Today has not been a good day. My brother has finally admitted to having a gambling addiction something I have suspected for a couple of years. it all started approx. last year when my mum discovered in one of his letters that he had a loan, I asked him about it and he admitted to me he had a loan of approx £2000. My mum and I worked with him to help him sort out a financial plan to help him get back on track. Last week my mum opened one of his letters after having some suspicions that he was spending a lot of money and the loan was a lot worse than we thought - he now owed nearly £5000 and owed my mum just over £1000. I felt like I had no choice but to confide in my dad, who was relatively calm about the matter and threw my brother a life line - he paid the entire loan off and then set up a new payment plan with my brother. I really had hoped my brother had learnt his lesson. But, today my brother phoned me and told me that he has done something stupid. My heart sank, he had taken out another loan and gambled away just over £4000 in the space of 48 hours. I'm devastated. I don’t fully understand addiction and I do not claim to be an expert, I just cannot understand how or why he would do that - after being given a chance at a fresh start last week. My mum is devastated. My dad is absolutely furious and no longer wants anything to do with my brother - I am hoping its shock but I am not so sure, its just awful that this has ripped my family apart. I have rang for advice and support and my mum has done the same thing. My brother has been to see the GP and also rang for support and is hopefully going to get some advice and support with paying this new loan back. Im just devastated and don’t know what I can do to help my brother. I feel like its torn my family apart.
I don’t want to claim I’m an expert cos I’m in a similar position but further along than you. My partner kept getting loans that I kept finding out about and paying off and he just carried on despite promising me every time he wouldn’t. Your brother isn’t doing it to hurt you on purpose he just can’t stop and is probably in denial that he has a problem. I know from experience that it is really hard not to take it personally but you must try not to for your own mental health. My advice would be not to bail him out anymore. Only he can stop and only if he wants to- there’s no point forcing him but you can still encourage him to seek help and accept that his gambling is a problem. There is lots of help available that it sounds like you have started to look into. You may want to consider having someone take control of his finances and look in to self exclusion on line. I used gamstop but not all sites are registered so it’s not fool proof. You could Get a credit report for him so you can see when he gets loans out but he will have to agree.
I don’t know how much you know about the nature of problem gamblers so I dont want to sound patronising but if he’s not ready to stop he will find a way to gamble. Addictive personalities tend to be very good at hiding their addiction- they are good at lying and convincing. They can seem selfish in their ways because they are consumed by their addiction and how and when they can get to do it again. I am speaking generally as I don’t not claim to know your brother.
It’s a good start that he came to tell you.
GamCare and gamanon are good places to start looking for help and for yourself and your family and for your brother.
Good luck and stay strong