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    caribbean blue

    My husband has been gambling for about 15 months now. He has told me he wants my help, recognizes he has a problem but he thinks he can control how much he gambles. I realize he is in denial and not ready to seek outside help and from what I have been reading online I have to let him come to terms that HE needs to make the change and decision himself. Hard for me not to take care of the situation and try to fix this for him. Recently I have changed my thought process and I am putting myself first, working out again, writing out my thoughts and anger in a journal, meditating as well as doing yoga. I just listen to him now when he talks about his debts and don’t volunteer to pay some of it or pay it all because he will never learn to take care of his own problems then. I have debt from doing this so I financially can not do it anymore. I do have anxiety over when he gets paid though. All the bills are in my name and I pay for the rent. I just need him to contribute every 2 weeks. I will find out in a few days if he is going to follow through with what we discussed. Waiting and seeing can be so difficult. He seems to change his mind after we talk and then I get angry and sometimes I can not control my temper. Last pay day he did give me money but it was not what we discussed. This is truly hard.



    Hello Caribbean Blue

    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

    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 Caribbean Blue
    Well done starting your thread, you are already handling the situation well but it is good to talk and share with others; I know only too well how lonely the long haul feels.
    Your husband’s denial comes from not understanding how difficult it is to control his problem. He thinks he can control it one day, on his own, in his own time, without realising that it gets worse, never better, unless treated.
    I often feel relieved when a loved one says that they ‘can’t do the financial loss anymore’ because it implies the situation seems impossible so something must change – but there is also a strength of purpose behind the words. It wasn’t until I had no more money left to squander that I finally stopped enabling my CG’s addiction allowing him the space to fall until he had had enough and changed his life.
    The ironic thing is that when it comes down to basics, it is not money that is the problem for the CG, it is the actual gamble; it is the gamble that fills their minds and changes their character and of course that is harder to control.
    Waiting for change can seem and often is, interminable and I fully understand why your anger spills out – you would have to be a saint not to feel angry however much you know it is going straight over his head.
    I suggest that you download the Gambler’s Anonymous 20-questions and leave them for him to find, hopefully he will read them, even if he screws them up and throws them away. They can help a CG realise that they have a recognised problem for which there is a lot of support nowadays but also hopefully it will help him realise that ‘you’ need support too.
    It is a common misconception among CGs (compulsive gamblers) that the pain and the feelings of being misunderstood are all theirs. Your husband has off-loaded on to you the fact that he feels he has a problem but it is ‘you’ that he has designated as his saviour. I know though that you have already been feeling pain for quite a while and this has not eased that pain. He has unburdened himself at a cost to you by making ‘you’ responsible for his recovery.
    In my opinion, I believe it is good that a CG knows that their loved ones have sought support for themselves, thus saying ‘I have to take this seriously for me – even if you are not’. I wouldn’t say ‘even if you are not’ to an active CG because it is antagonistic but hopefully the underlying intent is clear.
    I will leave it there for now CB but I hope you will post again soon. Keep writing your thoughts; it is excellent therapy for you.

    caribbean blue

    It surprises me how quickly my mood can change throughout the day. I am unsure how to talk to him somedays as I don’t fully understand what is going through his mind. He says it is hard for him to explain. A couple of days ago he said he was feeling better mentally and felt in control and then this morning he told me that he is not an addict.

    I will print out the 20 questions from GA and leave them out for him. I think that is a good idea. I will also tell him that I am getting help for myself. I have told him multiple times that there is help out there for both of us but he just says “I am all he needs”. I have also been thinking about going to a counsellor as well as Gam-Anon.

    His father did pass away a few months ago so I am trying to be as patience as I can and understanding. I think he sees a change in me and I don’t know if he understands how to respond.

    I appreciate the suggestions and response. I have posted on other sites but did not get any responses back which is so disappointing.


    Hi Caribbean Blue
    It is not just disappointing when you don’t get responses – I found the greater the lack of support I got the more I felt it was me that was the problem instead of being able to deal with what was actually happening in my life, so I am really glad you found this site.
    I thoroughly recommend Gam-Anon but if you go for a counsellor make sure they are dedicated to addiction counselling especially gambling.
    When you say you are unsure how to talk to your husband it is probably because you are concerned about his reaction – there are things you don’t want to happen such as an argument or a twisting of truth. What is happening with your husband is that he doesn’t know what you are going to say and he may use excuses like ‘I’m tired/can I at least get my coat off before you start/let me wake up first/you are worrying about nothing’ – what he is doing (if this happens) is giving his gambling brain time to ready itself in case he feels threatened.
    It is not recognized professionally but the following is a coping method that many of us have used at the beginning of our recovery to help us cope with communicating with an active CG.
    Imagine your husband’s addiction as a slavering beast in the corner of the room. As long as you don’t threaten the beast it will stay in the corner. When it feels threatened by, for instance, you pleading with him to stop gambling and tell the truth, the beast will leap between you and from that moment on you are talking to the beast and your husband can’t hear you
    It is important never to forget that you are not controlled by an addiction unless you allow it. The gambling addiction is the master of threats and manipulation but you are not – and nor do you want to be,
    Your husband’s addiction is one that breeds feelings of failure – he will always lose when he indulges his addiction and this will demolish his self-esteem and confidence. With feelings of worthlessness he has to fight back with the only tools his addiction knows, lies and confusion. . Blaming you and demoralising you is his addiction talking..
    In my opinion, listening is more important than talking to a CG. When you listen you stay out of the argument that the addiction has created to make you to feel less in control, thus allowing you time to make the right decisions for both of you.

    I am bringing up my thread entitled ‘The F&F Cycle’ which hopefully will help you to see how your husband’s ups and downs can be the means of causing your mood to be changeable too. I hope it helps.
    Keep posting and I will keep trying to help you cope with this difficult situation.

    caribbean blue

    My husband got paid today and he deposited his cheque in our joint account (my pay checks do NOT go in there). I took half of his cheque to put towards the credit card bill (as we discussed before) and he wants the rest left in his account to pay for groceries this weekend and the remainder for him to access in the next 2 weeks.

    He has $100 on him so I don’t think he should have more. I told him that and his reply was that he needs to see if he can handle having money in there and not withdrawal it. Then I dropped it.

    If I go online and move it all over (he does not have access to the online banking) and he tries to withdrawal money tonight it will cause a big fight or I could just wait and see how long it takes him to spend it all?????

    He plays the tables at the casino so he needs money in hand or have access to money on his ATM card.

    He has these moment of clarity and then the gambling brain creeps in and he can easily change his mind. He also is so forgetful after a gambling episode.

    There is the concern of rocking the boat. He did follow through with contributing this pay day which is a change but I really just want all of his cheque.


    1. CGs (Compulsive Gamblers) cannot handle money. It always follows what we have already lost.
    2. A CG has to agree to have finances “handled” by spouse/partner. Otherwise there will be constant arguments.
    Gambling arguments are very draining. Better just stick to an action plan.
    Words mean nothing to a CG in the “active phase”.
    Keep posting

    caribbean blue

    I left the money in his account because I did not want to go through the gambling arguments as they are very draining. I am trying to decrease my stress, anger and anxiety.

    I checked his account around midnight and he had not withdrawn any money yet. He gets off of work at 10:00 pm so I was surprised. He got home around 2:00 am and then I looked on my phone and he only had $100 left.

    My goal is to not confront him as soon as he comes home and just wait until the next day to talk as he is still in the “active phase”. I was very angry that he just gambled/spent $600 though.

    I laid in bed for about 10 minutes and then I went to talk to him in the dining room. I stayed calm, kept my voice low, asked a few questions. He became agitated because “I wanted to do this right now”. Then he proceeded to tell me he put some gas in his car (which i seen online), paid his tab (which i seen), paid someone back $80 that he borrowed and that he gambled the rest which was around $400. And of course said “yah I gambled $400 so what, it’s not that bad”, I gave you 500 to put on the credit card”.

    To me it is bad. He spent the balance of his cheque in 1 day. He has to live on $100 for 2 weeks. Now I am going to have to fill up his car and he expects me to probably give in pocket cash. Which he thinks will be coming out of the 500 he gave me on the credit card.

    Last week I only gave him $20 for pocket cash that is why he borrowed money from someone else. I don’t feel guilty anymore though. If he is going to go somewhere else to get the money then that is his decision.

    I told him I am trying to help and maybe I should handle his money for awhile. He said he did not feel comfortable with that. I said it was an option and we should stop talking because he was getting defensive.

    I guess at this point if he does not want me to handle his money I have to decide how long I want to live like this. We will never get ahead then. He needs to contribute to the household bills. It was like he wanted a gold star for doing so.


    HI CB,
    You don’t have to fill up his car or give him pocket money.
    Can he walk? Or ride a bike?
    By filling his car you are enabling him to gamble.
    If my husband had used tough love instead of taking the easy option (giving in to my demands after I had lost my salary every month)I would not have ended up with a 6 figure debt.
    Why would you enable your husband to destroy himself?
    Of course none of this is your fault but I strongly believe that enablers should be told that they are doing a huge disservice to their nearest and dearest.
    Yes, he will go elsewhere for the money, but friends will soon get the message when the debt builds up.
    It sounds cruel, but if he doesn’t contribute to the household bills, he needs to feel the consequences. You can’t take his money. You can’t stop him gambling, but you certainly can make his life uncomfortable to the point where he will need to question the sanity of throwing 600 away in a few hours.
    Keep the communication open.


    Sorry you find yourself here but happy you are looking for support… this is hard to do without support.

    I agree with others suggestions… try find a GamAnon. As different as everybody’s situation is there are so many commonalities that you will find a great deal of comfort & support … you are not the only one dealing with this.

    Your husband is in denial. Gambling addiction is incredibly strong and very progressive. Unfortunately for your husband he will never be able to just bet $20. For him any amount gambled IS in fact ‘that bad’ as it just feeds the addiction.

    As Vera says the best we can do is make a gamblers life very uncomfortable. It has to hurt to motivate them to change. Consequences have to be felt.

    An active CG can have you believing black is white and up is down. Be strong in your boundaries… both emotionally and financially.

    Keep writing!


    caribbean blue

    I find that my husband’s memory is not good during and after he gambles. Not sure why that is… He has even noticed it and commented on it.

    He wanted money last night and I said no. He texted a few times and even called me but I stayed calm and then he ended up coming home shortly after. We did not discuss it when he got home. I knew he was upset but I am setting my boundaries and need to follow through.

    I did tell him that I am seeking support and learning about problem gambling. He was a bit shocked but he was fine with it. I did mention to him about how he has been saying he wants “my help” and I told him that I could not be his saviour. He then said “he is the only one that can save himself”. He is coming to me more and talking about how much he will be contributing each month. He did contribute last payday and also gambled. I do see changes in him but his actions speak volumes and he is still not ready to stop gambling.

    I am working out twice a week now and I find that is very helpful. I do feel stronger and healthier and I do feel more confident about the decisions I make.

    Thanks for all the feedback.

    caribbean blue

    My husbands mood has not changed since my post last week. He is grumpy because I did not give him the money he wanted. I set boundaries for myself and I followed through with them so he is feeling the pinch.

    I do have a question. It may seem silly. Do I just say no when he asks of money or do I also give my reason for saying no. Last week I said no I don’t have the money. Does it make a difference to a CG what the reason is?


    CGS want money, not “reasons”.
    We don’t operate on a rational level when we gamble.
    We don’t want to hear the words we need to hear.
    We have selective memories, fluctuating moods, flawed consciences and distorted thinking at every level.
    “NO” is all we need to hear but it must be followed up with firm action.
    I will give you a personal example. I was marooned in a casino once. Miles away. Totally wiped out. No way home. I phoned a “good friend” who “owed me one”, saying “I just need 50 for petrol PLEASE. I’m really stuck”
    The answer came fast
    I got the message.
    When it comes to enabling, CGS are very fast learners.
    We learn who NOT to ask !


    Hi CB
    I agree whole-heartedly with Vera. My experience was that when I had no more money to give my CG he gave up seeking enablement from me. I finally impressed on him that there really was no more and sadly for me at that time it was absolutely true.
    I think that not having the money to give does help F&F to say the magic ‘no’. If there is money that could be available, however, then saying ‘no’ is still valid because having money to live on is not (for F&F anyway) the same as having money to throw away. It is of course important to stick to your guns having said no.
    No questions are silly CB – if we don’t ask we don’t learn so anything you want to know just fire away.

    caribbean blue

    The past 2 days having been draining for me. My husband is getting low on gas. I don’t give him cash to fill up anymore and I know by going to the gas station and putting gas in his car it is still enabling him. He commutes 1.5 to 2 hours a day by car so riding a bike, walking or taking a bus is not an option because of where he works and he also works nights.

    He asked me for gas money yesterday. I wanted to know how many days he can go a full tank. He got mad and texted that he would figure something out himself. I did not respond and assumed he would borrow money from a friend.

    This morning I left for work and he was still sleeping. He called later asking me about the gas money. I told him I thought he had it covered from his text message. He was mad, he went off on a tangent and I just listened. He went over how much he put in to the bills last pay day and that he told me to set aside 100 for gas and I probably forgot that. Well I told him calmly that he did not say that and that in the future he needs to set more money aside for his gas then. Then off he goes again saying that I am trying to teach him a life lesson… on and on. I told him I would “borrow” him 20 for gas (which I know I shouldn’t have). I normally don’t say borrow so I wanted to see what he would say. He did not like it and said he would figure it out himself. He did not get what he wanted.

    These simple things seem to be so hard. He was acting exactly how Vera said, selective memory, distorted thinking and very moody.

    This can be so tiring and draining.

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