What’s Going On?: An Adult Child’s Story


I cannot believe that I am spending my Friday night on the phone trying to find out where my 69-year-old father is. Where could he be?Ever since Dad had a heart attack and retired, he has never been the same. When I talk to him, he gets that far away look. I asked him to come to my son's birthday party and my daughter's piano recital, but he did not show up for either. Both times, he told me he didn't feel well and was in bed.

But his behavior doesn't add up. He borrows money from me, especially in the middle of the month. He should be able to comfortably get through the month with his pension and savings. He never makes plans to do anything, and I know he has more potential than just sitting at home watching TV. I have told him many, many times to get involved, get some exercise, join a club. I cannot look after him. I work full time and have my own family to take care of.

Why am I the one to be worried all the time? My instinct tells me he may be gambling too much. I have asked him about this, but he always says he only goes occasionally. He gets mad if I ask him any more questions, saying all I care about is my inheritance. He's very wrong about that - I just want him to be healthy and happy. To tell you the truth, my brother is the one interested in his inheritance.

Now, I'm the one who is mad...I have a missing father who seems to care more about gambling than his daughter or grandchildren. I'd much rather be soaking in a hot tub right now than sitting here worried sick about him.

The daughter in this story has been negatively affected by her father's gambling. She is worried and frustrated by his actions. Her instincts tell her that gambling is the cause of her father's odd behavior and withdrawal from family, but a lack of awareness about problem gambling is preventing her from finding a more effective solution for dealing with the situation.

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