Family, Parents, & Friends
Do you know a Problem Gambler?
Are you living with a compulsive gambler?
- Do you find yourself constantly bothered by bill collectors?
- Is the person in question often away from home for long, unexplained periods of time?
- Does this person ever lose time from work due to gambling?
- Do you feel that this person cannot be trusted with money?
- Does the person in question faithfully promise that he or she will stop gambling; beg, plead for another chance, yet gamble again and again?
- Does this person ever gamble longer than he or she intended to, until the last dollar is gone?
- Does this person immediately return to gambling to try to recover losses, or to win more?
- Does this person ever gamble to get money to solve financial difficulties or have unrealistic expectations that gambling will bring the family material comfort and wealth?
- Does this person borrow money to gamble with or to pay gambling debts?
- Has this person’s reputation ever suffered due to gambling, even to the extent of committing illegal acts to finance gambling?
- Have you come to the point of hiding money needed for living expenses, knowing that you and the rest of the family may go without food and clothing if you do not?
- Do you search this person’s clothing or go through his or her wallet when the opportunity presents itself, or otherwise check on his/her activities?
- Does the person in question hide his or her money?
- Have you noticed a personality change in the gambler as his or her gambling progresses?
- Does the person in question consistently lie to cover up or deny his or her gambling activities?
- Does this person use guilt induction as a method of shifting responsibilities for his or her gambling upon you?
- Do you attempt to anticipate this person’s moods, or try to control his or her life?
- Does this person ever suffer from remorse or depression due to gambling, sometimes to the point of self-destruction?
- Has the gambling ever brought you to the point of threatening to break up the family unit?
- Do you feel that your life together is a nightmare?
If you answered “yes” to at least six of the preceding questions, it might indicate you are living with a problem or compulsive gambler.
Questions courtesy of Gam-Anon.
Help Someone Stop Suffering
Talking to a problem gambler about seeking help is not easy. The conversation can easily lead to confrontation where the gambler gets defensive and shut-out all well-meaning concerns. Family members and loved ones often feel helpless in trying to seek help for the gamblers. The following messages may help you find the right words to communicate your concern:
- Tell the person that you care about him or her and that you feel concerned about the way you see him or her acting. Remember to focus on the behavior and not blaming the person.
- ie. “I really care about you and your gambling habit worries me.”
- Tell the person exactly what he or she has done that concerns you. Remember, your opponent is gambling, not the person.
- ie . “This gambling habit is keeping us from communicating/saving up for a nice house, etc. I want us to have a closer connection/have a nice house/(insert your reason), can we work together?”
- After telling the person that you care, what you’ve seen and how you feel, listen to what he or she says.
- Tell the person that you would like to see him or her to seek help and address the issues that gambling brings.
Remember, the target is not your loved ones, but the problem gambling behavior itself. Direct blame on the gambler may push the gambler into arguments; in turn give the gambler an excuse to gamble. Don’t fall into that trap, give CARE a call. We can help families and friends of problem gamblers.
There is FREE help, please call CARE at (408) 975-2730