Get practical support with your gambling problem Forum Friends and Family Son with an online gambling addiction

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  • #6168
    momchait
    Participant

    Our 25-year-old son has an online gambling addiction and refuses to seek professional help. He assures us that he can fix his problem himself but this is not happening. We have spoken to him for hours on end on the benefits of professional help but he is adamant not to go. We have offered to accompany him for support if that is what he wants but to no avail. As he is an adult we cannot force him. Can anyone please give us some advice on what to do? Thanks in advance.

    #6169
    velvet
    Moderator

    Hello Momchait

    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

    Read about the friends and Family Online Groups

    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

    PS: Let me just remind you to take a look at our
    privacy policy and terms and conditions so you know how it all works!

    #6170
    velvet
    Moderator

    Hi Momchait
    Just a quick follow up to our welcome post because I have only just seen your new thread as I was closing down for the night.
    Your son is following a well-known path when he believes he can solve his problem himself. The good news is that there is a lot of help for him when he is ready although unfortunately your son does not think he is ready yet.
    I will write to you again asap when I can give you the thought out response your post deserves.
    I hope it will help you to know that I wouldn’t be writing to you if I didn’t know that your son can control his addiction with the right treatment.
    I would like to get a fuller picture of your son to help me support you: Does he still live at home? Does he have siblings?
    You are very welcome to join the F&F group on Tuesday between 22.00 – 23.00 hours UK time, there is usually at least one other mum to talk to. In the meantime please keep posting.
    Velvet

    #6171
    momchait
    Participant

    Hi Velvet
    Thanks for your prompt reply. My son does not live at home. He has his own place with 2 roommates. He travels a lot for his job so is away during the week and only home on weekends.
    He does have 2 older siblings.

    #6172
    velvet
    Moderator

    Hi Momchait
    I do my best to reply promptly but I don’t always succeed!
    I am making assumptions so please forgive me if I go off on the wrong tangent. I assume that you are aware of your son’s problems because he has gambling debts and possibly brings his worries home to you. Clearing gambling debts for a CG, with all the best intentions, is enablement. As soon as the slate is wiped clean the CG sees the opportunity to gamble at will leaving those who cleared the debt confused and often afraid. As my CG said to me I did all the wrong things for all the right reasons.
    I am wondering if his roommates are aware of his problem and if they possibly enable him and then want their money back – this is a common scenario and parents inevitably feel the pain that their son is causing others and repay the roommates – sadly this is also enablement.
    It is good, I think, that your son is not under your roof which hopefully gives you breathing space from his addiction. It is so important that you live your life without his addiction controlling you because it will take you down with it if you allow it to do so.
    Are his older siblings managing their lives and doing well? Does your son appear to believe he has not had their opportunities? Regardless of how your son appears, a gambling addiction will cause him to lack self-esteem and self-confidence because that is the nature of the addiction. I have seen active CGs positively swagger with the belief that they are in control when in fact their lives suggest anything but.
    I’m sorry to keep loading you with questions but I hope you will keep posting so that between us we can find the best way forward for you; you have done well starting a thread and hopefully you will soon be able to look back and see how well you are doing.
    Velvet

    #6173
    momchait
    Participant

    Hi Velvet,

    I so appreciate your input and will answer every question you have for me.

    We are aware of his problem and as much as it hurts us that he has gambling debts, I am fully aware that helping him with this is enablement and for this reason, we will not bail him out. He is fully aware of this.

    I do not believe his roommates are aware of his problem and I am almost 100% certain that they are not gamblers. They are both getting married soon so will, in fact, be moving out within the next few months, so he will be looking for new roommates.

    I try so hard for his addition not to control my life but I worry about it and him a lot. We are a very close family and I feel that I must have done something wrong somewhere for him to turn to this. We have always been there for him, given him everything he needs and lots and lots of love and support.

    His older siblings are both doing well and both getting married this year. They are managing their lives well, are self-sufficient and responsible adults. I cannot believe that he believes that he has not had their opportunities as we consciously make every effort to treat them the same. If anything, I would say that he may have been more spoilt being the youngest. I think that he may be lacking self-esteem and self-confidence and I am not sure why. He has so much going for him. He is a good-looking, very intelligent young man who has a great job and a family that loves him. He did break up with his girlfriend of a year a few months ago, but the gambling started before he even met her so I don’t buy the fact that the break up is the factor. He has been depressed and expressed it to us but will not speak to a professional about it.

    Please feel free to ask as many questions as you need. My son’s happiness and well being means the world to me.

    Thanks again.

    #6174
    velvet
    Moderator

    Hi Momchait
    I am so pleased to read that not only will you not enable but that your son is aware of it too, even if subconsciously he thinks you will be there if there is a real crunch. There is little you can do to dispel this belief in a CG until the time comes.
    You did nothing wrong – nothing you have done would have made any difference to your son owning this addiction. You cannot make him stop gambling, you cannot force him to seek help but by keeping closed a main avenue of enablement and by being the rock on which he can one day depend, you are doing the best thing for him.
    I am sure you were there for him to turn to but he is an individual with his own choices and at some point he started making poor choices. He would not have wanted you to know what was happening to him or what he was doing because he could not understand it himself; shame and embarrassment play a large part in this addiction being kept secret which is truly sad because it is one of the last thing anyone would choose to own.
    Your son will lack self-esteem and confidence because he is a CG – he can’t get his act together, he will always lose if he gambles and at the moment he doesn’t know why – why can’t ‘he’ gamble when others can? He is young and probably still full of the belief that he is different and that he will defeat his problem without help – with time, understanding, lack of enablement I believe he can be brought to the realisation that he cannot do this alone and that is when you are the signpost towards all the excellent support there is for him.
    He is almost certainly depressed because of his addiction and not the other way around.
    Intelligence and social background are not definitive factors with the addiction t gamble.
    I fully appreciate you worry about him a lot – it is scary but you worrying has done nothing to change your son. At the moment his happiness and well-being are entirely in his hands until he accepts he has a problem and that he wants to seek help.
    Even if you don’t feel it, you are doing well. Does your son know that you are seeking support?
    I hope it will help you to know that it is my son who is a CG and that neither he, nor I, live n the shadow of his addiction. He will always be a CG, he will always face tough choices but he controls his addiction and is living a wonderful life. I do not do ‘what if’ or ‘if only’, nor do I dwell in the past, I use my experience for reference and I will answer any questions – some more openly within a group setting.
    I really hope that we can ‘meet’ in the group tonight as ‘talking’ in real time in a group where nothing leaves the group can be very rewarding.
    Velvet

    #6175
    momchait
    Participant

    Hi Velvet

    Thanks for your valued advice.
    I will definitely try to join your meeting today if I can. I am guessing that it is a simple process.

    #6176
    momchait
    Participant

    Hi Velvet,
    I have been trying to join the group but unsuccessfully :). I even “spoke” to your online help but they couldn’t help me either. So sorry.

    #6177
    momchait
    Participant

    Hi Velvet
    I am so sorry to have missed the group chat yesterday. I was on a work conference call that went way over schedule. Hope to join on Tuesday.

    #6178
    velvet
    Moderator

    Its ok Mom
    Due to teething problems with our new site I couldn’t access the group anyway!
    I look forward to ‘seeing’ you on Tuesday

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