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Its my son

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#1 Posted on:
Mon, 13/02/2017 - 10:08

katy55

Joined:
2016-09-17

My mid twenties son is a gambler.  He lives at home with me and his dad. He has had two serious bouts of gambling (5K and over 20K) where we have had to bail him out although on the second occasion we insisted he repay us which he is on a monthly standing order. We also insisted he close his many credit card accounts which he did bar one; he also self-excluded from various casinos and betting shops.  He started attending GA and all seemed to be under control but he told me this weekend he has had another lapse. The losses on this ocassion are about 1K.  He tells me he has a plan to cover the losses which involves him using his one remaining credit card to get him through this month and probably next month too. I have told him he needs to self-exclude from all betting shops which he has told me he will do.  He has been speaking to some of his fellow GA attenders on the phone and says it has been helpful.  He cant really explain why he did it.   He has asked me not to tell his dad as his dad doesnt really "get" how insidious any compulsive behaviour is.   He has enormous self-control and can't understand why others don't. I have told him I won't if he sorts himself out but if it happens again I will. I just feel out of my depth and wonder what more I can do to support him and help him get gambling out of his life. 

 

Posted on:
Tue, 14/02/2017 - 00:22

Amom

Joined:
2014-10-09

Hi Katy55

I am the mom of a late twenties compulsive gambler. My son started about 10 years ago. This isn't an easy road for either you or your son.

Your husband doesn't understand as he is not an addict. I would still not keep it a secret from him... it doesn't help and is just one more way of your son not having to face the natural consequences of his addiction. It can also end up causing problems between your husband and yourself (i know from experience).

As mom's we tend to try and fix the problem. With an addiction it only makes things worse. I say this not to be heartless but your son needs to feel pain. The only way to the other side is through... there are no short cuts. Up until now you have bailed him out ( we also did this) and they breathe a sigh of relief as the problem is fixed... until next time.

It is awesome he is going to GA (my son does too) but relapses still happen. My advice is to try a Gam Anon group for yourself... lots of support and insight how you can support your son without enabling. The other thing that is really hard is let him take the lead with his recovery (even when you think you know better:)). You are there to support him while he does the work!

Take Care

Cathyx

Posted on:
Tue, 14/02/2017 - 09:04

katy55

Joined:
2016-09-17

Hi Cathy

thank you for your supportive words. You're so right - I just want to "fix" the situation - and my son! One of the things I'm grappling with is whether I should have more control over his money - e.g. Managing his money for him and just letting him have what he needs. My concern about that is that it's just delaying the time when he will have to manage his money and not be tempted to use it to gamble. But maybe he has to take small steps and removing the temptation is one way? Did /do you manage your sons money? 

I think I will also try and find a GA group I can go to - all help gratefully received! 

Thanks again x

 

Posted on:
Tue, 14/02/2017 - 09:49

triangle

Joined:
2014-03-14

katy55 wrote:

Hi Cathy

thank you for your supportive words. You're so right - I just want to "fix" the situation - and my son! One of the things I'm grappling with is whether I should have more control over his money - e.g. Managing his money for him and just letting him have what he needs. My concern about that is that it's just delaying the time when he will have to manage his money and not be tempted to use it to gamble. But maybe he has to take small steps and removing the temptation is one way? Did /do you manage your sons money? 

I think I will also try and find a GA group I can go to - all help gratefully received! 

Thanks again x

 

It depends how addicted he is Katy.

I know many families that do manage their addicts money for either a period of time or indefinately.  I won't say it always works as a gambler has to want to stop as a starting point, but i'd be broadly in favour IF the family member is happy doing it.

Posted on:
Tue, 14/02/2017 - 10:29

Sam Crow

Joined:
2012-02-23

Hi Katy. In terms of managing your son's money it could be a good starting point. Can only speak from personal experience - back when I was 19 my Dad took control of my finances for about a year and a half. I didn't gamble during this time (the money I had was minimal anyway but still could have chosen to do it if I wanted) and I continued to abstain for another 6 months or so after getting my bank card back. Then the addiction told me I was 'cured' and could enjoy small wagers again which eventually led back to compulsive gambling.

Currently I'm 8 and 1/2 months off a bet and have total control over finances, it just wouldn't be feasible for anyone else to handle them now. The big difference this time is along with GA I actually have a desire to not only stop gambling but get into recovery and change my life for the better. I'm also over a decade older and a little bit wiser (I think lol) than my 19 year old self.

In summary it comes down to a case by case basis. If he has a real desire to abstain and change then he will do whatever is necessary to make it happen. If it is practical for you to control his finances for a while then why not give it a go? You could slowly introduce it back to him over time as trust begins to grow again i.e. after a few months he gets £50 or £100 for the week instead £5 or £10 given to him daily. The would gradually lead to him regaining control of his fianances depending on how well he is doing abstaining and if he is in recovery.

Hope this helps a little at least. All the best

Posted on:
Tue, 14/02/2017 - 15:14

Amom

Joined:
2014-10-09

Morning Katy

I agree with Tri. The handling of the money is a tricky thing. In my opinion it should only be done IF your son wants it and if you are happy to do it. I have helped my son with his money (at his request) a few times and it does give them some breathing space especially at the beginning.

My son has been attending GA for a few years. He recently hit his one year mark but then proceeded to go on a month long gambling binge :(. He is back in recovery again but this time I am not looking after his money.

Please don't take this the wrong way or lose hope but this is a long journey. It isn't a straight forward line. There are a lot of 2 steps forward 1 step back followed by 1 step forward 2 steps back! That is why it's so so so important that you get support for yourself. That you keep yourself on track and sane. This addiction can take everyone near it down lower than you ever thought possible but I have learned and changed so much( hopefully for the better) on this journey. The stronger we are the better chance our sons have for managing this addiction.

Take Care

Cathyx

 

Posted on:
Wed, 15/02/2017 - 10:08

katy55

Joined:
2016-09-17

Many thanks everyone. I'm going to ask my son tonight if he wants me to manage his money for a while. I think he may go for it. Cathy, whilst your description of the road ahead being unlikely to be a straight one fills me with dread,  I know you're absolutely right and I should manage my expectations accordingly.  It also makes me feel less of a failure as a mum that I haven't been able to keep my son on the straight and narrow.  My head tells me that he is responsible for his decisions and actions but my heart tells me I could perhaps  have done more after his first set of losses. I'll let you know how it goes. 

Katy x

 

 

Posted on:
Wed, 15/02/2017 - 18:09

Rob_Evans88

Joined:
2016-09-07

Hi there I feel compelled to write a reply on your thread I hope your ok. 

In a nutshell your son has to want a life better than this & do it for himself. No-one can make or force him to change his ways but him.

I hurt my mum massively with my gambling over a 5 year period not only her but the people in my life as well. To the point where she thrown me out last August. In a rented house that had her name on it. 

Since then I've made up with my family, got my life back on track & been lucky enough to have my girlfriend stay by my side through it. And now (despite 1 slip last month) not only am I regaining my life but it's improving constantly & ive a bigger reason than ever to move forward. Even during a 45 minute phone call to her this morning she told me how proud she were of me & it meant the world to me. All of the things that are there to gain from first of all reconciliation with your loved ones to gaining your freedom back mean much more to me than any win from gambling. 

Just a quick one from myself. I'm 28 (29 in 2 months) I started gambling at 22 with a friend of mine but it's when I stated doing it on my own, that's when it spiralled. Half of my issue at the time was getting the urge to gamble I were drunk. I went through depression because of it to the point where I wanted to end it all. I left my last job, had to sofa surf before before I had to go into a homeless hostel. Not nice at all was in there about 4 weeks till I got a flat. 2 weeks before then I found work again. Now fast forward to today in a miles better place :) i just gotta take the positives from it & not look back. 

Now it seems your lads doing it & letting it all catch up on him which to be fair I did. And paying the price with debt im repaying but for me I know things will get better, and they are doing rapidly. 

I am now constantly looking at ways that I can look at improving my life & it's great it really is. Like seeing something for going out to work etc. 

Like I say I've walked them same shoes that your sons in & im sure he's a decent lad but he's gotta break out of it. For me my girlfriends my incentive for me staying away from it now I'm saving to move in to a place with her & I know if I go back to gambling that isn't happening & for how she supported me through my paddle of **** last year & my relapse last month (only she knows about it my family have no idea) she will eventually lose patience & call time on our relationship & I would rather that didn't happen. 

Thoughts are with you at this time post on my thread if you need anything

My name is Rob & I am a compulsive gambler, my last bet were on the 18th January 2017 

Posted on:
Wed, 15/02/2017 - 18:12

Rob_Evans88

Joined:
2016-09-07

One last thing as well is that don't feel your at fault for this at all. He's gotta want to change like I say, I said I wanted to change after doing it like 10-15 times over so sadly it's a long process & one that requires a new way of thinking about things in life 

Posted on:
Wed, 15/02/2017 - 20:45

katy55

Joined:
2016-09-17

 Rob, thank you for sharing your story with me. I have read so many posts on this website over the last few days - it's helped enormously . I'm so pleased to hear how you have turned things around - well done.  I guess it's finding the thing that you want more than gambling - in your case it's about being in a good, honest relationship with your partner where you are both on equal terms and regaining the trust and closeness of your family.  What great things to aspire to and then achieve.  

I've talked to my son tonight about my fears and worries - I'm not sure he had really understood how worried I was. I told him I'd been on this forum and what I had learnt and we had a long talk about managing his money both in the short term (i.e. Paying off his losses) and longer term. He thinks it will help him if I hold his surplus each month ( i.e. What's left after travel, lunches, overdraft etc)  and let him have it as and when he needs it. He will give me his last remaining credit card ( all the others are cut up). He tells me he knows he can never gamble again and will seek support and help from his GA meetings to keep gambling free.  I'm hoping this is the start of his recovery but am realistic enough now to know that it's unlikely to be plain sailing...katy x

 

 

Posted on:
Thu, 16/02/2017 - 08:00

ODAAT

Joined:
2014-11-10

Hi Katy, welcome to the forum :-)

Just wanted to reiterate that this really isn't your doing & there is very little you can suggest that the people in his GA group won't already be doing.  I'm a little confused about the financial plan as it reads as though you are planning on bailing him out?  If this is the case, I would strongly urge you to reconsider.  I am a CG, as is my mum & we have been in a vicious cycle of bailouts for many years.  Something bought me to my senses but my mum "doesn't have a problem" even though I have to have her wages come into my account to pay the bills on a family flat that she lives rent free in & she doesn't actually have a pot to pee in.  Over the years, I've had 'control' of her money, kept her cards only to find she has gone into the bank & ordered replacements or taken the funds out before they clear across to me.  She's left us as kids begging the man in the corner shop to let us have bus passes, lost most of her friends, pawned family jewellery, taken out a log book loan, stolen cash from my room whilst I slept & only admitted it when I was going  to call the police...She's now nearly 70 & working more hours than most full time workers to survive.  She denies it but she's still gambling & she still "doesn't have a problem"  She's never faced the consequences of her actions having been bailed out every single time she has messed up!

The only way to manage his finances properly is full control, no half measures where you hold a bit back but he can still get to large chunks & even then be prepared for aggression & nastiness if he wants 'his' money.

Attending the meetings is only 1 part of his battle, taking what he learns in the meetings & applying it to his life is what will make the difference & having you supporting him will be huge but only to what extent you are comfortable with.  Getting to GamAnon will enable you to get support for you as well as helping you with strategies going forward.

Echo the advice to look after you - ODAAT  

Posted on:
Fri, 17/02/2017 - 10:30

Rob_Evans88

Joined:
2016-09-07

No worries Katy & thanks for your kind words. :) 

That's true. U realise that there is a better life out there for yourself. Building myself back up from nought hasn't been easy & still doing it. But life now is better than it were :) that's it yeah, the amount of times I've had those close to me supporting me over it but now it's a case of letting them know that they do have me back & a better me at that :) 

Girlfriends still worried that I'll gamble again but that's to be expected, hard journey on all counts. 

It's now over a month since I last had a bet so a good start but now to push on for the better things I know are out there. 

U may want to sit down with ur son & ask him what makes him gamble etc. 

Cheers again

Rob 

Posted on:
Fri, 17/02/2017 - 10:37

Rob_Evans88

Joined:
2016-09-07

The way i see it now is that I'm a bet away from destruction 

Posted on:
Fri, 17/02/2017 - 17:17

katy55

Joined:
2016-09-17

i have tried talking to him about "why?" But he either can't or won't articulate it. I have a feeling if he doesn't know why he does it then it makes it harder to manage.  Is this true do you think or does the "why" not matter? I'm wondering whether counselling would help him - lots of people on here seem to find it beneficial.  He's going to GA and a couple of people from there have been ringing him and supporting him.  Maybe he knows why he does it but doesn't want to tell me for some reason.

 

Posted on:
Fri, 17/02/2017 - 18:27

Phoenix67

Joined:
2016-03-31

Hi Katy. I'm the mum of a compulsive gambler my son is nearly 22. Ive long wondered why my son gambles and asked him many times and after 6 years I'm none the wiser. You can literally drive yourself mad with what ifs and maybes and there is possibility that he does know but doesn't want to tell you anyway. Even if you knew it doesn't make any difference, it's what he does for recovery that matters. I know how much you want to help him and your need for answers but as has already been said this is all down to your son to fix, nothing you say or do will make any difference. Accepting that is out of your control is very very hard after all our job as a mum is to fix things for our kids but with this you can't. I was told many times to "detach with love" take a step back and let my son live his life and I mine. It felt impossible for a very long time but gradually I understood and could do it. Counselling would probably be a good idea for your son but again that's something only he can decide, maybe it will be brought up in GA but you trying to make him go does not work. Counselling for you is absolutely essential, I thought it quite literally saved my sanity some days. Living with a cg puts a huge strain on everyone involved, my marriage was suffering and so was my relationship with my other son  and that time spent in counselling gave me a chance to lift so much off my shoulders. I don't know how often you talk to your son about his gambling but from personal experience my son became even more with drawn because he was so worried that every time he saw me I'd ask him something which he said made him worse. I was so eager to help him I didn't realise I was making it worse. Through I understood why and kept it to "hi how's your day been "  or is there anything I can help you with" I always got no or I'm fine. There was the odd time he would open up and tell me something but it only happened when I backed off. Give your son some space tell him your there if he needs you and call Gamcare to arrange some counselling for yourself. 

Posted on:
Fri, 17/02/2017 - 20:12

katy55

Joined:
2016-09-17

Hi Phoenix67 thank you for your words of wisdom - I know what you say is true. I need to get off his case, stop trying to fix him and give him some space to hopefully make the right decisions. We're both a work in progress! I'm going to look into some counselling for me. "Detach with love" -   That's such a great idea. X

Posted on:
Fri, 17/02/2017 - 20:36

Amom

Joined:
2014-10-09

Be patient with yourself. There is no rule book to follow on this. I really believe as I said before that this is a journey for both of you and you will get to where you need to be in good time. Try not to feel responsible for your husband's views/opinions on this as those  are his. My husband and myself dealt/deal with this completely different. At first we fought a lot about the handling of this but eventually I went to Gam anon (which he would never go to) and started looking after myself and not requiring the entire family deal with this as I decided was the "right" way. My son's addiction is no longer front and center in our family and we are no longer swallowed up by what's going on with him.

Every moment you focus on something you can do for yourself is a moment taken away from this addiction. 

Take Care... enjoy the weekend!

Cathyx

 

Posted on:
Fri, 17/02/2017 - 20:49

Lethe

Joined:
2016-12-10

Hi Katy

Sorry to see what you're going through.

I have found it very hard, in fact impossible to get the why of it from my husband. Very often a CG him/herself doesn't understand it and I have come to accept I'm never likely to get an explanation.

I see from your opening post your son doesn't want you telling his dad. Keeping a CG's secrets often doesn't end well and that has been my own experience first time round. My advice would be to get support for yourself from wherever and whoever seems most appropriate and if that includes his dad well, that's just a consequence of his behaviour. Apart from that an active CG can be very manipulative. They don't have a conscience and if there's a source of funds they think they can tap they are there with bells on. Your son has lost the right to call the shots. You can't control how he behaves but you can decide and control how you react.