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    My husband and I have been married for almost five years, together for six. We have two children from my previous marriage. When I first met him he was the perfect man for me. Honestly I had never been treated better. He was awesome with the kids, loved them. When we married I was set to build this awesome life and family.
    Over two years ago he never came home when he said he would. He said he was going to help a buddy move something and stayed out drinking until 2 in the morning. Never called me even though i called him. I honestly thought something had happened to him, because it was not in his nature to go somewhere and not let me know if there was a change of plans. That was the start of this downward spiral.
    His attitude change slowly but surely after that. It seemed like his goal was to make me seem like the problem and him the innocent person in all of this. In his words…I was the psycho b@#$% that he married. By last August our relationship had detiorated to the point that I couldn’t take it anymore. Money was disappearing, alot of money. Divorce had been threatened and talked about by both sides many times. I had no respect for him and I honestly thought he hated me.
    September I finally confronted him, demanded the truth, he promised me that night he would talk to me and tell me everything. This wasn’t the first I had asked for him to just be honest but this was the first time he tried. He told me that night that he used to have a gambling problem, and about a year and a half ago his old bookie caught up with him and told him he still owed him money $8500. So he had been secretly paying that back all this time. That is what he told me. Swore up and down that it was all behind him.
    I chose to believe him because I wanted to. But the lies continued and I finally told him one more lie and I let his family know. I couldn’t deal with it myself anymore. Of course there was one more lie and I told his sisters. If I thought my life was miserable before I had no idea. He really did hate me at that point, called me names, blamed all of this on me. I was ready to file for divorce had my attorney, separated our finances but I still loved him. I asked for him to go to counselling with me, one last try. We did, but I was the one that eventually backed out.
    By this time it was November, and I felt I had my extended family at ease with our relationship, my husband seemed totally committed to me and our family. He wanted to be a good man and do what it took to right what he finally had admitted he wronged. But by now, I was angry and I mean angry. I felt horrible about myself, couldn’t figure out what I had done wrong, I wanted to die.
    After Thanksgiving I started to see a counselor and was getting myself right. I had thought my husband was on the straight and narrow and we would be back to that wonderful family before I knew it. But I started to see money disappearing again and he would tell me he owed so and so money from before. He promised me he had not gambled since he met me and he was done with that. I chose to believe.
    February he started a great new job, the final answer to our prayers. He did have his own company but the gambling pretty much destroyed it and he had not been working since August, but he actively looked for employment. I thought he would be on cloud nine but he seemed worried and more distant. I attributed that to being stressed over a new job.
    Last week he took considerable amounts of money from our account to, according to him, pay past debts. After alot of arguing over the past few days he finally admitted that he has been gambling for two years. That he had kept away from it for five and when the bookie contacted him it just all started over.
    Yesterday I told him he had two choices admit his problem and get help or loose his family. I can’t do this anymore. He chose to get help. He gave me all of his debit cards and is going to the local GA meeting tomorrow. I am relieved to say the least but I’m also angry, hurt and tired. I want to be there for him, but I’m not sure who is there for me. I don’t know if I tell our kids (17 and 14). I don’t know how much to restrict access to money. I just don’t know what to expect.
    I have hope, but yet dread that this won’t work. Any advice is more than appreciated and welcomed.


    Hi BB
    You have been inadvertently caught up in the cycle of the addiction to gamble and not known where to turn – I’m glad you have found this site where there is no judgement – just understanding.
    You have been up one moment and down the next – the roller coaster whipping you along and gradually taking away your control – it is time to put the brakes on so that you can get off.
    I hope to read in your next post that he did attend GA and how he has reacted.   It is common for a CG to come home and say they are not as bad as the others – whatever he says, listen but don’t judge – what actually happens he may not tell you the truth.   I did once hear that whatever their reaction they never forget the words at the first meeting.  
    I hope that this site can be your rock.   It is a lonely life with the addiction to gamble in it but I will walk with you for as long as you want me to.
    Unfortunately I am going away for a few days I am going to bring my thread ‘The F&F cycle’ up for your – I hope it helps to see that you are understood.  
    With regard to telling your children we have focussed on this in our friends and family topic forum which is the forum below this.  Maybe there is something there that could help.   My suggestion is that you should gather as much knowledge as you can about the addiction to gamble before you tell others because it is easier to impart the knowledge dispassionately, without leaving an opening for opinions – just questions.
    You have done well taking his credit cards and he has done well giving them to you.   These are starter point for a recovery.
    Your confidence and self-esteem will have been flattened by your husband’s addiction and although it doesn’t see too great an answer, looking after yourself is the best thing you can do for both of you.   It works because your mind will have been full of your husband’s addiction too and it has been pulling the string of your life.   Taking back control is important –‘you’ are important.  You cannot make your husband stop gambling but you can make a difference.
    You have done nothing wrong – without knowledge you never stood a chance and the addiction knew it.   Between us we will reverse that misunderstanding and you will realise that you are stronger than your husband who is controlled – you are not, you are free.  
    I might get a change to speak to you tomorrow but if not I will write again soon.  In the meantime, know you are among those who understand.
    Well done writing your first post.  

    nomore 56

    Hi BB, nobody could say it better than Velvet. You will find a lot of support on this site and I think when you read the initial posts of the other f&fs you will find that our stories are very similar. The addiction is pretty consistent in appearance and how it establishes and manifests itself. Even if the people are different in every way. I noticed that you said that you “chose” to believe your hb. That is great insight on your part already! I’m sure you knew that something about his “I have to pay back money I owe from the past” wasn’t true. I’ve heard the most complicated and irrational explanations for the constant need for money myself over the years, some of them quite fantastic and dare I say idiotic?? Since I also live in the US I would like to mention a couple things you can do to protect your finances. If you’re sure you have all his cards, take his name of all of your accounts, joint or other and every one of your credit cards as well. Pull BOTH of your credit reports, he doesn’t have to know about this btw. Sign up for a credit monitoring service. They are not too expensive and will notify you if your hb applies for a cc or a loan. Make sure that YOU pay all the bills. You asked about the issue of controlling the money. Ideally he should only have cash for day-to-day expenses like gas and lunch and such. Without you having to ask he should give you the receipts right away. Its sounds harsh but it is what ***** to be done for him to really honestly work on his recovery. It’s great that he agreed to seek help. Do you think he is really doing so because he has realized that he ***** help or is he doing it because you want him to?
    As for your children, they are old enough for the truth. They might not know about the gambling but they certainly know that something is very wrong. The topic of addictions is addressed in school and at least in WA state it now includes cg as well as substance abuse. My daughter was 14 when her father was put in prison for embezzling and it came as a complete shock. I had tried to protect her and that was a wrong decision. If the kids know there is also less danger of being forced to take sides or reject your hb without knowing what is really going on. Just my opinion though.
    Do you have any support for yourself, like friends or family you can safely confide in? Addiction isolates, not only the addict but even more so the family members. You might want to find a GamAnon group for yourself. While I was an active group member we also had teenage children of cgs there because addiction is a family disease and it takes an combined effort to attack the beast. I hope your hb is ready to work on step one since he sure has lost control at this point. Wishing you and your family the best….


    Hi BB
    I am bringing up my ‘F&F Cycle’ thread for you.  Your feelings of desperation and then hope and then desperation are common for the F&F – they are feelings determined by the addiction of another and I hope the thread explains why.
    Although it is not recognized professionally the following is a coping method that many of us have used at the beginning of our recovery to help us cope.
    Imagine your husband’s addiction as a slavering beast in the corner of the room.    As long as you keep your cool and don’t threaten that addiction it stays quiet, although it never sleeps.
    Your husband is controlled by the addiction to gamble but you are not.   When you threaten that addiction, it comes between you and controls the conversation or argument.   It is the master of threats and manipulation and you are not.   Once it is between you, you will only hear the addiction speak and because it only knows lies and deceit, it will seek to make you feel blame and demoralize you.   When you speak the addiction distorts your words and your husband cannot comprehend your meaning.  
    I think it is good, although difficult, to not ‘try’ and believe the CG because in doing so you become receptive.   If you can stand back a bit and listen to what he 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.  
    Please start believing, knowing that you are not responsibly for your husband’s addiction.   Do things that please ‘you’ that are not associated with his addiction.  See friends, alter the furniture arrangements, have a massage – something that pleases you, perhaps an old hobby that you stopped because the addiction was in your life.  Rebuild your confidence and self-esteem – don’t let the addiction take you down any further with it.
    If your husband does go to GA, join this site or see a dedicated counsellor the fact that you are not part of the wreckage of his addiction will help him.   If we do not recover then we are still victims of the addiction and as victims we are powerless.   Of course it is alright to feel anger – it is a natural reaction to your experience but your husband has not deliberately hurt you.
    If you look after you, you will feel less tired and more able to be there for him if and when he changes.  
    It will be a long time before you can trust your husband – he cannot trust himself so why should you?   The forum will be here for you whenever you want it.
    I would not be writing here if I did not know this addiction can be controlled but I know we cannot control it.  You can only control yourself and to do that you have to take back your life and deny the addiction its power over you.  
    I will be back next week and hope to read an update from you


    I was floored after reading the F&F Cycle. It brought tears to my eyes. Partly because I was relieved that I am not loosing my mind, that I’m not the only one who has been through that up and down and being twisted inside and out. And also because, I know my husband has a problem, but I hope he truly understands how much of a problem this is.
    He has committed to going to GA tonight. I feel he is going because he wants to get his life back (those were his words). But I worry that he still doesn’t get it. I don’t believe he sees what this has done to his life. I don’t believe he sees what this has done to me and the kids. Does GA help the CG understand that and come to grips with the effects of gambling?
    As far as taking care of myself…how do I do that and still take care of him? If I block out the gambling, money, problems and fighting, I can be happy; I’ve done it. But to block that out I have to block out my husband. And I feel like that is walking away from him when he ***** my support the most. Especially when he is starting GA. I guess there is a balance there, I need to find.
    Still trying to figure out how to handle the kids. I am leaning towards telling them.


    Hi BB
    I’m afraid that no amount of worrying if he ‘gets it’ make any difference – it will only wear you out more.
    He won’t see what he has done to his life because as yet he can’t afford to look.   To look would be to see and if he sees, he will know what he has done and if he knows what he has done, he will have to take responsibility for his actions and that takes such courage.   If your husband goes to GA , I hope he will be in a good group and that they will help him take his blinker off and face his demons – he ***** the right support to help him move forward.  
    I would never ask that you block your loved one out but you can refuse to live with his addiction and mean it.   By taking care of yourself you are giving him the best support possible.   He will not have wanted to bring you down but his addiction will take you all the way if you allow it and then you are part of the damage he has to fix. 
    He will need time to come to grips with what he has done to you and the children if he is to live gamble-free.   Unfortunately those who love CGs cannot make their loved one stop gambling – other CGs, dedicated counsellors and GA can do that – they can understand your husband as you and I cannot.  
    It is not ‘walking away’ to look after you and your children first.  Your husband is unable to take responsibility for you all and it falls to you, to support him by doing so.  
    I have a group in an hour and a half and maybe you could join it and we could communicate in real time.   I am going away tomorrow and will look for you on my return.  
    I don’t know if you know the Serenity Prayer which we say in the last 5 minutes of our Tuesday group and which your husband will say tonight if he goes to GA.  It is
    God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change
    Courage to change the things I can
    And widom to know the difference.
    I also like the other version which is
    God Grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change
    Courage to change the one thing that I can
    And wisdom to know it is me.
    When you have tried everything else and it hasn’t worked – it is time to try something new.   You have almost certainly have been putting your husband first for a long time and his addiction will benefit from that – support him by looking after you.
    Hope that makes sense but please keep asking questions – you will find your balance and with knowledge you will be able to make informed decisions.

    nomore 56

    Hi BB, I copied part of your post to Berber because I found this really interesting: My HB’s entire family knew and never said a word. My FIL even went so far as asking my HB if he had told me. When he said he had not that was the end of it! In a way my FIL told me at a family function…”I don’t know about that one (referring to my HB) you need to keep your eye on him.” I am so angry at his entire family for hiding this for YEARS I can not even be around them. I am angry at the disservice they did to my HB and the disservice they did to me and my children. How did you deal with your HB’s family?
    Sorry, for some reason I can’t highlight or bold this.
    I found myself in the same situation with my hb’s family. He started gambling when he was only about 12. In fact his mother and stepfather gave him money to bet on a horse when they were at the track. Basically everybody knew, my mil, his siblings and later also his buddies in the military. Nobody said a word to me ever. When he disappeared for the first time on his way back to the States I called my mil hysterically, crying and worried to death. She knew that he was gambling somewhere but just said that she had “hoped he had finally grown up” without explaining what that meant. They did a great job enabling him, with money, covering up for him and most of all with their silence. When he had lost control completely and had been fired from his job my sil actually wired him over $20 K to pay off a credit card. Which he didn’t do of course. She later got raging mad at ME because she had lost her savings to save my f….g house and my f….g car. Both were gone at that time.
    Addiction is a family disease, it is actually the head of the household because it rules everyone’s life. The addict is the center of the universe and the rest of the family usually just reacts to what is going on. I also think that for the biological family it becomes so “normal” in a way that they just accept it for what it is. Lots of people still don’t believe that gambling is really an addiction. You don’t put a substance in your body, you just DO something and therefore the solution is to stop doing it. Now that I understand about the dynamics I am no longer mad at them for enabling him. But I am still very upset that they blamed me for his downfall. I think we are seen as the designated caregivers for our cgs when they leave their family of origin. The burden is past on to us. And if we can’t do the job of changing him, well, then we might have just failed. When my hb was in prison, I was dropped like a hot potato. Not that I care any longer but I’m still mad that they also ignored my daughter. She was in such need for support and a family of some kind since all my people live so far away. Instead they broke off all contact and that hurt my child very badly.
    Nobody can tell you how to handle your in-laws. But if you hb is ever actively working on his recovery, they need to face the truth. Either they are part of the solution or continue to be part of the problem. Recovery means for the cg to make changes and the whole family has to change as well.


    Update 5/10/13
    On a side note even though I found this site only two days ago, I found this has become my release. It is scary and a re***f that there are so many others walking in the exact same steps I am.
    He went last night to GA for the first time. I thought he was going to back out. He looked totally defeated and scared (reminded me of a child) when I got home from work. I got a little teary when he was saying he didn’t want to go. He said he didn’t want to be around “those people”. I didn’t push or comment, I just told him the choice was his, I couldn’t make him go. He seemed to pull himself together we made dinner together and had dinner as a family. Normal chit chat.
    I gave the kids a heads up that we had to go to an appointment and he asked what appointment. I just looked at him and said did you decide not to go. No answer. He came out to the kitchen said he hadn’t gambled in two days (a ***) and didn’t want to go. I again told him the choice was his. He had to want to go or we were wasting our time. He finally said ok. He **** his feet like a child in getting ready, his shoes on, getting in the car. I never said a word just waited patiently, hoping I looked calm on the outside, not showing what a mess I was on the inside. I was silently screaming, begging and raging for him to go.
    In the car on the way he became angry. I said I can turn around it’s up to you. He then started to beg and cry. Promising he would never gamble again. By this time I was already there and pulled into a parking spot. I repeated I couldn’t make him go but this was bigger than both of us. We needed to learn how to manage it. Back to anger got out of the car. Wanted to know if he was just supposed to walk in there and ask where GA was. His **** swings were mind boggling. Went in with him, found the room. He told me he could do it the rest of the way.
    He went. I got the impression it was not as bad as he envisioned. He seemed very upbeat afterwards. Said everyone had the same story as him…*****, secrets, ******** etc. Also promised to return. We really did not have a chance to talk after because the kids were home when we got back and honestly he didn’t seem like he wanted to talk. So I don’t know how he. He showed me a brochure, the standard stuff which is on the GA’s web page and he also had some papers that as soon as we got home he put in his car. He did not show me what they were.
    That was a small victory attending GA. But I know he gambled on Wednesday. It seems like when he is really stressed that triggers the gambling. He admitted to me today that he returned an item and got the money for it. It was a belt for our lawn mower that did not fit.
    I am praying that last night he truly committed himself to this. He told me he has.
    As far as my in-laws are concerned. They are oblivious and my anger is simmering. He is supposed to tell his two sisters. I have not pushed concerning his parents; I am torn where they are concerned, because my FIL is progressing further into Alzheimer’s Disease. He is still able to function with my MIL’s help on their own and his memory gaps are sporadic with no real rhyme or reason. So at this point I am afraid pushing this issue with them will make it worse rather than better.
    Sometimes I feel my anger towards them is not justified but I also feel they robbed him of so many opportunities. And yes, I am angry because I feel like they sabotaged our relationship from the get go with it having no real chance of succeeding.


    Dear BB,
    Thanks for your message. I read your last post and I can relate to your emotions when you drove him to GA. Well done, he went. A minor victory, but any spark of hope is better than none, right?
    I understand how betrayed you must feel (I know I did!) with the inlaws knowing about this ‘deep dark secret’. Slowly I am starting to realize that they too were a victim of the ‘beast’. The addiction **** to protect itself and in that – people (me) got hurt. I am assuming that he probably scared his parents about telling me before we got married, perhaps he convinced them that I would leave him, or God knows what! I know he had tried to scare/manipulate me not to address the ‘gambling issue’ to his parents *ever*. When he found out I did he got so angry and said that if bad things would happen it would be my fault… I’ll just leave it at that.
    So, I do realize that *if* his parents would have wanted to tell me (which I do not know), it was not easy. And also, I believe that blood is thicker than water so in the end they did not care about their Daughter In Law (me) nearly as much as about their son (the beast at the time). In the end, I think it’s due to ignorance on their part that they are not helping their son and I shouldn’t really get angry for people being ignorant, should I? This is the theory, practice is harder!
    Have a peaceful weekend!!
    God Bless,


    Next Saturday we are removing his name from our joint account. That is the soonest we can do it between both our work schedules and the kids. If he is given cash for any reason, he is to bring the receipts and the leftover change. I have agreed to put my receipts in the same location. Trying to set similar rules for myself.
    He initially agreed to tell his sisters. He is now refusing and told me if I tell them there will be big problems. My outside voice said….we will see I am not saying it ***** done now, but it does need to be done. My inside voice….big whoopty doo what could you do to me that hasn’t already been done? Leave? Hmmm…that could be a vacation for me at this point.
    I am questioning myself do I want his family involved so they can help him or because I want to punish them in some way. I know I resent them. He continually sacrifices me, my feelings and our family but will do whatever it takes to protect their feelings and their opinion of him. I just don’t know at this point.
    I have decided to wait to tell the kids. I still do not think I have enough information to explain this to them. I am going to my first gam-anon meeting Monday night. I want to wait until after that and I can process whatever I learn there.
    I am finding I am having a hard time being the happy, supportive, wife. I have a lot of anger. Not sure how to get past that. Actually I am afraid that I have no idea who I married. Is it the awesome guy that treats me like gold…or is that the guilt talking after or before gambling? Does the person who treated me like gold exist?

    nomore 56

    Hi BB, I hope you have a decent mother’s day today. These holidays are usually pretty hard as they remind us what should be, could be, was and isn’t right now. I agree with your inside voice when it comes to informing the family. At the very least they might appreciate knowing what is going on because cgs often use their families as a resource for money. When you tell them is of course your choice. I don’t know how close you are with the in-laws but I think they already suspect that there is something very wrong. Isn’t it weird that when it comes to cg, we actually have to take some action while almost every other addiction is so obvious and can’t be hidden for long? I was in the same position, my hb seemed to only care about his family, mostly about his mother. Everybody else was more important than my daughter and I. Looking back I understand why because I learned so much about the dysfunctional dynamics in that family. While you are the wife, he might just try to protect his reputation with them? He might be embarrassed. Who knows. But cg is a family disease, it affects everyone. Just like you, they cannot really help him. Just be supportive and avoid any kind of enabling. Good for you that you will attend a meeting this week. And I think it is very smart to get more information before you talk to the kids. It’s not easy to explain the whole mess to them without bashing their father too badly. I also wondered who the person was I married. Which one was real and which one was not? Two totally different people. Your “real” hb is in there somewhere, the addiction is just not letting him out of its’ grip at the moment. If he opens the door and seeks help to battle the addiction, the man you knew might just walk through it again.


    5-13-13 Well Mother’s Day was a real bummer. He had to work, he’s on his eight day shift right now. So I got periodic texts saying he was sorry for this or that, especially that he could not go get me a gift (“because remember I took his cards!” thanks for reminding me). It was nice spending the day with the kids; I really enjoyed that.

    I am short of temper. I blew up at my daughter Sunday evening. The outward reason was because her father and she decided to do dual enrollment next year…senior year of high school and start college. More honest reason was because I have no idea how that will be paid for considering everybody we owe and that she did not include me in on any discussions. I guess I have been that unavailable with everything going on, that ******* up in this ****. That makes me feel very guilty.

    Going tonight to my first meeting(Gamanon). I have to miss part of my son’s baseball game in order to go, again I feel quilty. I hope this helps me to get my head right and start to process everything better. I do not know how realistic this is but I want to deal with everything and get over it so I can have a normal life and I want that to happen NOW. I just want to be happy. He is also going to his second GA meeting. He seems very positive about everything and says he is committed to this. I still think we both need additional therapy. But I wanted to listen to tonight first.
    Not alot of thoughts today…just grumbles. Keeping my fingers crossed that tonight helps.


    I feel like a *****. I try to stay calm to the addition and stand firm, but inside I’m a mess. I want things to be normal. I want to have a normal day/night with my husband. I want to be able to have a normal conversation with him without feeling like he is trying to antagonize me. I don’t want to take everything he says and does so **** personally. I want to know he loves me. I want to know when he leaves this house he is going where he says he is. I want him to be there for me. I don’t want to feel alone. I don’t want to be mad and frustrated. When I look at him I want to see everything he has given me not everything he has taken. I want to feel strong not brittle and ready to break. I don’t want to feel like I am hiding half of myself and my life from everyone. I want my kids to know I am there for them and be there for them. I don’t want to think that they would be better off with a different woman as a mother. I don’t want to feel like quitting. I don’t want to get upset over stupid little things.
    I want to be the old me or at lease a little saner than what I am.


    Also I am grateful I have this site and the friends I am creating here.


    Velvet, maybe this is what you have been trying to tell me when you tell me to take care of myself first….
    I have come to the realization that I can not save him, I can not make him truly want to be clean and in trying to do both of those I am turning myself into a very ugly and unhappy individual. He is going to GA, however I do not think the frequency of when he gambles has decreased. The slips that he calls them are just part of his normal gambling behavior. He hasn’t changed a thing except go to GA and say he ***** help. Now I am not minimizing GA or when he says he ***** help….however I think he is using that as a “cover”. He knows that is what he should be doing and saying, I think he would like that very much but I do not think he truly WANTS it….maybe quite yet. Or if he does want it, he wants me to do it for him by babysitting him. Which I have been doing. And that is wearing me out.
    So I am stepping back. I will protect my family financially, protect myself and the kids from the ugliness of the disease, but I can not protect him. I can not any longer be his baby sitter/care taker. It is turning me into a ticking time ****. I bury my frustrations and then I explode. And I feel like the addiction is scrambling my brain, sucking out any strength or self confidence I had left in me.
    I am NOW putting me and the kids first. I love him and I would love to help him, but I can’t because he doesn’t want to take responsibility for the addiction. He wants someone to make it go away for him. Maybe now that I am not pouring all of my energy into him I can now start putting myself back together. Instead of seeing someone that doesn’t care about their appearance or if they finish a project, I will see someone that wants her life back and is taking the right steps to do that. Putting emphasis on rebuilding family relationships, including with my own children, and enjoying the things I love again.
    As I type this I know that sounds all great and awesome, but I still have a sadness in my heart because I am afraid I will loose him to his addition. It’s a very large fear. He has taken some positive steps I will not deny him those successes, but I can’t do this for him and I think that’s what he wants.
    I hope I’m not making a mistake, but I am close to loosing my mind and no good to anyone like that. Obviously what I have been doing is not working. I heard this phrase…the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. That’s where I’m at. It’s now time to place me and the kids first.

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