Get practical support with your gambling problem Forum Friends and Family Please help – Mother addicted to gambling/alcohol/smoking

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    My mother has suffered with severe depression for many years now that goes up and down. She has an absolute heart of gold and is the kindest person – however, addiction is just the bane of her life.

    Unfortunately she has been addicted to gambling/drinking/smoking cigarettes for my whole life (I’m 26).

    There have been many different situations which seemed to be ‘rock bottom’, whether it was being bailed out financially for large debts that she had incurred on more than one occasion, losing friends/family through arguments/behaviour during these times, rehab three times (primarily for alcohol addiction), divorce, injury and so on. It seems that nothing has enough of an effect to make her want to stop or better her own life, or health for her own good.

    My sister and I have tried so many different approaches but it seems that she subconsciously creates a path of destruction when things seem to be going well. A good thing will never last too long and it is so hard to know how to feel when you just feel helpless. It does have a direct effect on us too feeling the weight of the world on our shoulders/treading on eggshells and last but not least worrying for her general well being.

    Addiction/Depression has always affected her to some capacity and it just feels like it will be an endless cycle moving forward.

    What is there left to do?

    We understand that depression & addiction are so complex without personally experiencing, only the repercussions of it, it just feels like nothing works and nothing will change her state of mind or need to change for the better.

    The arguments and pleading and professional help has not seemed to have stuck at all as she will always go back.

    Especially at this time she has told me that she can’t pay certain bills etc – I know she is borrowing from loan sharks and getting credit cards from more obscure banks that will keep lending to her and then I have walked into a room and have seen her online gambling many times even throughout the day and confronted her about it. She just doesn’t deal with it or talk about it and just gets defensive and angry or hostile even when I am calmly discussing things.

    We are worries as we know she has accumulated debts but we don’t want to enable her addictions by keep fixing the problems or never ending black holes of debt that she is causing.

    All we want for her is to live a healthy and genuinely happy life (not temporary happiness) and to deal with the root causes of these addictions and depression to be better mentally and physically.

    Really don’t know where to go or how to deal with these issues, a big one being more financial issues that have arisen recently.

    Thank you so much in advance for any advice or alternate suggestions you may have.

    I may not have explained everything in the best way but this is just what seems to be on my mind at the moment and what I can think of at the moment.





    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

    The Gambling Therapy Team

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    Hi S
    I am glad that you have found this site and I hope you will find strength in the replies as you gain knowledge to help you cope.
    Mothers are meant to be role models but sadly when they are unable to fulfil this important role, for any reason, the roles are often reversed and the child takes on a heavy burden. You are not responsible, however, for your mother’s addiction, only she can stop herself gambling but there are things you can do to protect yourself which ultimately supports your mother too.
    Does she live with you? Does she say she wants to stop gambling?
    You have recognised that by paying her debts she is only going on to accumulate more – a CG (compulsive gambler) will see a slate being wiped clean as an opportunity to indulge their addiction further. My CG told me when he finally entered a true recovery that as long as I enabled him he could see no reason to make the effort to face his demons.
    You say that you walk in on her many times throughout a day only to find her gambling online implying she is either bored or lonely or both. Does she have any other interests or hobbies that she could be stimulated into enjoying – has she got anybody willing to accompany her? I am not suggesting that it is you that gives up your time because I suspect you spend enough time worrying about her,
    Perhaps you could look at the Gordon Moody Association residential programme which is available for CGs and has a terrific success rate. Details can be found seven forums below the F&F forum and information is available from our Helpline.
    The most important thing that you and your sister can do is to put yourselves first. Your mother has a selfish addiction and while she is putting herself first she is not giving you the support that you deserve. She is wrapped up in her world of addiction and is leaving you to worry about the mess her poor behaviour creates. Taking a backward step is hard, especially when you have been sorting out her problems for so long but to control her addiction it is important that she takes responsibility for her actions.
    I will leave this first post there and await your reply but please keep posting and hopefully you will gain the knowledge to help you cope.
    Well done starting your thread, I know it isn’t easy to talk about a loved one with an addiction but being open and seeking support is the right thing to do especially when your mother’s addiction craves secrecy so that it can flourish.


    OMG Thought having a Son addicted to gambling and all the effects was bad.
    To hear of daughters suffering with a Mother’s problems is quite sobering.
    Just wanted to wish them well and pray that their Mother one day sees the light and grasps the help available.


    Hi Cliff
    I don’t think it helps to think that anybody is worse than anybody else when it comes to the addiction to gamble – the pain of the addiction is the same for all F&F even if our way of handling it differs.
    Please start you won thread to that you can get the individual support that your deserve as each member is unique.


    Just wanted to offer support.
    Will post my own thread when I have time. So much has happened over last 10 or so years I cannot even remember it all!!!


    Hi S, (hope I don’t get told off for my reply as I think everyone here just wants to help and we all view things according to own unique experiences but here goes )

    Firstly I am so pleased to Read that you and your sister haven’t repeated history by developing a gambling addiction yourselves.
    My mum also has a gambling addiction and it something I also have had to struggle with but I have now overcome it and am living a very happy life.. It’s so difficult to overcome one addiction-never mind three but it is possible and people do it every day .
    I immediately liked u as a person .i liked how you could see the good in your mother and stated it so clearly . I liked how u genuinely want to help her have a happy life- the help you want to give is about your mum not you which is hugely admirable . I liked how you did not need to use any derogatory words to describe your mum. Your love for your mum leaped off my screen.
    I think though ( and forgive me if I’m wrong) that perhaps you whole life has been spent “fixing things ” and maybe it’s time to take a step back and put yourself first . In my case , and my mum is lovely and I want to buy her everything and give her everything , but I know that it is bad for me to spend time with her without my partner somewhere in the wings . I have had to take a major step back , and I do feel guilty but I have to put my own family first . I have to put my recovery first . I don’t love her any less .

    I think Velvet’s suggestion about residential treatment is really good . It sound like your mum is using a lot of props to get through life and a break from everything could be just the thing to stop the cycle of addiction and give her space to work through issues and even forgive herself .

    I wish I could be of more help but I am not an expert in addictions and can only speak from my own experience . However I do believe heal the body and the mind will follow . I think it might be helpful for your mum, to see her gp with a view to getting some dietary supplements suitable for those with alcohol issues as alcoholism plays havoc with the body’s nutritional status .
    Please stay posting . You will find people from all backgrounds on here and with all types of experiences . It will help you understand your mother’s addiction ( as much of any of us can understand it ) and it can be somewhere where you will get to talk about the effect of this addiction on you .

    Hope this has helped a little

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