Sick and now facing the aftermath


I am here as a last-ditch effort to save my family. I am the daughter of a gambling addict. I am turning 30 this year, and for most of my life I've seen my mother gamble. I can remember it being simple penny-ante poker, and two-dollar limits on the poker machines. She never really seemed to go beyond this until after my brother and I moved out of the house. This also seemed to fall at the same time as when PowerBall and scratch-offs became legal in my state. I don't know which was responsible for triggering it, but I know it was triggered and in a severe way.

I have answered desperate phone calls from my mom asking for money. I've given her way more than I should've. I've seen her lie to me, and say she's "lost" her entire paycheck that she's just cashed, and she doesn't have grocery money. (I found out later, that all the money I gave her was gambled away, and food was never purchased). She's borrowed money from all of her friends, and from my brother. She's pawned jewelry handed down to her from deceased relatives-including her own mother's wedding band.

She's lied to all of us. She says she's stopped, but we still find scratch-offs here and there. My father gives her an allowance for lunch. She doesn't eat and buys more tickets. My parents credit has been ruined, because they can not make their payments. They've even had one of their two cars repossessed. My father (who is disabled) continues to stay with her, because he knows that if he left, she would lose the house and remaining car, and possibly her remaining sanity. My father tells me that last year alone, she gambled away nearly $25,000. Now, for my parents, this is a fortune as they are only making around $50,000 per year.

My mom and dad share a 38 year marriage that is now in shambles because of gambling. My brother and I have talked and tried to persuade till we're blue. She's attempted Gamblers Anonymous, but after only a few meetings, claimed that it wasn't for her. She has the hardest time accepting that she can not have money again (a Gamblers Anonymous theory).

I have no idea where to go for help, or how to help her. I feel like she's hit "bottom". Her once upbeat and encouraging personality is now deeply depressed. She doesn't seem to find happiness in anything anymore. Unfortunately, this includes her 4 grandchildren. I am really trying to be patient and understanding, but the reality is I don't understand. I just don't get it. I've found myself at my wits end, and wanting to give up on my own mother. I hate that I feel like that. This is why I am here. I turn to you for your advice, and any bits of knowledge that you would share with me in an effort to save my family from total destruction.

Thank you so much for listening.