Whether a friend or family member will accept help for their gambling addiction can vary greatly from person to person. It’s important to understand that gambling addiction is a complex issue, and individuals struggling with it may be resistant to change or simply not ready to confront their problem.
However, there are several steps you can take to increase the likelihood that your loved one will accept help:
- Express Concern and Support: Start by having an open and non-judgmental conversation with your friend or family member. Express your concern for their well-being and let them know you are there to support them. They may be making efforts to hide or be secretive about their gambling habits, which is harmful to open, trusting relationships.
- Educate Yourself: Learn about gambling addiction and its effects so you can better understand what your loved one is going through. This knowledge will also help you provide relevant information and resources. We all struggle to decide when something becomes a problem, and knowing the warning signs yourself can help you give support how it is needed.
- Offer Assistance: Offer to help them find resources, whether it’s a therapist, support group, or treatment program. Be prepared with options and information so they don’t have to do all the research themselves.
- Set Boundaries: While offering support, it’s important to establish and maintain healthy boundaries. This may involve refusing to enable their addiction, such as not lending money for gambling.
- Avoid Confrontation: Avoid confrontational or accusatory language. Instead, focus on empathy and understanding. Let them know you’re coming from a place of love and concern.
- Be Patient: Understand that recovery is a process, and your loved one may not be ready to accept help immediately. Continue to be there for them and offer your support without pressure.
- Get support for yourself: It’s incredibly challenging to have a loved one suffer from gambling addiction. You may have been directly harmed or impacted by their behavior (financially, emotionally, etc.). Taking steps to gain information and take good care of yourself can help you support your loved one.
Remember that, ultimately, the decision to accept help for gambling harms is up to your loved one. It’s not something you can force upon them. Your role is to provide support, information, and encouragement, but they must be willing to take the steps toward recovery themselves. Be prepared for the possibility that they may not accept help right away, and be patient as they navigate their own journey toward healing.