Get practical support with your gambling problem Forum Friends and Family The Ugly of Gambling, a reflection

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  • #3905
    twilight16
    Participant

    This is a piece I wrote a few months.

    It’s hard to think there’s one. When its highly glamorized, especially on billboards, radio and TV commercials and films. However, there is. It’s a side of gambling that isn’t seen on billboards, or warned about on radio or TV commercials or films.

    So what is it? You may ask.

    The ugly is when a person becomes addicted to gambling.

    Quickly their one desire is to gamble, looking for their next bet. Remember those anti-drug advertisements in the late 80’s showing an egg in a frying pan, warning viewers about the effects of drug use, saying, “This is your brain on drugs”. Decades later the same ad could be used for gambling addiction, with a simple change, “This is your brain when gambling”.

    Researchers says a person with a gambling addiction, is attracted to the same chemical spell as a drug addict and an alcoholic. Feeling the same euphoric sensations when they gamble, soon afterwards they suffer from withdrawal, having the urge to repeat. It’s a vicious cycle, one that is hard to break.

    The compulsive gambler doesn’t pass out when gambling, like a drug addict or alcoholic when they have had too much to drink. They can completely gamble their bank accounts until there is no money left.

    This is a devastating reality, many families face. It’s not uncommon for a compulsive gambler to gamble away a families savings in less time, it takes to watch a TV show. When a person becomes addicted to gambling, they are not the only ones who suffer from emotional and financial stress. Their family suffers too.

    Bills go unpaid, creditors call home, children hear their parents fight behind closed doors, listening in utter horror as their parents argue about money. The levelheaded spouse is left trying to keep the family together, struggling with mounting debts, feeling pushed in a corner by the compulsive gambler’s demands, trying to keep the family from breaking apart.

    The once comfortable home is now consumed with financial stress. Children experience high levels of anxiety, leaving them wondering if things will ever get better.

    So yes, there is a very ugly side to gambling. Nobody thinks they will become addicted, but it happens. And when it does, lives change for not only them, but their families, who struggle with the gambler’s consequences.

    I know the ugly side to gambling real well, because my father is a gambling addict. I lived with his gambling addiction, trying its hardest to always gamble what we had at home.

    He unfortunately, never believed he had a gambling problem.

    #3906
    monique
    Participant

    Hi Twilight. This is an interesting reflection and so true. I do hate the glamourizing of this horrible ‘activity’, with so much ‘glossy’ advertising and also the fact that is easier than ever to start gambling and to do it 24/7.
    Best wishes,

    Monique

    #3907
    nomore 56
    Participant

    I read this when you first posted it and it is so true, at least for me. I would like to add something here if you don’t mind. Through all those years I had to live with the incredible ugliness of cg, I was made aware over and over again that a lot of people do not accept that cg is a disease, just like any kind of substance abuse. The people I met who work in the field called it the silent disease. We cannot smell it or see it. While not many people hide a loved one’s addiction to alcohol or drugs anymore, gambling is not talked about much. Lots of folks still believe that all it takes is the willpower to stop. Period. And I don’t exclude myself when I think about the start of my painful journey. I didn’t understand it and thought that all my hb needed to do was to decide to just quit. I kept it hidden for a long time because I was ashamed of it. Where I come from, gambling was illegal for a long time, the few casinos were operated by the government and regular people couldn’t afford to go there. As a result, gambling addiction was something dirty and only dark.
    When everything erupted in chaos and my hb went to prison, it added to the shame and he was seen as just another criminal. I am sure that nobody would have treated my daughter and me as bad had he turned out to be an alcoholic or a drug user. Society accepts this way more readily still than cg. So that adds to the ugliness of it even more than just the gambling itself. Just my point of view.

    #3908
    twilight16
    Participant

    Dear Monique , Nomore, Michelle and others who are reading.

    Thank you for showing your support. I had my doubts about posting this, as it gets my blood boiling remembering how helpless I once was with the addiction in my life.
    However those awful feelings made it clear that I had to post my reflection, because there are millions who are living the ugly now. It is for them that I post. It is for them that they know they are not alone and it is for them that I write, hoping they know they know this is not how their life will always be. Hoping they seek recovery.
    There has to be more awareness of what families go through on a daily basis with a cg in denial, this also includes those that underplay their gambling problem. The suffering and the stress, mixed with horrific anxieties is no way to live and little ones aren’t spared from it either.

    Nomore, I agree this gambling addiction is a disease, one that isn’t acknowledged like a substance abuser. I’ll never forget when I had my father evaluated, the first question was whether he abused drugs or alcohol. When mentioned he was a compulsive gambler, the lady just shrugged it off. I realized she wasn’t concerned because there wasn’t a compulsive gambler box to be checked off, like drug addict or alcoholic. I knew I had to be creative and say that I felt he had a mental illness, mentioning characteristic of a cg without mentioning the word cg again. He got evaluated, and sure enough he was said to have dementia, but since a little girl he behaved the same way. The only difference being his steady decline of memory loss, otherwise he is the same.
    There are many reasons why problem gambling is undercover, because countries need the revenue, however, it doesn’t take away from the gambler in denial either. I feel there has to be ownership regardless of the addiction. I appreciate your point of view and I’m glad you shared it. Hoping you are finding more happiness and joy in your life and your day to day routine.

    Twilight

    #3909
    nomore 56
    Participant

    I hear you loud and clear when you talk about your father’s eval. My hb was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. As are so many other cgs. He has not had any significant mood swings since he quit the useless medication when he first started inpatient treatment. The ugliness you describe is real and painful for everyone involved. Personally it also did me some good. I set out to learn all I could about cg and in the process shed all the shame and whatnot once I understood that it is his disease, not mine. I had nothing to do with it. Not with the gambling and ultimately not with his recovery either. Other than reaching my own rock bottom and telling him that no matter what happened, I would not be part of this insane dance anymore.
    At least cg is now a disorder in it itself in the DSM V instead of just lumped under not specified compulsive behaviors. A step in the right direction. So I think it is very important for non-cgs to get all the information they can. It did help me a lot to get a perspective on his and my own issues.
    I agree with you re ownership. Always believe in it and always will.
    As for me, I’m glad that I don’t have to live with the active addiction anymore. It did so much irreversible damage that some of it will stay with me for the rest of my life due to my situation being somewhat unusual and having some other issues of my own.

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