So angry with society glamorizing risk behavior! (vent)

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by SuZir, Oct 18, 2012.

  1. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    I was at the easy child's game and I was approached by one lady who is worried about her son. There is of course nothing I could do to help her. I did reference her to local gambling addiction website and told how she could contact the person who treats young gambling addicts in local health station. But I just feel so bad for her and her family. And her son.

    I don't know about the situation in the NA but here gambling problems are getting out of hand. And culture around gambling is certainly not helping. When idiot teen girls want to be reality-tv-stars, our idiot teen boys dream on being poker or betting millionaires. And that is seriously glamorized by even mainstream media. Few years ago they wrote a lot about poker millionaires, now they wrote just as much about sport betting wins. Local laws forbid most of gambling advertising, but it doesn't matter, because betting and poker companies are so very good at advertising through social media and in other more current ways. Many of our most notable sport reporters and other sport personalities are walking betting advertisements. They keep awfully lot of noise about their bets and bet with thousands of dollars a week. And they totally deny that they are in fact playing on betting companies money even though it is very, very likely. But our idiot kids don't understand that these popular, cool sport characters are paid to bet, not betting with their own money. Young men's Twitter account are full of betting and the more risky betting and more money used, cooler it is.

    Poker is little bit less trendy now than it was few years ago (when difficult child got addicted.) Maybe because many have started to understand that even the poker stars are not doing that profitable business. And many engineering students who few years ago boasted how they made money worth whole four month summer internship in a week have noticed that it wasn't quite like that. But now it is more about sports betting. Idea is, that you can not be invested watching the game if you haven't bet on it. Young men take very expensive short loans to 'create a betting account', loans they can not pay back, if they don't start winning right away. And not a small loans. For example the son of the lady I spoke today, had taken almost 20 000 dollars worth loans and started betting with those loaned money and being sure he would quickly double his 'investment.' And when they keep loosing, they keep betting more, because they want to win back the lost money. We don't even have personal bankruptcy, they are saddled with the loans rest of their lives even if they stop gambling. Unfortunately for too many that rest of their life isn't that long. Suicides are scary common among gambling addicts.

    There are, very seldom, but at times stories about problem gamblers in media, but those are so far from the world of these idiot kids who are now in worst risk. They tend to be stories of elderly people who loose their retirement to slot machines. Or older people who have done horse betting for a long time. They are not stories kids like my son would ever feel any connection to. What these kids see, when they think of gambling are these young, cool twenty-somethings who wear sunglasses also indoors and win poker tournaments or are 'insiders' to the sports. But at the same time these kids, even if they don't end up gambling addicts, can cause themselves serious, long term, life altering financial problems. And then there are those, like my son, who get addicted and end up stealing, scamming, loosing all respect others may have had for them.

    There are times when I almost hope difficult child would tell his story publicly. But it wouldn't change anything and it would be too hard for him yet. Maybe some day. But of course everything in his appearance tells other kids that he is a 'looser', 'freak', 'nerd', 'simply stupid', unpopular and always uncool. So it wouldn't help, because of course those kids who are in risk on this think themselves as smart and cool, not like difficult child with whom the only cool factor is that because of some freak accident he happens to be very talented athlete.

    But I can't help but feel heartbroken for all those other mothers and their families who are currently on their way to this same he** we have been with our kid. And there are so many of them in just my country I can't even think of it. And we have been one of the lucky ones because difficult child has so much still going for him and he has worked so hard for the recovery and done well with it. Most are not likely to be that lucky.
  2. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    Hi Su,
    That's an interesting post. I don't know about gambling from my family's experience, but I can see how the glamour of it, the escape and the excitement and "high" of it would certainly tempt someone, particularly young people. IME, I equate it with the glamourizing of drinking we see here in US. The people in the commercials look gorgeous, popular, confident, stylish and somewhat irreverent. You never see them puking in the gutter, losing their jobs, looking dissheveled, etc.!
  3. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    We in fact had something like that some time ago. Local brewery industry had a campaign to promote responsible drinking. they had ads that started like your normal alcohol commercials, beautiful people having good time. Then there was this one person, who had drank too much. A boy making himself an idiot and in the end peeing his pants and others watching in disgust. A girl with her make up gone bad puking in the toilet etc. Okay, it was breweries attempt to appear more responsible and do goodwill, but still I liked the campaign a lot. I think almost every kid has a relative, family friend or someone else they know who is an alcoholic. Kids do know what alcoholism does to the person. They are just unable to understand that it could happen to them. It usually takes time for alcoholism to really make havoc in person's life and even if the kids know someone younger who has serious problems because of alcohol, they just think it would not happen to them, because they are just having fun and doing like everyone else. Kids just can't imagine they would ever end up alcoholics. But kids often can imagine, that they would drink too much in one time and make a fool out of themselves. It's same with tobacco. Lung cancer is too far away from kids' world, but smelling bad and that nice girl/boy not wanting to kiss you is much more realistic and imaginable threat to them.

    With gambling, while of course age-old problem, the current trendiness is something so new, that you don't see the warning examples yet. And of course gamblers are not passing out on the streets or behaving in unpredictable way in subway, so it is much more of the hidden problem. There are signs though. News about young people being heavily over debt. News stories about normal, previously non-criminal and trusted people scamming and embezzling money in the most despicable ways (teachers scamming school trip money of her class, director of highly thought and well known charity embezzling the donation money, accountant embezzling from international corporation (well knowing he would get caught in the next audit etc.)), suicides and murder-suicides in families there everything 'was fine' and later gambling debts are told to be one of the reasons. But of course kids who want to be professional poker players or sport betters don't notice those news. Or at least that would never happen to them...

    Because my son's issues are well known and thoroughly gossiped in our small community and in the sport community, I'm nowadays quite often approached by other mothers, who worry about their kids (usually sons) gambling. And while so very well hidden in these middle class families, I'm starting to understand that in my community this is a huge issue. And no one seems to care.
  4. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    Suzir, several years ago my small southern state was a hotbed of gambling activity with poker machine casinos popping up everywhere. My GFGmom became totally addicted to the those machines. She lied, stole, embezzled....all things associated with addictions. It was awful. My state then banned the machines. That helped for a while. Then she found the online games----needless to say, she is hooked, no stopping her. She is on disability, so she doesn't have a lot of extra to blow, but....