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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Dear friends

I think I probably know the answer to this, but I would like some other opinions.

One of my best friends has a problem with gambling. She has always had trouble controlling her spending, but in the last six months or so, has fallen into even worse trouble with gambling. Last spring it was scratch-game cards. She was a little better this summer. But now this fall, she's been visiting the slots at the local casino.

Now this friend has Bipolar disorder and she is in a manic phase. Even when her BD is in better control (I don't think it's ever been completely under control) she has anxiety issues. One of her daughters has been having a personal problem, and anxiety from that problem has pushed her completely out of control. She has been out gambling all night, spending every penny she gets her hands on, leaving her daughters (12 & 15) home alone when her husband is out of town for work.

She has recently spent a great deal of their families money (she is married with 2 teenage daughters, no job) on gambling. When cut off from money, she is extremely resourceful in finding sources of cash, hocking family valuables (computer, musical instruments) and gambling that money away too.

Now she's on a new drug for BP and in counseling for the spending/shopping/gambling. She says she's on a path to getting better, but she insists on going to online gambling sites and "playing for free."

These are sites that have regular online gambling with real money, it's just the area of the site where customers "play for free". I say it's a terrible idea and will just reactivate her desire to gamble.

What do you think, TAM community? Is this a "harmless pastime" or ?. I'm interested to hear stories if anyone else has friends or family who have Bipolar Disorder and gambling.

Thank you.
 

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I think it's a really bad idea too. No experience with BP or gambling addictions really, just common sense.

C
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks PBear.

Friend insists that it is a good substitute for the gambling and harmless. I think she is just rationalizing and wants to gamble.

Seems like pouring fuel in the fire, to me.
 

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I'm a recovering drunk and druggie. I had never gambled until 12 years sober. It was fun, I stayed within limits, visited the casino one a year...until I didn't. When I was insecure and wanted an outside fix, the casino gave me that. My situation isn't like hers (and my recovering H became my gambling buddy, not a good sitch), but I do know that not gambling is the solution for me.

Honestly, if her husband doesn't know (how, I can't fathom), he needs to know. Yes, the kids are old enough to be left alone sometimes, but her motives and actions of selling home items behind his back is a crisis. She might need inpatient treatment. Also, Gamblers Anonymous is online and meets in most major cities in the US.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Oh, he absolutely knows. The "going out at night" is kind of a new development, but the spending and gambling he has known about.

He has been complicit in funding her adventures for many years. I think it is only just now starting to dawn on him how dysfunctional her spending is, as the gambling debts start to mount. I did mention the word "Codependent" to him a few weeks ago, and he claims to "get it" but I don't think he knows how to break the cycle. After 17 years, he earns, she spends, and that's the way it works for them (or, doesn't work).

The last few weeks have been an eye-opener, though. He traveled to Europe on business for a week, and doesn't have a corporate card. He had to use their personal credit cards for travel expenses, with the intention of getting reimbursed later. He found when he tried to check out of a hotel, that he didn't have enough available credit to do so. A colleague who was also there was able to scan his credit card and thus bail him out. But while he was overseas, she used up all available credit, spent all the money available in the debit account, bounced some checks, hocked some things and went through $2,000 - 4,000 in just a few days.

I also think she's a candidate for inpatient care. She's trying to homeschool their younger daughter right now - no idea how that's actually going. And I don't think Dad is somehow really at the crisis point yet.

The "Bottom" can't be far away... family has no credit rating and no extra cash. Family of four on their kind of income should be secure, if not well-off, but they are just scraping by.

Hate seeing my friend self-destruct like this. And her family goes with her.
 

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That is really sad; I feel for them, and for you. Helplessness is a lousy place to be.
 

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Aw, man. Is your friend up for an intervention? Sounds like it's past time for that, or for him drawing a line between gambling and treatment-then-intense MC.

If he doesn't let her know in a big way how it affects him and the family, she won't have a clue that she's hitting bottom.
 

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I think it's about as "harmless" as an alcoholic going into a bar on a nightly basis and drinking de-alcoholized beer.

C
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I think its a bad idea also. Im not sure if shes really ready to give it up from the way it sounds. Harmless as an alcoholic working in a bar. She might give it up when she truly hits rock bottom. Might
 

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Sorry hope I didnt offend you Tikikeen, for me, I have an addictive personality so for me, if I were an alcoholic, working in a bar would be too much of a temptaion. Thats just me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I agree, her husband ALWAYS bails her out financially from any mistake. He is also fairly certain that she is obtaining (though means legal or illegal) tanks of Nitrous and is out huffing when she stays out all night.

He is holding his breath and waiting and hoping that the new medication works. He does not have a plan to call police, withhold money or anything like that. He is actively protecting her from the consequences of her actions. He feels that he is charged to care for her and protect her and be married to her under pretty much any circumstances.

So, she's bipolar, she's in a frenzy, and is free of accountability. Why should she ever stop?

Here's a question for you all: When does one stop blaming the disease (bipolar disorder) and start blaming the person? Her husband is so co-dependent, it's unbelievable.

Helplessness is a bad feeling! :(

Thanks for your thoughts.
-FH
 

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Accountability for one's actions don't stop just because one is ill. I liken it to the legal definition of 'sanity'. If she meets it, that means she has a conscience. her actions might go directly against that conscience, but she still is accountable.

If she gets arrested, it might mean a family services case if it happens to be when he's not covering by caring for the kids, for example.

He would benefit from IC and Gam-Anon (and Gam-Anon is online, I think.)
ETA: It is online!
 
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