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    I have now been living with a gambler for 9years. He started when he was about 17 years old. He is a loved dad of 4 beautiful and clever young sons. He is their role model and they adore him very much. He has had few moments in his life when he stops gambling for a week, two or even 2-3 months, and that is when his grandad and later on my mum passes away..maybe then he realised That life is too short too mess it up? The last time when he stopped was 5 months ago after he went for two sessions of hypnotherapy. And it lasted 3 months… But believe me or not them were the best 3 months I had in my life. I felt like a princess, with no worries, with such a peace in my heart. He kept all money in his wallet, was so generous, treated us and his mum and dad with deserts and little gifts. And then the sad reality is bfack and he starts again. So many up and downs, broken promises, lies, excuses… Just like all of you here have experienced. Between me and him there is so much anger, hate and no respect. And my little children are watching it all. I try so much to be calm and don’t show my anger when the kids are around but sometimes it’s too hard to keep it all in. My CG husband knows he has a problem but says he can stop whenever he wants, he’s got control over it. And then denies he doesn’t even do it. Till now I had a silly hope that one day he stops and we will show our children how to be good mannered, loving and carrying. After reading that there is little I can do and it’s only him who has to stop I have very little hope…because I honestly don’t want to be rich or have Ferrari in my garden. I just want to know there is some hope for him , I want to have peace and quiet in my life.



    Hello Caroline

    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 Caroline
    Yes there is hope, there is always hope, if there was not I wouldn’t be writing to you, However the addiction your husband owns doesn’t like giving up easily – his misguided belief that he is control is a common belief and hard to change.
    It is so difficult once the wall of anger and hate without respect has grown up, but there is no judgement here because I think those who love CGs would have to be saints to keep their emotions under control and saints we are not.
    So what can you do? I am sure you have read other posts and seen that the best thing you can do for yourself, you children and your husband is to look after you first. It never seems to be much of a ray of hope but the reason it works is as follows. However poor your husband’s behaviour is he is not ‘deliberately’ trying to hurt you although his addiction will bring you all the way down if you allow it to do so. If you are down his addiction has an easy job and you will not be able to help anybody. Your husband believes in his addiction and his ability to control it because he is a gambling addict but ‘you’ are not and it is important never to forget that. You have logic and reasoning, he has not. It is easier, even though it is very difficult, for you to change your life and you will do it better if you are in control. When he does take control of his life, you will not be part of the wreckage of his addiction. With knowledge of the addiction that is hurting you, you will be stronger that his addiction even though it doesn’t feel like it. All these things add up to you putting yourself first.
    Your husband denies is he is doing things that hurt because if he accepts he is doing so he will have to take responsibility for it and that he is not willing to do so. He will also have a poor memory, as all the lies he has told will have become the memories he believes in – they will be his distorted truth,
    I am going to leave my first post to you there for now as I have something that I have to do but I will write again soon and hopefully you will also receive other replies.
    I would like you to do something that pleases ‘you’ today and every day, something that the addiction has stopped you doing because it has filled you mind 24 hours a day – a walk in the part with the children, a game, make a phone call to a friend, anything that is not gambling related. While you are doing it I want you to think of anything but gambling – it is so easy to give our minds over to worrying about the addiction but worrying will not do anything but wear you out. Do you have family to support you?
    I know you don’t want a Ferrari, I know exactly what you want and I will support you for as long as you want me to do so and hopefully you will find that peace in your life.


    Hi Caroline,
    There is always hope, but it is hard. I have been married to a CG for more than 20 years. We have to wonderful little boys aged 7 and 9 who hate to see us argue, and when we do they start crying real loud and beg us not to split.

    Unfortunately we had to start over 3 times because of gambling bets. Declared bankruptcy once: it was very hard.

    Unfortunately with gambling also comes compulsive lying… That hurts even more…

    Hang in there…


    Thank you so much for your replies. It’s really nice to know that there are people who understand what you’re going through..although sometimes it’s quite painful when you rtealise people you don’t know are more nicer, carrying and understanding than your own partner which you chose to spend whole life with.
    For me it’s very hard to start writing about myself, my feelings and things I want in my life. To be honest I don’t think I know anymore what I want. I struggle to answer with simple questions, maybe cuz of instant quilt I feel for my husband to gamble so much and maybe cuz he stopped value me as his wife and told me so many painful husband is very intelligent and he has a dream to have his own business, he sometimes says he wishes he didn’t messed his life up..he knows he’s doing wrong things by gambling But guess it’s stronger than him.and I don’t really know how to help him. If in time when he doesn’t gamble he comes and makes plans that we will do this and that, should I agree and be there for him and support him or should I just think of myself and let him know that not when he wants to be good I follow him?
    I know he tries, he fights with his addiction but when he is overtaken all the good plans go into the bin..the times of hate and anger are always there when gambling is in the way, he forgets all his manners, becomes a person I wish was dead. And when he’s back to real world he expect I am normal and forgot his behaviour.
    I have to say very sorry that I’ve been writing so mumbled jumbled.
    My husband has a big family, his mum and dad live two doors away. All his sisters and parents know of his addiction. They very tired too of non stop fights and begging to stop. And what can I say, they all have their own lives, own problems. His dad keeps his money for us. I couldn’t as I am too easy target and I couldn’t not let him take money when he wanted too. He gambles online from home, his mobile usually in day time and nights on computer. He would never go casinos or bookies as he would not risk his reputations as we live in small town. .Thank you for the advice of looking after yourself. I will try to do that.
    As for my family, my mum passed away and my dad lives in other country and hasn’t got a clue about . Oh well he’s over 60 and I don’t think he would have any impact on my husband.rather he would just worry and stress. I do have two friends recently, but not close enough to tell them anything. For now I just still hope one day it will stop..
    Quite lots I wrote, maybe it’s not so hard to write about yourself;)


    tiredandhopless, i have read your post and i must say i feel and worry exactly as you do… and i do think that leaving the marriage is not always a good solution. For my children i too would like to have mum and dad together. oh well there are stories that ended with gambler changing and stopping!! and that is what keeps me hoping.


    Thanks for having read my posts in the other threads, as well, and if you keep reading them you will see that I am absolutely not perfect, I have my quirks, as well, it is just that my quirks don’t ruin people’s finances.

    It is a bit reassuring to see that there are others like me out there, who feel powerless in front of a disease that controls the ones we love. I used to think, how can love not be able to win over this addiction? Is my love not enough? Are our children and their well being not enough? How is it possible??? Now, I know that it is just the way it is: Compulsive Gambling is like Heroin, it cannot be stopped.

    I have never joined a group like this before, but after years of therapy, I decided to give it a shot.

    Take care and thanks for chiming in, I really appreciate it, hopefully we will read more from each other,


    Dear Velvet, what exactly do you mean by looking after yourself. You suggested going to the park or play a game with the kids and not to think about gambling problem but should I involve my CG in it and take him with us to play or is it just strictly me and kids? Sorry I know I’m a bit silly sometimes.. But I really need some advice how to cope living with a gambler.
    Yesterday my CG and me decided that on Tuesday(tomorrow) we will talk about his change, about what steps to take to start fresh… I’m not sure if to take it serious as we already done that millions of times. But I never knew and still don’t know what to tell him, what to advice him and how to talk with him, so please could anyone write anything that will guide me.


    My ex partner is a CG. I too found it a little strange when I came here what is now 8 years ago, like you I was looking for advice on how to cope with the problems caused through gambling etc. I too was told to look after me which at the time confused me and seemed almost ‘limp’ advice given the adverse circumstances – but it was probably the best single piece of advice I have ever been given concerning living with or coping with this addiction.

    I guess it means something different to all of us but to me it meant providing myself with the opportunity for my head to clear and some clarity to return. Our thoughts and nearly every waking moment gets consumed by the addiction of another person, our happiness begins to depend on the decisions made by another person and in particular the recovery of another person, we begin to be controlled by the addiction to gamble but In a different way. We burn out trying to understand something that can never be understood and trying to prepare for every eventuality – always hoping and often waiting for the next bombshell.

    Caroline it is you recognising that you are also important and that although it seems that way right now, your happiness does not depend on someone’s addiction or recovery and not becoming a victim or part of it’s wreckage. The addiction controls your husband it does not control you even though it probably feels that way

    Looking after you is how you become stronger, it’s what will get you through and it’s what will get your children through, having a mum that’s getting stronger and hopefully happier.

    When was the last time you did something just for you – what did you like to do before gambling took over, when I was asked that question I remember getting upset because I couldn’t answer it. Spending time with friends etc whose lives were not taken up with gambling was one of the things which hit home to me how abnormal my life had really become, not easy though as most of the time I just felt like hiding away.

    And for what it’s worth, I absolutely don’t think you should take him with you !! it’s you making time for you not for him and his problem – although it is nice to be able to do things together which also do not involve the constant use of the G word ( as well as not instead of )

    Be kind to yourself , try it, it seems strange but it works.



    Hi Caroline
    I don’t think you are the remotest bit silly – In my opinion it would only be silly if you didn’t come back and ask questions when you are not sure what I meant – so well done you.
    It is far too easy to stop seeing friends, to stop walking in the park and enjoying the laughter of your children when the addiction to gamble is consuming your thoughts 24 hours a day – it is sadly too easy to forget to be happy. It is important, therefore, to take time every day to do things that give you pleasure, to do things that make you laugh and give you some peace because such things will help you cope.
    Suggesting to a CG that they do something can often be met with excuses – there is no money, they are busy, they don’t feel well, they are tired – resulting in sadness and disappointment for those who love them. That sadness and disappointment is welcomed by an addiction because it gives the CG an excuse to gamble, Do things because ‘you’ want to do them to avoid disappointment. Of course if your partner wants to come that is good and in my opinion should be welcomed.
    I wish I had longer to write to you this evening but I have to be elsewhere soon. In your conversation tomorrow try and listen carefully to what your partner is saying rather than trying to tell him what you think he should do. This might sound a little negative but it keeps you out of the centre of any possible argument. As you listen maybe you can see ways to support him that have not been evident before. Maybe you could tell him you are seeking help because you want to support him the best way that you can.
    It would be good to ‘see’ you in the group tomorrow evening where we can ‘talk’ in real time. 20.00-21.00 hours UK time – you will be very welcome.
    I will write to you again soon


    Hi Velvet,

    Is there Areal time talk?


    Yeh I didn’t know either. Hope to join in and see how it is. Never experienced it before.

    Thanks Jenny and Velvet. I couldn’t ask for better answers to my questions. Sometimes I am like a little girl that you have to hold by hand and tell what to do word by word. I love the idea of just doing things for myself..bit selfish but I guess that’s the only way to start getting stronger and feeling better.


    Hi Caroline
    Your reply sums up the best way to cope with your partner’s addiction.
    I’m afraid I wasn’t feeling 100% yesterday and I wanted to say more to you about having conversations with your partner but the words didn’t flow and when they don’t flow it is best not to write. So here I am today with an idea to hopefully help you cope with future conversations. It isn’t a method recommended by professionals but it has worked for many. Sorry if I am repeating some of what I said yesterday.
    Imagine when you have conversations with your partner that his addiction is a slavering beast in the corner of the room. As long as you are not talking about gambling and keep your cool it will stay quiet in the corner.
    Your partner is controlled by the addiction beast but you are not and nor will you be unless you allow it. When you threaten it by raising anything to do with gambling it leaps between you and takes control of the conversation. It is the master of threats and manipulation and will have you in the middle of an argument without you knowing how you got there. Arguments give it reason to breathe so that it can blame you for all the problems, thus exonerating itself from blame.
    Once the addiction beast is in full throttle you will only hear the addiction speaking and because it thrives on lies and deceit it will seek to demoralise you. When you speak, your partner hears your words as though through water, your lips move but the addiction-distorted words don’t make sense.
    My CG explained it to me in this way: While I was explaining to him that if he told the truth and lived honestly he would be happy, his addiction-distorted mind was convincing him that I was lying, that only his addiction would save him. When I told him I loved him he believed I was lying because as he said ‘who could possibly love the unlovable, worthless failure’ his addiction had convinced him that he was? Lost and afraid he fought back with more lies, blame and deceit because he didn’t have any other coping mechanism.
    I believe F&F waste valuable time ‘wanting’ to believe that the CG they love is telling the truth and that ‘this’ time, maybe, he/she is different. I think it is good, although difficult, to block out the lies because by wanting to believe them, you become receptive. If you can stand back a bit and listen to what your partner is saying, it becomes easier not get caught up in 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.
    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.
    By looking after you first you will become stronger, you will reclaim your own life and be able to cope with your children and make the right decisions for your relationship. One of the best ways to win is not to play the game.
    Caroline, I will hold your hand for as long as you want me to but the amazing thing is that when you come out of the darkness and into the light of recovery, which you will do, it will be you and your strength alone that gets your there.
    I hope to ‘meet’ you tonight. The group is easy, if a little daunting at first – it is a rolling scroll and you write whenever and whatever you want to say. You will be able to see who else is in the group with you and all your questions and thoughts will be read and replied to. It does move fast but join in when you can and don’t worry about anything – I will know you are there.


    Thank you velvet, it’s so nice to read your posts. It really gives me so much hope and reassurance.
    As I expected our discussion with my husband didn’t take place cuz like always he found some excuse ( need to go somewhere, no time, etc) , so for now I have decided to wait and don’t push him and see if he maybe will come to me and talk.
    Also I have decided to start focusing on myself and do things which I like. I know it will be hard to do or maybe only hard to start to think not about him but me…
    I was just wondering and I’m probably wrong but what would happen if he sees that I’m becoming happy and not so bothered about his behaviour, wouldn’t he think that his actions and gambling don’t affect me and wouldn’t he think then that is ok to behave like this always? See, again I am trying to think about him not myself.
    I enjoyed the chat yesterday 🙂 it was surprising and different, funny too;)


    Hi Caroline

    I have started my reply to you but I am being overtaken by the need to nod off so I will finish it tomorrow.

    I’m glad you enjoyed the group – they are often surprising, always different, sometimes we have tears but they are usually upbeat and yes sometimes funny.

    I will keep your chair free for next Tuesday but for now I must say goodnight.


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