Are You Enabling A Gambling Addict? You Need Therapy If You’re Doing That!

When Your Child Sees The Bad And You Don’t


He’s at it again, “borrowing” some money from my mom so that he can go out and play the slots. I have told my mom so many times that dad is a compulsive gambler. Personally, I believe that he is a gambling addict, but my mom refuses to acknowledge that fact. She says – Your dad is having a tough time right now with his injury and early retirement. We need to help him. 


My Dad Is A Gambling Addict


It’s a ton of crap. Seriously? Early retirement? That is just a lie. He was fired from his job, not only because of his injury. It was something more. My dad was a cash custodian in their family business, and for years, he “borrows” money from their petty cash. He returns them, though, but he got caught. His brother can’t disgrace him, and so he was given the “early retirement” option with a monthly allowance until he is 70 years old. Good thing my uncle did that because he knew of my dad’s gambling issues. If he gave the whole retirement pay upfront, we’d be homeless since dad won’t pay the mortgage and spend it all in the casino.


Mom Was Enabling My Dad


Something is wrong with my mom too. I spoke with a counselor in school who also happens to be my best friend’s sister. Good thing I was comfortable with opening up my problems with her. It’s like having a shrink session once a month, but I know I needed more. I told her about the issues at home, and I learned that my dad was a gambling addict and my mom was unconsciously enabling him. She said that the term “enabling” comes from drug addiction therapy programs when addicts and their families are in group counseling to curb the behavior and to heal. I would like for that to happen to us because I hate what my dad has become and how stupid my mom looks.


Is It Support Or Not?


Mom says that she is just supporting dad until he gets back on his feet. He’s been jobless for three years and continues to splash around money every allowance day until he gets dry which is usually five to seven days max. While he technically pays for the house we live in each month (my uncle made sure that a part of his allowance goes to house payments), the rest of it he uses to power his addiction. Selfish, right? 


Is this the support that my mom is saying? She is paying for everything else – cars, food, utilities and emergency expenses. Is this how “husband and wife life” is supposed to be? Is my mom obligated to do this? No, mom. You’re not supposed to be doing all these things. 


Tough Love, Commitment, And Responsibility


Since I’m 18 and about to graduate high school, I told my mom that I’m moving out. I said that I wanted to meet with her once a week with a family counselor and talk about our issues. She was hesitant at first but then agreed. It was hard for me, but I had to be tough. I wanted her to be tough as well for her sake and for my dad to grow up. 


My grandparents were kind enough to help me out and gave me a sweet deal. They said that I’m free to use their 2-bedroom apartment free for a year, but after that, I have to pay rent. But they added that I have to find a full-time job (my uncle offered me an entry-level position at the family business), or I continue with a college degree coupled with part-time work. 


Gramps said “I married your Grammy and we had nothing. We worked and went to school. It was a challenge, but we made it through. You will too.” I consider myself lucky. Good thing Gramps is smart and kind-hearted. If only my dad were like him – no addictions, aspiring for dreams and a family first kind-of-man. But he’s not. I guess genes has nothing to do with it. People can have the same blood flowing through their veins, but they can be extreme when it comes to personality, attitude, behavior, and all. 


Is There Hope?


Will it change? I hope my little act of “defiance” on my mom will make her realize that she must not enable dad. If I help her with therapy, and she understands why, then my dad may have a chance. Hopefully, family counseling can shed light for us all.

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