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Cecily's story

My adult son who is 43 has had a gambling problem on-and-off for over 16 years that I know of. His gambling was a major factor in the breakdown in his first marriage over 6 years ago; then in his next relationship about 2 years ago. Now he is gambling again ... and borrowed several thousand from his current girlfriend. I am not supposed to know about this last episode.

He lost a lot of money in the stock market fall late last year where he had money from his house sale invested ... so he lost all his money. He was extremely depressed and texted his brother threatening suicide. He spoke to his father about this loss saying it all went in shares ... no betting or gambling. He borrowed money from me to get him through Christmas ... then couldn't pay his bills and borrowed more from his father ... that I didn't know. We have been talking to his brother who knows other stuff and has begged his brother to talk to us but he hasn't. Now he has to pay a large sum for excess on his car from an accident and also for the rego.

I can't push him to tell me because of his depression and anxiety ... with the previous threat of suicide in mind. He needs help obviously, his brother has told him this but nothing seems to be happening. I am at my wits end not knowing what to do. If I say something he will stop talking to his brother ... his girlfriend is very angry with him apparently. He owes money to all of us. What should I do? We are in our early 70s and moved to another state, with our second son, for health reasons 2 years ago so he has no immediate family close by now. He is loving son and has a good job but this gambling has to stop – it is ruining his life. How do I help him when I am not supposed to know about this last episode?