Did you know there are an estimated 12,000 adults in Ireland who are problem gamblers? That a further 125,000 people are considered to be in the “at-risk” gamblers category, and that men are five times more likely than women to be problem gamblers?
With the Cheltenham Festival taking place this week, the most popular racing festival of the year, the lure for any problem gambler, can be one temptation too many! Gamblers regularly may tell you about their great wins, heart-breaking agonisingly close losses, and other elaborate and exciting gambling interactions. But how do we really know if they are telling the truth? For every big win we hear about, how do we know the amount they have lost before and after that? In this blog we are going to take a look at just some of the common lies problem gamblers tell their loved ones and sometimes even themselves.
Predictably, one of the most frequent lies stated by problem gamblers is “I don’t have a gambling problem”. Denial is a common theme throughout a number of addictions, and problem gamblers are no different. They usually will completely deny their gambling behaviours when questioned about it. It may be glaringly obvious to their family and friends, but they will often refuse to admit they have a gambling problem.
When asked to explain their whereabouts, problem gamblers regularly simply deny that they were gambling. This is a self-defence technique that the problem gambler believes will keep them out of trouble with their family and friends. They don’t want to admit to losing self-control and will sometimes even go to considerable efforts to deny their gambling activities and make excuses for where they were when they were caught to avoid confrontations.
Problem gamblers frequently tell themselves and others that their gambling is not harming anyone, even themselves, because gambling is a solitary pastime. However, because prolonged gambling can lead to a person digging into the savings of themselves and loved ones, a person’s gambling may actually have a significant impact on their family and their own lives.
Many problem gamblers are convinced that their next big win is coming up, and willing to do anything in order to reach that pay-out, as they truly believe the jackpot is just around the corner. Often, problem gamblers will deny withdrawing funds from a loved one’s account or borrowing money to keep the truth from being discovered.
Problem gamblers will often say that they are in complete control of their gambling, and that they can stop whenever they want. This lie is telling their loved one what they want to hear but is also trying to convince themselves that it’s the truth. Unfortunately, with problem gamblers this is usually far from the truth.
As a problem gambler’s addiction worsens, they will often fabricate wild and elaborate stories about how they lost their money, or where they spent it. These stories often have no proof or evidence to back them up, and the problem gambler just hopes their loved one will not ask any more follow up questions or investigate further.
A problem gambler may occasionally blame a friend in need for the reason of not having money. You may want to give them the benefit of the doubt at times, but these excuses may become more and more common in an attempt to avoid confrontation.
Often at the end of numerous stories and lies, when the problem gambler has run out of excuses and explanations, they will acknowledge their activity but ask to trust them. They may even admit that they need help, but often the problem gambling will continue unless they actually go about getting the help they need.
Similar to the “You can trust me” lie, but reversed, the “I won’t gamble anymore” statement, is something the problem gambler may believe themselves and certainly want to believe, but the lure of gambling can be too strong for them to keep their promise.
Tabor Group provides residential & community-based addiction treatment programmes to men and woman over 18 years of age, who are struggling with addiction to alcohol, drugs, and gambling. If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, get help today. We can help you recover in a healthy, friendly environment and beat your addiction. Do not hesitate to contact one of our counsellors today for information by calling +353 (21) 488 7710 for Cork or +353 (1) 639 2962 for Dublin, or alternatively you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can help you.