thank you. I will post with an update when there is one.14 December 2018 at 3:08 am #6519
Thanks for your reply Velvet, My husband is becoming increasingly stressed about our son’s decisions to continue gambling. My husband was actually supportive when our son had frequent wins of large sums of money. Now he sees it for what it is-gambling and wants our son to just get a regular job. I hate to see our son lose his house, but realize as Cathy said, that this may be the only option. We certainly can’t afford to continually fund him through all of his “strategy research”. Thank you. I will reply with an update when there is one.16 December 2018 at 12:22 am #6520worriedmamaParticipant
Nothing about this is easy for either the addict or the family. I too am familiar with that feeling of being kicked in the gut when they phone with the request for $$$.
Like a lot of addicts mired in addiction your son is delusional. It’s weird though given enough time they can wear us down to actually give credence to their delusions. We want so badly to believe them yet time after time we are disappointed:(
We had some tough financial times with our business and therefore like you couldn’t afford to continually bail our son out. Probably was our saving grace.
Please keep reaching out if only to vent (better out than in). It doesn’t have to make sense and you definitely don’t have to wait until you feel you are saying and doing all the “right” things. This is a process (unfortunately a long one) and just as your son has work to do if he wants recovery so do we.
Cathyx24 December 2018 at 1:27 pm #6521GamblingnomoreParticipant
I recently join this forum, after my partner of 10 years had a serious conversation with me regarding my gambling addiction (It has taken me this long to realize I have an addiction). We are both retired and live very comfortably. We have a join account and I have been using all of the money that we had in our savings and most of the money that we have coming in every month. I am in charge of paying all the bills and I do every month and I guess that has made me think that I am ok with gambling. I love my partner more than anything and I dont want to lose him. My advise is that you must let your son hit bottom. I love real estate and I have been able in the past to buy several properties with the money that I earned working but every time I went gambling and won thet thought of buying more properties with that money is what kept me going back again and again so I can relate to your son. I have learned now that that will never happen. Please stay strong and dont feel gilty for not helping your son, we gambleres have put ourself in this situtation and we need to find our way out.24 December 2018 at 11:08 pm #6522
Thanks for your reply Cathyx,
It’s been a little while, since I have heard from my son. He was trying some new methods. He doesn’t believe he has a problem-just that somehow the online system has changed and he is trying to learn how to adapt. I know that he is delusional. The hard part is trying to contact him, and he gets upset that,”I just don’t get it.” I want him to reach out and say that he needs help, but he isn’t there yet. Thanks for the offer to reach out, on my part. I am sure I will be writing again.24 December 2018 at 11:08 pm #6523
Thanks for your reply Cathyx,
It’s been a little while, since I have heard from my son. He was trying some new methods. He doesn’t believe he has a problem-just that somehow the online system has changed and he is trying to learn how to adapt. I know that he is delusional. The hard part is trying to contact him, and he gets upset that,”I just don’t get it.” I want him to reach out and say that he needs help, but he isn’t there yet. Thanks for the offer to reach out, on my part. I am sure I will be writing again.27 December 2018 at 1:26 pm #6524
Just as your son has done, mine disappeared declaring that he ‘knew what he was doing’. At that time he had an active addiction to gamble which drastically altered his personal perception.
My son still has an addiction to gamble because sadly there is no cure but what he did and hopefully what your son will do, sooner rather than later, was to learn to control his addiction, allowing him to live a wonderful life, happily and healthily in control of his gambling demon.
My son had to try and prove he knew what he was doing Jolene; he believed in his addiction, even declaring that he didn’t want to stop gambling because he enjoyed it. The truth was that he didn’t like who he was, he wasn’t happy and he didn’t know why. His addicted brain was telling him that he was not responsible for his miserable situation; it was the rest of the world, who didn’t understand him. Nothing I said or did changed that belief.
My son did lose everything and even then he strove to make me believe that he didn’t gamble. During a particularly stressful phone call, in which he told me that he was ok and not gambling but needed a roof over his head for a night or two, I told him where support was to be found. Unknown to me my words made a difference and he hit rock bottom; there was a chain reaction where his addiction nearly got the upper hand but two weeks later he entered rehab and a new life. He had been actively gambling for 25 years – 23 of which he had made sure that I had no idea what was driving him with the result I unwittingly enabled him.
I kept my son’s addiction alive Jolene but you and your husband are aware of what is controlling your son and you can react accordingly. It is really important in my opinion that parents stand together. The addiction is divisive and it will pull you apart if you allow it.
Your son is ‘following his dream’ and listening to an addiction that he believes will make him happy and successful but it will not. The best thing you can do for him is to look after yourselves and enjoy your lives to the best of your ability.
I hope you can reassure your husband by telling him that his son’s addiction has nothing to do with him, that he didn’t cause it.
As Cathy says, draw back from the situation – and stay healthy. It is so hard to realise that you cannot save your child but the saving grace is that he can help himself and there is hope – buckets of hope – something I didn’t know. I survived Jolene and I know you can too because I know that your son can control his addiction and live the life you would wish for him.
Velvet18 February 2019 at 1:02 pm #6525
Hi, My son had a birthday last week. I gave him some money(not a lot) to help him pay a few of his bills. He told me less than a week ago, that he was going to keep trying some methods at online poker for the next 6 weeks and after that, he would begin a job search. I wanted to believe him, as this is the first time that he has used a time limit, but feel doubtful. There was a live poker tournament this coming week, and he wanted to participate, but wasn’t sure how much he would be able to play as his funds are low. Every live poker tournament is met with the statement that he has more experience than the other players will have and it should be almost a sure thing to win some money. This is nothing that other friends/family of poker players haven’t heard before. 5 days have gone by and late last night he called to borrow a few thousand dollars to just help him “bankroll” so that he can have the funds to play in the tournament so that he could have more opportunity to win and get back on to a good financial situation. Both my husband and I said no. We don’t have the money, nor could we throw it away if we did. I reread the previous comments. Thank you.18 February 2019 at 5:56 pm #6526
My update is that everything remains much the same. I am on this board today, reading the comments and hoping to draw strength from them. When he called last night, asking for money to help bankroll him for the upcoming tournament,which he expected to do well in, I said,”no” but I struggle a bit with resentment, in that he is a young, healthy guy, and the rest of his family have to work to pay our bills. I love him, but he isn’t listening any better than he was before. Thanks to all.
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.