How to Tell Your Family You Have a Gambling Problem

You’ve come to the realization that you have a problematic relationship with casino gaming and/or sports betting. After careful consideration you have decided that you should tell someone about your gambling problem, beginning with those who matter most to you – your family.

We applaud you for taking this very important step, as lifting its weight from your shoulders will ultimately put you in a better place. However, there can be tremendous anxiety and stress leading up to your confession. Consequently, you’re online and searching for advice on how to tell your family you have a gambling problem. As one of America’s leading online resources for problem gambling support for individuals and families we have important insight on the matter. Let’s review.

4 Steps Towards Telling Your Family You Have a Gambling Problem and How You Can Move Forward Together

Step 1: Deciding Which Family Members to Tell

Individuals generally tell family members who are most impacted by their problematic gambling behavior, but by no means is this a requirement in the very beginning. For instance, younger children may not be emotionally evolved enough to understand what’s happening. You may first begin by confessing your addiction to mature siblings, your spouse/partner, and/or the matriarch/patriarch of the family ahead of time (as applicable). They will be able to provide valuable feedback for how to tell the youngest family members. and will likely want to be involved in that part of the process.

Step 2: Set a Family Meeting

There is helpful information about how to hold an intervention for gambling addiction, but what about the other way around? After all, it’s you who is searching for insight into how to tell the family about your gambling problem.

Unlike a traditional intervention, it doesn’t need to involve an element of surprise. Instead, schedule a family meeting, and do so as soon as possible so that no further harm comes to yourself and your family. Procrastination can also lead to you changing your mind. Anticipation of the family meeting will make them curious, but it can also help prepare them for what’s to come. They may even have a good idea what the household gathering will be about, especially if your gambling has resulted behavioral changes that have had them concerned for months if not years. There may even be physical manifestations of gambling addiction that they have picked up on. In the end, the suspense will lead to a positive place where healing can begin.

Similar to a traditional intervention. choose a physical space that is comforting for you and them that collectively you have a positive association with. You will all experience a number of emotions as the behavioral health concern is unveiled. While traditionally done in a home environment, you may consider a private outdoor space that is meaningful to your familial circle.

Step 3: Provide Insight and Context

No family unit is perfect. Some may not understand why you’re struggling with gambling, and some may express anger, especially if you’re supposed to the anchor of the household (parent) that they depend upon. This is why it’s important to provide insight and context, but not excuses.

If you have gambling disorder, there is a good chance that there may be causations and cooccurring factors at play. There are mental and behavioral health issues that may increase your risk of developing gambling disorder which include depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and alcohol use disorder. Even the prescription medications that you take to treat these conditions may inflate to your gambling habit. Read more about these concerns before telling your family about your gambling problem as they may apply to your condition. Certain livelihoods are also linked to higher instances of gambling disorder, such as found with elite athletes and military personnel and veterans. Other factors include age, gender, innate personality traits, and even genetics – the latter of which is important for your family to know should they too be vulnerable.

The more you learn about why you can’t stop gambling before telling your family, the more you can tell them, and the more understanding everyone will be. From here, the healing can truly begin.

Step 4: Ask Them to Join Your Journey of Recovery?

Regardless of whether or not your family is surprised by your confession, they will be proud of you for coming forward and for expressing a readiness to get help. Your loved ones want to be there for you, so if you’re comfortable with having them get involved in the healing process, let them know that family therapy for gambling disorder is an option. You can even begin with individual therapy and supplement the progress with family counseling options at a later time. Learn more about these options via the following links:

Beyond family therapy, you can also come together in your recovery by choosing healthy alternatives to gambling that can be enjoyed as a family unit.

Questions About Gambling Support Services for Families?

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How to Tell Your Family You Have a Gambling Problem