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Addictive Behaviours Discuss and receive support for addictions not related to substance use, such as gambling, Internet, sex or work addictions, in this forum.

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Chuuya Offline
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Gambling. - July 15th 2017, 08:21 PM

Hi guys,

Recently my mother has developed a problem with gambling. I've suspected she's had the problem for a while, as I can remember certain times in my childhood where she's blown a good chunk of her paycheck at a casino. But it has never been a problem like it has this year. It started to get pretty bad a few months before school let out and she called me one night at 2AM after she got out of a casino - when I had an eight AM the next day. She was asking to borrow money from me and what am I supposed to say? No? She pays a good chunk of my tuition so I can't really do that.

Anyway, she's been doing it all summer, and while I had a good job traveling around for a bit, she's "borrowed" most of my money I've made from that. I will be working these next few weeks before I go back to school in August, but every time she says she's sorry and remorseful and that she won't borrow from me anymore, she does it again.

I wasn't able to get my depression meds before I left school in the spring because she borrowed all my money and had to switch back to my old prescription, which I haven't even been taking ( Yeah I know i'm freaking stupid). I've been clean self harm wise for 81 days now, but I feel the urges more, and more, and I'm not going to say that suicide hasn't been on my mind.

Every time I think things are getting better, something happens. Mom spends all her, or my, money at the casino. I don't know what to do as I have no control of her and can't make her stop. It makes me so mad and upset, and I feel bad because I know that it's difficult to stop an addiction, in a way her gambling is just like my self harming.

I just don't know what to do. I don't think there is anything I can do.

"You'll have to decide for yourself. Walk on your own. Move forward. You've got a strong pair of legs, Rose. You should get up and use them."
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Re: Gambling. - July 16th 2017, 11:31 PM

Personally, I'd be more worried about my money. Is there a way to set up a banking account under your account? Or is it possible to have the bank deny her access when she tries to take money from your account, and ask that it be made under your name instead of hers? I imagine this can get pretty frustrating, and even overwhelming considering you already have your own struggles. Is talking to her even an option? Set up a financial boundary, where you will allow her to take so much each month, so there's less likeliness of abuse? I hope this gets resolved soon.
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Re: Gambling. - July 18th 2017, 07:17 AM

I wonder if there are support groups for people who have a relative or friend with a gambling problem?

These groups started with AA, support groups for alcoholics, which turned out to be very successful. However, the spouses of the alcoholics discovered they were just standing around waiting outside while their loved ones went to their AA meeting, so they decided to form their own group, and Al-Anon groups were formed, which are groups for the relatives of alcoholics.

Then the same thing happened for drug addicts. NA groups were created for those recovering from a drug addiction, and they became popular and successful, and then Nar-Anon groups were created for the relatives of people who had a problem with drug addiction.

And now we have Gambling as yet another addiction. It can be addictive, just as addictive as alcohol or drugs. People get hooked on it, and then discover they can't control it.

I think the best definition of addiction I've come across is when you consciously decide you want to stop, and then discover you keep on doing it, even after you've decided you aren't going to do it anymore. The alcoholic decides not to drink anymore, then discovers he keeps drinking. He literally can not control himself. The drug addict decides to stop using drugs, then discovers he keeps using drugs. He discovers he literally can not control himself anymore. This can be very confusing for them. (It requires an explanation of how the brain has different parts—the part that decides not to do something that's bad for you, isn't the part that becomes addicted.) Same for the gambling addict. They decide not to gamble anymore, then discover they literally can not stop themselves.

The only way to break the addiction is to understand how the brain works, and how one loses control (stress, loneliness, loss of love, loss of that being a part of the tribe and belonging feeling), and what it takes to regain control (go to support group meetings where the midbrain regains a sense of that feeling of being a part of the tribe where one is accepted and belongs, which helps calm the midbrain, reducing stress, allowing the frontal cortex to regain control, where rational decision making is made, so one can once again decide not to do the addictive behavior.)

And for you it's equally important to find a support group for relatives of people who have a gambling problem. I don't know if there is such a thing where you are. If not, just try any Families Anonymous group, or Nar-Anon or Al-Anon group, since they are all about addiction, and gambling is an addiction, so it's really all the same thing, and there's a lot of crossover, (and recovering addicts themselves often attend those groups too because they tend to know other addicts so they qualify as someone who knows someone with an addiction problem), and you'll get indoctrinated into the way of understanding how to help them by not helping them, by not doing for them, but instead by being for them.

And, probably stop giving her money, as that's not really helping. It's like giving an alcoholic more alcohol, or a drug addict more drugs.

She's eventually going to have to suffer the pain of not gambling.

Just like any addict has to suffer the withdrawal of not drinking, or not doing the drugs.

Encourage her to find a support group.

I think casinos are required to offer help to those who ask for it. Ask the casino where a support group for your addicted gambler is. They're probably required by law to have an answer for you. (They may even know where a support group for you is too.)

Best wishes! Thank you for reaching out.
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Chuuya Offline
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Re: Gambling. - July 19th 2017, 01:36 AM

Thank you guys for the advice! I will probably look into some support groups, but I don't think my mom will want to attend one, especially if I bring it up. She hasn't been open to any of my helping with it.

Thanks again. It means a lot!

"You'll have to decide for yourself. Walk on your own. Move forward. You've got a strong pair of legs, Rose. You should get up and use them."
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