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Telling friends/family?  


Can anyone share their experiences of telling friends & family about their problem, and when did you do it? It’s been playing on my mind since I debated joining here.

Absolutely no one knows I gambled, especially to the extent i was. I have a twin sister I’m clearly very close with , I can’t even fathom how she’d take it. 

Also my dad had an alcohol addiction for a lot of my childhood, with help forced on him he is now 15+ years sober and a new man. Part of me feels like he would completely understand, maybe be proud that i’ve taken steps to overcome it myself. Part of me thinks he’d be extremely disappointed in me and forever doubt me

I fear they’ll think i’ve taken money from them to gamble, i’ve only ever asked for help a handful of times over the last maybe 1 or 2 years, I hate asking but it’s always been for bills and nothing else. If a direct debit is due to come out And I won’t have money by then. I pay it back on payday without hesitation as I know i could never do that to them. But of course it was because I was gambling that I needed the help in the first place. 

I can’t imagine ever telling them at this point. If i do i think it will be when i’m feeling secure and back on my feet.

Posted : 8th September 2020 9:47 pm

Hi d1994.

Telling friends and family is REALITY and thats what you need to beat this addiction. The truth shall set you free because you cant live a lie.

I know its awkward and can feel embarrassing or shameful but the fact is that its NOTHING compared with what the power of this addiction has lined up for you.

The looks on their faces are what you need in a born again moment. they will come to understand that millions suffered from this addiction and there is no shame in reaching out for help. It doesnt mean you are inherently just became hooked on something that was destroying you

You must stop now and that involves the big measures of telling people close what you have been up to. This addiction loves secrets and your willpower alone will not be enough for a full recovery

Gambling is a drug addiction that you have been keeping a secret because you know in your heart its wrong behaviour. If you were proud of your activity it would be a secret now would it!

They would have found out anyway sooner or later. They are not daft and every time you borrow or ask for money is a marker that something isnt quite right.

You know the misery its caused you. Im going to be blunt and say gambling kills people so are you really scared of telling your loving family?

You can make a better life for yourself..."look after the pennies and the pounds will follow" you will be surprised how your life is easier with money when you stop gambling. There are ways of balancing the books and being a happier person

Gambling was never the answer to your monthly finances...the chemical feelings of doing it, hook people fast and make them into zombies for gambling.

You can never be complacent about it again. You will learn about this addiction be a stronger person.

Best wishes from everyone on the forum

This post was modified 2 weeks ago by Joydivider
Posted : 8th September 2020 11:26 pm

Personally, I am not so sure about telling friends and family for the sake of telling them, there are all sorts of friends and family out there.

You should obviously be telling those closest to you and those that have your interest at heart, they are the ones that will help you with your recovery. This addiction feeds on secrecy so when you open up, you have a better chance of dealing with it.

When I was in very deep trouble as a result of gambling (huge debts, paying bills and continuous gambling) my wife went on to tell family members that were thousand of miles away, that did not help my situation one bit, it actually made it worse. Pre-gambling problem, I had always been a private person, I don’t know if I’ll ever recover from my personal issues being out there in the open, this isn’t to do with the shame, it simply just don’t like it 

Posted : 9th September 2020 7:48 am

Hey Frogman, sorry you had to go through that. I don’t have many people in my life, those who are are in it for a reason! I’d only “want” to tell my dad, sister and brother, maybe one of my closest friends. I wouldn’t even want my step mum to know, she’s the kind that would spin it around into her own problem and start telling people. But i know she’d of course have to find out if my dad did.

Truthfully I don’t want to tell anyone right now and think I’m getting on fine without doing so. I’m also very private, I rarely ask for help i just get things done on my own. I’ve just been reading here and it seems to be something we’re supposed to do like the above person mentioned, to face reality and speak about our problem.

I just never really have lied to them, they just don’t know. It’s been my own little “hobby” that no one else needed to know about. It didn’t even feel like a secret, just something I did in my own time and enjoyed. I can’t see how they’d help me at all, if anything it’ll make me feel awkward and embarrassed being around them rather than just being our normal selves.

I don’t know, I think with more time it will become apparent what i should, or maybe need, to do. 

d x

Posted : 9th September 2020 7:59 am

I think you will find that everyone’s experience at telling family is different and depends so much on people’s different circumstances. Also Sometimes people are ‘found out’ before they have the opportunity to tell family.
The one common thing that most people on here will say, is that however hard it was they gained a feeling of relief afterwards.

I totally understand you saying you don’t feel secure or ready enough. That’s very natural. But on that logic you probably will never feel ready.
 In your case having seen a few of your posts, I think you sound quite young as in your twenties?  You can have so many happy gamble free years ahead. But you really need to pluck up courage and tell someone. Maybe your father who with his own personal history will probably be much more understanding than you think.  Your twin sister will be the same.  You may even find they have had suspicions. They may also initially be hurt that you haven’t told them before now. But whatever happens you will feel better for it in the long run.

The old saying a ‘problem shared is a problem halved’ is so true. Please don’t let your fears  stop you. You are already making fantastic steps forward stopping gambling, I’m sure if you share this with your family, you will feel a huge emotional burden has been taken off your shoulders. 
All the best


Posted : 9th September 2020 8:09 am

Thanks for your comment. I am 26, i’ve been gambling throughout all of my 20’s! That’s part of the reason I’m determined to make a change, I want to get my life on track sooner than later, my goal is to be in a good, comfortable place by the time i’m 30.

My dad used to take us to the arcade at weekends when we were younger and he still jokes to this day about how addicted i got to the 2p machines!! 

I haven’t seen much of him lately, like i mentioned in a previous post there is some family drama that doesn’t directly involve me, but adding this to the mix might just be a lot right now. I hate to see my dad so stressed as it is, let alone burdening him with my own problems too.

The encouragement on this forum is great. I know i’ll tell them at some point, I think i’d rather get over the hardest part of it myself and i’m doing that really well at the mo. 

d x

Posted : 9th September 2020 8:22 am

Hi d1994 as you can see everyone is different. My husband found out suddenly early one Friday morning but as bad as that was at the time and the difficulties it has caused since....I'm glad it's all out in the open my life was absolute s....te constantly worrying how I was going to get the money back, gambling more and more just spiralling down a hole. My husband obviously took over the finances straight away I don't have access to our money and it's a relief I'm 3months on I still don't want anything to do with it maybe I never will. What I'm trying to tell you is the harsh reality of our addiction is that it's easier to abstain out in the open and when restrictions are in place. Then whilst you cannot gamble and in recovery you seek to change whatever works for you counselling, GA,CBT courses. This is what is working for me and it's great I'm happier calmer more stable. On the other hand if I was still hiding  ........ Take care and good luck with whatever you choose

Posted : 9th September 2020 9:43 am

Well obviously Im saying you tell people you trust and who are directly involved. People who need to know and could help with moral support.

This forum is really great but it still gives you an anonymity that keeps you more in an addicted zone than telling people close

It gives a much needed reference point of not letting them down again as well as yourself

This isnt a telltale issue. If partners choose to spread the news thats another issue to do with relationships and boundaries.

I dont think keeping it to yourself is a good idea so at least go and tell the members of a GA group.

I was defrauding my parents by borrowing money they didnt know the reason for. They needed to know mainly to protect them...Its not a selfish act and it took away the possibility of my easiest money stream when I was skint by gambling. It simply meant I couldnt gamble their money any longer 

It was about putting blocks on and taking away the feelings that I could always get money if I was in trouble. The recovery process involves cold turkey and monitoring.

I couldnt have done it alone...the addiction loves secrets and me trying to go it alone.

I would say be wary here of reinforcing d1994s feelings that he wont bother anyone with it.

Im not saying go and tell the bank manager of distant uncle. Im saying that its wise to focus on trusted people you are comfortable to talk to.

I didnt make that clear but think its pretty obvious thats what Im saying. Nobody is forcing you to tell anyone but this recovery relies on facing yourself and being honest about what you have done to the people that care about you.

It isnt soft soaping you need to hear. This addiction is extremely powerful with its mind control..nothing changes if nothing changes

Best wishes

This post was modified 2 weeks ago 2 times by Joydivider
Posted : 9th September 2020 10:39 am

Hey Joy,

Sorry i didn’t mean to discredit your first message, i think i just responded to the 2nd as it was the last one I read. I know what you meant about telling people close

My feelings aren’t being impacted by anyones opinions, i was always going to tell my closest family, I just feel for now it seems right for me to keep it to myself as it’s working so far. Atleast until things have calmed down a bit with the rest of my family’s issues as they feel distant just now as it is. 

I haven’t borrowed massive amounts of money, there’s been 2 times over the years i’ve asked for a small amount for a direct debit which was paid back ASAP, once because of unexpected vet bills, the other car issues, which left me less money in the month. I do the same for my siblings too when needed and will continue to help them in the future. So i don’t feel i’ve been selfish, or like they’ve been involved in my gambling at all, I live and pay my bills on my own and have never taken money and not been able to pay it back. I have just suffered myself by gambling money that could have been better spent on myself

The point of the post was more to kind of hear other people’s story’s, good and bad, from how theirs found out or how they reacted, out of curiousity

Posted : 9th September 2020 11:00 am

I think most people will know when their gambling is becoming a problem. As I said earlier, the addiction feeds on secrecy so when you tell those you trust and can confide in, it can be a lot easier to come out of it rather than trying to power through it yourself. If you haven't been fully sucked in, try and face the problem head on, put all the barriers in place. I started gambling in 2012, I told my girlfriend (now wife) I was gambling, it wasn't a problem at all then, I was losing and winning, no problem, earning well, I will go months without gambling and then go back. When it became a problem around 2015, I stopped speaking out until 2017/18 when I hit a very hard bottom, It was really tough, I didn't know all the years I was sleepwalking into serious problems, household relied heavily on my income, first son was born in 2016 and the second was on the way, it was really tough.

At 26, you can put the problem behind you fairly quickly, tell people you know can help, install all the barriers, attend counselling, GA if you need to. This addiction has to be treated with respect, it's not a habit you can just shake off easily.

This post was modified 2 weeks ago by Frogman
Posted : 9th September 2020 12:46 pm

Its been said previously here that this addiction (like all addictions) feeds on secrecy and lies, there is nothing wrong with coming out to loved ones about your problem. Thats what loved ones are for, we support each other through good times and bad.

We end up living a lie in our own heads as a result when we don't confide in others and this is perfect for the addiction as we even convince ourselves everythings is ok and we can manage this ourselves. We say things like, oh I don't want to burden them with this, they wouldn't understand, they will be judgemental, they will be this, they will be that and so on. We create a narrative in our heads to not open up. GA is a good place to start and Step 1 in the 12 step plan is holding our hands up and admitting this is now out of our control and we need help.

If I were in your shoes I would go to my nearest GA meeting, open up there then after a couple of meetings I would open up to your loved ones. 

Posted : 9th September 2020 3:47 pm
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