Posted by: breathliftlive | 04/05/2011

Email from Margaret

I received an email from Margaret yesterday, the loving mother of a son with a gambling problem. Margaret has allowed me to post excerpts from her email and my response in the hopes it will help others and encourage them to write in too.

Margaret says “He has seen two different counsellors but gives up when they get too close to him confroning problems. He is 25 and I think a youngish male who has come through gambling or internet gaming problems would be great as my son feels that no one understands what his problems are and also blames everyone else for them. Of course any really good counsellor would be wonderful.”

I responded “Hi Margaret,

Thank you so much for emailing, your son is incredibly lucky to have such a caring and supportive mother like you.

In my experience, it will take a few different attempts before they find something that actually works for them. Also, and most importantly, until they truly recognise that they actually have a problem, all the counsellors in the world won’t make a difference. My husband became a pro in telling us what we wanted to hear whether it be to get out of ‘trouble’, to avoid our questions, to try and stop hurting us. The thing was though, he deep down hadn’t yet come to the realisation that he had a gambling problem.

They feel they have it all under control, when in actual fact it’s controlling them. They will blame everyone and everything, will be very defensive, will tell you exactly what you want to hear, lie and more. It’s heartbreaking to watching someone you love go through something like this, especially when we can all see it’s a problem but they cannot.

You are doing a great thing by sourcing help and showing your son you support him, he needs that. I looked for every counsellor, book, cd, dvd, professional etc I could but in the end, none would work unless he really wanted it. It took a lot of time, tears and patience but we got there in the end and so will you. Things tend to get worse before they get better but don’t give up.

I’ve had a look for some counsellors who may be able to help. I personally have not dealt with them (we live in QLD), but I do know the organisations are good and can deal specifically with gambling issues.

You can contact one or all of these people/organisations and get a feel for them and the services they offer to see if they’re a good fit. Tell them your story and explain your preference of a younger male counsellor who has had experience in this area and see if they can accommodate you. The most important thing to reiterate to your son is that they are there to help, not judge. Nobody will look down on him or make him feel bad or worthless. He is a good person, he just has a problem. The fact that he has gone to a counsellor to begin with is a huge step and he should be very proud of himself. Just make sure he really does want the help and is willing to be honest, open and do whatever it takes to work the problems through. If ever you or your son want to send me an email I’m more than happy to help, listen and answer questions as best I can.”

Margaret responded with

Hi Kate,

Thank you for your very caring reply which I do appreciate very much. I do hope you know how wonderful it is not to feel so alone in these situations.

Thank you again, Margaret

I wish Margaret and her son the very best of luck and I’m here if ever they need anything further. Please, if anyone would like to share their story, ask a question or just talk please email You’re not alone.
Kate x

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