3 June 2013 at 8:17 pm #1516
Background: Older brother I’ll call him ‘D’ age 70 just admitted he has a gambling problem to me (I’m 58 so younger by 12 years) I am his only living sibling, while he has 2 kids from his first marriage he was not in their life when they were growing up and they will have nothing to do with him as adults (understandably since he was not there for them).
He is twice divorced (no kids from the 2nd marriage which ended over 20 years ago).
‘D’ has never been good with money, as our oldest brother (now deceased) said, any time ‘D’ has a dime in his pocket he spends a quarter, ‘D’ has never saved any money in his life, always had older used cars, the only way he had a house is that my parents left it to him in the will (oldest brother and I were fine with that).
When ‘D’ retired, his house and car were paid for. He retired at 62 with visions of golfing and fishing, however he had not saved a dime towards retirement and is living on social security only — $1100 a month. Not a fortune but with no house or car payment, livable if your tastes are not too high. At age 63 he got a part time job to make ends meet, by age 66 he was working full time while still collecting Social Security and asking oldest brother and myself for loans, which we both denied. I saw an email from oldest brother to him asking if he had a gambling problem but never saw an answer and a few months after that our oldest brother died.
Now 2 months ago ‘D’ admitted to me that he had been gambling and told me that he had taken a mortgage out on the house, a title loan on his car, sold his fishing boat and anything of value in the house (while we email regularly, he lives 1000 miles away from me so we only see him every couple of years and didn’t know about any of this), he had not paid the taxes on the home in a couple of years and had not made mortgage payments for long enough that the bank started foreclosure proceedings a while back; he will be kicked out this month. He also had his car repossessed for not making payments to the title loan place.
His $1100+ Social Security is not enough to live on if he has to get an apartment, a car, insurance, food, electricity, etc. So after discussing it over with my wife we offered him a room with a private bath in our home, all utilities paid and even his food and we would charge him $650, leaving him $450 for himself every month, and we’d even pay for the airline ticket to get him here.
He says he was going to the local Indian Casinos (luckily there are none within 100 miles of my home) and when I asked him about online gambling he said he didn’t do that but he did play poker online for points – I am not sure I believe him.
Sorry the above background was so long
My Questions: How far do I trust him? Do I trust him until/unless he proves himself untrustworthy?
I am letting him use a spare computer we own to be able to check his email, etc. Do I put a blocking software like NetNanny on the computer that he will be using to keep him out of gambling sites?
I don’t really understand the entire compulsive gambling thing and am getting quite an education from sites like this one.
Any other advice for me?3 June 2013 at 10:08 pm #1517
Welcome to Gambling Therapy.
In answer to your last questions – no you cannot trust him – he cannot trust himself so you certainly should not. I recommend you look at betfilter.com and install a block on your computer.
Knowledge of the addiction to gamble is the best way to cope with it. You cannot stop your brother gambling – only he can do that and he has to want to do it. He ***** the right treatment if he wants to control his addiction which is every bit as serious as ***** and alcohol. Giving money to a CG (compulsive gambler) is the same as giving a drink to an ********* – it feeds the addiction.
The addiction to gamble drastically changes the reality of the CG to fit their personal perception, it is the master of manipulation and threats, it is cajoling and friendly when it wants enablement and vicious and unpleasant when it is threatened.
The addiction is divisive and seeks enablement by dividing families. Please make sure that you and your wife unite against his addiction. .
I wouldn’t be writing on here if I didn’t know that the addiction to gamble can be controlled and there is no age that is too late for recovery. You have given your brother a tremendous opportunity to change but his addiction is strong. I think it is important that you lay your boundaries down quickly and adhere to them – it is good that he knows you will not tolerate his addiction hurting you or your wife.
I cannot tell you what to do but I hope you ensure that your property and finances are secure.
Your brother is not bad – he would never have known when he first gambled that this terrible addiction was going to be his lot in life. By the time he might have been aware it would have been too late for a simple answer.
I hope you will look at our Friends and Family topic forum which is just below this forum. We focus on specific issues that are fairly common.
There is a lot to say and I have come upon your post late in the evening but I will write to you tomorrow.
3 June 2013 at 10:50 pm #1518AnonymousGuest
I can only relate my experience. Velvet is correct…no you can’t trust him. My husband is a CG and I can not trust a thing he says. He will tell me whatever he thinks will make me give him money (which he knows I won’t do anymore) or let him have his way (gamble). My husband attends GA (gambler’s anonymous) however I don’t think he is quite in the right mind set yet. I hope someday sooner than later he will be. The only word of caution is if he moves in with you be prepared for this to become a firm part of your life as well. I am still learning how to deal with CG so it does not totally control all I do. It may be a little different for you being that he is a sibling and not a spouse, I really don’t know. Don’t get me wrong I love my husband and I pray every day he beats this but I am LEARNING I have to take care of myself as well, because it’s easy to get lost in the I can save them mentality. I am trying to break that habit of mine right now. I can understand why you would offer this to your brother, I would do the same for one of my siblings. Like Velvet said have your boundaries, whatever they are. And whatever you set up make sure you can stand by them. In some ways the CG is a child. If you don’t stand by your word they will test you and push and run right over you. And trust me when you draw a line they will challenge it and facing my CG down, showing him I meant what I said, was very, very hard. Because part of you aches for them. I wish you luck and hope to hear from you in the future. I know I have found help, comfort and strength from this group.4 June 2013 at 1:10 am #1519adeleParticipant
I am glad you have found this site. It is a very wise and important thing that you are educating yourself about compulsive gambling. I hope your wife is doing the same.
I’m sure it was a difficult decision to have your brother move in to your home, especially if you had some idea at the time of the collateral damage the addiction of a compulsive gambler (CG) can cause to family and friends (non-CGs).
Velvet – who you’ve already met – and other advisors and members of this site will be a tremendous help to you, I promise.
I too am from Texas, so I want to make sure you are aware (and you may already know) that we DO have a number of the Indian reservation casinos scattered around in Texas, as well as horse racing tracks and casino cruise ships at the Texas ports. Of course there are also casinos just across the borders of Texas in New Mexico and Oklahoma.
Even though it sounds like your brother will not have a car, there are buses that run back and forth to these gambling venues every day for cheap fares, and I think most of their passengers are senior citizens.
Something else I have learned: Unless you live close to a metropolitan area, the recovery resources you and your brother may need are not readily available in Texas – such as Gamblers Anonymous and Gamanon, and qualified counselors and rehabilitation facilities for compulsive gamblers. I live in West Texas, and to my knowledge, there is nothing in this area at all. If you know or learn of anything out here, please let me know. I will certainly do the same for you.
Neither I nor anyone else can tell you what you should do. However, I can tell you a few things I have done based on my experiences in the last 2 years of living with my CG husband…
Among other things, I have installed Betfilter on every computer he has access to (see the discount code for GT members in the column to the right), I have a lock on our home office door where I keep valuables and anything financial (jewelry, coins, silver, my laptop and iPad and anything else that can be pawned, blank checks, car titles, etc.), I installed a locking mailbox so checks and credit cards no longer disappear, and I enrolled both of our Social Security numbers and all of our accounts with LifeLock for identity theft and credit protection.
I implemented each of these barriers only after very painful and expensive betrayals of my trust by my husband of 25 years.
With what you have learned about the insidious nature of this addiction, and all the things your brother has disregarded and lost to gambling – right down to the roof over his head your parents provided for him – you must realize that he very likely will have no regard or appreciation for you or your things either. I urge you to be “over the top” cautious until and unless he is willing to do the work necessary to change.
Every thing and every one is a means to a gamble for a CG that is not in control of his or her addiction. I have learned that the hard way.
Please read Velvet’s posts carefully and repeatedly. She knows this beast well.
I hope you will continue to post and read on this site as I think we may be the only Texans here.
I wish you the best.
"… should I give up or should I just keep trying to run after you when there’s nothing there?" Adele
— 6/4/2013 4:47:41 AM: post edited by adele.– 6/9/2013 7:46:00 AM: post edited by adele.4 June 2013 at 1:51 pm #1520twilight16Participant
If you are not careful you will be suckered in by this awful addiction as it is the master manipulator. It especially preys on family using them to get enablement, knowing what strings to pull and knowing how to play on their emotions. It knows no bounds and it cares only for itself. You are wise that you are educating yourself as this will be your best defense. In my opinion it is not enough that your brother has admitted to having a gambling problem. He didn’t when your now deceased brother had asked him, but now that he is in a financial jam, he has. Still it is not good enough and shouldn’t mean all is good because it is not. By bringing him in your house without a written agreement, ****** all the terms (money) and rules (no gambling) and consequences is opening the door for the addiction to do as it pleases. It has taken your brother’d home which your parents worked hard for and now it is gone. You need to protect yourself emotionally and financially and your marriage. It is best that you never trust the addiction, it is capable of things you can’t imagine. I learned to separate the addiction from the person. I did this with my father who is your brother’s age, but again this is a strategy and is not always possible. I know this addiction well and it ***** to constantly placed in check by the cg and friends and family. If your brother is sincere in his efforts to stop gambling, he won’t object. He will be happy that someone is on his side fighting this addiction. I hope this is true of your brother and if not, be prepared for the roller coaster ride. However,
always remember you can get off whenever you want. This place is full of great people, read more and don’t let the addiction bully you.
(I believe we get our greatest strength from the hardest obstacles)4 June 2013 at 4:05 pm #1521
I came back to write as I said I would and I saw all your replies. I think I will await a reaction from you before I write again.
4 June 2013 at 4:47 pm #1522
Thank you all for your quick replies.
I believe I will install betfilter. It was my first idea to install a filter, but my wife said ‘we need to give him a chance’ Personally I think he had his chance when he gambled away the house and car, anyway thanks for confirming how I felt.
To adele – nice to know there’s another Texan here. We do live in the suburbs of Dallas and I knew there were buses up to the Oklahoma casinos, but the places they pick people up are quite a ways from here. I don’t know of any casinos in this area.
I don’t know if he is willing to do a gamblers anonymous type program or not. While he has lost everything I am not sure from the way he is talking that he thinks he has a problem, it sounds more like he thinks he just had some bad luck. I say this because he made the comment about the recent large Powerball drawing that if he had bought a ticket his money problems could have been over – unfortunately I wasn’t quick enough thinking to say something like ‘gambling is the cause of your problems not the cure’ of course I thought of that reply 2 days later instead of at the time.
Since he does not have a car, and will be in a strange (to him) city with no friends here yet, I think that and the betfilter program will limit his ability to gamble. Unfortunately he still will be able to buy lottery tickets from a store 2 blocks away, but I don’t see what we can do about that, I can not lock him in the house and both my wife and I have jobs so he will be on his own about 9 hours a day weekdays.
I do worry about the fact that we do have some nice things in our house and he did sell off a bunch of stuff from his/our parents house to finance his gambling. I guess the first time something comes up missing I’ll have to decide from there.
My problem is I don’t want to be his ‘jailer’ I want to be his concerned brother who will not put up with gambling/********, etc. I admit I really don’t like him moving in with us, but he’s family.
I really appreciate the advise as I’ve never had to deal with this type of issue before.4 June 2013 at 6:37 pm #1523
The answer you would like to have given would have fallen on deaf ears.
The following is an adaptation of something I often use. It is not recognised by professionals as a way of dealing with the addiction but it is something that many of us have used that has helped. I hope it helps you understand your brother’s addiction a little better.
Imagine your brother’s addiction as a slavering beast in the corner of the room. As long as you keep your cool and don’t threaten that addiction it stays quiet, although it ever sleeps.
Your brother is controlled by that addiction but you are not. When you threaten that addiction, it comes between you and controls the conversation or argument. If you might find yourself in the middle of an argument without knowing how you got there – it will be the addiction pulling the strings, enjoying the confrontation and aiming to drive you further into confusion. It is the master of threats and manipulation and you are not. Once it is between you, you will only hear the addiction speak and because it only knows ***s and deceit, it will seek to make you feel blame and demoralize you. When you speak the addiction distorts your words and your brother cannot comprehend your meaning.
My CG explained it to me by saying that when I told him (for instance) that if he didn’t *** but lived honestly he would be happy, his addiction was distorting his mind convincing him that I was ***** because he truly be***ved that he was unlovable, worthless and a failure and did not deserve happiness – he was lost and fought back because he didn’t have any other coping mechanism apart from gambling. The addiction is all about failure for the CG which has no love for the addict or those who love them. However much your brother convinces you that he is in control – he is not.
The addiction is now in your home but remember at all ***** it is your home – the home that you and your wife have worked for, which your brother’s addiction will covet.
It certainly sounds as though your brother has not accepted his addiction. The addiction to gamble has nothing to do with money. It is impossible, I think for the non-CG to know what it is like to own the addiction – we have an understanding of money that the CG lacks. Money is just a tool – a means to an end and the end is the gamble.
It is sad but your brother’s addiction would have known that family would care – it is a selfish addiction and as long as it has enablement it will grow.
Determine that you will not have the addiction in your home. You have every right to lay down rules about staying with you – it would be right to tell him that an understanding of all that you have done for him is that he will seek help.
Click on ‘Resources’ at the top of this page, Select ‘World’ and ‘Gambling Help’ and ‘Search’. Scroll down to Gamblers anonymous – Twenty Questions. If you print them off it might help you brother to realise that just ticking 7 yesses means he has a recognisable addiction – the chances are he could tick all 20. Put them where he can see them – it is best, I think not to confront him with them because he will deny he has a problem. He might screw them up and throw them away but hopefully he might not.
4 June 2013 at 9:11 pm #1524
Thank you for that visual Velvet, it actually really helps.
We have him scheduled on a flight down here for the 15th. We are doing some minor remodeling to insure my wife and I have some privacy which we really feel is important.
I have laid down some rules already, and when I get the computer ready for him will install bet filter. Like I said I don’t want to be his jailer, but he will need to follow our rules about no gambling.
Anyone else have any advice, please post, I will be checking a couple ***** a day.
I REALLY appreciate the advice given so far, I am really learning a lot – thanks!5 June 2013 at 11:40 am #1525
whenever I see the word ‘need’ I have to read it twice.
Whenever I see the word ‘need’ I have to read it twice.
My CG who lives in control of his addiction said that what my ‘need’ was when he was actively pursuing his addiction was not ‘his’ need. His sole need was to gamble and my ***** were irrelevant. My ‘need’ was that he obeyed my rules and did not bring his addiction under my roof – his need, although not deliberate, was that he did. I lived with his addiction in my life for 25 years and I did all the wrong things for all the right reasons because ‘I did not know’ what was wrong until the last couple of years and by then, quite frankly, I didn’t believe it – my mind was stretched too far.
The addiction to gamble is in the mind – it is not something that can be medicated against – it requires proper treatment. Never underestimate it. If you think he has ****** from you the chances are that he has. Know in advance what your action will be if he betrays your trust – his addiction is forever awake and ready to defend itself. If you doubt yourself it will see the crack in your defence. My own attitude is that I will never again allow the addiction to gamble into my life. It is a question of getting your own mind strong to the possibilities and meaning what you say.
Without wishing to be a scare-monger – I believe your wife is possibly the most vulnerable and the one he could seek out for enablement. The tears, the lies, the manipulation are incredible and make a person without the addiction doubt their sanity.
Friends and Family often bemoan the fact that they have become like detectives – that is not how they see themselves or want to live their lives. Fortunately when the non-CG comes out of the shadow of the addiction such behaviour does go away. I fully appreciate you do not want to be a jailor but equally I don’t want your brother to make you and your wife feel imprisoned by his addiction.
Perhaps you could look in our other forum ‘My journal’. It is for CGs who are trying to live in control of their addiction and where I am glad to say where many, many are succeeding. They would be the first to tell you not to underestimate them – but that is because they have accepted their addiction.
9 June 2013 at 8:52 am #1526adeleParticipant
It’s late and I’m very tired, but I want to post some things on your thread because, to be honest, your situation is so very frightening to me. Please forgive me if this seems blunt or seems disjointed.
Apparently your brother does not recognize that he has a very serious addiction. And you and your wife have not been part of the wreckage caused by his addiction. You are just learning about it yourselves. So I am wondering: Are yall doing this just so he has food and a roof over his head, or are you doing this to give him the opportunity to stop gambling and get his life back?
Either way, I think you should have a Plan B that you all can agree on, and know (and define to your brother) what would cause you to put it into action. For example, is there some sort of group housing he might qualify for?
Also, I think if you allow him to control his own money that 1) you will seldom if ever get your rent from him, and 2) he will find a way to gamble it away and will then ask for money. You could ask him to have his SS check directly deposited into your account and only give him small amounts of money at a time (or some similar arrangement). You would not give an ********* a bottle right?
From your last post it sounds like your wife is very caring and very fair minded – unfortunately she also sounds very naïve to this horrible addiction – and it will eat her alive. Everyone here and anyone who has ever dealt with or been a compulsive gambler will tell you the only chance you have of coping with this addiction is to know and understand it. And as Velvet advised, the two of you must be united.
Once the “honeymoon” is over, be prepared for the lies, anger and resentment when you enforce the rules and put up barriers, and have some idea ahead of time how you will deal with them.
I think it would be a good idea to determine the time and place of GA meetings (I heard it is a good idea to confirm the meetings with a phone call if possible) and make arrangements for him to get there. If they are “open” GA meetings you can go with him. And consider going to the Gamanon meetings yourselves.
And lastly, find a good therapist specializing in compulsive gambling if possible, speak to them and have that information readily available.
That’s all I can think of right now. Hopefully you will find some of our experiences and suggestions useful in your situation.
I know your brother will be there soon and I do hope this all goes well for your family.
Please let us know and keep posting.
"… should I give up or should I just keep trying to run after you when there's nothing there?" Adele– 6/9/2013 3:48:01 PM: post edited by adele.10 June 2013 at 12:52 am #1527nomore 56Participant
Hi MnM, you got some really good replies so far. I just want to put my 10 cents in regarding self protection measures for you and your wife. Addiction doesn’t know friends from enemies so there is a good chance that your brother will do whatever it takes to get money to gamble. You mentioned that you and your wife both work so your brother will spend quite a bit of time alone in your home. Here are some things you might want to consider to prevent you from being taken to the cleaners. Secure your valuables, things like jewelry and such. A safe deposit box might help. Don’t ever leave any debit or credit cards out in the open where your brother could find them. Same goes for mail that contains personal or financial information. Make sure he can’t get a hold of your daily mail. A post office box is the best way to do this. It requires some thinking on your part to figure out where you guys might be vulnerable as far as money goes. Adele is right, you might never see the rent you agreed on if you don’t have a system in place making sure you really receive it. The more you and your wife know about cg the better before you have a rude awakening. I wish you all the luck in the world. 🙂12 June 2013 at 12:28 am #1528
Thank you all for your posts, they have really opened my eyes. He will be here Saturday morning.
We already have a safe that he knows nothing about that is in our ******, all really valuables are there.
We will be keeping a close eye for problems. His Social Security comes on the 3rd of each month so that evening he will need to get me the money for room and board. Since we live in a major metro area there are shelters in the area so if his addiction takes over I can get him in the car and drop him at the door to one if necessary. I have the addresses of two within 20 miles of here.
While I am hoping for the best, I will be watching closely for the worst12 June 2013 at 12:32 am #1529
Adele asked “So I am wondering: Are y’all doing this just so he has food and a roof over his head, or are you doing this to give him the opportunity to stop gambling and get his life back?”
Its both really, I would say mainly to make sure he has a roof and food. I don’t know how much he can get his life together or if he even thinks about trying. He’s lost everything to his addiction and at age 70 its really too late to get everything back.5 July 2013 at 6:14 pm #1530
So we are coming up on 3 weeks since my brother moved in with us.
No sign of his gambling, in fact he really never leaves the house/yard unless he is with us since he does not have a car. Has not said anything about the filter on the computer – not sure if that’s because he hasn’t tried to get to a gambling site or he just hasn’t mentioned that he is blocked from those kinds of sites. So far so good on that respect. He paid his rent the day his Social Security check came, so why do I feel so much anger towards him? Well I know why, I just don’t know how to let it go.
1.) I am angry because of the position he is in – having to live with us because he has never taken responsibility to plan for his future and his gambling that took away what he had. How do some of you deal with anger? My wife and I get out of the house on our own but he’s always there when we get back.
2.) I have diminished lung capacity due to an illness a couple years ago, so I really really have a hard time with him smoking. I don’t let him smoke in the house but do let him smoke outside, but I still smell it on him and his clothes. I have to have an air purifier going in the house 24/7 due to the smoke that clings to him and his clothes. I really don’t have a problem with my lungs/breathing unless I am around smoke (or exercising excessively).
3.) he talks all the time. My job keeps me on the phone 8 hours a day and most days all I want when I get home is peace and quiet and I’ve told him this and he says he understood and was better for a day, however he has a hard time in silence, he has to fill it with something and that usually him talking about nothing important usually about about some TV show he watched, or some sports team that I don’t follow and could care less about. I reminded him that I told him I needed some quite time and he said he was sorry but 2 hours later he’s back at it again.
I’m kind of feeling like the brother in the Prodigal Son story, the one that did what he should, yet I have to take care of the brother who went off and had fun and blew all his money and now ***** someone to take care of him.
Sorry to whine and complain. I just don’t know how to let the anger I feel go, any ideas?
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