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  • my mum is a gambling addict, i don't know what I can do to help her

    Is someone you care about experiencing issues with gambling? Come in here to discuss your concerns, connect, and get some helpful tips.
    alex_bon
    Junior Member
    Posts: 3
    Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2014 10:58 pm

    my mum is a gambling addict, i don't know what I can do to help her

    Fri Mar 14, 2014 11:11 pm

    Hi,

    My mum is a long term gambling addict and I don't know what to do.

    When i was younger (high school) - we lost the house.
    She eventually quit work and for some time her gambling was limited to government assistance payments.
    She has now reached an age where she can draw down on her superannuation and she has been withdrawing large lump sums - she now disappears to go play whenever she's not minding my baby girl.

    - I worry she looks after my daughter during the day with a few hours' sleep
    - I worry she's burning through *huge* amounts of money [again]
    - She says she goes because has friends who understand and that can relate to her at the clubs, so it's the only life she knows
    - I try to foster our relationship best I can - take her on holidays, shopping, go hang out with her etc
    - I try to talk to her and she admits she's got a problem, but won't do anything about it

    I don't know what else I can do? I'm so upset by it, too embarrassed to discuss it with my husband too often and have no one else to reach out to.

    PS. I'm posting because everyone else seems to post about partners/spouses whereas I am in a parent-child relationship and we DO talk etc, I just have no idea what else I can do in my situation.
    0 x
    Kim9
    Member
    Posts: 47
    Joined: Fri Jan 31, 2014 11:03 pm

    RE: my mum is a gambling addict, i don't know what I can do to help her

    Fri Mar 21, 2014 10:49 am

    HI Alex,my heart really goes out to you. Unfortunately there may not be a lot you can do but encourage your mum to seek help. There will probably be times when she is more open to advice than others. I know with my pokies problem there were times when I didn't want to listen to advice but the times that I was really down on myself after a big loss I would be so determined that I would never do it again. Of course I did do it again but I also sought help.

    Maybe you could contact the gamblers help in your area and see a counsellor as they are there for family members as well as the addict. The counsellor could advise you how to approach the subject with your mum. Maybe you could then tell your mum that you are so worried about her that you're seeing a counsellor at gamblers help and you would love it if she came to an appt with you. Reassure her that going to the appt doesn't mean she will never be able to gamble again because she isn't ready to contemplate that at this stage. For an addict who isn't ready to give up, the thought of being forced to stop is terrifying. When I first went to counselling I just talked about trying to minimise the damage, eventually I realised that I had to do self exclusion and stop completely but I had to get to that point myself.

    One thing that really helped me was that I had young children and I realised that the times when I didn't gamble my life became richer, I could enjoy my family and not feel guilty, I had more money to do activities with them etc. When I relapsed it made it hard to enjoy things because of the guilt etc.

    Unfortunately for your mum, it sounds like she doesn't have a lot of other things in her life. She's lucky to have you and you are doing so much for her but she needs to find some sort of activities and friends of her own (not at the pokies). I wonder if she would consider something like going to a class like yoga or craft, you could go with her at first. Does she have any old friends she's lost touch with that she could reconnect with?
    to be cont'd...
    0 x
    Kim9
    Member
    Posts: 47
    Joined: Fri Jan 31, 2014 11:03 pm

    RE: my mum is a gambling addict, i don't know what I can do to help her

    Fri Mar 21, 2014 10:53 am

    The facilitators on here will have some other good ideas for you, I think maybe they missed your post or maybe they've replied to you elsewhere.

    The other thing I would suggest is see if your mum is open to having you take control of some of her money. Let her know that you are worried that she is eating through her super and see if there is anyway she can minimise the damage. Once again a counsellor will have more ideas about that.

    She is so lucky to have you and I know it's hard not to worry but when it comes to addicts all you can really do is be there to support and encourage her but try not to take on too much of the burden of worry, she is an adult who is responsible for her own behaviour and she will need to do something about it when she is ready. No one else can do it for her unfortunately.

    Take care Alex
    Kim x
    0 x
    Kim9
    Member
    Posts: 47
    Joined: Fri Jan 31, 2014 11:03 pm

    RE: my mum is a gambling addict, i don't know what I can do to help her

    Fri Mar 21, 2014 10:57 am

    sorry just thought of something else. I wonder if she would like bingo? I go to bingo now and love it. You know how much you are spending when you walk in the door and you have a chat with other people (maybe she would find some "friends who understand her") I find even when I don't win at bingo I don't walk out feeling angry or like gambling more. It is very easy to control the amount you spend which is the opposite to pokies. It also fills in a couple of hours which is time away from those stupid machines.
    0 x
    User avatar
    Angelina.
    Senior Member
    Posts: 326
    Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2012 1:43 pm

    RE: my mum is a gambling addict, i don't know what I can do to help her

    Wed Mar 26, 2014 10:26 pm

    Dear Alex-Bon and Kim,

    Firstly, it is definitely appropriate to talk about your mother here. Not only do we support people who gamble but we also support loved ones and effected others. So welcome Alex, and thank you for taking the time to post your concerns about your mother.

    Yes Kim, excellent response and thank you for your wonderful peer support. The facilitator team have been absent over the past two weeks, involved in other things, so didn't get a chance to respond until now.

    I think Bingo is a great idea Kim! Alex, what are your thoughts? My thoughts are that it is a social form of gambling where she gets her 'excitement rush', with less risk attached. And yes, your local gambler's help service is the best point of contact with regard to exploring ways to support her. If you like, you can private msg one of the facilitators with your area code and we can explore options with you? Or you can contact a counsellor on the webchat on this website. Overwise, calling 1800 858 858 will take you to your state-wide gambling counselling and information service.


    Hope this helps,
    Warm regards
    Angelina
    0 x
    alex_bon
    Junior Member
    Posts: 3
    Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2014 10:58 pm

    RE: my mum is a gambling addict, i don't know what I can do to help her

    Sat Sep 13, 2014 5:31 pm

    Hi all,

    A few months have passed and things have not gotten any better unfortunately. It was better for a while when she must have finished burning through what cash she had. Actually things were so much better that my husband and I started giving her some pocket money, in lieu of her looking after our daughter 5 days a week. Looking back I regret doing this because it probably enabled her and fueled her habit. Now, things are very bad.

    She borrowed money off loan sharks.

    And now I really don't know what to do. As soon as I heard about it, I gave my mum money to pay them off - well, we all know what happened to that money. So since then, I have absolutely refused to give her any cash-in-hand.

    They are not aggressive [yet] however my mum has effectively gone into hiding (in her bedroom/house) and these people come over every now and then asking about her. Because of this, I have put my daughter into daycare as I started fearing for her safety and also because I was unsure about my mums mental state (would she/could she hurt her granddaughter?)

    I have since offered to pay the loan shark via bank transfer - they refuse to provide bank details.

    I have called the police but they can't do anything.

    So I'm absolutely stuck. I'm guessing no one is going to move from this awful stalemate until something terrible happens e.g.
    1); the loan shark starts getting aggressive (and we can prove it) or
    2) my mum starts getting into something even worse, to pay them off or
    3) other things too terrible to write.

    That's my story, I don't know how it ends from here.
    0 x
    Phoenix
    Senior Member
    Posts: 100
    Joined: Mon Jun 23, 2014 4:31 am

    RE: my mum is a gambling addict, i don't know what I can do to help her

    Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:55 pm

    Hi alex_bon. It sounds like you have done all the right things to help your mother but sadly they have not been working for you.

    This may sound like a drastic measure but it's the only thing I can think of to suggest to you.... have you considered having her committed? As far as I know it only takes 2 immediate family members to sign off on it and she would probably be considered to be suffering from a mental illness with the depression she would no doubt be suffering from the stress of her predicament and the predicament which she has put you and your family in.The reason I suggest this drastic measure is it would keep your mum safe from the unsavoury Bookies and she might get the help she needs to go into recovery for her gambling addiction. At the very least she won't have access to Bookies or gambling for a while & it might get rid of the Bookie that is hassling her at the moment.

    Apart from this suggestion I really don't know what else you can do other than what you have already tried but if I think of anything, I will definitely post it for you. Hang in there mate.




    0 x
    User avatar
    AnnaB (facilitator)
    Senior Member
    Posts: 363
    Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2012 2:15 pm

    RE: my mum is a gambling addict, i don't know what I can do to help her

    Sun Sep 14, 2014 3:37 pm

    Hi alex_bon,

    Good to see you connecting. I'm sorry to hear that things haven't improved for your mum. It's such a hard space to be in when you can see a loved one in such a difficult place in life, especially your mum I'd imagine. Family often talk about all sorts of emotions with us here ...hurt, anger, powerlessness to name a few - you may be able to relate or feel differently?). It is alot to managing and I did wonder if you'd considered getting some support for yourself. There are services throughout Australia which offer free support to family, this also includes financial advice (not material assistance) and advocacy. This is in recognition of the huge impact this issue can have on family. If you're keen for this you can PM me here or call the Helpline on 1800 858 858 (24/7).
    0 x
    alex_bon
    Junior Member
    Posts: 3
    Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2014 10:58 pm

    RE: my mum is a gambling addict, i don't know what I can do to help her

    Wed Sep 17, 2014 12:55 pm

    Hi Phoenix,

    I would definitely consider having her committed but I didn't know this could be done involuntarily? I have done lots of reading on the web - beyondblue (for depression) and this website etc and they all basically say unless she is willing to seek help all we can do is be supportive etc. I even consulted a GP who only mentioned encouring her to go to the doctor > referral to counseller > maybe referral to psychiatrist > admission if considered serious, but I didn't know family members could also facilitate this process. Are you able to point me in the direction of more information on this?

    Thanks AnnaB and others for your kind words and suggestions that I seek help myself. Fortunately for me I have an extremely supportive network of [other] family and friends and I am mentally quite resilient (I have been dealing with this issue since I was around 12 years old... its been >10 years). So for now I am ok, however I would eventually like to attend sessions WITH my mum to express/resolve any mummy-issues then (once she's better first I think).
    0 x
    User avatar
    AnnaB (facilitator)
    Senior Member
    Posts: 363
    Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2012 2:15 pm

    RE: my mum is a gambling addict, i don't know what I can do to help her

    Wed Sep 17, 2014 8:48 pm

    Great to hear you have a strong support network. Can't beat good friends and family at times like this.
    0 x

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