Dealing with Gambling and Alcohol Addict

by Joan Lee

My father is addicted to drinking and in the past few years gambling as well. My mom, sister and I intervened when we found out the finances were out of control.

My mother is disabled so I took power of attorney and have been managing their budget ever since. He has sought counseling but never has gone to meetings, therefore continues to drink. The gambling subsided greatly, but he still slips up at poker machines that pay out.

Last weekend he received a bit of a windfall from the government. I allowed him a little extra money to catch up on things for the house. Which he took right to the casino! I was outraged. Now that he is aware of this extra money. He claims it's his and he needs it for all these other things, which I know is untrue. While I will continue to only give them their budgeted amount. I worry he will spend it unwisely, then calls me for more saying it's for groceries, etc.

I tell him it was his choice to buy booze, cigarettes or gamble instead of the priorities they really need. I cannot cut him off completely because he cares for my mom and it is his money. I am not contributing any personal money to him. So, I guess my question is: How do I not give in without harming my mom?

What can I say to him to get the point across that he needs to prioritize his allotted budget? I don't want this to go on forever but cannot allow him control of their finances. Any advice is appreciated. Thank you!


Your father is in denial of his drinking/gambling addiction so he’s not going to stop. He will lie, manipulate and do whatever it takes to get the money he needs to do what he wants to do.

As you have Power of Attorney, pay the bills and get the groceries, but don’t give you him any cash. If there is money left over, you can give him an allowance for cigarettes or whatever. Don’t get upset if you give him money because he will do whatever he likes with it.

Unfortunately, there is nothing that you can do or say to get the point across. Your dad will do what he wants to do, so at this point you have to hold a hard line.

Tell him that unless he gets the help he needs, you are forced to handle his financial affairs because you don’t trust him. Keep telling him to get help, but
If there comes a time when he harms your mom, you will have to remove her from the home. I hope it won’t come to that.

All the very best to you,


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