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Old 05-11-2010, 07:30 AM   #281
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I would tell the older kids, esp. the ones with summer jobs, what their mother is into and theat they should keep their own money in accounts, even if it is very little. Also a warning against lending money to mom is advised.
Poor kids, they need to grow up and learn about life's dark side very quickly.
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Old 05-11-2010, 08:38 AM   #282
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Fuego,

I am also very sorry that you,your wife, and extended family are having to deal with addiction. I have never faced the gambling issue, but I have faced durg addiction with a family member. The addict will continue in their addiction until they are faced with the loss of everything and sometimes this may mean their lives. They will continue until they find their own awakening, and who knows when that will be.

Your SIL must see what she is doing to everyone who loves her, but she is able to rationalize it away. You are all wrong about her in her mind.

I once heard a counselor describe the family unit of an addict as being like a baby mobile that you hang over the babies crub. It has many moveable pieces that travel in a pattern that is in agreement with all the other pieces. If you disturb one unit on the mobile the others can not continue on their assigned course in the way that they should. The only way to keep all the pieces moving as they should is to remove any unit that is broken and redistribute the working pieces so they can go on with the exceptable pattern of movement. Only after the broken unit has been successfully "fixed" and can travel the set course should you consider returning it to the unit. In your case, your SIL is working against the happiness and well being of her entire family. She needs to see that you and the family are a working unit and that her actions have removed her from the unit.

This of course means that the family has to have a plan and follow it to the letter. The plan starts with the realization that this one idividual can and will destroy everyone in it to get what she wants and to continue with her "habit". At this point she has shown you she is capable of stealing from everyone of you! She has seen her mother's tears. She has seen the entire family upset. She doesn't care! She is still doing what she needs to do to feed her addiction. She isn't broken, she sees the family as uncaring and unfair!

Those who have not dealt with a loved one with an addiction can not understand the anguise and sorrow of having to say no to someone. The guilt, the worry, the what if's that go thru your mind.

You (by this I mean you and your SIL's entire family) need to remember that she is the broken one in the unit, she is adversely affecting everyone else and that is not acceptable. You need to demand change now. No wishy washy stance, it has to happen now. No more gambling! Never, ever. If she makes idle promises or does not take action to right the situation, I say it is time to remove the broken unit. This is about the time when the addicts family starts invisioning them living on the streets, in jail, etc. And this is the time you have to realize that you can not change this person. They have to change your thoughts and protect the innocent, working parts of the family.

The hardest lesson I had to learn is to "Let go, and Let God". Let the person find their own way back (with quiet support) and get out of the way. Until she is ready she will be broken.

Your MIL and everyone else in the family should change the locks on the doors, change the bank accounts, etc. Do not let this individual continue to make her entire family victims of her habit.
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Old 05-11-2010, 09:19 AM   #283
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I would tell the older kids, esp. the ones with summer jobs, what their mother is into and theat they should keep their own money in accounts, even if it is very little. Also a warning against lending money to mom is advised.
Poor kids, they need to grow up and learn about life's dark side very quickly.
Yes, this situation is really crappy for the kids. My DW talked to the oldest who is a freshman in HS. He basically said he doesn't want to talk about it any more, and knows what is going on.
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Old 05-11-2010, 09:31 AM   #284
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You (by this I mean you and your SIL's entire family) need to remember that she is the broken one in the unit, she is adversely affecting everyone else and that is not acceptable. You need to demand change now. No wishy washy stance, it has to happen now. No more gambling! Never, ever. If she makes idle promises or does not take action to right the situation, I say it is time to remove the broken unit. This is about the time when the addicts family starts invisioning them living on the streets, in jail, etc. And this is the time you have to realize that you can not change this person. They have to change your thoughts and protect the innocent, working parts of the family.

The hardest lesson I had to learn is to "Let go, and Let God". Let the person find their own way back (with quiet support) and get out of the way. Until she is ready she will be broken.
I have already put my foot down with her and told her that I expect her to stop the gambling completely. No $1 lottery tickets, no casual playing a few hands at these parties. Nothing. She agreed and has since broken that promise to me and to everyone else she has promised.

I probably told her 5 or 6 times that "gambling is NEVER the answer to your money problems, including gambling debt that you can't pay". "It is never the answer".

She is simply not done gambling. It is still the answer to her money problems and it goes beyond that I think to also needing to feel powerful and in control and successful. To show the other gamblers that she has superior gambling skills and lots of money (= status) to play the big hands.

She is throwing it all away right now, but there is nothing more we can do for her. It is up to her to figure out where her rock bottom is. At some point, her husband is going to walk out the door with the kids and leave her.


Quote:
Your MIL and everyone else in the family should change the locks on the doors, change the bank accounts, etc. Do not let this individual continue to make her entire family victims of her habit.
She doesn't have a key to our house, but does have a key to her parents' house. I think at the first sign of the gambling crossing into thieving, the locks will be changed. And if she steals something from me, I will call the police. There is a line. She can ruin her life but she will not ruin mine and my immediate family's.

It is kind of funny - SIL and my DW used to jointly hold title to an account where MIL kept her modest life savings. SIL voluntarily took her name off of the account a couple years ago, with the story being she may have to eventually file bankruptcy. Not sure whether to take that at face value or whether to think maybe SIL knew she had a problem and wanted to take that temptation away from herself.
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Old 05-11-2010, 09:40 AM   #285
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I've been wondering, since there appears to be illegal activity involved, have you thought of filing charges against the other gamblers for fraud, usury/loan sharking (surely 10% a month must be over the usury limit) or whatever may be applicable? Might the possibility of public shaming and a criminal record encourage them to leave your SIL alone, or do you think doing so would be likely to backfire in some way or endanger other family members?
This has entered the discussion between DW and I. It is not something we are wanting to do at this point. Most of these people just like to play a good honest multi-day game of cards for five figure stakes. But some are crazy and unpredictable. One in particular is not someone I would want knocking on my door asking me why I ratted on him, his family, and his friends. He's ex-gang (or maybe still active??), in and out of prison for serious violent felonies, etc.

I could probably make the ratting anonymous to a certain degree (connections at the DA's office), but there is a lot of risk there since word could get out. And I think the benefits for SIL may be less than the detriment to the rest of her family if they are marked as rats and traitors. And they don't want to see all their friends tossed in jail either. Besides, I doubt the DA and police would be interested in spending a lot of time putting together a big case against a private card game where there are no violent crimes being committed.
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Old 05-11-2010, 09:45 AM   #286
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She doesn't have a key to our house, but does have a key to her parents' house. I think at the first sign of the gambling crossing into thieving, the locks will be changed.
Unfortunately waiting until she steals to change the locks will be too late. I know you don't have control over what your PIL's do, but I would encourage them to change the locks now rather than after a theft takes place. Based on what you've told us, the odds are very good your SIL will resort to almost anything to feed her habit.
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Old 05-11-2010, 10:02 AM   #287
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I just heard that SIL went to her mother's house and took her $2000-3000 worth of gold jewelry back. My understanding was that her mother was going to hold onto this gold until the loan was repaid. And hold onto the gold so she wouldn't liquidate it. Guess that wasn't the case, since SIL apparently received the gold peacefully and didn't have to sneak in and steal it or anything. I guess that will go to repay the $2000-4000 she lost this weekend. Swirling the drain...
SIL will keep feeding her habit at the cost of everyone who loves her. She gave up the gold to get a loan, went gambling a few nights later and lost more. Her mothers tears don't mean a thing to her. Her children's future has slipped her mind. Her marriage, her husband's words are idle threats at this point. Addiction is a progressive disease. One thing you can be sure of is it will continue to get worse until she chooses to change.
You can help with the change by gaining strength now and not later when she is breaking in and stealing. I say change the locks now.

Have a family counsel without her and develop a family plan as to how to deal with her and her addiction. Be a united front. When she knows that others in the family are prepared to give strength and support to the weaker family members and help them stand up to her, she may have to step back a look at herself much harder.
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Old 05-11-2010, 10:05 AM   #288
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Unfortunately waiting until she steals to change the locks will be too late. I know you don't have control over what your PIL's do, but I would encourage them to change the locks now rather than after a theft takes place. Based on what you've told us, the odds are very good your SIL will resort to almost anything to feed her habit.
On top of changing the locks, to really increase the security at their house, they would have to completely ostracize and ban SIL from entering the premises. I am pretty sure they aren't willing to make that move just yet. It is another case of them needing to come to that conclusion on their own (ie after a theft has taken place). So far SIL has not crossed the line by taking someone else's money or property outright. Just obtaining it under false pretenses (ie promising to stop gambling there by inducing the loan, when SIL never intended to keep her promise).
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Old 05-11-2010, 10:22 AM   #289
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Fuego...

A lot of people here are telling you that all in the family are enablers... yes, including you...

I would suggest that you read up as best you can on what you need to do... going to GA support group might teach you a thing or two...


All of what you say is what someone in your shoes says... 'stop gambling NOW or else'... 'not even a $1 lotto ticket'.... it might make you feel like you are helping, but you are not...

It sounds like SIL does NOT care about 'what else'... I think that BIL is also helping the situation trying to 'make it work' when it is not working...


A question... are you SURE that some of the debt was paid off I mean, did someone else besides SIL make the payment? If not, then I think that the money was used to gamble some more...

Good luck in having a positive outcome soon.... but I just don't see it happening...
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Old 05-11-2010, 10:46 AM   #290
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A question... are you SURE that some of the debt was paid off I mean, did someone else besides SIL make the payment? If not, then I think that the money was used to gamble some more...

Good luck in having a positive outcome soon.... but I just don't see it happening...
I really don't know or care any more whether the debt was paid off. To me it is a moot point. Regardless of whether it was paid off, she can always borrow the money back from the people she paid off.

I am done lending money to her. She will not get a cent out of me voluntarily. I tried to persuade DW to more strongly convince her mom not to lend the $12000 to SIL, but that didn't work out.

I have to tread carefully since my main goal in this is to maintain marital harmony in my house and maintain my financial security. I already told SIL that I don't trust her and my DW doesn't trust her. She made promises and broke them, and we are done (as long as DW can stay strong).

I don't really see any chance at a positive outcome at this point. Best case is probably her reaching bottom, filing bankruptcy, not losing the house and not destroying their marriage completely.
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Old 05-11-2010, 10:58 AM   #291
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I would suggest that you read up as best you can on what you need to do... going to GA support group might teach you a thing or two...
Any book recommendations? Or a website?

To what extent is it typically recommended to ostracize a problem gambler from family events or socializing with family? I mean it is one thing to tell someone "I do not trust you and will not give you any money" but another to say "never come to my house again". At some point down the road, maybe in a year or a few years, SIL may be just another sibling to DW. One who doesn't have a gambling problem.
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Old 05-11-2010, 11:17 AM   #292
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Fuego,

Sorry to hear about the mess your SIL as put you and your family through. I do admire you for making the effort to give the SIL the chance to change. Though it looks like that's nearly impossible or a long away away from hitting rock bottom, you know that you tried with the best intentions.
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Old 05-11-2010, 11:33 AM   #293
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On top of changing the locks, to really increase the security at their house, they would have to completely ostracize and ban SIL from entering the premises. I am pretty sure they aren't willing to make that move just yet.
I understand this. I wish that non-immigrant families and communities had 1/10 of the group closeness that many immigrant families have. Some do of course, but it is rare.

Probably your FIL/MIL keep cash and valuables around the house. This can be halted. There is likely a bank within a few blocks of where they live. Have them open an account. Their daily cash needs can be met with money kept on their persons, not in a purse, but in a billfold, money belt, bra, or whatever.

If they have valuables, put them as well as deeds, family papers, and social security cards in a deposit box at the bank. If they have larger valuables or heirlooms, look into selling them.

As far as "this will only get worse", I think that is very hard to predict. She may be early in her descent, on the other hand she may be very close to seeing the light.

As to the miscreant and her family, IMO it has to be treated as their business. The husband seems to me to me acting in a remarkebly passive manner. If I had a wife staying out all night she would be spending all morning waiting to seen in the local county STD clinic. There's more than one way to spend a night out, and more than one way to finance gambling losses.

One other comment I have. When faced by these disruptive situations it is very tempting to fix on one or a very narrow range of possible paths. One example I have in mind is your attempt to decide if there are possibilities of violence, or if "This is just friendly low key neighborhood and family games". IMO, this is just too much money to assume it is all in fun. Get away, and stay away! She has a husband, let him deal with it.

Ha
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Old 05-11-2010, 11:42 AM   #294
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Any book recommendations? Or a website?

To what extent is it typically recommended to ostracize a problem gambler from family events or socializing with family? I mean it is one thing to tell someone "I do not trust you and will not give you any money" but another to say "never come to my house again". At some point down the road, maybe in a year or a few years, SIL may be just another sibling to DW. One who doesn't have a gambling problem.

Sorry, no I do not... my experience is a BIL who was an alcoholic but stopped before meeting my sister.. I was surprised at how many people he would call 'a drunk'... and sometime in the future he was proven right..

He did not allow any drunks in his house... but since he was the only one in our family I do not know what he would have done in that case...

The reason why I said to go to the GA group is that you can learn from people who have lived this... and they will let you know what works and what does not..

I know it is a tough question... if she were an drug addict it would be very easy to say "I don't want you around my family because of the negative impact you have on them".... but the gambler is different... they are 'normal' when they are not gambling... and except for the lying and possible stealing they might be a wonderful person to be around... however, I think what you have described about her family has shown she has exceeded this level... and she is bringing down her family very quickly.. I don't think you can do much more... it is BIL time to file for divorce, take the kids away from the toxic lifestyle and HOPE SIL decides to get the help she needs....

I think the parents or someone needs to go to the people and tell them she is tapped out... they do not have any chance of getting paid... but if she is as bad as she sounds.... she will be going to find another place to gamble... as long as she can get money...

BTW, I know of an instance where a brother did send his younger brother to jail for stealing from him... his younger brother was a drug addict and stole from the whole family... but did not expect to have one of them prosecute...
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Old 05-11-2010, 08:08 PM   #295
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I am very sorry for your involvement (and the rest of the family) in this terrible addiction. For me, I would have a great concern about the other gamblers involved believing they can get money from your family, especially with gang or ex-gang people involved.

You wrote:
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I think at the first sign of the gambling crossing into thieving, ...
Hasn't that already happened with the taking back of gold collateral for family loans that now seem certain not to be repaid. It was no longer SILs to dispose of, it was MILs until the loan was paid.
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Old 05-12-2010, 12:04 AM   #296
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But some are crazy and unpredictable. One in particular is not someone I would want knocking on my door asking me why I ratted on him, his family, and his friends. He's ex-gang (or maybe still active??), in and out of prison for serious violent felonies, etc.
So much for the friendly game involving friends, huh?

Man, if I were in your position I would have my family so far removed from anything to do with this craziness that everyone involved would forget that we existed.
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Old 05-12-2010, 05:01 AM   #297
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This is starting to sound dangerous, things could get very bad from this point on, very fast. Flashing large sums of gold (or mentioning the money was from large amounts of gold) in front of ex/current-gang members, and her likely telling them she kept it at her mother's house, is about one of the worst things I could imagine possibly happening.
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Old 05-12-2010, 08:54 AM   #298
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Any book recommendations? Or a website?
You've probably already checked this out:

Gamblers Anonymous Official Home Page
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Old 05-12-2010, 09:01 AM   #299
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Wow. Some of my buddies play cards together but never into the five figures (maybe a couple hundred?). That amount of money blows my mind. Who has that kind of cash to toss around?
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Old 05-12-2010, 09:22 AM   #300
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Hasn't that already happened with the taking back of gold collateral for family loans that now seem certain not to be repaid. It was no longer SILs to dispose of, it was MILs until the loan was paid.
I'm not sure what the arrangement was between SIL and her mother. They weren't speaking English at the time the loan was made.

I think the idea of SIL's gold being collateral was only if we lent the money to SIL, then MIL would hold SIL's gold and act as a guarantor on our loan to SIL. Our loan to SIL never happened, so I guess MIL didn't want to hold on to the gold.

Other than borrowing from other gamblers, she is tapped out on credit. The dollar amounts she could get from pawning/selling personal possessions would not last more than a day given the large 4 figure losses she has been experiencing recently.
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