Get practical support with your gambling problem Forum Friends and Family Posted here four years ago — my 70 year old Father gambles less but things have gotten worse

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    I should clarify on my title. Likely the only reason he gambles “less” is beacause there’s nothing left for him to gamble away. 

    Over the past years, since the day I got a job at 16, my Fathers gambling problems have likely costed me $7-$10K. I’ve bought him a car. I’ve paid his rent. I’ve bought his food.

    I don’t believe it will ever end, but I have hard choices to make. He’s 70 and behind on his rent, can’t afford his heart medification, and can’t afford food. I can pay his rent, and pay for his food — I can’t afford his medication.

    I don’t know where to go from here. It’s not that I can’t afford to the help him, I’ve worked hard to become everything he isn’t and as a resut I’m comfrotable for a 20′ something. Itst that I’m scared that it will never end.

    At what point do I say no. If I say no now I risk loosing my father. I’ll have to deal with the guilt of knowing he died on the streets. I just wish the government had social service programs for people like him.

    I’ve called so many elderly housing places and they all tell me 3+ year waiting lists, food stamps pay him $18 a month, and his supplemental medical insurance doesn’t start until January.

    I feel so guilty and honestly just scared of what the future holds for my Father, and the impact it will have on me.


    Hello Dylan

    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.

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    Hi Dylan
    Does your father recognise that he has a problem, has he ever sought help? Are you the only member of your family who is aware of your father’s addiction and behaviour?
    You are loading yourself with a burden of guilt of guilt that is unnecessary; you do not make your father gamble, you have not been the cause of his addiction. I appreciate the depth of your concern and the heartache that you are feeling but in my opinion the best thing for both of you is for you to refuse to enable his addiction.
    Do you give your father cash to pay for his rent, buy his food and medication because giving a compulsive gambler cash is the same as giving a drink to an alcoholic? When his addiction is triggered he will probably take any amount, however small, that you give him and squander it – that is the nature of his addiction. I’m sorry to say that your situation will probably never alter until you do stop sorting out your his gambling debts.
    In my opinion it would be good to let him know that enablement is ceasing because you love him. Maybe you could buy his medication for a month and some food and let him know that you cannot support him any more unless he seeks help.
    I am hoping that you do have other family members who can support you because I know this is a very lonely road for you. If you do have support maybe it would be a good idea to have an intervention with him where everybody sits down with him and levels with him on the seriousness of what he is doing to himself and to you. It is important if you do this however that everybody is in agreement over what you are saying.
    There is no magic pill to give your Dad to stop him gambling, or crystal ball to see what will happen but I do know that if nothing changes then nothing will change.
    70 isn’t too old to change, he would be welcome on our Helpline, in our CG groups and ‘My Journal’ forum. He would also be welcome in GA. The problem is that he has to want to help himself, you cannot save him and because of that you have nothing to feel guilty about.
    Please keep posting

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