Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
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My father has a gambling problem which caused a lot of damage to my family. He deludes himself saying that it is just a hobby.  I am angry at him. I don’t know what to do. Could you please advise?

Gambling is an addiction like drugs. A person needs first to admit he has a gambling problem before he can be cured of it. This is not the case yet with your father, for he is still in denial. Your anger will not change things. Being very upset and angry with him will not solve the problem.

Think of your father as a disabled person who, in this particular situation, cannot make the right judgment for himself. You need to talk with your family, your priest and your father's close friends who are aware of his problem in order to come up with a plan to help him. This should be done with love and respect in a non-confrontational, non-judgmental manner. With continuous and persisting prayers, he will eventually know that he can no longer hide or deny his weakness. He also needs to hear very often, how much he means to all of you, and how, by his behavior he is bringing  about disaster to his beloved ones.

Anger does not solve anything.  On the contrary, it causes resentment, stubbornness, unwillingness to listen to advice, and finally weakens your case.

Control your anger and replace it with love for the person who presently cannot control a certain behavior. Love is compassionate and long-suffering. Have compassion for those who have no compassion. Again, continue praying fervently, pray together as a family and try to get your father to join you in prayers. May our Lord Jesus Christ open his eyes and deliver him from this addiction.
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