about to confront brother, help/advice needed please


My brother has a gambling problem. He says he doesn't, but I found his car yesterday at the local 'card club' so now I have proof, not that I needed it but it does help.

I'm done with him living with my family and not getting his life in order, I am done with him stealing money from me or asking for money and then not using it for what he was supposed to. I'm done. His most recent jaunt to wherever resulted in me sending him money twice with demands that if he comes back he needs to go to GA. I know, stupid.

Now he is back and I have the list of meetings printed out and I am going to tell him he needs to go to this meeting or get out of my house. I am going to tell him he can go by himself or I will go with him. I plan on also going to Gam Anon by myself.

I recognize that he is the one who needs to own this and he is the only one who can fix this. I worry that my pushing him won't really do anything. But I guess there is nothing I can do about that. He needs to get help or he needs to leave my house.

I guess I just need support here. Thanks.


Confronting your brother

First I want to stress the importance of realizing that addicts are taken in by their own distorted thinking and that they are it's victims. If we fail to understand this, we may feel frustrated or angry in dealing with the addict.

Remember, gambling is a compulsion, it starts with irrational thinking and is difficult to control. People that never had the problem find it hard to understand. They wonder why the addict "just can't stop". A compulsive act may be irrational, but the urge to do it may be be virtually irresistable. Trying to resist the urge can produce so much anxiety and discomfort that the person may give in just to get relief from the intense pressure. This period of relief is quite brief, then the urge recurs, often with even a greater force than previously.

Any kind of addict suffers from irrational thinking and because you are not in those shoes, it's difficult to be on the outside looking in. You just can't understand it. It all has to do with distorted thinking. In the addicts mind (as with your brother) he may not think he has a problem and in his mind he doesn't.

My advice to you is to get the books "Addictive Thinking" & "Addictive Personality", both by Abraham J Twerski. In these books you will better understand an addiction and thinking of an addict. And if your brother started to read them he'd understand more about how his thinking is working, just as I did. For most people, a gambling addiction is the hardest to understand because, unlike alcoholics or drug addicts, there is no chemicals going into the body that alters the thinking. But trust me, distorted thinking is just as powerful as a drug.

From being an addicted gambler myself, I can tell you that my biggest thing is acceptance. Don't be hard on your brother. Tell him you want to walk with him through this, don't make him feel like an outcast, give him acceptance. As humans, we are quite adept at catching others doing something wrong. But in dealing with an addict, we must be alert to "catch" them doing something right and commend them for it. Low self-worth is a common characteristic of any addicted person. They expect to be beat up on. Think about it, if you feared coming home to unpleasant words or feelings that you're not really wanted there, would you want to be there? Or would you stay away as long as you could and hang out at a spot where you do feel accepted? Which in your brothers case is the card club. He feels good because he feels accepted, even though it's destroying everything outside of that place. He's always gonna return to the place where he feels acceptance. And everyone wants a home to come home to, where you are important and accepted. Just like a sex addict, if he's not getting what he wants at home, he looks somewhere else.

Encourage your brother, don't be quick to throw him out the house, that'll only make him go back to the club faster, looking for his acceptance.

Hope I've helped in some way.....