My mom, who cares for my dad with Alzheimer's, has developed a gambling problem. How can I help?
I will gladly settle for progress What time does your meeting end? I have read this thread and nodded my head. It is a book on intervention help. Strangely, I relate better to some of the men, than I did to the lady! But my heart is just not in it. Facilities offering inpatient and outpatient care might not be available in all areas, but by calling , we can help you find the closest available treatment resources.
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And there I was, stuck in my addiction, lying to myself, my husband, and my kids. Actually, lying to everyone! I'm grateful they forgive me for my lies. I'm grateful I can talk to them about my addiction now. GA meetings helped me a lot. Coming to this site and learning about my addiction, knowing I'm not alone, has helped.
There is no cure, and I now know part of my recovery depends on staying in touch with others like me. Don't give her any money, it's okay to tell her why.
Don't listen to her lies. If you're mom can't face hearing the word addict , try calling it something else. A disease, an illness. Just because she doesn't want to face her addiction doesn't mean you can't face it. Talk to her, if you can. Tell her how she is effecting your life, the way you feel. It would be best if she didn't have access to money - can your dad take over the finances and give her only the money she needs?
Hard, hard questions to answer - advise is so easy to give. I know giving up on love isn't an option, maybe tough love is. Thanks for being here, Jamie. It means a lot to me to try to express some form of hope for you. She can only pull you down if you let her. I hope to hear more from you. Hi Jamie, It is so hard to listen to someone from the other side because as compulsive gamblers we always justify our addiction or used to so it didn't seem like I was hurting anyone.
I grew up in an acholic household where both parents were heavy weekend drinkers and then every weekend we were subjected to a huge amount of physical abuse. I always prided myself that my children would never have to witness the things that I indured as a child but then I found gambling. It started innocent enough, went to Las Vegas with my husband at for a much needed vacation when I was about 43 or I had until that point always been a genuine, very frugal person that always put everyone else first, especially my kids!!!!
I started going more and more, loosing more and more, lying more and more and not caring about anyone but myself and when I could go gambling. I destroyed our finances and thought of ending my life many times. Finally I told my husband the mess I had got us into and he is trying to help me and then this website has also been a Godsend! I am in no way cured, there is none I recently just relapsed after almost a year but I am determined to begin my recovery again.
The only reason I am telling you all this is to let you know that your mom is still in there somewhere but she is just consumed by the addiction right now. She has got to want to quit but you can help her if she will admit to herself she is a compulsive gambler. I am sorry you are hurting and with you the best. Jamie I'm also a mom who is a compulsive gambler.
You and your dad need to not give your mom any money and try to confront her with how you feel together. She can't get help until she admits she has a problem.
Unfortunately, all you guys can do is limit her funds and try get her to see what she is doing to herself and to you. I pray she gets it soon. The others who have posted replies have said a lot of wise things. You cannot make her stop gambling.
She has to do that. You can, however, protect yourselves as much as possible. Your dad can separate their accounts so she cannot access the money he works for. He can set up Lifelock so she can't open accounts without his knowledge. Mostly, you must show some tough love, and refuse to give her money, or bail her out of difficulties. You and your Dad can take charge of all the finances to limit her handling of money to an absolute minimum.
I quit gambling when it became more painful to keep gambling and face the pain, shame, and consequences Someone wrote cash is like cocaine to a gambler. If she has access to cash The good thing is Best wishes to you and your family in dealing with this! Jamie, I too am a gambling addict. I have seen first hand the obvious financial devastation that my compulsion has had on my family and felt the overwhelming guilt that it always causes; but sometimes the family does not see the hidden devastation taking place 24 hours a day in the guilty mind of a gambler.
There are a few things that I believe I can share with you about the state of your mothers mind when the gambling bug has bitten her. Remember that gambling is kind of like a tick. Once it latches on to the mind, until you remove it, it sucks the life right out of you and buries itself ever deeper. Gamblers want to quit but due to several factors can not stop on their own. She tells herself she should just be able to stop because she just doesn't believe gambling can be addictive yet here she is battling it again.
She fully intends too stop but goes back to all her failures and of all she has lost and this gives the gambling tick more to work with She is hearing things like: The voices never stop. The guilt never stops. And the pain hurts deeper than you can verbalize. There is a third person voice that does speak to a gambler.
Gambling transforms a normally rational strong person into a weak dependant shell. The rational person is still in there but the compulsion is so strong that reality and fantasy become one in her mind. In her times of reflection she is just as lost as you see her and her vows to herself to quit are so real at the time they are declared but again there are the voices Jamie, this is very real. So my advice to you is to approach your mother with compasion and talk to her about the addiction.
Tell her that you don't understand but that you want too and just ask her to share with you how she is feeling. Encourage her to open up to you, not justify herself but simply open up to you. When she does explain that you feel she has this addiction and have information from Gamblers annonymous with you as well as this website information.
She may deny it but in her alone time she will do her research. Just remember she is not doing this to hurt you or your dad. She is on a downward spiral and she will find her place of realization, this will not happen overnight and you have to be prepared for the ups and downs of recovery but once there is an honest line of communication between your mom and the addiction then the addiction loses the power of secracy.
Part of the power of compulsive gambling is the isolation and guilt. Gambling is an evil entity she battles with everyday. It is no longer an occasional indulgence that most people see it as. For your mom gambling is a powerful and real being that has manifested itself in her mind she has to confront it every morning.
Unfortunately for her it is her face she sees when she confronts it. This is advice that I hope brings you back to the closeness you used to have with your Mom, she is still there. The advice about the money is good; do not give her cash because that does give her a tool to work with. Remember there is only so much you can do but if she does come to you with a desire to stop gambling grab her up and never let her go support her with patience knowing that it is a long road.
I hope this helps you. I know who your Mom is because I am just like her. Oh honey, Your mom is sick. Not too many people understand this type of illness. Thank God you did not forget them. I would like to suggest that you do not abandon your mom,but be very careful of how you treat her. She has tapped into the addictive behaviors of other family members, but in a way you may never understand.
If her relationship with your father has always been your mother's main focus in life, then you"re talking about a much more problematic and challenging situation. Did your mother's gambling habit develop since your father's diagnosis? If so, gambling could be a symptom of her despair at losing her life partner and their future together.
She may feel that she has no future; if so, she could be acting this out by gambling away her financial future by depleting their savings and home equity. I mention all this to help you have patience and compassion for your mother as you proceed.
What has your relationship been like with your mother these past few years? Do you have a history of being close? Have you offered to assist with your father's care taking? These are important questions because they speak to your capacity to encourage your mother to get help.
You may want to do some research to determine what sort of free or low cost services are available to your mother, like respite care, for example, so she can get regular breaks. Have you identified caregiver support groups for the spouses of Alzheimer's patients?
If your mother is concerned about her gambling habit, she may be willing to consult a therapist or attend Gamblers Anonymous. The likelihood of your mother getting assistance will be higher if all she has to do is take phone numbers from you and make the phone calls. You may want to consult with a family therapist who can coach you on the best way to approach your mother. I'm wondering if you're also concerned that you will end up financially responsible for the situation that your mother is creating.
If that is the case, a therapist can help you gain clarity on your own boundaries and limits. It would also be wise to consult an attorney to find out if you have any legal options.
If you and your parents have not been close over the years and you have not been helpful at least from your mother's perspective then you may have to accept that your ability to influence her is limited. This doesn't mean you shouldn't encourage her to get help, and support her in doing so.