Get practical support with your gambling problem Forum Friends and Family I want to help. How do I help him?

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    I’m new to the site. I have been reading the posts of people in this forum and I thank you for sharing your experiences.
    I hope you all can guide me in the right direction because I’m totally lost here. I have zero experience with addictions and never have known someone who struggled with them.
    Two years ago, after immigrating to a new country looking to better myself, I met my boyfriend, and I fell in love. After getting to know each other more, I came to realize that he was “my one”.
    He has always been honest about everything. He told me all about his gambling problems, but he talked about it as a thing of the past. He told me he had gone through it three or so times in his life. He told me how it goes: he works, he saves up money, and then gambles until he’s lost everything, and then he stops, because he doesn’t have anymore to bet, and because he’s so ashamed to ask anybody for money. He doesn’t steal it, and being single means he does not have anybody else to fall on. And after a while he does it all over again: work, save up and lose it.

    But he just told me about it, I didn’t see it. And it’s not that I didn’t believe him, but I have never experience such a thing, so I didn’t understand. I just naively thought: “he’s not alone now, I’ll help, we can overcoming it together, if other people can do it, so can he, he has the possibility of a future with me now, something to look forward to, a motivation”. And to be honest, I still believe it. I just don’t know how to make him believe it too.
    When his “friend” who knew all about his problem told him of a local poker room, he got me interested in it, he taught me the game, the dinamics and the lingo of texas holdem, and I found them interesting! How could I?! And then the all night poker sessions started, and I found myself with more alone time than I wanted, then he lost, and he lost, and kept losing.

    And then, I saw it. It’s been a year now that his cycle started, and now I am witnessing it, front row, and he has lost a lot of money, I don’t know the extent of it, because he wouldn’t tell me, but I can just see him getting more depressed than usual, fighting with his aunt and grandmother, totally isolated from his family, from the moment I arrive from work to the second I leave in the morning to work he’s glued to the online poker gambling sites, worse now with the pandemic and he can’t work. He curses every time he losses a hand, he breaks and throws stuff, he punches walls. He just gets so angry. And then there is the self-deprecation, the self-hate, his saying that it´s the end of the line for him this time, the praying to god to please kill him. And I’m just there sitting on the couch, watching every outburst, silently, sometimes rolling my eyes, something completely unfazed, he completely ignores me when I´m there, and when I´m not there he phones me to vent about the unfairness of the sites, how everyone must be colluding, how much he wished he was dead. I don’t know what to tell him anymore.

    He calls me his soul mate, he tells me that he loves me more than any other girl he has ever met. He tells me that without me he’d die. Everyday he tells me this. But he also tells me how it´s better for me to stay away from him, to leave him, that he is not going to be alive for much longer, that he’s never going to marry or have kids.

    He has tried to break up with me so many times, and every time it crushes me, the sole notion of being without him paralyzes me. I have told him that I’m not running away, that I’m not scared of the challenge; that I don’t want to leave him alone, that I want to help him. And so every time I come back.

    Now, I now that I could walk away, that I could leave him, that this is not what I want for my life, that if I stay there’s a great possibility that I’ll be miserable, and maybe never have the happy family I want. Everybody tells me that it’s just a matter of making a decision, even his aunt.

    But I just don’t want to go, doesn´t matter how many people tell me I should do what´s best for me, I can´t help but think, who’s doing what’s best for him? Who’s helping him? I don’t want to leave him alone. I don’t want to be without him, but I don’t want this life for us either, I don’t want to later be trapped in a toxic relationship. I believe he can be better than his addiction; he only needs to believe in himself. But I’m lost, I don’t know how to make him see how I see him, to make him see his worth, I don’t know how to help him gain control of his impulses, how to help him manage his rage, and just feel like the situation is beyond me. Nothing has ever prepare me to deal with something like this.

    He said he has tried Gamblers anonymous before, that he has tried a therapist, that he has taken steps in stopping himself like banning himself form casinos and online sites, but he also says that they don’t do anything, that they don’t help. And so I think he’s not willing to even try. He gets angry at people for even suggesting it and he just says that “they” don’t understand. He says nobody can help him; that I can’t make him stop, only he could do that, but he can’t. I believe he doesn’t want to be helped, that it’s just too embarrassing for him.

    And so, here I am, asking for help because he won’t and I don´t know what to do. His family knows but nobody gets too much in his business, nobody gets too invested.
    Please, is there something I can do? Is there a way to convince him to try?

    Thank you.



    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

    Read about the friends and Family Online Groups

    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

    PS: Let me just remind you to take a look at our privacy policy and terms and conditions so you know how it all works!


    Hi Julie,
    You love your partner and you want to stay with him, so the next thing is to decide what to do to safeguard yourself and to support him. Safeguarding yourself is so important. Your partner’s addiction will take you all the way down with it, if you allow it and if it succeeds then you will lose yourself and not be able to help him.
    It doesn’t sound much but looking after yourself every day is the most supportive thing you can do for yourself and for your partner. Take time every day to do something that pleases ‘you’, see friends and family, notice the beauty of the world around you (although it is difficult at the moment, I know), eat what ‘you’ want to eat, listen to the music that ‘you’ like, in other words put yourself at the centre of your world and not on the periphery of your partner’s world.
    It works like this: your partner has a selfish addiction that is damaging him more than he realises. He cannot see, at the moment, how to control that addiction and in fact he doesn’t appear to want to do so. If you allow yourself to accept his world as yours, you could lose your health and happiness – you will become part of the wreckage of his addiction. If you are weakened by his addiction, you will not be able to support him.
    Maybe you could tell your boyfriend that you have found this site and that you are seeking support for you – many gamblers do not think that those who love them need support. Perhaps you could ask him to contact our Helpline and/or facilitated gambler groups – it is all anonymous and is always available. Compulsive gamblers often try different supports before finding the one that makes the difference. They will tell you that they are not as bad as other gamblers, that they know what they are doing and various other excuses
    Gamblers who are consumed by addiction do not think they are understood and mostly they are right. It is hard for non-gamblers to make sense of the senseless. However, what you do know is that your boyfriend is not happy, he is angry and he feels worthless. – and I know that hurts you..
    This is a tough message Julie but the only person who can stop your boyfriend gambling is himself. The only person you can save is you.
    I hope you will keep posting – you have written a brilliant first post that I suspect was hard to write – the first post is the most difficult.
    I really do understand Julie, I have been in your shoes and not known which way to turn. However, I now know that your boyfriend can control his addiction or I wouldn’t be writing to you.
    Be strong, take care of yourself, I am listening and I will walk with you for as long as you want me to do so. Ask any questions and push any thought around, you will find your answer,

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