Ned was a widower. To fill his lonely hours after Shelley's death, he began gambling innocently enough. He never anticipated it to become a nightmare for him. Before he knew what happened he was in over his head. At first he gambled for entertainment. Then he gambled to make back what he'd lost. But the losses far exceeded the wins and he was in serious trouble with gambling debt.
He went to his late wife's brother. They had put their house in Charles' name because he was going to look after them when their health became impaired and when they were gone, they wanted him to have the house. Ned asked Charles to help him out, to give him a share of the home's value. Charles would not cooperate. He told Ned to get help for his gambling problem. Ned insisted it was just a string of bad luck. Charles told him he was in a state of denial. They parted company on bad terms. Charles was glad his sister didn't have to know about Ned's problem.
Gambling may be entertainment to some people, but for others it easily goes out of control, becomes problematic. Ned was retired so he didn't lose work time due to gambling. But he wasn't sleeping well because he didn't have the resources to pay off his gambling debt. He had gambled away every cent of his savings.
Gamblers Anonymous (GA) is a support group for people with gambling problems, like Ned's. The purpose is two-fold: stop gambling and help others to stop compulsive gambling, too. The first step, advises Gamblers Anonymous (www.gamblersanonymous.org). Until the gambler admits the problem, it will continually worsen.
Do you think you may have a gambling problem or know someone who does? Visit the GA website and click on "20 Questions." If you answer seven or more questions with "yes," you may, indeed, have a gambling problem.
Also available is help for family and friends of compulsive gamblers, Gam-Anon. This organization helps you to learn to accept and understand gambling addiction, learn skills that will hep you put your life back together and when recovered, to help others who are going through the same or similar circumstances.
Compulsive gambling, as the web site describes it, is the obvious symptom of an emotional disorder, such as denying reality, emotional insecurity, immaturity, and low self-esteem. The bottom line: It is believed that compulsive gambling is about self-destruction.
The National Council on Problem Gambling describes problem gambling as a progressive addiction as the gambler becomes more and more preoccupied with gambling, unable to stop, suffering more consequences as the obsession continues.
Gambling is not just a problem for adults. Children may be at greater risk of gambling problems. Parents' attitudes and behaviors influence their children. And along with the good things derived from the Internet, there are bad things, too, like gambling onlinejust a word to the wise.
Family Recovery Center cares, and promotes the well being of individuals, families and communities. For more information on this topic or to find out about local meetings of Gamblers Anonymous, contact us at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org. FRC is funded, in part, by the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services (ODADAS).