My son is a compulsive gambler

Hi everyone,

I posted here about a week ago. My son is addicted to gambling. A week ago he was going to stop. Now he is going to "get it under control." It is impossible to talk to him about this horrible addiction ( compulsive gambling ) unless he comes to me first. And, unfortunately, that is when he has lost. I do not know what to do to help him. How do you watch a loved one destroy himself?? I can barely function. I live 100 miles away from the nearest Gam-Anon, and their meetings are on an evening when I can not go due to work. My son will not ask for help. He is young, proud, and, I imagine, afraid. Thank you for listening.

Maybe it would help if you found an ex-gambler that could give him some talking to, or show him some people that are in deep in gambling and ask him if that is how he wants to be.

Just a suggestion.
Thank you for the suggestion. I do not know any one, but perhaps I will try to find someone. It is a good suggestion. I am open to any suggestions. At this point I am desperate. I am sorry, I know I need to try to live my own life. I try. Most of the time I do, even if only barely. Sounds terrible, I know. I have got to figure out how to deal with this. I wish I did not live so far from any help.

Hi Jane,

I am a Compulsive Gambler... but can help you. I know that sounds very weird, but I've have 9 years of experience working in a support group for acting out kids and adult kids. Every addiction imaginable, murder, gangs, runaways and mental illness... you name it. So... If you would like I can help you through this.

My heart goes out to you.

Hi Terri,

Thank you for your offer to help. I very much appreciate it. I know I should not let this affect me so, but at this time it is. I feel for you, a cg. We are all in this together. I hope to help others, also. Do you have any suggestions? Yes, I do need help through this.

Thank you. Jane
I printed some of the pages off of this message board and showed it to my husband and let him know that I joined - I did not say much more than that but he did seem kind of interested and then when he wanted to try "the allowance idea" he kind of hinted that I should post that question to see the feedback that I got and he really liked a couple of your guys responses - So, try it out. Don't badger him with it - just hand him some pages and let him read - Maybe he'll join.

God Bless and Protect Us ALL - Take Care.

Hello Anita, and others,

I have told him about this site. At the time he was determined to quit. He said he would check this site out, but he did not. Now, a week later, he is giving into the impulses, and says he will not. He says he can quit, or "control" his gambling on his own. He cannot. I am terribly frightened for him...

I just had a thought. I have asked my son to visit this site. At first he said he would, a week later "no." (As I believe I said already) Do any of you have an idea on how I can, or if there is something I can say to him to get him to come to this site? I am careful with what I say to him, I do not tell him what to do. Only try to suggest. Right now he seems to be literally going crazy, because he is trying to stop.

Thank you again, and the best to all of you. Jane
Hi Jane, I'm a Compulsive Gambler.

It's unfortunate, but most of us can't get help until we admit we are powerless over gambling. Any thoughts we have that we can control it or limit it is really just another way the disease warps our thinking. And yes, he probably is literally going crazy...I was totally shocked at the feelings of withdrawal I had when I first became gambling-free.

My heart goes out to you...keep coming here for support!

Take care. Shelley.

I am trying to understand this addiction (compulsive gambling ). It is hard to understand. I would understand more if I were a cg. I have never had the desire to gamble, drink, or do drugs. I do not understand why some do, and some do not. I know we all have difficult things to deal with, why some of us turn to something destructive, and others don't I do not know. There are those studying this. Our brains are all different.I know no one starts gambling for the reasons they now gamble, if they are a cg. My son started, for one reason, simply because it was there. EVERYWHERE. We live in Nevada. He makes bets on sports. He knows a lot about sports.

He won a lot of money, at first. He saw a program on t.v. about people making a 6-7 figure living betting on sports. That did it. He thought he could become wealthy. Others do. Yes, they actually do. But what kind of life do they have? Are they able to keep families? And, what is the percentage of those that do make a living at this? VERY small. Now he is addicted, and it is, perhaps HAS, destroyed him. He is very young (20's). When his brother was in college I went to an orientation at the college. They told us that college students' (there) biggest serious problem is not drinking, is not drugs, it is gambling. This is SO terrible. I wish the absolute very best for all of you. Hang in there. You deserve a good life. I do not think I can keep coming here and laying my problems on you. I will keep you in my thoughts, and prayers. I simply am feeling too down, too lost, to burden you who are dealing with this demon.

Shelley, artist block is when you are an artist, and you do not do your art. I teach art classes at the community college---I paint for class because I have to. But my own work, it does not get down. My worries get in the way. I have won many awards with my art, could do a lot with it. But my heart is just not in it.

I am sorry for the down mood today. I feel I may never get my son back. I am scared, and, as I said, will not bring this to you. I really do wish all of you the best. Please keep doing good.


please don't pull away from the matter what you are feeling there is someone else out there who feels the same. Maybe there are other Moms out there who have been here and read your posts, not thinking to reply, but taking comfort in knowing they are not alone. You are feeling lost, scared and depressed. I can't possibly know what you are going thru because I'm on the other side of compulsive gambling, but I do know that it's times like this we NEED to reach out for help. You mentioned that the nearest Gam-Anon meeting is miles away? There should be a phone number, for you to get in contact with someone from the group. Please try...even if you can't make a meeting, maybe there is some alternative that is available. Just call!! Make that one small step to help yourself feel a little more pro-active in this problem. As a CG, I have absolutely no idea what the basic program is for Gam-Anon. I wish there was another member here that was involved in Gam-Anon.

Please don't stop posting. Share your feelings, no matter how hard it seems. You are NOT burdening me! The more I progress in my recovery, the more I want to help others recover...and that includes those that are affected by a CG. Please, Jane, just try making the call to Gam-Anon. You have nothing to lose but a little long-distance charge, and maybe everything to gain.

Take care of you.


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my son
By jane - Posted on December 31st, 2007

Tonight I was reading the posts on Paul's blog, and saw the gambling helper web address. It reminded me of how I met Paul---it was at the gh site. I posted here often, about my son, who is bets on sports. I am not sure anyone will remember; or if anyone is here any longer. It does not look like the site is active. Paul and I communicated often, and he was a big help. As were others here. Here is an update:

My son tryed to quit off and on for some time. Then one day he decided to go to GA meetings. His father and I went with him the first day. He and his father cried at the meeting, hearing what they were hearing. I had already heard such stories, and it was not such a shock to me as it was to them. My son kept going, and it did help. Then he stopped going very often.

Then-------------almost two years ago a new treatment center for gambling addiction opened in the town where he lives. His father and I asked him if he would go, and he said yes. And, he did. He attended meetings there four evenings a week, and 3 evenings a week he went to GA meetings. The treatment program was for about 2 months. He never missed a meeting. I attended meetings for family members twice a week, driving almost 100 miles one way. The more I learned about the addiction, and also the role his father and I had in it (enabling, etc.) the better we were able to help him. (And ourselves.) The treatment center was a life saver. One of the good things about the center, it only costs $5 a meeting. If you do not have the $5, you do not have to pay. They really do want to help the cg. After finishing the program my son turned his finances over to me. I handled his finances for about a year, and now his girlfriend does. He has had one relapse in the last year, but is doing very well. I see the son I had before this nightmare returning more every day. There is hope.