My Son Has a Gambling Addiction Problem

Just about three years ago (it’s now July 2011), I found out about the secret gambling life a family member had been living for a very long time. It immediately brought back memories of my father, a compulsive gambler, now deceased.

I had always raised two daughters and my son with the plea: Don’t gamble! Don’t gamble! PLEASE don’t gamble! And I had told them exactly what damage my father’s gambling had done to our family. I related a devastating memory from my teen-age years of the time two thugs barged into my home and took away, as payment for a gambling debt, the baby grand piano that my grandmother had given me. I thought my kids got it and, as they all completed college, reached adulthood, and were married, my fears left me. I had successfully kept my childhood nightmare about my father’s gambling addiction buried.

Then one day in late July of 2008, my son asked me to meet him at his place of business. He had something he wanted to talk to me about. I did as asked; we met in his office and he closed the door. The first thing out of his mouth, amidst sobs and tears was “Mom, I AM your father!” At first, I didn’t get it – what DID he mean? Then the ugly story came out: he had gambled away thousands of dollars at local casinos and in Las Vegas; the home he and his wife had purchased was going under; he had to file for bankruptcy; and the business, in which his wife was also heavily invested, was going under. A total horror story that I could hardly believe was happening to me, to him, his wife, and his very young son. What was to be done? His wife had kicked him out, was filing for divorce, and asking the court that they not allow him to have any contact with his son.

What followed was
pure hell! He had found a small place to rent and moved in with a few sparse pieces of furniture. Then two weeks later, came the worst blow of all. I received a call that he had been hospitalized due to an attempted suicide! I brought him home from the hospital and basically moved in with him as his caretaker, taking his lone bedroom while he slept on the couch. He had already started going to nightly G.A. meetings, so our life together now became attending meeting after meeting for the next couple of weeks, every day, every night, and every city that had a program. That’s how I found Gam-Anon.

It’s been nearly three years now, and I daily thank the higher power, of my own understanding, for leading me to the Gam-Anon meetings. I am working on improving myself and feel very confident that I am now a better person, having changed some of the really bad habits I had never acknowledged – controlling, judging, false pride, self-pity. I work on those shortcomings every day, attend a meeting every week, and read and re-read the wonderful literature we are fortunate to have, all of it written by people who have been affected by the insidiousness of gambling by a member of their family. I am a much happier person, more content with my life, and strangely thankful that my son gambled, weird as that may seem. His addiction brought me to my room, the friends I have made there, and a whole new life. As one of my room’s members says, I don’t like how I got here but I’m glad I’m here! Thank you son, and thank you G.A. and Gam-Anon! I will be with you all for the rest of my life and can truly say I am well on the road to recovery and see the light at the end of the tunnel getting closer and closer to me……and to my son.

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