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Father with a son who has a problem

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#1 Posted on:
Mon, 06/10/2014 - 11:23

PJC

Joined:
2014-10-06

Hi all,
I have a 24 year old son, he has been to University and dropped out. He has had a gambling problem for four years. Gone through peaks and troughs where he has admitted his problem at counselling at Gam Care, private counselling It has helped but only for a short period. He has a lovely girlfriend. They are\were even planning their future.
We have a business that he was given a position in and last night accessed 1600 to gamble.
As we have partners we have to sack him!! I am a qualified counsellor msyself and find the whole situation emotionally difficult. As somebody who works in sport I even attended a Gam Care session with Adrian Scarfe who is the director as he was presenting at a sports conference.
I seem to going round in circles both my wife and I are desperate.

Posted on:
Mon, 06/10/2014 - 17:30

Martin67

Joined:
2010-08-17

Hi PJC. I'm an addict in my mid 20's so can come at it from your son's point of view.

He must have been completely desperate to steal 1600 from the business. He must have known the consequences when he did it, yet he went ahead and stole it anyway. Maybe he would benefit from having some type of "crisis meeting" with all of the family where everyone can air their thoughts. You, his partner and anyone else can get your thoughts about the whole situation out in the open and maybe he'll understand the strain this is putting on other people as well as himself.

I don't know who he confides in, but if it's yourself, maybe sit him down and have a one to one talk with him. Get it all out on the table; how much debt he's in, has he stolen anything else, what does he see for himself going forward. Let him know that you won't judge and you just want to know the truth.

It sounds like your son is in an increasingly desperate stage of his addiction and needs some intervention, one way or another.

Good luck.

Posted on:
Mon, 06/10/2014 - 20:43

Thomas1980

Joined:
2014-09-10

Hi jpc Im sorry to hear about your son as a gambler myself with over 15 years under my belt before I gave in I no the sought of thing he's going through belive me it's hard to understand but when you want money to gamble it's like something takes over you. You no its wrong but there's no stopping that feeling when you have the urge I think you may need to sit him down maybe get him to read a few pages on here especially the suicidal ones they really hit home for me. As for his job don't sack him put him on restricted duties make him earn the Trust you gave him before back. Explain to your partners what's going on and make sure he pays back every last penny with interest. Maybe you could get him a prepaid bank card where you have to transfer money on to it before he can withdraw it that way he will no nothing gets past you or your wife. I hope you and your son all the best on his journey to freedom

Posted on:
Mon, 06/10/2014 - 20:49

PJC

Joined:
2014-10-06

Thanks Martin,
Yes he's in a right state, his self esteem is so low. He was doing so well at the business even saying this morning that it ha been the best part of life for a while.
We have had a 1.1 and he feels suicidal, we've spoken to the GP. Phoned the Priory and a counsellor who my wife and I engaged with to help us have a strategy as this has gone on for four years.
The counsellor has offered that we all go together as long as Josh wants to, and has suggested that he needs to check her out then we can all go if he wants to engage.
He has taken money from us before as well.
I agree this is a desperate situation.

Posted on:
Mon, 06/10/2014 - 21:17

PJC

Joined:
2014-10-06

Thanks Thomas very sensible suggestion actually discussed that very option tonight with our partners. He can't face it at the moment and were planning this three way counselling session. Also like the idea of the bank card need to read your note again to get the name, Love the line journey to freedom.
You take care.
Paul

Posted on:
Mon, 06/10/2014 - 22:12

Thomas1980

Joined:
2014-09-10

Hi Paul I'm sure he will go through the remorse faze it will probably last about a week or so only he will no when he hits rock bottom. You sound like you are really good parents. Tell him if he needs to speak with some one who has been in this situation he can always drop me an email. Good luck again and all the best for the future. Thomas

Posted on:
Tue, 07/10/2014 - 09:59

PJC

Joined:
2014-10-06

I have really supportive colleagues and have told some of them about my situation with my son. Do I share my problem with others are am I divulging to much information. Or is good to feel to tell all as this may help break the taboo about the issue in society. I'm going to GA family and friends as soon as I can with my wife which is another way to express ourselves I'm just wondering what peoples experinces are with colleagues.

Posted on:
Tue, 07/10/2014 - 15:58

Thomas1980

Joined:
2014-09-10

I would probably keep it to a select few you don't want to embarrass him as it's hard enough the few people that do no I'm sure if he wants to tell people he will but a lot of people don't understand why we do it.

Posted on:
Tue, 07/10/2014 - 21:14

davey

Joined:
Before 2009

hi Paul, do not underestimate the power of gambling addiction! It may seem innocuous but the addiction is as powerful as an extreme addiction to smack or *** or alcohol if the individual is vulnerable to it. There have been countless suicides & prison sentences due to compulsive gambling..

Remove all access to money for your son. and credit. If he hasn't got the money / credit, he cannot gamble & do more damage. The major damage is within him, to his emotions, self-esteem, his mind. Gambling has and will cause him severe mental illness. The money is secondary. It is a serious form of self-harm.

Posted on:
Tue, 07/10/2014 - 21:59

JTC

Joined:
2014-10-07

Hi Davey, have you been a gambler as you seem to feel it so much? The thing you state is the self destruction, I can't understand why the lad wants to self destruct. What do you think about stealing, the lad steals when he has run out of money- I know cos I am his mum

Posted on:
Tue, 07/10/2014 - 22:26

PJC

Joined:
2014-10-06

Thanks Davey really helpful and I have to say a little frightening. I'll have a look at the information.

Posted on:
Tue, 07/10/2014 - 22:51

davey

Joined:
Before 2009

hi JTC & PJC, JTC yes I am a compulsive gambler. I'd like to say I am in recovery but I had a bet today. I've been bankrupt & done a debt relief order, due to gambling in the past. So fortunately my credit is shot; I say fortunately because I can only gamble what I actually have (which isn't much these days). To JTC I remember stealing from my mum's purse repeatedly to fuel my addiction to fruit machines when I was young, they were cheaper to play (10p a go) in the 80's. What I'd like to say is that when I stole from my mum it wasn't meant to be hurtful, as a CG you develop blinkered vision where all you can think about is the next bet & getting the money to enable it. It really isn't meant to be an act of violence against your relative. You just want the money for your next fix & don't think about the wider implications. It is exactly like being a class A drug addict. Gambling causes changes in brain chemistry, a crak( spelling changed due to gamcare censoring) - like high to the afflicted, so it is a form of substance abuse, just one that is more subtle as the substance is generated in the brain through the action of gambling, not one that is visibly taken. This has been proven in various studies. The betting corporations & the Gov't knows this, this process is deliberately exploited, for example, through the use & proliferation of FOBT's (roulette machines in the bookies) the betting corps & the gov't know how addictive they are and it is debatable whether the machines are truly random or rigged, yet they are allowed as there is a huge amount of money at stake. In the UK in the 2010's profit conquers all concerns over a human being's welfare. The gov't pimps a 25% cut (recently increased), a bribe to them to allow it to go on.
To PJC not sure where in the UK you are but there is a national problem gambling clinic based in London (yes, just one!). Link : http://www.cnwl.nhs.uk/cnwl-national-problem-gambling-clinic/ . This is CBT initially. Very long wait (I had to wait 8 months for the treatment I've just started, I did a lot of damage in those 8 months), but it's worth applying for help further down the line, to plant a seed as it were.

Posted on:
Wed, 08/10/2014 - 20:40

PJC

Joined:
2014-10-06

Hi yes weve been to London and were offered a weekly session, which coming from Oldham near Manchester was virtually impossible.
We are looking into a counsellor locally which will help with travel. The main issue of course is the desire, drive to take the opportunity to freedom.
As we all know and you have endorsed that is easier said than done. The compulsion backed up by socities inability to deal with the gambling issue makes change a massive challenge.

Posted on:
Thu, 16/10/2014 - 14:52

PJC

Joined:
2014-10-06

my son is still not dealing with the issue of speaking to us. As a consequence of his actions we took the car away from him which is actually ours anyway.
And he has now had his girlfriend pick him up yesterday and I now can't get hold of him on his phone.
Question do I phone his girlfriend and tell her whats been happening or do let them sort it out? Not convinced telling her will help, but I need to be honest.

Posted on:
Thu, 16/10/2014 - 20:35

Thomas1980

Joined:
2014-09-10

Hi again if he's not dealing with the problem then I'm afraid you have to give him an ultimatum. If he's not talking about it he's probably hiding more than you know. Check his credit file to get the true story it's harsh but it sounds like your trying more than he is. Good luck and all the best

Posted on:
Thu, 16/10/2014 - 20:36

Adam22

Joined:
2013-11-12

Hi Paul,

I am in a very similar situation as your son. I'm 23 (24 in December) and a couple of weeks ago stole my mum's debit card and gambled 2000. She has full control over my funds so my mind set was that money is mine as I'd just been paid. However, I owe her 6000 plus a loan in her and my dad's name of around 25000.

I have a very good job in London which I cannot let it affect. My issue has been going on for 4 years also so can relate to your son.

I also had suicidal thoughts the last week but am now in a much better place.

He probably isn't opening up and talking as he feels ashamed and embarrassed. Ultimately, nobody wants to let their parents down and stealing from them is the lowest of the low but it's the illness taking over.

Wonder if he'd like to have a chat with me by email or something as our stories are so relative? Let me know as I'd love to help.

Adam.

Posted on:
Fri, 17/10/2014 - 18:50

PJC

Joined:
2014-10-06

Hi Adam,
It would be good to hear from him and I appreciate your offer. The challenge is how to encourage, cajole him to respond. He feels so low and its hard to communicate.

Posted on:
Fri, 17/10/2014 - 22:11

PJC

Joined:
2014-10-06

thanks that is exactly what we are trying to do. We also want to help which is normal as supportive parents but your right we need to protect ourselves.
Not sure where to turn next:
offered support to go to GA,me to family and friends him to the self help group.
he has tablets cipromil to take and stabilise his mood he will not take.
Investigated a potential residential unit he's not receptive.
Running out of options!!

Posted on:
Sat, 18/10/2014 - 12:27

matty1658

Joined:
2013-09-24

Having been in the situation where I stole money to fund my gambling, I can tell you he will be feeling so low, and ashamed, he won't want to get out of bed to face you, let alone talk.
All you can do is keep telling him the support is there when he is ready to access it, until he is ready to face it, he will never commit to it.
I personally would still let him use the car, he needs to be physically and mentally active. Being stuck in the house will not help him mentally, but financially you need to give him nothing, he cannot be trusted with money be it his, or yours.
As for telling his girlfriend, I believe that is his decision, as much as you want to be honest with her, how do you think your son will react when he finds out thats what you have done?
If he isn't prepared to face he has a problem he is not going to want everyone knowing and discussing it.
I do believe you must protect yourself though, you need to find out how bad the financial situation is, even if you can't do anything about it at least you will have an idea of the problem before letters start arriving, or you get people knocking on the door.
He needs to know, there is light at the end of the tunnel, he isn't the first person to get into this hole and he won't be the last. If he really wants to beat this he will, and by the sounds of it he has got good people around him waiting to help.
If you can't get him to come on here and read some peoples stories, try printing a few off and leaving them with him, in his own time he might read them.

Posted on:
Sat, 18/10/2014 - 22:21

dave1963

Joined:
2010-10-22

Hi PC
I am 51 and started gambling at the age of 16 and it did not became a problem until the late 1990 s when i was in my late thirties this is when Fobms Roulette machines appeared in Bookies and also online gambling .
Your son is a victim of Addiction induced by bookies tv adds , web adds also available on mobiles . Your son was hooked on Gambling which in turn ruined his University study and got out of hand !
The 1600 was it online at work did the online company ask if it was his card he was using ? as they do with Telephone calls ie are you the bill payer .
The bookies should be taken to court they must know by the amount someone is gambling they have a problem .
Yes get him help he is still young and has a good chance to beat it .

I have Lapsed many a time but it has taken me to preying to god..... so with Gambling for 35 years it has vanished the urges and the thoughts so now over three months with no feeling and urges its gone ? i don't go to church or practice so thanks to God i guess he works in a mysterious way .

Route to all evil refers to The TV adds , The addiction , The mood changes , The Debts , The stealing , Homelessness , Prison , So get help is crucial .

Posted on:
Sun, 19/10/2014 - 15:24

PJC

Joined:
2014-10-06

Yes thanks both for your reply, I'm concious of his addiction has now progressed from football to machines. I agree marketing on TV is a big big challenge.
I'm not telling everyone however he wouldn't go to the match yesterday due to his mood and our mate was really concerned as he's not seen him for ages. We have a few friends who we tell as I recognise that I need support I'm emotional at the moment.
My wife and I work in the personal development\care\support sector which makes it harder to deal with as we are too emotionally involved.
As for the car it's probab;y one of the hardest issues of this period of time. If theres a positive reason then maybe theres scope to discuss. However as a consequence of the financial situation we need to pay the money back!!!

Posted on:
Mon, 08/12/2014 - 20:59

Son with problem

Joined:
2014-12-08

Hi I'm back, things no better. I and my wife been to GA family and friends. My son will not go, even researched the clinic in Dudley with Gordon Moody. Still Josh will not talk about it, he's had another gambling session. He's now desperate, actually locked himself in the bathroom!!

Posted on:
Mon, 08/12/2014 - 21:25

davey

Joined:
Before 2009

Hi I am so sorry. Perhaps he needs psychiatric help ? However there are huge cuts around mental health nowadays, in the NHS at least. Gordon Moody sounds a good idea if you can persuade him to go. I sense that he feels very ashamed inside; if you attack that, persuade him that it is OK to mess up, that everyone does from time to time, help him to lose his sense of shame which maybe lowers his self-esteem which leads him to gamble again in the hope of a win which will temporarily increase his sense of well-being ? (until he loses again).

I feel your son is as much a victim of the society we now live in as anything else; huge Gov't-encouraged proliferation of gambling; huge misconceived adulation of wealth; false values that the richer someone is, the better they are, that society nowadays is about survival of the fittest etc... combined with huge cuts in mental health services. I feel the only way forward is to take care not to condemn or punish, reach inside of him as much as you can, encourage him to open up and for * him * to perceive that he needs help, and not to be ashamed of that.