Problem Gambling – Peter

Problem Gambling – Peter


When you’re dealing with people with drinking
problems or drug problems there’s always a visible sign that there’s been a problem
with a substance. With gambling, it’s silent. The truth is that when most people come to
see me they’re sick and tired of being sick and tired. It doesn’t necessarily mean that
they’re ready to stop gambling. Most people who come to see me come to see me to get some
knowledge about how to control this problem. And as a gambling counsellor I accept that,
so I don’t say to them ‘I need you to stop’ or ‘I need you to go away and change
your whole life’ and all the rest of it. I’ll say to them, ‘alright, so that’s
where we’ll start’. So limit the amount of money that you take
with you when you’re going gambling. Don’t take your plastic cards with you when you
go. Go with friends and tell your friends, ‘I’m only going to gamble this amount
tonight’. Choose to go to venues where you know you’re not going to stay all night. Gambling is about telling lies, scamming,
scheming, coming up with a thousand excuses to get money, to explain away money. Gambling is about isolating. It’s about
shutting down feelings. So there needs to be talking, there needs to be this communication
of identifying that there is a problem and a preparedness to do something about it. So
there’s a need from the family and friends to not turn this into a yelling, screaming
match, to talk about this. And that can be extremely difficult, particularly when issues
of trust have been broken so many times. Most of us human beings are very logical people.
We say to ourselves ‘I would never be in that situation, I would never allow myself
to gamble to such a degree that I would risk my relationships, my family, my financial
wellbeing, my career’. Yet time and time again for these people who had a problem with
gambling, that’s what they do. A number of weeks ago I received a phone call
from a recruiting agency who was trying to find work for a man, and I was asked if I
could see that person because that person had expressed that they had a gambling problem.
He had gambled away the family home. A great component of the money that went into that
house was actually the partner’s. So that just defies logic. How would you do that to
somebody that you love? It can go on for a number of years. And even
though the partner will say, ‘I didn’t know it was happening’, there’s always
been this element of ‘I knew there was something there, I just couldn’t put my finger on
it’. This is an extremely powerful addiction and
the people that it affects, who come and see people like me, in the most cases are very,
very sick. And I encourage family members to love the
gambler and not necessarily trust them, and to be aware that that’s OK. For the gambler
I encourage them to realise that they’re being loved and that the trust will come back.

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