When a gambling addiction escalates to serious consequences, it often affects the problem gambler’s entire family.
- Trust may have been lost as the problem gambler lied to hide the addiction and its consequences.
- The problem gambler may have wagered the savings and loans of his or her parents, brothers or sisters.
- Frustration and blame may have created distance between family members.
- The family may have spent its savings eliminating some of the problem gambler’s debt.
There are many more possible consequences, but the most important thing to know is that family relationships can be repaired.
With the effort of everyone involved, your family members can recover together.
How do we know this? Your family is not alone in your struggle with gambling addiction, but plenty of families before you have found a path to recovery and go on to have healthy and happy futures.
The Families of Problem Gambling
We’ve shared the stories of many people affected by gambling addiction – and not just the addicted individuals themselves.
We recently spoke with the Spouse of a problem gambler. The couple had met in high school, and the consequences of his constant gambling had an immediate effect on their relationship.
“From 16 to 19-years-old, I thought he was cheating on me. He wasn’t around when he said he would be, he never seemed to desire me physically, and sometimes he was nowhere to be found, but there was always an excuse when I asked.”
This spouse went through many hard years as her husband gambled, lied and lost a tremendous amount of money. She worried about his depression and feared he would commit suicide.
Though it took many years, they sought treatment and got help.
He stopped gambling.
Today, they’re still married. They sought recovery together, and they continue to go to their Gamblers Anonymous and Gam-Anon meetings to discuss their experiences, the emotions they must still deal with, and how they stay gambling-free together every day. It has been 22 years since his last bet.
“Finding help from people who had gone through this helped me understand I was not alone. We were not alone. We could get past this gambling addiction, and we could live the happy, healthy lives we’d always wanted.”
We also spoke to the Daughter of a problem gambler. Her mother had left the family’s bills unpaid as she spent all of their savings on lottery tickets. Her gambling addiction had a tremendous impact on the family for many years, but she sought help.
Her mother quit betting.
Though frustration and distrust still exist among some family members, they are working together to become close again.
“I still work on remembering that this addiction doesn’t make my mother a bad person, and never did. She’s still my mom, and while the addiction may always be there, in the recovery stage, the addiction is not who she is.”
Gambling addiction threatened to end their relationship, but treatment and support gave them hope.
Mother and daughter talk every day.
Your Family Can Recover Together, Too.
The KnowTheOdds blog provides information to help guide your family toward a successful recovery. Educate yourself on what problem gambling is, its risks and warning signs and how to find support groups and treatment options near you. Learn how to discuss it with your family members and friends, and understand how to stop placing blame on individuals in your family for the consequences of addiction.
Thousands of problem gamblers are in recovery, supported by their family and friends. Recovery for everyone, including the problem gamblers and everyone affected is possible. Find help, and have hope.
Find the complete stories of the spouse and daughter, as well as the successful recovery stories of others, in “The Faces of Problem Gambling.” To reach a professional counselor for problem gambling help at any time, contact the NYS HOPEline at 1-877-8-HOPENY.