Get practical support with your gambling problem Forum Friends and Family New to group/spouse of compulsive gambler. …. I need help

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    I am the spouse of a compulsive gambler. We’ve been married 19 years and the gambling has escalated in the last 5 to 10 years. I feel trapped. He lies to me all of the time. He has half assed therapy and treatment several times. He believes he can quit with help from God alone.



    Hello Shelly

    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 Shelly
    In my opinion, your husband’s belief that he can quit with help from God alone is an excuse and/or a hopeful belief that one day he will wake up and find he can control his addiction. It seems to me that until that time he intends to carry on without effort on his part.
    What is it that you want to do Shelly because your wants and needs are important and I suspect that they have been lost in the fog of your husband’s addiction? Do you have children?
    Most compulsive gamblers will search for any excuse to carry on until they have exhausted everything and everyone around them – the addiction can take those who love them all the way down if it is allowed to do so and that is the crux of the matter – what is it that you want?
    Has your husband been to GA? Was the therapy and treatment that he half-heartedly tried dedicated to addiction and preferably the gambling addiction?
    I hope you will write again and tell us a little more about yourself and perhaps join the Friends and Family group on Tuesday between 20.00 – 21.00 hours UK time.
    I am glad you are here and I hope you will be too – your post is understood.


    Velvet, it brought me to tears to have received a response to my post. Thank you. My husband has attended GA MEETINGS Aand has met with a couple of different counselors who specialize in gambling addiction. However, he always stops going. He believes he can stop by will power and God’s help. In fact he is at a meeting right now. The last time he went he lied to the GA attendees saying he was free of gambling and got a key chain. He was so proud telling me about it, it was a lie. He has lied over and over and over. Stolen money from me I had set aside for bills, Christmas, vacation, etc…he has lied to friends and family to get money from them also. We have a 14 Yr old son. We have spoken to him with a limited amount of info about his dad’s addiction. I have to check our bank account online several times a day, taken his credit cards , regardless he always finds a way. This last time, I opened my own account for my paycheck to be deposited in to. Things have been very distant between us and he told me he will do what it takes to kept me. I told him he has to quit for himself or it will never work. He doesn’t get it. Whatever he does treatment wise this time will be to appease me. I get physically sick from the stress and worry. I do not know what to do.

    nomore 56

    Hi Shelly,
    just like you, I lived with the lies, the deceit, the manipulation, the fear and everything else that is part of cg. My hb is finally in recovery and has been for almost 7 yrs. Our marriage did not survived, we are still married for several reasons and have become good friends. It took me a long time to redevelop some trust and it is not 100%.
    My daughter was also 14 when her dad went to prison for embezzling a huge amount of money at work. She had no clue what had been going on for so long and therefor the shock was tremendous as you can imagine. She was upset with me at first for not telling her because she always knew that something was going on.
    Kids learn about alcohol and drugs in school and cg should be included imo. It is now part of the social studies curriculum in my state (WA).
    The addiction is not yours, it is your hb’s and he is the only one who can make changes. If he sees the need. Telling you that he would do anything to keep you in his life is probably just white noise to keep you hanging in there, at least that’s what it sounds like.
    You will get plenty of emotional support on this forum and I just want to list a couple of things you can do right now to maybe make you feel a little more “in control”. I live in the States but I think as far as finances are concerned, the steps are pretty similar in most other countries. Pull both your credit reports and get a credit monitoring service so that you get alerts if your hb applies for cards or a loan. Make sure you are not on his cards and he is not on yours. If you can, have the mail go to a post office box and keep the key. No shared bank accounts so that he cannot withdraw funds you need. Take over all bills to make sure they are being paid. Personally I would even insist that only my name is on the title of the car. If he really wants to quit gambling, he will not have a problem having his pay checks be deposited into your account. If you give him money for personal expenses, request receipts for everything he spends. I found all this to be a good indicator of my hb’s truthfulness. The minute he started to complain, to get angry, to accuse me of having control issues etc. I knew something was up!
    I had nobody in my life I could turn to and that was really difficult. Being alone with the pain, the hurt and all the other emotions makes it a lot harder to deal with the misery a cg creates in everybody’s life. It would be helpful if you have a person you can trust and share with what is going on. I attended a GamAnon group for a while and that helped me getting the chaos a bit into perspective.
    I wish you all the luck in the world!!!!


    My husband says he has an addiction, but believes he can quit thru willpower. He believes if he goes to GA meetings that is all he needs. However he has never once used the people from GA as a resource. He even lied to them and said he’d been 30 days gamble free. I can’t count or even remember the number of times he’s lied, gambled or how much money he has lost. I basically feel indifferent now. When I think about us separating I feel a huge sense of relief. I almost feel I need to wait for him to get “caught” with a large amount to be justified in leaving. I do know that everything I have done to this point hasn’t helped. I don’t want to make a mistake. Please help


    I forgot to mention the stress is taking a toll on more than my emotional well being. I am constantly sick to my stomach, headaches and panic attacks. I am starting to see a counselor and have went to my family dr. My immune system is down and I’m deficient in some vitamins and anemic


    Hoping someone will see this and respond to my 2 previous posts…. thank u


    Hi Shelly
    I have guests staying at the moment but I will respond to you on Tuesday.
    I read your post 2 days ago but I always like to give my replies a lot of thought before I commit to posting them because you deserve considered responses.
    The forum is fairly quiet at the moment – it goes up and down but I will post to you on Tuesday whether or not you have had other replies.
    In the meantime please take care of yourself.



    There is never a quick, right answer to fixing or dealing with a situation as living with an active cg. There is nothing you can say to him that will change him. Acceptance of that truth will turn everything back on you. What are you going to do for you and your son?

    Start getting help for yourself, the nervousness and stress you are feeling on a daily basis isn’t normal. I felt the same way with my father; every phone ring, or unexpected knock on the door or letter sent to my house with his name, overwhelmed me with panic. I felt trapped, in many ways because he was my father, secondly I knew he was’t thinking normally with his gambling. Always downplaying it, always protecting it when I would confront him about it. He never would see what was really happening to him. However I was, and that filled me with constant worry. I was at the end of my rope, not being able to enjoy life, always fearful of the next blow by my father’s addiction.

    This started to change when I found GT, I not only posted often here but I read other threads. Look up threads by “Jilly1”. I was in active recovery for four years and through it, I received the support I needed to finally live a normal and healthy life.

    Recovery takes time, but once you truly start, you are setting the tone for positive changes for not just you but your son.

    Take care,



    Hi Shelly
    I would never suggest to you that you should leave your husband or that you should stay with him – all decisions must be yours. When you don’t know what to do it is important, I think, to stand still until you know what it is that you want to do. To this end Shelly, I hope you will keep posting because talking and listening helps us make life-changing and informed decisions that are so important to get right
    Many CGs hope that they can change their lives with will-power but as yet I have not heard of one successfully doing so. This, along with your husband’s so-called belief that God alone can save him is another excuse to gamble – he is the only person who can change his life.
    Separation does not have to mean the end of a relationship and sometimes, sadly, estrangement is the only way forward. Your husband appears to have his blinkers firmly in place and maybe he will not truly accept he has an addiction without something hitting him so hard his blinkers fall away, such as you putting a distance between you or, as you say, getting caught with a loss so great he cannot keep denying he needs help.
    However the most important thing is you and your health, without your health you will not be able to cope and your son needs you to be in control.
    The various and sometimes frightening ailments that you are experiencing as a result of living with the addiction to gamble will gradually go away when you refuse the addiction any place in your life. It is important to keep up with friends and enjoy the hobbies and interests that please you bcause it is easy to lose these things when the addiction to gamble fills all your waking hours.
    Tell me more about ‘you’ and what you want Shelly. I have a F&F group tonight (Tuesday) between 20.00-21.00 hours UK time – it would be great to talk to you in real time.


    My husband continues to lie and gamble. Won’t do counseling and is hit or miss with GA mtg. I am going to tell him I’m filing for legal separation today. I am very worried how he will react


    Shelly, I’m afraid I will not be able to provide you with any advice, but I want you to know that I know exactly how you feel.

    I found out two weeks ago that my husband of 15 years is also a gambler. About 6 years ago, we really hit a rough spot in our marriage. I found out then that he started gambling. I took over the finances, we went to marriage counseling (but we only went 3 times before he felt we no longer needed it) and we moved on.
    Things were great. Gradually, I gave home more and more control over our finances until he took them back over. Then, two weeks ago, I randomly logged in to one of our credit cards account and saw that he was taking out cash advances. My stomach dropped.
    It has been the worst two weeks of my life. I’ve taken the finances back and what we owe is crippling. He has taken out 13 credit cards and loans behind my back, this is on top of he debt we were still paying off from 6 years ago.
    I feel like the stress has be shifted from his shoulders to mine.

    When I read through your post, I thought I could have written it. I know it is very scary to file for separation (I have not yet done that). But if you are absolutely certain this is what you want to do, you need to be sure to follow through with it. Don’t let him guilt you into staying with him if you’re not happy. You deserve to be happy Shelly. He will probably tell you that he will stop gambling and that he needs you. He is going to say whatever he thinks you want to hear to get you to stay. There’s a good chance that if he hasn’t taken the initiative to recover by now, he probably won’t after he’s convinced you to stay.
    Would you take him back if he got better? If he started counseling and was willing to stop gambling? Maybe that’s what you focus on when you talk to him?
    I’m sure this wasn’t very helpful and this wasn’t the advice you were hoping to hear… I really just wanted to let you know that you’re not alone. And by reading your post, I realize I’m not alone either. We may be on opposite ends of the world, but I will be praying for you to have strength today.
    Please continue to post so we know how it goes.


    Deb, thanks so much for your post. At this time it’s very strange at my house so I can only post a quick reply right now. I told my husband yesterday due to his past choices and those choices he’s continuing to make I’m filing for separation,. He literally said NOTHING. he has avoided the house and been gone most of the last 2 days. I’m trying to give him time to process this, but I’m sure he won’t talk unless forced to. I would really like to chat with you about your situation as well. Again thanks for the post. I will post again as soon as I can. Hang in there…


    Hi Deb
    Please start your own thread so that members can post to you. It is not possible to give you the support that you deserve on another member’s thread and GT aim’s to give individual, unique support to each and every member.
    I hope you will post soon

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