Our family have been aware that my brother has been gambling for a while. He still lives with my parents so had loads of disposable income. We first realised it was a problem in April this year. I spoke to him then, he admitted he had a problem and we tried to work out ways he could help himself. He is so clever, has a great job, has so much going for him. I was hopeful that maybe we had got him in time. However, I found out yesterday that he has run up 15K on his credit cards, 6K of overdraft, he has absolutely no money left until payday at the end of the month. He has been getting cash advances on his credit cards but now they are at the limit. I am so worried that he's going to start to steal from my parents or from his work. To make things worse, although he acts like he is full of himself, his self esteem is really low and when I've spoke to him about the gambling, it's clear to me that he hates himself. He has also used cannibis for many years and has recently tried C*****e. I can't believe this as he's always been so against that drug. It's like he's in self destruct mode and I just don't know what I can do to help. In April, I tried to get him to think of his goals for the next month, 6 months, year etc to allow him to see a future. When I've been asking him about the gambling recently, he's been saying it's been getting better but yesterday his girlfriend told me all this. He has always been able to speak to me before but now he's lying to me as well. Maybe it's because he thinks he's let me down by not being able to stop?? All I want to do is to help him but I live 60 miles away and have 2 young kids so I'm not there to offer the support he needs. I've offered to go to GA meetings with him. I haven't spoken to him about it since I found all this out yesterday. I hardly slept last night and can't stop thinking about him. I'm seeing him at the weekend and have told him we can have a chat then but I honestly don't know where to start. I so want to be able to help him but worried that I'll drive him further away by confronting him with what i know. The rest of my family are worried sick too. What can I do??
I am a recovering compulsive gambler. I also have two older sisters. Whilst i echo Catarina's thoughts i'd also suggest not to comfort his addiction.. don't do things FOR your brother and don't give him money. Point him towards this site, Ga, debt help agencies etc but don't sort his problems out for him.
If he's anything like me he's got to start growing up and taking responsibility for the consequnces of his actions. It maybe that his life situation has to get worse before he starts to help himself. Be there as listening support but at the end of the conversation maybe say something like...I can see that your in a difficult situation.. so what are you now going to do to help yourself? ... what are you going to do to stop yourself gambling? All the best.. S.A
Hey big sis:
You echo exactly what I am going through. My brother is living with my mum who is on benefits. He had a breakdown last year and went to stay with her but now won't leave. Since his breakdown he hasn't worked and is getting no income, but he has managed to gamble away all his savings and now has debts over £100k. My mum has no money and is selling off her jewellery but is so worried she is heading for a heart attact (She has already had 4 in the past). I am younger sis. I have two young children and live over 100 miles away. He doesn't know I know as he would go mad (he can get angry/violent) so I feel there is nothing I can do. He has an addictive personalitiy andyway (he has taken drugs and smoked a lot) so I supose gambling was the next thing. Since he has run up these debts he spends all day in bed. He doesn't get up, not even to wash and my mum just can't cope anymore. I feel useless. What can I do??!!
It's just such a terrible situation. I've spent all week worrying myself sick about him. I had arranged to come back to my mum's today so I could speak to my brother and try to get him to see what he's throwing away. He knew I was coming but still hasn't been home so I've not managed to speak to him yet. Think he's probably avoiding me. He told my mum during the week that he's never going into a bookies again. My mum is joyful about this but I can't see him being able to stop just like that. Wish it was that easy. Think mum just wants everything to be OK again. My sister thinks he's a big boy and need to make his own mistakes. Her & my mum think I need to stop worrying so much about him but I can't help it.
I'm so sorry to hear about your brother. Everything I've read online says that the gambler has to realise themselves that they need help otherwise they won't take advice from others. It sounds like your brother is maybe depressed if he won't even get out of bed?? Would he go to the doctor? Hope you manage to get through to him. I know what you're going through. Good Luck x
Hi Big sis:
Have you managed to speak to your brother yet? I visited my mum today to talk things over. She has told my brother that I know everything and aparently he feels quite ashamed. However, although he now has no money to gamble with as all his credit cards have been stopped, he has said he is still going to visit the casinos as he is a member and can still go and have drinks/meals there. Personally i think he should stay well away! my sister sounds very similar to yours...her reaction was that if he was going to blow all that money he should have gone to Vegas and done it! My big concern is how my mum is coping as she always appears very strong but I know the whole situation is really upsetting her.
We've tried to get my brother to go to the doctors as he is definaltely depressed, but he refuses to go and we can't force him. We just feel so helpless!
I really hope your brother means what he says about not going to the bookies again. However I don't think it will be that easy unless he has great willpower and really really means it. Are you quite close to your brother? Will he listen to you if you get to see him?
Good luck with everything. Please let me know how you get on. X
I am really close to my brother and managed to have a good chat with him a few weeks ago. He realises what a mess he's got himself into and said he's never going to gamble like that again. He managed to stay away from the bookies totally for 8 days but then started to go back, but now only put on small bets eg £4, instead of the £400 he was betting. I still feel that he needs to stay away altogether as in my opinion, it's a slippery slope that he'll probably fall into again. I've not saif that to him though as I want him to know that I'm proud of him for trying to make things better. He denied a few of the things his girlfriend had told me. I'm not sure what to think as she isn't the most reliable person and has told lies in the past. However, I also know that addicts deny things to try to cover their tracks so it's difficult to know what to think sometimes. I spent time with my brother last weekend again and he seemed much more like his old self - not so stressed and spent a lot of time with me and my kids while we were there. I did feel like I didn't want ot focus too much on the gambling thing when I was speaking to himas I don't want him to feel I'm constantly on his case. I did speak to him about it though and he seems to be in control at the moment. It is hard to know if he's telling me everything but suppose I'll have to trust him. Think the fact that everyone in my immediate family knows about it all gave him a shock. He said he was really ashamed. Hopefully he'll manage to keep his betting in check. I don't really expect this to be it fixed though - think it'll be a long road for him. Hope you've managed to speak to your brother and that things are getting better for you. Let me know x
My 21 year old brother is also a gambler and recently moved back home to Liverpool from Shropshire where he was currently living with our parents he now lives with me. He got himself a new and much better paid job and has been back less than week and has spent his last £200 in 2 days on gambling and now i am funding him to get to work and back and also feeding him etc whilst he is home, after he gambled his last £150 he went to see my nan to tell her what he had done and had an emotional breakdown to her crying saying he is ashamed of himself and told her he has had suicidal thoughts which has really upset myself and my nan. I really don't know how to help him because every time i try and speak to him he tell's me to leave him alone and he doesn't need help so i don't know how to approach the situation without him snapping at me at all.
If anyone could help with any advice it would be much appreciated.
Good luck bigsis and hope your brother get's the help he much deserves.