22 April 2019 at 7:53 pm #6725
Back here yet again!
Found out my son had a gambling problem Jan 18 he’s put everything in place to avoid temptation I control his bank account he only has cash but at times reluctant to produce receipts so as to gain our trust.. we know the signs that he’s gambling again although he does give us stories of where and what he’s doing we always see through it February this year he stole from my purse £20 but it’s not the amount it’s the fact he did this! He broke down saying he’s sorry etc so now me and his dad hide our wallets purse etc in our own home!! He agreed to seeing the counsellor again and has just completed 6 sessions I’ve kept a calendar of the time I felt he has relapsed and last week yet again he stole £20 from his fathers wallet ( he forgot to hide it) even though he’s had £20 from me to see a girl or so he says! I’m reluctant to believe anything he says! He’s in the process of buying his first house as I’ve been saving so much since having control of his bank he’s banned himself from online access betting shops etc but the one thing he can’t ban himself from is pubs! He’s a slot Machine addict therefore there’s always going to be access he admitted this last time he went to the local town pub with the initial £20 then came home gave us another story of why he needed to go out again this being the time he stole from his dad! He says he doesn’t know why he still does it and I don’t know what he tells the counsellor as she had said to him he ought to be having access to his bank card! I feel he will never at present be able to have his card unless I’m with him I’ve told him he will never keep a relationship as he will always have this secret I’ve told him he has the tools but needs to use them he is the only one who can change this personally I feel maybe he needs some other counselling that looks into the triggers I’m scared that f he has access to his money it would all be gone he says it’s not money to him at the time of relapse he’s adamant when he moves out he needs his card but I’m really not happy he will ever manage to get out of this this morning he’s gone off on one about wanting his card when he moves out! That I’m not allowed to stop him for gods sake he was the one who wanted me to take charge of it as obviously he doesn’t trust himself he believes moving into his own house will miraculously stop the addiction! Always turns the tables on me that I shouldn’t be stopping him from having his own money! I’m really unsure what else I can do a I’ve said he can take his card as I don’t need or want the responsibility of it as yet he hasn’t wanted it this is his problem not Mine yet I’m made to feel the bad person if anyone can offer any advice would be much appreciated I can’t wait for the day when he moves out if it actually happens!!23 April 2019 at 9:01 am #6726duncParticipant
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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The Gambling Therapy Team24 April 2019 at 10:57 am #6727
Welcome from me.
It is extremely hard for parents of a compulsive gambler to put in place barriers that their child will not circumnavigate. It is natural to feel you can leave money or valuables around in your own home without fear of having them stolen by a family member – but – when that family member has an addiction to gamble the barriers must be strengthened. There is no shame in your son’s addiction – it was neither his fault nor yours that he owns this destructive compulsion, therefore, protecting him from stealing from you is caring for him as well as yourselves.
He obviously hasn’t put everything in place to avoid temptation – he is visiting pubs where the temptation is massive. I fail to understand why a counsellor would tell you son that he ought to have his own bank card – you are doing everything right trying to protect his finances. What the counsellor ‘actually’ said is, of course, unknown when your son probably distorts what he has heard to fit his personal perception. There is no point in to-ing and fro-ing with him about what is a lie and what isn’t – it is better for you to accept that you cannot believe him at the moment because he has an addiction – it is so wearing always fighting to get any truth. Hopefully it will stop him turning the tables on you if you avoid such conversations for now.
Most compulsive gamblers I know who live in control of their addiction carry ‘debit only’ cards and maybe this is what your son should be considering when he leaves home eventually.
I don’t know what counselling your son has had but it would be usual for a counsellor to discuss triggers with a client anyway. If he really wants to control his addiction then maybe he could look at the GMA residential programme, some details of which are in the lower forums ‘Friends and Family of GMA Residents’ and ‘GMA residential treatment Q&A’. Our Helpline would be willing to communicate with you and/or your son about this support too. I personally know it is amazing. The Helpline is one-to-one and anonymous. We also have terrific facilitated groups for compulsive gamblers which offer judgement free support.
I accept that he believes that moving into his own house will solve his problems but sadly the demons go with him until he has faced them down and determined to truly accept a gamble-free life but his distorted thinking will prevent him from facing this. I also wonder if, him saying this to you, is not just further manipulation to gain more time before he wakes up – which is what compulsive gamblers are prone to do. It takes courage to face this addiction Shirley and your son appears to be lacking the oomph required to take him forward – for the moment. However, I would not be writing to you now if I didn’t know that your son could change his life and be the man you want him to be – and more importantly, the man he would like to be.
It would be great to ‘meet’ you in an F&F group – nothing said in the group appears on the forum – it is safe and you are welcome.
Velvet24 April 2019 at 12:26 pm #6728
Thank you for the reply I k ow I’m right in my thinking and you have just clarified it. This time of year he had a lot
Of free time as he works on a summer rota meaning he gets lots of rest days my thinking is he gets bored other than watching TV going cinema with his father or gaming in his room he does nothing to fulfill his free time he has been told by his counsellor he has to keep busy as this could be the trigger he has been given all the tools yet he chooses not to use them! Time and time again I say the same thing and he agrees he needs to do more yet never does!! Only last night he broke down at stealing last week from his dads wallet I don’t react to this as later the evening he went out with a so called work colleague to do play darts said he needed money and as he continually asks for a card I gave him back his debit card that I added £20 he already had 4.95 so this made a total of just under £25 I did say get receipts or show me the app with the amount you spent this way we will start believing you again anyhow he came home after 11pm seeing he went out 6pm I know he had probably gambled I did ask him if he had any money left last night and he said yes I said well show me to which he said I’m tired so this really tells me he has been nice again gambled I’m at a loss as to how you can stop slot machine addiction when they’re everywhere pubs restaurants of course he has to avoid these places but being single it’s a place where most people go and meet up I know he probably did meet this guy for a while then instead of coming home went to one of the pubs he uses I did say to him are you not embarrassed about walking into a pub just to play slots he did say he was!! At least he went to work as in the past he has always made out he was ill through guilt I think this being he doesn’t sleep I don’t feel he totally wants to give up gambling as with all the help he’s had in the past still hasn’t made much of a difference admittedly he hasn’t got payday loans again I am hoping he does get this house and moves out as why he is living under my roof I see the addictive side as well and get all the stories and lies he admitted last week was a total lie when he had told me he was seeing a girl whenever he goes out it’s always 20-30 pounds he needs yet if he goes out with his brother in law he can have £20 and come back with change which I don’t have to ask to see obviously because gambling is his secret addiction he said he has been on this website online chat but this seems only when we have an argument over his lies! Do you think him having this debit card is the right way for him he did have an overdraft on it in february this being why he handed it back to me! He has had that remains bed I actually saw the message he sent saying he had a gambling addiction and the reply it had been removed sorry about this long post just I really am at a loss of what else to do25 April 2019 at 10:38 am #6729
A compulsive gambler will often feign tiredness and illness giving him time to think out how he is going to answer the next question or to avoid going to work when his addiction has caused him to fail again. Lack of sleep is usually due to his addiction going round and round in his head thinking of how to get money for the next gamble. His misery is more than likely due to his disappointment over a gamble rather than feelings of guilt. It is understandable that you keep saying the same things over and over but the addiction creates so much white noise in his mind that he probably isn’t hearing you. Trying to get him to make sense of his senseless behaviour takes the energy out of you and doesn’t get you anywhere.
Your son can control his addiction even with all the slot machines in the pubs and restaurants but he will need to use the tools he has been given – only he can do this of course. Saying that he is embarrassed about walking into such places to pour his money into slot machines is, I suggest, paying lip service. Once he is triggered he will not feel embarrassment, only a desire to gamble.
I have re-read what I have written and it is a very sorry message – however, as I have said earlier he can control his addiction and that is what is important for you to know. How old is he Shirley? Are you and your husband in agreement about the way you want to support your son? I ask this because the addiction is divisive and it is common for parents to find themselves arguing over who is doing what. A united front is the best thing for your son.
It is important that you sleep at night Shirley. Worry will not help your son but it will affect your health. If you become ill with stress then you will not be able to help yourself or him – it is, therefore, essential that you look after you.
I think that debit cards are ok when there is some appreciation of money but from what you have said it doesn’t seem that your son’s addiction is at that stage yet – money is, therefore, only a means with which to gamble. It doesn’t matter if he gambles with 20p or £2,000, the act of gambling keeps his addiction juiced in his brain. Was the £20, that you put on his card, money that he had earned?
If he does post on this, or another, addiction therapy site, I suggest that you do not read what he has written. A gambler will lie but other gamblers know this – gamblers in control of their addiction will say – ‘you can’t kid a kidder!’ There is often a lot of lies surrounding what a gambler will say in early recovery, even to those who understand him – it only distresses F&F who are wanting to see only truth. His true recovery will start when he is ready – you will not know which is the true one when it starts and nor will he – but start they do.
I really hope you will join me this evening, in a group, or soon because there are things to say that do not appear on the forum.
Velvet25 April 2019 at 11:10 am #6730
Thank you velvet I have just read your reply also I just got a call from my son whose at work he is 26 by the way he owned up to spending £300 on the card that I gave him Tuesday night yet another overdraft which he unlocked on the card! I knew he had been gambling but as I had said previously I’m not getting into an argument with him… when I spoke to him this morning he says he’s sick of feeling like this and he needs help I did ask him if he had actually had been to the counselling he had recently and he assures me he has even suggested I call them… I did suggest maybe a residential would be best for him because this has got to stop he’s going through buying a house And to be honest I want him to have this house he earns enough money to support himself as long as I’m controlling his money which he will have to accept he can go ahead with the purchase as he is at work I’ve told him to concentrate on working today and we will discuss this more tonight when he gets home I’ve had the usual I’m sorry mum for putting you through this yet again as for me and my husband now we do both support each other and agree with the way forward for him I’m not going to let it affect my relationship I will never just walk away as I already have one daughter that I lost in a car crash 14 years ago I’m not prepared to lose my son and as hard as it is I will always be there for him and do whatever I can to getting back on track thank you once again I will keep you updated25 April 2019 at 11:12 pm #6731
I am not suggesting that there is a connection but did your son get counselling of any sort when his sister was killed. He was at a very vulnerable age and many gamblers start gambling in their early teens.
It is great to hear that you and your husband are walking shoulder to shoulder – it is common for couples to have a wedge thrust between them with a CG child.
His words this morning suggest he is ready to tackle his demons – I hope he was still receptive this evening.
This is short but I have just finished my group and my bed is calling – I just wanted to get a reply off to you quickly
Velvet26 April 2019 at 8:05 am #6732
My son was 12 when his sister was killed we both were the last to see her when she left the house never to come home, yes he did have counselling through school I also had input as to what he spoke about and basically he said he had to be strong for his mum and dad I did feel he had dealt with his grief yet that was only as a child since adulthood 4 years ago he had a crash in his work van thankfully he was ok and was just weather conditions no one else involved he did say when the van turned over al his thoughts went to what his sister must have gone through I must admit the counsellor I had through break even did say she felt his stemmed from grief with what I told her.. he also had CBT through work where he said he did discuss everything including his sister I know there has to be a root to why this escalated as it has and he has agreed more counselling privately with a counsellor who deals with gambling I did speak to the helpline for advice and was told more counselling I found one local she actually works for break even where he went for his last counselling and knew the lady he had previously seen although she offered advice they didn’t really look into why and what triggers the relapses he’s had also told him to maybe keep a diary of each day he is gamble free I read a lot of posts where this has helped he has said he needs to be more proactive in filling his free time so from today we will see, he has a counselling session Thursday I’m hoping this gets him on the road to recovery I’ve also looked I to residential as he went to a retreat for 4 days last year which has cured his anxiety so I know this could be where we go if this current counselling is not enough he has agreed to me holding his card again he also called the bank and arranged to totally remove overdraft facility whilst I’m writing this he has told me he will get receipts for everything he spends as he is ready for this to end!! I really do hope so
Thanks for your input I will keep updated here1 May 2019 at 4:23 pm #6733
My experience has been that we ‘think’ our child has dealt with grief or rejection; we do everything in our power to lessen the trauma and we leave the door open for discussion at any time but I do think it is difficult for a parent to start a conversation with a child when the child appears to be coping well and time has elapsed. Sometimes matters appear to have to go desperately wrong before avenues of conversations are opened allowing healing to take place.
I have personal experience that rejection was dealt with by my son when he attended the GMA programme and I have every reason to thank GMA and the staff for the rest of my life for what they did.
Your son certainly has strong reasons to seek support until he is gamble-free; not just to cope with his grief over his sister but any trauma he undoubtedly felt when he was involved in accident himself. Having been involved in an accident in a car myself I know that the trauma experienced can be very confusing.
How did he do when he had his counselling session? Did he tell you about it? It is no reflection on a loved one when a gambler doesn’t want to talk about their counselling because of the emotions that are stirred up – but a counsellor knows how to steer those emotions to a place of safety. If your son has not opened up yet, I suggest you give him time and maybe one day he will want to talk.
It is so easy to keep wanting answers from a child with a gambling problem when they are often not able to give answers. A child in recovery must learn to trust that the parents will listen and not try and tell them what to do or how they should be.
It is good that your son realises that he will need to be proactive in filling his free time – the void left when a gambling addiction is controlled is very difficult to fill. Good counselling will give him the necessary tools to deal with this void.
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