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    I have been reading everyone’s stories now for a while but tonight is the night I decided to post myself. It happened again. My husband came home to spill his guys about a new large gambling debt. We’ve been looking for houses and today as we pulled in from checking out a new one, he just so casually said, “I owe ### to the bookie.” I had no idea!! I’ve tried to install all of these “fail safes” but it does t matter because he has been lying to me this whole time. He was lying about bonuses he got and lying in general about how much money he actually brought home for a year now. Every time he comes clean he says sorry and that he is being honest “this time.” I feel swindled. I knew he gambled when we married but I didn’t know the extent and that it was an addiction for him. He uses that against me and tells me that I knew what I signed up for. We have two children who adore him and of course I love him but I feel that we obviously do t want the same things in life. I just can’t wrap my head around what he is doing??? I feel that he is choosing this addiction over his family. I should understand his thinking I guess bc I grew up with an alcoholic father, but that doesn’t make it hurt any less. When this all went down today I thought, I knew it was coming, and I felt nothing at all. At this point I don’t feel I will leave but that means that I need to take care of myself and learn how to handle this. Sometimes I wonder if how I speak to him pushes him towards gambling even more. He won’t admit that he has a problem. I’ve asked him to talk to someone, GA or a pastor, he agreed but says it does t really matter because he is t going to stop. What do I do? How do I cope with this?




    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.

    Feel free to use the friends and family group, you’ll find the times for these if you click on the “Group times” box on our Home page. 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 🙂

    If you’re the friend or family member of someone who is either in, or has been through, the GMA residential programme please take extra care to make sure that nothing you say in groups, or on our forums, inadvertently identifies that person. Even if your loved one isn’t connected with GMA, please don’t identify them either directly or indirectly just in case they decide to use the site themselves.

    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 Lisackat,
    I can easily relate to you. I know how you feel right now. My husband is also a gambler and I’m trying to make him stop this habit. Don’t lose your hope. We can try our best. You are not alone. Try to convince him or get help from a counselor. All the best. Stay strong. Hugs.


    Hugs!!! I am in the same situation tho my boyfriend knows he has a problem, but says he doesn’t think it’s going to stop. He doesn’t seem to want to get any professional help either. He keeps pushing me away bc he hates himself and hates how he has treated me due to this. He keeps trying to break up with me and I keep fighting for us bc if he can fix this one major issue I know we could be this amazing couple. At some point he’s gonna push me far enough away that I won’t come back and he will regret it. So I understand and can relate. You are most definitely not alone!!! Stay strong and do what u feel is right for u!


    Hi RebeCz
    In case you return to this thread I hope you will start your own because you cannot be supported on another thread. You cannot make your husband stop what is more than a habit but you can learn to cope and support him in a way that is right for both of you.
    I hope to hear from you again soon


    Hi Lisackat
    There is no reason why you ‘should’ understand your husband’s thinking – trying to make sense of the senseless is wasted energy and you need all your energy to look after yourself and your 2 children.
    Your husband lies to cover his feeling of failure. When he first gambled for fun, as so many people do with no problem, your husband was not to know that addiction was to be his outcome. The addiction is all about failure because active CGs (compulsive gamblers) cannot walk away until everything is gone leaving them feeling desolate, lonely, frightened and worthless. Lying can become almost second nature to many and with so many lies being told told their minds are clouded with them and their lies become their truth.
    I don’t believe that you could have known what you signed up for unless you had seen or heard of this addiction before. An alcoholic father would not help you to see addictive gambling in the man you fell in love with.
    You ask about wondering if you are giving him ‘reason’ to gamble in what you say so the following, which although not recognised professionally as a method of coping, has worked for many. Before you read it though it is important to know that you are not responsible for his gambling.
    Imagine your husband’s addiction is a slavering beast in the corner of the room. Every time you speak to him his addiction is awake, poised and ready to jump if it feels threatened- but as long as you keep your cool and don’t threaten it, it will stay in the corner.
    The good news is that although your husband is controlled by his addiction, you are not; you can gain knowledge and be one step ahead. Trying to lay down conditions or pleading for answers will cause the beast to leap between you and take control of the conversation, probably turning it into an argument so that you feel wrong-footed. His addiction is the master of threats and manipulation but you are not and nor do you want, or need, to be. Once the addiction beast is between you, you will only hear his addiction speak- and because it knows only lies and deceit, it will seek to make you feel blame and demoralize you. In turn, when you speak to your husband, his addiction will distort your words, by altering reality to fit his personal perception – he will not be able to comprehend your meaning.
    It was explained to me by a CG in control of his addiction this way. The addiction to gamble is an addiction of constant failure and misery so your husband really believes he is completely worthless. Because he believes he is a failure it must follow to him that you are lying when you tell him you love him, or that his life would be better if he stopped gambling – after all why would you love someone so worthless? Believing himself to be without worth your husband fights back with distortion and deception because sadly, at the moment, he doesn’t have or know any other coping mechanism. The gamble is his escape and so the cycle continues.
    In my opinion it is better to stand back and listen when his addiction is in full spate — hopefully making it easier to stay out of an argument that has no point 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.
    I know this sounds quite 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.
    Your husband has said that ‘no matter what he is not going to stop’ but having read the above I wonder if you think he is saying that he can see no other future because he doesn’t know any other way.
    I’m going to leave this first personal reply to you there and await your thoughts. If there is anything you don’t understand or don’t agree with please always feel free to say – it took me months to get my head round the idea of the addiction at all and years to get to where I am now. I know the addiction to gamble can be controlled which is why I am writing to you. I don’t think from what your husband has said that he believes this to be so. If, as I suspect, you have tried every way you can think of to make him think differently maybe it is time to try something new.
    Speak soon


    Hi Velvet,

    Thank you for reaching out. I have read in various places now, about this beast in the corner. Does this mean that yes, I do need to be careful about what I say and how I talk to him? I am a very dominant person which usually leads me to “say what I feel,” and watching those statements turn into fights time and time again is beginning to show me that might not be the right way to go. However, if I am not condemning this behavior I feel like I am saying that it is ok. What do you think? I can absolutely see in him all that you have said about low self esteem and a feeling of worthlessness. Our marriage has been on the rocks in other areas as well, which probably just compounds his feeling of being unloved. Maybe I just need to ignore my feelings and thoughts about his addiction and try to show him the love I once did in the beginning? It is definitely hard. I know that we both feel alone in this, which is sad because we should have each other. Last night we sat down and came up with a plan for our money. We compromised for probably the first time ever. I left the conversation feeling great, and I hope he did too. In the back of my mind though, is the nagging feeling that he will just continue to sneak and lie. I guess I should give him some credit seeing that he came to me to come clean about his current situation…but at times I feel that is just another manipulation tactic to get the money he needs to pay his debt. As of now I can say that I am not going anywhere, and I can say this knowing that he may never want to get help or acknowledge his addiction. With that being said, I guess I am most wondering how I should react, talk and treat him in regards to the addiction. Thank you for your advise…I will read it again and again.


    Hi Lisackat
    I would probably have described myself as a person who should have been able to save my CG and therefore yes – dominant and inclined to say it as I saw it. The fights went nowhere, the chats went nowhere, the pleading, loving, caring, you name it, went nowhere. The only thing that happened was that I got more and more drained and less able to cope with the rest of my life and the lives of those around me. Refusing to be dragged into a row that has no hope of a good outcome, refusing to give ultimatums that you cannot keep, refusing to allow his addiction to rule ‘your’ life as well as his, is not condoning his behaviour – it is accepting that you cannot save him and giving him the responsibility of saving himself.
    Of course I hope too that your conversation of last night makes a difference and I know from my own experience that nobody can say when or why a true recovery starts. What I am sure about is that CGs need the right support to change their lives and doing it alone is so difficult, good intentions disappear within days if not minutes..
    I hope you will pop into the group on Tuesday so that we can communicate in real time – your comment that your marriage has been on the rocks in others areas suggests a possible well-known problem with the addiction and one that is often not referred to on the public forum. I don’t want to make assumptions however.
    I believe that it is better for you to believe that your husband meant what he said last night but not to believe that the plan will work. Every plan that fails will cause you further pain and I think you have had enough.
    Knowing you have read my analogy about the beast implies you have been reading the forum posts – it is important, I think, to realise that we have had many successful outcomes but that with success comes less need to post which is as it should be. The F&F forum is a stepping stone to help you cross a winding, raging river with whirlpools, white water and weirs with only ab occasional glimpse of safety but once you reach the shore there is no need to return but sadly this means there are usually few, if any, successful recent posts.
    You should have each other but your husband is lost to himself and cannot be there for you. Maybe you could leave information on local GA (gamblers anonymous) meeting, or sites such as this. Our Helpline is available to him – it is private and one-to-one and is open every week day between 09.00 and 17.00 hours UK time. Our CG groups are often run by a CG who lives in control of his addiction and he would be very welcome. If when you husband is talking calmly it might be good to suggest such groups with the sweetener that – “he has nothing to lose by making contact”. They are anonymous and he will be understood in a way that non-CGs cannot understand.
    As I am in danger of ‘talking’ too much – again I will leave this post here and await further posts from you.

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