If you’re concerned about a loved one’s gambling, of course you want to help. But it can be a delicate issue, especially if the person won’t admit to a problem. Keep in mind, the only person who can actually stop gambling is the gambler.
All you can do is start the conversation – and take steps to protect yourself.
Think someone you love is affected? Be sure to check out some of the warning signs of problem gambling first.
Do a little research about problem gambling to better understand what your loved one is experiencing. Speak to someone who knows. Take advantage of these resources.
Arrange a plan of action and support system with someone you trust, such as a counsellor, doctor, family member or friend – and be ready for the possibility of a difficult reaction.
FIND THE MOMENT
When the person expresses remorse over gambling, this could be the right time to talk.
Starting the conversation
- It’s a good idea to speak in the first person when raising the topic of problem gambling. Using such terms as “I feel” or “I think” will shift focus away from the other person, encourage a more comfortable conversation and a less defensive response.
- Stay calm while talking about the issues.
- Clarify expectations. Negotiate and set firm boundaries about gambling, finances and responsibilities.
After the talk
- Recognize and praise positive steps and successes
- Get help yourself. A support group or counsellor can be a great help with any issues, and with positive, effective communication
- Protect yourself and your finances, and if necessary, use resources such as Credit Canada
- Consider that positive change takes time and consistent effort