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    Hi my son has a gambling problem that he admitted about a year ago he was in debt and couldn’t see a way out I now manage his bank and then as only having cash he’s been

    “Ok” although there have been periods where I’ve suspected he’s doing it again but he’s always in denial and gets so defensive he had about 6 weeks counselling last Summer was quick to say he doesn’t need it as he doesn’t gamble anymore something I did find hard to believe you don’t recover overnight! The past couple of weeks he’s been asking for

    More money than he really needs for a night out always making excuses for Fuel for car etc the counsellor did say to gain our trust he should always get receipts for his spends he’s only done this a handful of times we now know the signs seeing he lives at home still which he doesn’t like and is always in denial anyhow he got another bank account so I can add monies and he can show me what he’s spent for the past couple of weeks he’s been so defensive when I ask to see what he has left a sign he’s gambling again he’s already signed up

    To the gambling ban in areas he frequently gambled

    He went out Friday night supposedly meeting a work colleague for a drink he wanted money so I said I will

    Put £10 on the card as he can only have 1 drink as driving and enough for a coke seeing he had work Saturday at first he hesitated then said ok then £10 he came home 11pm very subdued and went straight to bed where as generally he will say about his evening so we kind of gathered he’d been doing

    something anyhow I got up sat morning he was already up saying he didn’t feel well so wasn’t going to work another sign I said what have you done and he said gambling he’s got an overdraft on this new card and spent £120 on slot machines for to not the money he needs as he has a good well

    Pains job and not be managed to save a few thousand pounds as he wants to buy his own house i said I need to have this card a she can’t be trusted he said he would delete the overdraft on his account yet it’s so easy to just click on again I paid this off so he’s clear again now my question is should I just take this card away and he just have cash again? I do feel I have a child again with regard to this he’s 26 so a grown man there’s always going to be slot machines you can’t ban these as he does go to pubs/ restaurants with his new girlfriend who

    Knows nothing about this! He’s. Not angry just feels he’s let us down again but it’s himself he’s letting down he says he doesn’t want to do it anymore but says this every time! he’s not unhappy now has a good job a nice girlfriend any advice would be most helpful sorry for the long post but wanted to give some background



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    Hi Shirley
    I hope when you say that your son is not angry that it means he not is not behaving unacceptably towards you, apart from gambling.
    Sadly many compulsive gamblers do not take on board all they hear when in counselling for the first time but hopefully your son will have taken on board some of what he heard, even if he is slipping and sliding about at the moment.
    Your son is young and will not want to accept he has an addiction that he cannot control without support, he is maybe still thinking that he can win and that it is not his fault when he loses.
    It seems to me from your post that your son is trying to push the boundaries a little at a time in the hope that you don’t see the bigger picture unfolding. He has a well paid job which he undoubtedly hopes will cover any slips but I am sure you are aware that his addiction will get worse without control.
    If it was me, I would sit him down when he was in a good state of mind and tell him that I do not want to be his minder but I would like to give him the right support. I would tell him that he had led me to believe, following his counselling that it was better for him to hand over ‘all’ his finances until he could trust himself and I would ask him to willingly hand over his card. I know it feels like treating him as a child but it really isn’t – it is treating him as a man with a problem that deserves the right support. I know of many, many compulsive gamblers who have willingly handed over their finances because they have accepted the good intentions of those who are trying to help them – in my view it is important that your son trusts you which might sound odd but I know it to be true.
    I think it would be good to tell him that you will not clear any more debts for him as these are his responsibility and are the consequences of his own actions. Clearing gambling debts is to enable an addiction just as giving a drink is to an alcoholic, even if it I just a little one. No judgement Shirley, just information, I did it myself.
    Please post again and let me know how you are doing. I know how tough it is but I also know that your son can control his addiction or I wouldn’t be writing to you.
    Well done writing your first post. It would be great to ‘meet’ you in a group on a Tuesday or Thursday evening between 10-11pm. We could ‘talk’ in real time – nothing we say will appear on the forum, it is private and safe.


    Thank you for your input I think I need to clear up a few things when I say my son is not angry I didn’t mean he was in any way harmful to me or his father it’s just his attitude changes when he’s been gambling and he’s quite abrupt as he realises I know the signs … also when I say I paid the overdraft I should have said this was with his money as I am the one who accesses his main bank account he has no passwords etc I’ve been managing it now for a little over a year now his wages and all bills are paid through this account hence how I have managed to save quite a bit of money for him.. he has no access whatsoever to this account now ..he opened another bank account this is where I add money he needs from his main account  and the one he got an overdraft from (i have seen the messages from the bank that this service is now deleted on his account he did say he has a gambling problem when he asked for it to be removed) I don’t give him money at all I learnt this from telephone counselling I had last year… this past relapse was the most amount of money in one go for a good few months every time he relapses he can’t work the next day as he feels physically ill as he has not slept this has happened on quite a few occasions.. once he has owned up he then feels guilt over what he’s done and as much as he’s  put the physical actions to stop he’s not dealing with the mental part of why he keeps doing it I find it hard to understand as he doesn’t know what triggers it therefore I feel he needs face to face counselling again which he has been offered the last time he went in September 2018. For if he’s not dealing with why he’s relapsing how can he ever recover? He says he’s angry that he’s done it again and doesn’t want to do it again so he needs to address why a year on he is still getting the urge to gamble yet he’s adamant he doesn’t need the counselling something I can’t make him do!  he has this app and says he has read a lot I’m hoping this will help in the long term and eventually in him gaining responsibility once again for his own finances something I really can’t see a time when he can be trusted!!


    Hi Shirley
    Thank you for your clarification.
    Probably the most common cause for a relapse is complacency. Your son has had counselling and appears to now believe he can handle his addiction without further support.
    The support on this site is anonymous, our gambler’s groups are facilitated and brilliant, he would be welcome to join them – he might be surprised to hear that his thinking has been voiced by others before him and found to be flawed. There is nothing quite like someone who has walked the recovery path before putting someone in early recovery straight. Our Helpline is there for him, it is one-to one and again it is anonymous.
    I agree that you cannot make him ‘do’ anything but I firmly believe in giving signposts to good support.
    Many compulsive gamblers do not know for sure what triggers them, they can be triggered by happy things just as much as sad, ups as much as downs. Talking and sharing with those who understand them often unlocks hidden thoughts.
    Kee posting

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