When I read this letter from Bee it really astounded me about what an impressive young person Bee is. Despite being in crises and having had to cope with so much Bee has not lost sight of what is right and wrong. Here is the letter followed by my advice…
I am not the one who has a problem with gambling .. MY MOTHER IS …. For too long now I have tried to be patient with her, tried to be understanding, but it is all taking its toll on me.
I’ll start from the beginning. My mother was a lovely woman, great mother and obeying wife. I use the term “obeying” because that’s what she was. My father on the other-hand was an abusive, drug-user. Point-being, we grew up with domestic violence and saw it everywhere around us. Mum had enough and we moved to Sydney. Now, since I was a teen I have known that my mum is a gambler, whether it be pokies, bingo or some other form of gambling (lotto, scratchies and whatnot). I never really saw this as a problem because by then, my brother and I were living with my uncle.
When I was 16, my mother gave birth to my beautiful younger brother. He is my world and I know that he is my eldest brother’s world too. Unfortunately this does not seem to be the case for my mother. Okay, so she had a rocky past, my heart bleeds for my mother because she means so much to me, but your past is not an excuse! Her gambling habits (now that he is 5 turning 6 next year) have seemed to worsen with his age. Like seriously, this lady is not in the right frame of mind.
Give or take, every 2 years, we move. Why you ask?! .. Because this lady just wants to gamble all her money away and not pay the rent. When I was 17, fresh out of high school, I found my first job. Me, being the type of person I was, moved back home to see if I could help mother financially, but no ..
LESSON 1 – Never give a gambler any money … they will just take it down to the pub/club and waste it on those damn fucken machines. But what about her pay, you ask! .. Oh well, that people, came into her account and went out of her account on the same day, the very same day. Where did it go?! To those fucking machines! Rent?! What rent, she is always behind .. countless eviction notices do not scare her ..
LESSON 2 – Once a gambler is behind on repayments, they will never try and fix the arrears, they will always think that behind is BEHIND, regardless of the amount. So I write this story on a too-familiar day where the agent has called my phone (because my mother never picks up or totally ignores them) to tell me that the rent is in arrears. I am just seriously fed up, Im 21 and shes 40-something, and here I am acting like an adult and trying to keep my family together, while she continually wants to be the child and FUCK AROUND WITH OUR LIVES DAMNIT!
Just a few weeks ago my younger brother got diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes .. and you think that this lady would do anything to keep him in a happy environment, try and stay home to cook him good nutritious meals, pay the rent on time so that my brother does not have to worry about being evicted! Be on call so that when something happens to him, she is there. NOOO! Im asking for too damn much! My little brother deserves the best, but he’s not getting it … which is why my eldest brother and I are at home trying to do as much as we can for him!
You may be asking about how I’m contributing to this all … well ladies and gents, Mid- 2008 – I took out a $7,000.00 loan to pay for rent arrears and costs for my step-dads legal fees for a driving offence, I took this loan out on behalf of my mother who said she will help me pay it all back .. did she?! NOOOO …
End-2008 – In all of my stupidness … my mum persuades me to “rent-to-buy” a television and fridge in my name, and she will pay everything back .. did she … NO AGAIN!!! Im still trying to pay all this money back. Our family is now broken because of her. You ask about the man of the house?! What man, my mums partner is too afraid to speak up about her issues, afraid that she’ll break because she is “sick” ..
WAKE UP TO YOURSELF GAMBLERS .. YOU ARE NOT SICK! YOU WHAT TO KNOW WHY YOUR LIFE IS A MESS .. LET ME TELL YOU WHY. 1. YOU ARE ALL SELFISH & IN DENIAL – ALWAYS MAKING UP FUCKEN EXCUSES AS TO WHY YOU GAMBLE! YOU NEVER EVER EVER THINK ABOUT THE OTHER PEOPLE IN YOUR LIVES AND WHAT EFFECT YOUR GAMBLING HAS ON THEM … YOU NEVER THINK ABOUT THE FUTURE AND ONLY THINK ABOUT THE PRESENT .. LIVING IN THE MOMENT! WELL THAT IS NOT THE WAY ..
SOLUTION: WAAAKKKEEE UP TO YOUR FUCKING SELVES! THESE ARE PEOPLE’S LIVES YOUR MESSING WITH .. AND HEAVENLY GOD TRY AND FORBID .. CHILDREN’S LIVES 😦 .. WAKKEEE UP AND REALISE THAT THERE IS MORE TO LIFE THAN THINKING ABOUT YOURSELF! YOU LIVE TO LOVE, SHARE AND EXPERIENCE THE WORLD WITH OTHERS, NOT LIVE FOR THE MACHINE, LOVE THE MACHINE, SHARE AND EXPERIENCE THE POKIES WITH OTHER FUCKING GAMBLERS! ADMIT THAT YOU HAVE A FUCKING PROBLEM AND SEEK HELP FROM YOUR FAMILY/FRIENDS/CHURCH WHEREVER, JUST SEEK HELP AND YOU WILL GET IT .. THERE IS ALWAYS SOMONE THERE WILLING TO LEND A HAND! .. ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS ASK! YOU CAN NOT BE HELPED UNLESS YOU TRY AND HELP YOURSELF FIRST!!! FUCK!
You are an impressive young person, despite being in crises and having had to cope with so much you have not lost sight of what is right and wrong.
You have certainly hit the nail on the head when it comes to problem gambling. Though you might not like the word “sick” that your mother’s partner uses to describe your mother’s situation, problem gambling is a compulsion and often people in the grips of problem gambling are not rational. Unfortunately, as you have experienced, they continue to gamble despite knowing the damage they are doing to themselves and their family. They do the same things time and time again.
Unfortunately, the very things you mention, not paying rent, not providing care for children, losing sight of financial responsibilities, ignoring demands for payment and borrowing or stealing money from family and friends is very common for problem gamblers.
People addicted to gambling have to work very very hard to overcome their problem gambling and repair the dreadful damage it can compel them to do – like risking their family’s security, health and happiness as your mother has done.
You have probably tried to get your mother to get some help, explaining that her gambling is becoming a serious risk to your family. Perhaps you have asked her partner to help and he is not willing or able to persuade your mother that it is time to get help – and that is very unfortunate.
As you say in your letter, the only person who can help a problem gambler is themselves. They must decide they want to stop gambling and then get help and support.
Bee, the one person you can help is yourself and I seriously encourage you to start thinking about getting help and support. Maybe it is time to be a little selfish, for your sake and that of your brothers’. Commonly we see that problem gambling can go on for years and sadly without intervention it becomes worse.
Through Gambling Help 1800 858 858 you can access free financial counseling and legal help. A financial counsellor can help you negotiate with loan providers and perhaps consolidate your debt and reduce repayments, secure lower interest rate loans etc.
You also need to start looking after your own well being and protecting your future, creating a more positive future for yourself. I would suggest you start seeing a counsellor who can help you deal more effectively with your mother and will also be someone you can talk to about some of the problems your mother’s gambling has caused for you. You can see locate free services near you here
Or call 1800 858 858.