Gambling addiction is actually a process addiction. Mainly because no chemicals are introduced to the body, there isn’t a material that will need cleansing. Rather, a gambling addiction can overtake a person’s life in different ways than substance abuse. My parents are, unfortunately, addicted to gambling.
The gambling addiction started easily enough; a new casino was built near our house and mom and dad were interested in the experience. It did not take long before they were talking about the experience and planning for when they could go again. The only good thing about that casino is that shortly after mom and dad started frequenting it, they moved away. I thought that would be the end of the problem, but it was just the beginning.
Gambling addicts need to find a way to feed their addiction. My parents do not go to the casino to play cards or roulette or such. Instead, they love playing the slot machines, as most addicts do. The ringing of the bells, flashing of the lights as you win is, I admit, a good sensation. However, the difference between me and my parents is that I can lose $100 and walk out of the casino. Not so with them. Instead, there becomes a desire to win that $100 back because it was bill money. Off to the ATM they go, taking out more money to win back what they just lost. The cycle repeats itself until mom and dad have now lost $500, instead of $100.
If that is not a lesson to them, they’re back in the casino the following weekend. Mind you, they travel two hours each way to get to the casino in the first place, always with a plan in mind. At the worst point of their addiction, they had taken out several pay day loans that charged about 1000% interest. Each pay period, money was coming out of their accounts to pay off these loan sharks. While my parents make a decent income, you’d never know it because of the money they lose when they gamble.
They have admitted then denied that they have a problem, each person blaming the other for the reason they went to the casino. There is definitely a problem there. Denial is present more times than not and it is followed by a dose of attitude. I stopped bailing them out of their debt a long time ago, mainly because I don’t have the money, but also to teach them a lesson. Losing more than you make is just ridiculous when you make good money to begin with. Driving two hours every weekend just to push a button that takes your money away is insane. But there is no rhyme or reason behind an addiction; it just is. The only way for a person who suffers from gambling addiction to get help is to realize the damage they are doing. However, because there is no substance entering the body, it is not as easy as sending them to detox.