Problem Gambler No More

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The 2019 Gambling Addiction Conference was very informative. It was a three-day event at the Hilton Kansas City Airport in Kansas City, Missouri. As a substance abuse counselor, I needed to attend that conference for the CPD. It was a 14-unit conference for me and a step up on my career as a counselor. But underneath all that, I desperately wanted to be in that conference since my brother was a problem gambler. That conference was not only for those with drug addiction and sex issues. It was also for those with chronic gambling problems, and I badly had to participate in it.

It has been a problem with my brother since 2017. My brother was in the wrong crowd back then. He owed a lot of people money because of poker, and his way to pay them back was to gamble some more, which is absurd, right? My mother said that he owed around $16,000 to various people, and some were loan sharks. The debts were multiplying because of their interests, and we are not a rich family. We cannot help him with that financially.

Also, he was still gambling even if his debts were pending to be paid. My guess was that he saw an opportunity to gamble because he has debts, and now, look where it got him. His wife left him and brought their daughter with her. My brother has no contact with them, but I am in contact with my sister in law. He also lost his job of seven years. This was something that he once loved to do. And he physically looked like a person with no future. That’s what gambling can do to you.

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This was my brother a year ago, and I am proud to say that now, he is a changed man. I helped him become what he is now – a responsible person without gambling problems, thanks to that conference.

After my conference, I met with my parents and other siblings. We decided to do an intervention with him and force him to face his problem. We did that, and it was very emotional. He apologized to us all, and yes, he asked for help.

With problems with finances, I advised my brother to file for bankruptcy, and he did. We also spoke with all of the people he owed money, told them of the whole thing, and devised a payment plan. Some were glad that he showed up, but others were very hard. But we had the legal presence, and so, these hard people had to agree. We did all we could because starting again in life is difficult, and he had to endure it.

We never gave up on my brother, and now, after a year, his $16,000 debt is $8,000 less. By next year, his debts will all be paid up. He is “clean” now, with a job, and is showing promise. Acceptance, the will to change, and therapy can make a gambler lose the knack for gambling.

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