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    Kelly A

    Hi everyone, I am new to this and appreciate any help. I just found out my spouse of 12 years has had a gambeling addiction for 3 years. I’m unsure of how he could have done this and I’m finding it difficult to swallow the substantial debt and the lying he has done. Im upset with myself for not knowing this as I should have been more involved in our finances. I did trust him implicitly. I have taken over control of the finances and he willingly handed over of his credit cards. He is extremely depressed experiencing hopelessness and self hatred. I’m not sure how to help him through this. He is attending meetings and working towards an action plan with me to tackle the debt. I am wondering if anyone has any advice for me on things I should be checking on or any information I should know as this is all new and I fear I dont have the skills to support him to get him through this. Is there anything we should absolutely be doing? Any advice is much appreciated.

    Thank you in advance 🙂


    Hello Kelly

    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 Kelly
    You do have the skills to support him, you have proved that by writing your first post.
    Please do not upset yourself that you were unaware that your husband was gambling uncontrollably, you were never meant to know, your husband will have been digging himself in deeper without a clue how to stop.
    The addiction to gamble thrives on secrecy and your husband would not have wanted you to know what he was doing. He would not have known why he could not gamble responsibly. He didn’t ask for or want his addiction. The constantly failure to gamble responsibly would have instilled in him a feeling of worthlessness Self-denial of the problem would have felt like his only option.
    Constant failure brings depression and feelings of hopelessness but I know he can control his addiction with the right support or I wouldn’t be writing to you. He can turn this experience into something good, he can live a wonderful gamble-free life armed with an inner strength that comes from fighting and ultimately controlling addiction.
    It is an horrendous shock when you are given news such as this and it is so easy to keep worrying about it every waking minute but this will not help you or your husband. Worrying and trying to make sense of the senseless takes energy and you need your energy to cope. The finest thing you can do for your husband and also for you, is to look after yourself.
    It is great that he is going to meeting already, some gamblers want to talk after a meeting, some do not. I believe that listening is more important than talking. I also firmly believe that asking him to help you understand is really good.
    I suggest that you ensure the finances are in your name and that he has no access to them– he has already come a long way by willingly handing over his credit cards.
    He would not have wanted to hurt you, the addiction to gamble is all-consuming and I am pleased that he has now come clean and told you.
    It is important that he settles his own gambling debts because taking responsibility for his actions is the way forward for him.
    As I said earlier, listening to him is so important. If there is anything you don’t understand then ask him to help you understand. Anything you are still confused about please keep posting – I will always reply.
    We have a terrific Helpline on this site which is available for him and for yourself. Everything that you say will be understood. Your husband could join our facilitated gambler groups on Mondays and Thursdays – they might add to and strengthen his experience with AA.
    Please keep up with friendships, family, hobbies and any interests that give you a break from your husband’s worry. Maybe you could tell me what you have been doing to Improve ‘your’ life so that you stay in control.
    It is scary but you are not alone and nor is your husband. He has a greater hope of controlling his addiction with you by his side but I know it isn’t easy. If you feel he doesn’t understand a worry that you have, then maybe you could ask to him to push your concern past his group – a developed group should have more understanding of the concerns of the family at home. Maybe you could find a Gam-Anon meeting which is the sister group of AA.
    Speak soon

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