Get practical support with your gambling problem Forum Friends and Family Is Investment Addiction the same as Gambling Addiction?

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    Hi all,

    This is my first time posting, although I’ve learned a lot through reading in a lot of these forums.

    About 6 months ago I discovered that my husband of 17 years was hiding the fact that we were $100,000  in debt because he was helplessly caught in a cycle of investment losses.

    To say our lives have been turned inside out is an understatement.

    In 17 years he lost an average of $10,000 per year. This is a man on a moderate salary with modest benefits. We have seven children (yes, seven). I work part time and teach music lessons. But my main focus has been as stay at home mother.

    We have assembled a team of support: solid friends, honest and supportive family members, pastor, and professional therapist. 

    My question for the rest of you is: how much is investment addiction like gambling addiction? I have read the articles and the research; but I want to know from those who have experienced it. 

    The issues we’ve uncovered so far seem in line with a lot of gambling addiction stories.  Mother/son codependence; manipulation of all types except never any physical abuse; portraying a perfect image to the rest of the world despite my insistence that there was something wrong (going back to our engagement). Codependence, especially where older women/authority figures, especially female authority figures, are present. Obsessive screen use (I’d call it screen addiction) going back to teen/college years.

    Despite his slavish attitude towards certain figures, I alone seemed to get his “no”. In times of dire distress (sickness, injury, etc) his choice was to walk out the door, go to work, help someone else who needed him.

    If I expressed anger, sadness, loneliness, or any emotion, it was treated as personal attack on him.

    I learned not to need him. 

    I built my own relationships and took care of myself. I knew there was something horribly wrong with him, but was at a loss to discover it. So I prayed and waited.

    When I opened a statement for a $79,000 home equity loan, that he had maxed out with investment debt, it all made sense. I said, SO THIS IS WHATS BEEN GOING ON.

    He was glad he was caught. I am glad that I caught him. He had been lying, hiding statements, losing sleep, getting cold sores, gaining weight, and acting like a complete moron for so long that it probably felt good to have it out in the open. 

    6 months of intense work later and he understands that money is the smallest detail. The manipulation and lying, lack of impulse control, demanding of respect, insistence on my adhering to transparency, and refusal to engage when I pointed out his inconcistencies all add up. 

    Most of the money he “invested” was from the estate of a close friend who died. It was for our children’s education.  The rest of the money was approximately $1,000/month that I saved by living under our means.

    Our counselor is more concerned with keeping us together right now and helping my husband relearn how to live in the real world.  No smart phone. No unsupervised computer time. I have complete control of our accounts.  Journaling. Writing lists. Total accountability to me, our support network, and the counselor.

    But, I want to understand this beast so we can avoid it altogether. Is this the same as a gambling addiction? 

    He has had no “relapse” (as far as investing) since he was caught. However, we’ve identified his mother as a trigger for lying/manipulation. So he has lied to me about time management and screen use since last fall, but he has not invested anything. There’s no money to use for it. So that helps, ironically.

    Any advice, resources, or stories would be greatly appreciated. I will share more of my story as I can. This is only the Cliff’s notes version!


    Hello Mamakate

    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

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    Hi Mamakate Just a quick response to your first post which I read as I was just closing my computer down for the night.

    I wanted you to know that you have been heard – I will reply to you asap when I have had time to consider all that you have written – posts written when one is tired are not the best. Velvet


    Thank you, Velvet. We are weeks past the crisis/discovery point, so I’m not in crisis right now. I just want to be as well armed as possible going foward into our new life.


    Hi Mamakate.

    From what you have said your husbands problem is not “LIKE” gambling addiction it “IS” gambling addiction. I am a compulsive gambler and have been going to GA for a long time now. I have seen many forms of gambling, including stocks and shares, and it is all the same addiction. Yes we all have our favourite “drug of choice” whether that be sports, horses, casinos or whatever but it is all the same addiction. It just sounds like your husbands drug of choice has been investments.

    I have also seen that the addiction isn’t too fussy about how it gets its fix. It is good that he now has financial accountability as, with the investments being stopped, other forms of gambling might become more attractive as it looks for that fix. The advice would be for him to avoid all forms of gambling.

    You say that you now have total control of the accounts. While financial accountability is important it is also important that you are both involved in financial decisions, household budgeting etc. It is an important part of recovery to regain the value and understanding of money. It is also a cop out for him to now sit back and let you take all the financial decisions and the stress that can bring.

    It sounds like he has a support network and he is using it. Make sure that you use support for YOU as well. Maintaining a journal here could be part of that. Your husband would be welcome at any GA meeting – he is as much of a compulsive gamber as anyone else that he would meet there.

    I hope these thoughts from “the other side” help. Keep posting here and make sure that you use the support that is available for YOU.


    Hi Mamakate
    I think that Charles has probably confirmed your beliefs. I was going to write in a similar vein but I am pleased that you got the advice from someone who (as Charles puts it) is on ‘the other side’. I tend to rather think of CGs and those who love them as being two sides of the same coin – both affected by the same addiction, both struggling to understand and both in need of direction.
    The support network that you have in place sounds great but if your husband wants further encouragement then I believe it is great to take all the support you can. Charles has suggested GA and I know it is successful for many. Our Helpline groups and forums on this site are also terrific places for your husband to find support.
    However, this forum is for you. Your health, confidence and self-esteem will probably have taken quite a battering in recent years so I hope you will keep posting. As Charles has written, keeping a journal here can be a great way to forge your own recovery. Looking back and seeing how far one has come can be very rewarding.
    All the following only really works if you are looking after yourself. I see you have written that you have learned not to need him and for me I think this is good for you but not necessarily good for him to know. I learned total independence when my first husband left me with 3 very small children but when I married again I was given some great advice from a colleague; she told me never to let my husband know I could do everything – 43 years later that advice holds good.
    I would normally suggest that you take over all the finances but I can see where Charles is coming from when he talks about sharing financial decisions. Maybe it would be good to start off with you keeping control and then, in time, to encourage him to share – the support of loves ones can be incredibly beneficial to a CG facing his demons.
    A CG will often face a void without his addiction and loved ones can help to fill this with healthy, happy thoughts and actions. Your husband’s memories, at the moment, are almost certainly not good so encouraging him to engage in honest, healthy things will allow him to start to build better memories. I think it is often difficult to hold a conversation with a CG, after years of him actively indulging his addiction, not to be constantly asking if he is ‘ok’, or ‘where have you been’, or ‘who have you seen’. Fostering non-gambling conversations and activities can show him that his future can be a happier gamble-free place.
    I will leave this reply here and wait to hear from you again. I appreciate you are not a crisis point but I hope you are getting the support that will help you in these early recovery days.


    Thanks, everyone for sharing this. I have never understood what is the difference between Investment Addiction Gambling Addiction lol.

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