Problem gambling affects thousands of people and their loved ones. Like any other addictions, the compulsion to gambling can take top priority in the gambler's life, causing devastating emotional and financial upheavals. Often, the family is just as affected by the addiction as the gambler.
As the loved one of a problem gambler, you cannot stop gambling. Only the gamble can do that. You can, however, take steps to regain financial balance in your life, either on your own or with the gambler's cooperation and support.
If you have some questions on whether you are living with a compulsive gambler,
you may find yourself answering "yes" to at least six of the following questions.
1. Do you find yourself constantly bothered by bill collectors?
2. Is the person in question often away from home for long, unexplained periods of time?
3. Does this person ever lose time from work due to gambling?
4. Do you feel this person cannot be trusted with money?
5. Does this person in question faithfully promise to stop gambling: beg, plead for another chance, yet gamble again and again?
6. Does this person ever gamble longer than he or she intended to, until the last dollar is gone?
7. Does this person immediately return to gambling to try to recover lossess or win more?
8. Does this person ever gamble to get money to solve financial difficulties, or have unrealistic
expectations that gambling will bring the family material comfort and wealth?
9. Does this person borrow money with which to gamble or pay gambling debts?
10. Has this person's reputation ever suffered due to gambling, even to the extent of committing illegal acts to finance gambling?
11. Have you come to the point of hiding money needed for living expenses, knowing that you
and the rest of the family may go without food or clothing if you do not?
12. Do you search this person's clothing or go through his or her wallet when the opportunity presents itself,
or otherwise check on his or her activities?
13. Do you hide the gamber's money?
14. Have you noticed a personality change in the gambler as his or her gambling progresses?
15. Does this person consistently lie to cover up gambling activities?
16. Does this person use guilt induction as a method of shifting responsibility for his or her gambling to you?
17. Do you attempt to anticipate this person's mood or try to control his or her life, seeking some stability in your own?
18. Does this person ever suffer from remorse or depression due to gambling? Sometimes to the point of self-destruction?
19. Has the gambling ever brought you yo the point of threatening to break up the family unit?
20. Do you feel that you life together with the gambler has become a nightmare?