1 July 2018 at 9:51 am #6316
My son is 19 and has been gambling for just over a year. He has approx £20,000 worth of debt, which a lot of is in my name. He is in the armed forces so comes home every other weekend which i think adds to my worry. He is very much in denial and will not talk about his addiction. He is constantly lying to us asking me and my husband to send him money for loans tht need paying, food etc etc. I will admit i send him it because it breaks my heart if i dont think he can eat. He has a debt management plan for the pay day loans he got and we put a block on his phone so he couldnt access the gambling sites. How wrong! He is going through paypal now and has recently opened up two more pay day loans. He will definately not be able to pay these or anything else. I know from reading posts on here not to give him money but i would really like to know how orthers have got out of the mess. Thank you.1 July 2018 at 10:54 am #6317
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 🙂
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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 Team1 July 2018 at 11:01 am #6318
I just wanted to let you know that I have read your post and understand what you are saying completely – even the bit about sending him money because you think your son might not eat.
I will reply to you more fully tomorrow when I have given your post the attention it deserves. In the meantime I leave you with the knowledge that your son can live a wonderful life in control of his addiction, if it wasn’t so I wouldn’t be here writing to you.
Velvet1 July 2018 at 11:53 am #6319
Thank you1 July 2018 at 12:16 pm #6320
Thank you2 July 2018 at 4:51 pm #6321
Sit tight, the message is tough but I believe you already know that.
Your son’s debt management plan has helped your son cope with his gambling debts so far but it will also have left him believing that what has gone has gone and the slate is clean; now on to the next gamble and the elusive win that will never come.
The addiction to gamble strips away feelings of self-esteem and self-confidence, so your son is lying to you to cover up his feelings of failure; he doesn’t want you to know that he feels worthless – he would probably never admit this even to himself. Asking him about his gambling will only result in lies; telling him that he has to stop gambling will only result in lies – in my opinion, such questions and advice are worthless.
Positive words have more persuasion such as encouraging any successes he has in sport or his profession. Disappointment only serves to convince him that he is right to believe he is useless.
My son told me that the minute I entered the room he was in, his addiction would fire up ready to confuse me. I was an unwitting participant in this behaviour and he knew it, resulting in me asking all the wrong questions and spending far too long doing all the wrong things for all the right reasons.
Experience tells me that compulsive gamblers have more hope of controlling their addiction earlier when there is a united front from a family. I know that the best thing a parent can do is to learn about the addiction to gamble so that pitfalls can be avoided. What are your husband’s thoughts about you sending money? It will be great if you can offer a united front against your son’s addiction without appearing to be against him. Do you have other children and if so are they succeeding in their lives?
Enablement feeds an addiction and keeps it alive and can keep it alive year in and year out until something changes because unless something changes, nothing changes. The problem is, that these are words which are easy to write and often hell on earth to carry out. You have started to make a difference by seeking support for you. Your son does not want to hurt you and the best way to support him is not to allow yourself to become part of the wreckage of his addiction.
In this first full reply to you, I am not going to launch in about enablement because I know you have been reading other posts. For now I would like to ask you to keep posting, hopefully sharing with your husband your findings and to give yourself hope which will reflect in your behaviour when your son comes home.
I really hope you will join me in a group either on a Tuesday or a Thursday between 10pm and 11pm. Nothing said in the group appears on the forum, it is private and safe.
There is so much to say Alaska and I always want to jump to the last page but understanding each chapter is important to getting it right. It took me months to even begin to understand my son’s addiction so please keep posting and together we will hopefully find the right way to support your son.
Velvet2 July 2018 at 8:08 pm #6322
I really appreciate your comments. My husband is struggling to try understand the addiction he just sees lies and more lies… i know we hve to be strong and i get that we need to focus on our sons strengths but it is so difficult when he says how shit his life is and the wage he gets is going straight out to pay his debts, however he still got more! Im really uncertain how to help him as he says there isnt a problem but his bank statement tells me a whole different story. We need to get my son help but he doesnt want it. I would love to talk in the live forum but i am up so early for work im in bed at 9. Any words of advice are truly appreciated.5 July 2018 at 12:05 am #6323
You finished your first post by asking how others got out of the mess when their sons took them to the limit and beyond.
I was an unwitting participant in my son’s gambling cycle for 23 years Alaska, worried that he wouldn’t eat, wouldn’t have a roof over his head and would never achieve a good future unless I bailed him out. He told me after 23 years that he gambled but he might have well have said he was a brain surgeon because I could no longer trust a word that he uttered. I was an ignorant participant in his gambling cycle. I joined Gam-Anon and gradually began to understand my son’s addiction and to pull back from doing what I thought was ‘the right thing’ for him. Two years later, when all enablement had ceased, he turned his life around and became the man he wanted to be and the son I could enjoy and respect.
I am not for one minute suggesting that you will be waiting over 20 years for your son to wake up because you are seeking support now and you have recognised his problem. In recognising his problem you are able to support him by not enabling his addiction as I did.
There is a strong possibility that any money you send your son for food will be used to gamble because the addiction has the greater appetite. He is not going to starve when he is coming home every other weekend. Sending him cash is the same as giving a drink to an alcoholic and I am sure you wouldn’t do that. As I said earlier, a united front with your husband on enablement is really helpful.
The forces can offer a safety net for compulsive gamblers, your son presumably doesn’t pay rent or bills if he is in barracks and this possibly leaves him thinking he has money to play with, money to lose. It is possible that your son’s mates gamble and probably manage to gamble responsibly but your son cannot do this – this can make a young man angry and confused – he doesn’t know why he can’t be like them.
When your son says that his life is shit, does he expand on which areas have disappointed him; does he feel threatened by siblings appearing to manage their lives better than he is doing? Is he unhappy with his choice of career, is he being bullied? Was he happy before he joined up?
In my opinion it is good to let an active gambler know that you are seeking support, that you are taking his growing debts seriously even if he is not. Maybe you could download the Gamblers Anonymous 20-questions from their web site and leave them in his room; it is possible that he thinks he is unique with his problem. If it was me I would also leave times and places for GA meetings and information on this web site. Our Helpline is terrific, one-to-one and private. Offering help by giving him information on GA or this site will hopefully show him that you are behind him.
Maybe you could print off the following links for him to look up in his own time.
He might screw up any information you give him but he might not – directing him to support is a great way to help him. I eventually told my son about GMA during an incredibly stressful telephone conversation and somehow that chance remark triggered a response in him. I don’t know why on that particular day and at that time particular time I managed to say the right thing and he managed to listen but true recoveries do start somewhere.
Your husband’s struggle is understandable; to a logical mind the lies spun by an active compulsive gambler can be incomprehensible but trying to make sense of the senseless is a waste of energy. Neither of you can save your son, only your son can do that but you can make a difference and I firmly believe that gaining knowledge of the addiction is the best thing you can do.
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