Helping Someone You Know

| March 8, 2013
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Has gambling become more than just a game for someone you care about? You may have come here not knowing how to help them. We hope the information below is helpful to you.

Where is there help?

First, know there is help– it’s FREE, confidential, and it works. Keep in mind that treatment is not only free for the problem gambler, it is also free for their loved ones. Specially trained family counselors provide help and financial counseling for loved ones of the problem gambler.

In Oregon, help is available for problem gamblers AND their loved ones.  In Lane County, gambling treatment services are available through the emergence Gambling Treatment Program and Centro Latino Americano (541-687-2667 / full Spanish bilingual) programs. Or call the statewide 24-hour helpline, 1877-MY-LIMIT for free and confidential help.

What can I say or do?

First off, it isn’t your fault if you feel you can’t change whether or not they admit they have a problem, or are willing to seek help. If you’re trying to help, here are some tips about what you can do.

DO be direct. Let the person know you are concerned. What has changed in his/her life, or your relationship? Be as specific as you can be.

DO let him or her know s/he is valued, and that there is hope and help. Is he or she depressed? DO ask if he or she is suicidal. If so, get help. (If immediate, call 911. If not, provide them with the suicide help line number: 1-800-273-TALK.)

DO let him or her know you support his or her recovery. (If you’re not able to be there as a support, offer who might be — the treatment center and/or or a Gamblers Anonymous sponsor, for example.)

DO allow natural consequences. Is she in debt? Has he been arrested? Letting that person go through the consequences of their behavior will allow them to learn.

DON’T nag, preach or lecture. That will only turn him or her off. If you’ve said you’re concerned a couple of times and let e

DON’T gamble with them, or bail out their debts. This will only “enable” the person, and not help them go through consequences.

DON’T expect them to be “all better” once they stop gambling.

DON’T deny, cover up or minimize the problem.

DO realize that his or her recovery isn’t dependent on you. No matter how hard you’ve tried to be there, or how much you have done, addiction isn’t easy to beat.

Finally, remember it may take years for that person to even see he or she has a problem, more time to reach out for help, and more time to get better. That person has to be ready and do the work, and it is common for those with a gambling problem to take years to be in successful recovery.

Have more questions, or do you have tips for us? Contact us.

Category: Problem Gambling

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