How do I help?

I am so worried about my son. He has had a gambling problem (sports betting) for approx. 6 years now. He is in his early 20's. He never has any money. He has a good paying job, but looses most of what he makes gambling. He really is such a good person, and this addiction that is destroying him is breaking my heart!

He called tonight and told me he had gambled again, and lost. He did not tell me how much. He has been loosing around $1,000 each time he gambles and looses. He indicated it was around this amount. For the first time he said he has decided to never gamble again. In the past he has said he has confidence he can get this under control. He was very upset, as he always is when this happens. I know he means it when he says he has decided to never gamble again, but I am so afraid he will not be able to. He has gotten an extension on his car payment, delaying his payment for a month. I am afraid the day may come that he looses his car, and consequently, his job. He is so young to have such a TERRIBLE addiction! But then, I suppose age has nothing to do with addictions.

Do any of you have any advice on how I can help him follow through on his desire to stop gambling? I want to help, but do not know what to do next. In the past I have suggested Gam. Anonymous. He has said he would go if I want him to. I have told him he needs to go if HE wants to. Maybe this time he will go. Does it really help? He is a very proud young man, and a kind, caring person who wants to do well in life. He worries so much about others; he really needs to take care of himself first.

I know I am probably rambling on here. I am so at a loss as to what to do. It hurts so bad; I am so afraid for him. Concentrating on my daily responsibilities is very hard. At times I think of resigning from my teaching position at a local community college, and just isolating myself from the world. A terrible thought, I know, and of course I could not give up and do such a thing---but at times one feels like it. I feel for all of you who have this terrible addiction. I admire all who have found the way and the strength to overcome it.

Please, if any of you have any advise as to how I can help my son, I would be thankful.

I have the book, "Don't Leave It to Chance, A Guide for Families of Problem Gamblers", by Edward J. Federman, Charles E. Drebing, and Christopher Krebs. It is a good book. I have not read all of it though. I also have the book, "Love First" by Jeff and Debra Jay. It is a book on alcoholism and drug addiction. However, it was recommend to me for gambling addiction. It is a book on intervention help. Perhaps I will spend the week end reading these two books, and will have a better idea on how to help my son.

Thank you for this forum that I have found tonight.

Jane, Friday January 28, 2005
04:51 AM EST

 Hi Jane and welcome! I can relate to your son putting off the car payment because I am digging out of this hole right now. Your son is very blessed to have a parent who wants to help. It sounds like you are doing your homework about this disease. GA although I haven't been to that particular 12 step meetings is a good place for your son to learn he is not alone and to find support from other gamblers who are one day at a time trying to stay away from gambling

You are right this disease does not care how old you are and it comes in all shapes and sizes. He cannot beat this thing by himself. It is good that he can talk to you about it. This site has helped me so much in the past week. My last gamble was last Saturday and one day at a time, I have not gambled this week. Each day is a miracle.

Your son will need to make the move toward recovery by asking for help. He will need help from someone who has been there and knows exactly how to help him. Family unfortunately is not enough, love is not enough, this disease needs a dose of reality right between the eyes.

You may want to show your son this site and see if he can introduce himself and get to know more about recovery from gambling. The first step is the hardest. The rest is just plain old fashioned hard work!!



Hello, and thank you for your reply.

I have talked to my son tonight (he lives 85 miles away). He is positive, and determined to beat this. I do not know what steps he is going to take to help himself. He works long shifts every other week, and I will not be able to talk to him long for a few days. I will mention this site to him, and hope he will join in the discussions here. It looks like a great support group.

I do not know if he will be attending GA meetings. I will suggest it to him. I do believe it would help alot for him to have someone to talk to that has been through this. He has the book, "Don't Leave It to Chance," and has read some of it. I believe it is a good book, and may help if he would read it.

I have two questions I would like to ask:

Have any of you read the book "Comped" by Bill Kearney? If so, did you find it helpful? Have you read the book "7 Steps to Overcoming Gambling Addiction for Life'?

Also, on this web site in the "financial service" section, there is a program to help with financial problems. Have any of you tried this, and did you find it helpful? I am thinking that debt consolidation might help. I believe, though, that any one considering debt consolidation should cut up all credit cards first, and do NOT get any more.

I thank you for your time.

I am glad I found this site. I am wondering if it is for the gambling addicted person only. You have made me feel welcome, though.

Thank you again, and good luck to all of you!!

hello Jane,
Keep supporting him no matter what. Do not ever bail him out or give him any money to get by on.. that will just make it worse for him and harder to stop gambling. He has to be accountable to someone, he must put himself on an allowance and turn everything else over to someone else he can trust to hold on to his money and help him pay his bills. He has to be willing to stop gambling and work a recovery that will help keep him away from this addiction.. Meetings, calling other cgs for support, groups like this.. He is so young to be a cg. help him now.. Find out all you can about this disease and follow thru with getting him help.. too many young people are addicted to gambling and many end up wanting to commit suicide because of the depression.. Stay in touch with him everyday, several times a day if you have too.. I do wish the best for you and your son. I have three grown kids, Its so hard on us when they suffer with an addiction.. stay strong and never give up. Hugs Audrey


Hi Jane, what a wonderful mum he has, I hope he comes to realise that before he uses you, because if he continues he will grind (let me correct myself, his addiction will) grind you to the ground.

Like a drug addict in desperation for a fix, we are no different; it is all about the similarities. I started my addiction by being introduced to machines my mother. She to this day is an addict but will never admit it. Yet she watched my life go down the drain and she is still going.

I have helped myself and she hasn't. Your young fella needs to help himself Jane. How does not matter as much as when he decides to stop. Anytime is a good time and ask him to make himself a promise not to gamble today, before dinner etc if he needs to break it down. Let the future come to him and take it a bit at a time.

I have not gambled for 27 odd months now and it has been a day at a time. Sure tough sometimes but that is why I keep busy on places like this. Or my own blog (online diary) Ask him to go have a good read of mine called Lost Wallets and other lies here

We do not know each other but I will guarantee you he will relate to it. I suggest every gambler on earth get one of these. It is very liberating, can be private or for the world to see, can include anything form thoughts, confessions to funny stories etc but the thing it does best Jane is lift a huge wait off your shoulders. This also helps if he is reluctant to go to GA or group sessions. I see someone once a month these days one on one.

Let us know how you go, email me anytime

Take care



Hello to all of you,

Thank you all so much for being there. I am so glad I found this site. Thank you crazylady, audrey, and rob for your replies. You all have been such a help, and a comfort. I worry that I am in contact with my son too often. We usually talk at least once a day. He is a wonderful son, and it is so hard to see him being torn up by this terrible addiction. Yes Audrey, it is hard on us when our children suffer an addiction. I try to be strong and not let his addiction "grind me to the ground", but to be honest with you, at times it does. Some nights I lie awake all night, tossing and turning, crying and shaking. This is the other side of addiction. But I know I have to try to stay strong, not just for myself, but for all of my family. (I, too, have three grown kids.) My husband seems to handle it all much easier, but inside I know he is hurting.

Rob, I do not know you, nor any one else here, but I am proud of you and the others that have stopped gambling. Wow, 27 months! Be proud of yourself. I can not understand this addiction from the side of an addict, but I can understand it from my side: having watched what my son has gone through for the last 5-6 years,(slowly getting worse) and from having read about this disease. Actually, I once worked in a casino. I saw people come into the casino with their monthly social security checks, gamble it away, and have nothing to live on for the rest of the month.

"One day at a time" seems like a very good way to approach this. And, Rob, your blog will be a big help, I am sure! Thank you for sharing this!!

I talked to my son tonight, and he said he is as strong now in his conviction to stop as he was three days ago when he decided to stop gambling. He does not want to go to GA, I know he will need help somewhere---I will give him this site, the blog, and other info I have. He will have to want to help himself. I know he wants to, it just seems so hard from what I know of this addiction. Meeting all of you, and seeing that you are strong and on the road to recovery is encouraging. The gamblock is a good thing to know about. One of the problems is we live in the state of Nevada---yep, gambling is everywhere. He likes to do sports betting, and he is afraid he will not enjoy sports as much. I guess that when you are recovering from this addiction you have to learn to live your life over, in a sense.

I am sorry for going on for so long. I have one more thing: I have, in the past loaned my son money. (Alot) As have others. I now know that was wrong. This is one of the ways this addiction affects others; you hurt because the person has lost this money, you love him, and want to help, you think that you will loan the money, the situation will be resolved, everyone will feel better, and maybe, just maybe, this will be the time that he will see what he is doing and be able to stop. Of course, by giving the money we only enable them to continue with the gambling. You love this person, and this is hard to see, but it is important to know.

Thank you all.............