Get practical support with your gambling problem Forum Friends and Family Are gambling addicts always going to be gambling addicts?

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    A little bit of background. Husband has gambled on and off for years but I only discovered after we were married last year when our honeymoon fund disappeared. Then our baby fund went. We had it out

    and I trusted that he was sorry and wouldn’t do it again. I have always been very tight with our money, I forfeit almost everything and shop around for best deals on food so that our baby can 

    have. So when we had more money come through after a change in our mortgage, I made sure we paid off our home improvements loan and began thinking about what we could do next with our left over money.

    But there was none. I’ve since discovered that in the past year he’s spent another £8500 gambling. In both years he has also spent any winnings – back on gambling. To put this in to context, I am self employed

    and since pregnancy I have suffered with depression. I started part time work 4 weeks after having my child only to earn around £1000 a month – earning the same amonunt in a year as my husband has

    gambled away. He admited the gambling after I became suspicious again but has not admitted to the full number – even though I know. He is under the illusion that he can outsmart the fruit machines, has given me

    his credit card (another thousand gone off that too) and admitted to having another but not using it (it’s attached to the paper still and I have it now). I have said I will support him if he gives me full control of money

    and attends meetings. My friends are sceptical. Do gamblers ever really stop? I have looked online but read no stories of people who stopped gambling years ago and haven’t done since? Am I being pessimistic? We 

    need to move out of our flat and in to a house but we cannot afford it now.


    Hello Bara

    Thanks for starting a thread in the Gambling Therapy friends and family forum. This forum will provide you with warmth and understanding from your peers.

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    Now that you have introduced yourself you’ll find that many of the people you meet here have already read your initial introduction and they’ll welcome you in like an old friend 🙂

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    You’ll find a lot of advice on this site, some of which you’ll follow, some you won’t…but that’s ok because only you fully understand your situation and what’s best for you and the people you love. So, take the support you need and leave the advice you don’t because it all comes from a caring, nurturing place 🙂

    We look forward to hearing all about you!

    Take care

    The Gambling Therapy Team

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    Hi Bara
    A compulsive gambler cannot be cured but many, many can and do live in control of their addictions without relapsing.
    I am fortunate in that I know a number of compulsive gamblers who have seized the gamble-free life with a passion and a zest that is remarkable. Not only are they living gamble-free but they are leading possibly more extraordinary lives for have overcome the addiction that sought to bring them to their knees.
    It is a very hard message for those who love compulsive gamblers but my own experience is this. I trust the gambler in my life to protect his gamble-free life because he wants to do so – he has been clean for over 12 years and enjoys a wonderful life.
    I will leave it there tonight Bara but I wanted to give you a quick reply so that you knew you had been heard. I will write again asap.
    In the meantime perhaps you could let me know if your husband has started going to meetings and have you heard about GMA?


    USA, America

    That is very reassuring to read, thank you for the reply. The trouble is (as I’m sure with many) that he can be very irritable, restless and tends to fly off the handle with me over nothing, most probably due to the pressure he is under keeping this big secret. We have been open the last few days and he does seem to be remorseful – impressed even, at how I’m handling it in a calm manner. I really want to help him and support him but as this is the second time that there’s been a ‘revelation, I am nervous of what the future will hold. The fact that I now have complete control on finances does however give me some comfort but as an already anxious person I can’t help but feel there’s something else I’m missing…

    I mentioned to him again about the meetings but he’s said he doesn’t think it’s necessary now because he is motivated and adamant that he can do this with my support. My gut is telling me to be strategic here and look for any tell tale signs of secret debts/cards etc. I know that my Googling has probably made me more paranoid! I am happy that the gambler in your life has gone on to be in control. I only pray that my husband can do the same. 

    Do you know where the best place is to look for tips on how to deal with a secret gamblers behaviour especially the over reacting and temper?



    Sorry I also wanted to add:

    – He spends hours ‘on the toilet’ with his phone, probably gambling. Today he locked the door – which we never do. My gut tells me he is gambling but he has told me that he has self excluded (I think that’s what it’s called, he’s banned himself from sites?)
    – A while back he suggested he use my passport to open up an online gambling account, I told him categorically no but now I am worried that he has, how do I find out?
    Sorry for the long message, I feel so sick about all of this. I need to protect myself and our baby


    Hi Barra

    Restlessness, irritability and a tendency to fly off the handle are typical behaviours of an active compulsive gambler.

    If a compulsive gambler could take control of his addiction without support it would be fantastic but in my experience such a belief is a fantasy. This site would not exist, GA and rehabs would not be necessary. Saying he can stop gambling with your support is putting the worry unfairly on your shoulders, while you do the worrying he will have no need to make the effort.

    I believe it is good for you to imagine your husband’s addiction as a beast lurking in the corner of the room – it is a method that has worked for many F&F in the early days. As long as you keep your cool and don’t threaten it, the beast will lie quiet although it never sleeps. Your husband is controlled by an addiction at the moment but you are not, you are stronger than his addiction, even when it leaves you feeling vulnerable and afraid.

    The addiction beast will leap between you when you threaten its existence; it doesn’t want to hear that it is responsible for the loss of money and/or its poor behaviour. The problem is that once the beast is roused it will defend itself with lies and it will try and make you feel you are to blame thus demoralising you.

    The gambler in my life explained it to me by saying that all the time I was telling him that he would be happy if he didn’t lie but lived honestly, his addiction was distorting my meaning, convincing him that I couldn’t understand. He felt unlovable and a worthless because the gambling addiction generated feelings of failure in him. He fought me all the way because he didn’t have any other coping mechanism and such coping mechanisms are learned when a compulsive gambler seeks support and determines to live gamble-free.

    I believe F&F waste valuable time ‘wanting’ to believe the active gambler that they love is telling the truth and that ‘this’ time, maybe, he is going to be different. If you can stand back and listen to what your husband is saying, rather than trying to tell him what to do, it becomes easier not get caught up in an argument that has no purpose apart from making you feel less in control. Once you begin to try and put your side, the addiction has something to get its teeth into.

    In my opinion, when you know you are hearing a story being spun or you are being given an unlikely reason for a door being locked, it is enough to say that you do not believe him but that you will be ready to listen when he tells the truth and walk away. Having made your point you are registering that you are not open to further embroidery of the truth. When you walk away it is important for you to go and do something that pleases you and removes you from the possibility of further exhausting and pointless argument. This all sounds a little negative but the positive side is that it removes you from the centre of the addiction giving you time and energy to look after you.

    I’m afraid there is no crystal ball and no magic pill. Keeping healthy communication open is good, looking after yourself is paramount – it doesn’t seem much but by looking after yourself first you will become stronger, you will reclaim your own health and be able to cope better. If we allow addiction to control our lives we become victims and impotent.

    I am going to try and find a post for you written by a compulsive gambler who lives in control of his addiction – it explains why seeking help is so important and why trying to do it on your own is impossible – I have never heard of a compulsive gambler who has successfully taken control of his addiction without treatment.

    Please ensure that your passport is in a place he cannot access, likewise your pin numbers and account details.

    I am glad that you are protecting yourself and your husband by handling the finances.

    Keep posting Barra, you are being heard



    Hello Bara

    I have read the posts posted. I am a gambler on and off for the last 30 years. I am what you call a binge gambler. It is very hard for a gambler to let go of what they lost and the aim is each day i am more experienced and that i wont make that same mistake again. However in reality it just doesnt work. Unless he has self control which only 2 or 3 in a hundred do he will continue.
    In reference to him opening a account under your name the money has to come out of your account unless he uses another method of payment which does not disclose who the receiptant is.
    In reference to him self excluding he will have a copy of the agreement. If he has self excluded you can ask him for how long i believe the minimum is 3 months to a maximum of 5 years.( this applies in the UK other parts i am not sure) You can do a test on this by applying to a online company using his details if he has self excluded you wont be able to open a account.
    I wish you all the best.

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