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4 Steps to Confronting Loved Ones with a Gambling Problem

Both adults and teens gamble in Atlantic City and across the state, but when someone you know and care about is struggling with a gambling problem, approaching them about it can be difficult. CCGNJ is dedicated to spreading awareness about problem gambling and getting individuals and families the help they need.

Before you try to persuade your loved one to begin their road to recovery, it can be helpful to have a plan for action. Below, we’ve outlined a 4-step process that you can use when staging an intervention with a friend or family member about their gambling issue, consisting of 4 stages, as outlined in the video below:

Validation

During the validation stage, you pave the way for a loving and caring intervention. Even if you have some negative feelings toward the person because of how their problem gambling has affected you, an intervention based on negativity will have little chance of success. Help your friend or family member understand that they are not defined by their gambling problem. Make it clear how much you care by listing specific examples of why you care and recounting their many positive qualities.

Documentation

An individual with a gambling problem may deny the severity or even the existence of the problem. Maintaining denial becomes more difficult, however, when every person involved in the intervention lists concrete examples of negative consequences that happened because of their gambling.

  • Every person involved in the intervention should compose a list of specific examples of negative consequences they have observed or experienced as a direct result of the gambling.
  • Don’t write down anything you haven’t experienced or observed directly, as it can degrade the power of your message.
  • Talk about how the situation makes you feel. Your loved one may deny the existence of the problem, but they can’t deny how their behaviors affect your feelings.

Recommendations

Interventions are staged for a reason: to get your loved one to take action. In the third step, you ask your loved one to actively do something about their gambling problem. Talk to them about the resources that are available to help them.

Consequences

To improve the odds of your loved one taking action, outlining some specific consequences can go a long way. During this last step, explain that there will be consequences for not seeking help.

  • Be very specific about what you will or will not do.
  • Do not lay down a consequence you aren’t willing to impose.
  • Follow through on what you say.

Starting an honest dialogue about the reality of the situation is a very positive first step to help your loved one seek the help they need. To learn more about adult and teenage problem gambling in Atlantic City and throughout New Jersey, call or text our helpline today.