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dim
#1 Posted : Thursday, 4 June 2009 11:15:00 a.m.(UTC)
dim

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Joined: 3/06/2009(UTC)
Posts: 1

Ok -here goes;
My 69 year old Father has been gambling all of his life. My grandparents did so and my 96 year old grandmother, to the best of my knowlege still follows the horses, it never seemed to be a severe problem.
Now it seems it's out of control- I have no real proof of any of this - just my gut telling me I' right.
About 6 monthes ago Dad came to us saying he was in truoble, couldn't pay the minimum on his credit card, total debt $12,000 NZD. He's been living on NZ super ,( not a whole lot) and we know of people who have helped elderly parents out, its not uncommon we thought. So we loaned him $25 k to clear the debt and provide a bit of cushioning for the next year with big bills etc. We worked this as a type of reverse mortgage so we have a small share of the flat he owns and will be repaid whenever the house is sold.
This week so far (6 montes later) he has approached my sister hinting he is back to paying the Minimum on the credit card again, needs car Reg and warrant, and asked my husband to spot him $70.
What else can this be but gambling?
We have seen his car at the TAB, " just across the road at the Supermarket" he says.
A little history here, my mother died 9 years ago, aged 57, having been married to him for 38 years. Diagnosed with cancer in early August, metastisies in the liver, she had surgery and died in the begining of October that same year.
At that stage, he had another year working at the job he'd had for 35 years before they closed down,but he was lucky to get some temporary work for a few more years.
His retirement netted $100,000 from private superannuation. This money is now gone.
I think my mother was his control, we never had much as kids, what we did have she paid for so now, without her, he has made no adjustments, just kept on and this has probably escalated since then.
I talked to his sister who has no doubt that gambling is the cause, she has tried to get him to budget and live within his means before to no avail.
There are some warning signs, I beleive,indicating some desperate behavior, He has asked about Mums pearls ( she gave them to me) and her engagement ring (my sister had it). He knows my husband keeps a little set aside and he has told Dad that that kitty is empty right now, as we don't feel we can trust him.
We now need a plan, so my sister a nd I are going to counselling for more information and support.
Wish us luck.
ruth
#2 Posted : Thursday, 4 June 2009 11:15:00 a.m.(UTC)
ruth

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Posts: 63

Wow Dim I just read your story and yes the signs are there--using the supermarket as an excuse for where he really is. If it is at all possible to get a good councillor for all of you that would be a start,no doubt he won't want a part of it but if he can see that you want to help matbe that is a start. Sounds like he had been at it a jolly long time . Definately stop giving him money or possesions it is going to be very hard on him and yourselves.Does he know you are aware of what is going on? He will have shut himself off from friends and family as the pokies will be his "friends". Whoops or is it horses mainly? I re read and you said its the horses, but I wonder if he does the pokies as well.
Keep posting for the help others here will give you.Cheers and good luck
jeannie
#3 Posted : Thursday, 4 June 2009 11:15:00 a.m.(UTC)
jeannie

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Posts: 166

Hi Dim this is a tough one and I can fully undertand the feeling of helplessness that you must all be feeling. It certainly appears that it is gambling related and you are probably 100% correct that you mum kept him in check, and of course he now hasn't got that.
Will he seek help? (Its never too late) and can you be direct with him? although this may cause a reaction that may be very defensive and ugly. For what it is worth it is often said "never bale out a gambler". Being a gambler myself, I have been at that road a few times and have had bale outs which at the time was necessary but in the end only prolonged me getting to a point whereby I sought help. So there is that point, while you are being baled out it is easier to keep on gambling. In the end selling off stuff to gamble just keeps going, and then the gambler feels very wretched.
My eldest son had a drug problem and left home at one point he contacted me to say that he needed money, which I knew he did he had been living on a loaf of bread for two weeks. Instead of giving him money I found out where the local supermarket was rang the supermarket and spoke to the owner and arranged for a certain amount of money to be taken out of my credit card, and to do that he could only get it in food, so he didn't actually have any cash on him but he could still survive.
Maybe looking at some arrangement like that whereby he is not given the actual cash and the money goes to where it is supposed to go might be an option, another option is and you would have to check this for yourself and whether it applies in New Zealand or they may have a similar arrangement, I can only tell you what happens here in Tasmania. Self exclusion, this is something that you can do for yourself or the family can do it on your behalf. This prevents you gambling at the venues, If the family does it on your behalf they do not have to have permission from you. The other is a gaurdianship or public trustee whereby all money goes to a gaurdian and you are then given a certain amount to live on and they pay the bills. These two suggestions are only addressing the financial side, there are a lot of other issues to address.
We also have a group called gabba it is a little different that GA in as much as the meetings have both the gambler and non gamblers there at the same time. This has proved successful when the gambler has been reluctant to seek help or acknowledge there is a problem.

Getting angry about it is usually detrimental If you can discuss options together and then the person knows that they have support is more effective,

In the meantime seeking help from agencies may be able to shed light on what is available for all of you, Your Mums pearls put them in a safe place. If you have local pawn shops , again I have had to go this path when my son was in drug mode, they won't tell you if certain items have been pawned, usually suggest getting the police, for me that was not an option, however i was able to come to an agreement whereby i gave the pawn shop a list of goods that i thought would be tempting to get pawned and if any of those goods went to the shop the owner agreed to call me immediately and not allow them to be pawned.

I also know that as a gambler we are known for lying, this again is done because of the devastation of what this addiction does and it is also an attempt not to hurt those around, as well we like to think that we are just borrowing and will pay it back.

Another point is that in the end we want to be caught because this is often the only way that we can stop, maybe your Dad is at that point and does want to be caught, Maybe its time to tell him what you know, One question I found I couldn't answer is the Why did you do it? and the feeling of being made to feel like a lesser person, we tend to belt ouselves up enough so that others doing it has only a negative impact,

Often if asked!! I would answer no and come up with a good cover story, but being informed of knowledge there was no where to go but to answer truthfully.

This is something that can be dealt with, to prolong and not take safety precautions is only going to deepen the amount of debt, which will and has affected you. You are not being nasty saying no, you can explain why? Any of this may just enable your Dad to tell you the truth, He will need your support.

GOOD LUCK There are also other people who post here who are not the gamblers, and will probably be able to help more than what I can, read the posts I am sure you will find some invaluable info Ostrich and A Caring Girl are two non gamblers.

Here is wishing you all the luck and more than that trust that this is the beginning of your Dads recovery
girly_pacman
#4 Posted : Thursday, 4 June 2009 11:15:00 a.m.(UTC)
girly_pacman

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Hey Jeannie, thanks for the feedback, I'm DiM's sister. We are off to our first counselling session on Friday to attempt to unravel this downwardly spiralling mess our Dad is living and dragging us into. I agree, functional financial safety nets for Dad have to be put into place, either by us or by Dad (I'm ever the optimist, and HE will grow up and take responsibility for this crap!!!!)YES.... I'm angry, my memories have been comprimised,my poor Mum, she definately will not be resting in peace on this one!!!!... Dim and I are feeling embarrassed and betrayed, we realise now how much we've been lied to. But we are also both absolutely committed to supporting our Dads recovery, and ours.
jeannie
#5 Posted : Thursday, 4 June 2009 11:15:00 a.m.(UTC)
jeannie

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Joined: 3/06/2009(UTC)
Posts: 166

Girly_pacman. You have every right to be angry, not to be would most likely be impossible at this time., Your Dad is fortunate that you are committed to supporting him, It shows that you love him a lot and he would know this. A very positive move to get councelling. This is probably unchartered waters for all of you, a lot of support can be found by those who have been or are in the same or similar situation as you. NO doubt you are probably reeling by what you are finding out. Things in secret are almost impossible to deal with, so it is good that things are out in the open, so the process of recovery for all of you can begin, Keep Hope. Gambling is an addiction and is very soul destroying to the gambler and those around, it doesn't have to stay that way. A day at a time.
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