Approaching Financial Impacts of Problem Gambling as a Loved One
There are many impacts to gambling addiction, and financial difficulties is often the first category that comes to mind. Loved ones of a compulsive gambler may be in denial about the seriousness of the addiction and the financial problems it is causing. When it comes to problem gambling, money is the drug that feeds the addiction. In the minds of individuals suffering from gambling disorder, every dollar is viewed as an opportunity to get their life back on track with the jackpot win they think is waiting for them with their next bet. The drive to get money to continue gambling powers a vicious cycle that can push the gambler to the brink of financial collapse, often taking the family along with them.
Once the addiction has progressed, which can be very quickly for some, the financial repercussions can be deafening. The following information and tips to get control of what is going on will help you as you go, but it is important to recognize that you are not alone in dealing with this serious problem.
Addicted gamblers report refinancing their homes, taking money from their 401K or a child’s college savings fund, pawning or selling anything of value, and/or opening bank accounts and credit cards (to name a few), often without the loved one’s knowledge. In the later stages of this hidden addiction, desperate attempts to “stay in the action” and continue gambling can also include illegal acts, such as theft and embezzlement, risking jail time and loss of employment.
To put it lightly, loved ones are shocked when some or all of this comes to light and are faced with swirling questions and uncertainties around how to approach the situation! Did you know that the 888-ADMIT-IT Problem Gambling HelpLine for Florida has a plethora of resources available specifically for loved ones suffering from the impacts of problem gambling?
Resources include the FCCG’s A Chance for Change Workbook series and other self-help literature for loved ones; self-help group meetings specifically for loved ones, treatment referrals to certified counselors; and non-emergency financial resources like debt assistance, credit counseling services, and financial education. If you and your family is in urgent need of financial relief, call or text 888-ADMIT-IT now to get connected to emergency financial resources in your area that provide temporary support for clothing, food, housing/shelters, utilities, and more. The HelpLine also offers referrals to legal resources.
This may all seem overwhelming, especially if you just found out about the magnitude of the problem. You have every right to be angry and feel it is not fair that you now have to deal with sorting through the finances and figuring out where you stand on top of everything else you do on a daily basis, but remember – it is financial survival for you and your loved one. Even in that, you are not alone!
Many loved ones dealing with the impacts of problem gambling find Gam-Anon meetings to be a helpful way to start, by connecting with others in similar situations who can relate. Gam-Anon is exclusively for husbands, wives, relatives, or close friends of individuals suffering from problem gambling. Their goal is to seek a solution for living with this problem by changing their own lives. Contacting the 888-ADMIT-IT HelpLine is the best way to find Gam-Anon meetings you can connect to in your area or virtually.
At this point, it’s important to take a deep breath and do the first thing on the list: ask for help by calling or texting the 24/7, Confidential, and Multilingual 888-ADMIT-IT HelpLine. FCCG’s HelpLine Specialists understand the weight of gambling addiction on loved ones and are standing by, ready to offer judgment-free support to begin your recovery.