Get practical support with your gambling problem Forum Friends and Family New to this – Just need a sounding board

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    Hi everyone

    I am new to this, so please forgive me if I misstep.

    My beloved SO has not only a gambling problem, but I am afraid there are other mental health issues. There is paranoia, hypochondria, anger, mistrust, mood swings. It’s getting more and more scary. I am worried this person will end up in a ditch somewhere. It terrifies me.

    This person has alienated every member of their family. I believe they have given up on my SO. They planned an intervention many years ago that went terribly wrong. I am the only one left for this person (I’m sure that makes me codependent among other issues, so we’ll throw that in the mix as well).

    I moved away so now we have a long distance relationship, I will not let my SO borrow money, and I have made it clear I don’t approve. However, I have not taken the steps to leave or deliver ultimatums. The problem is, honestly, I’m struggling with doing it.

    I truly love this person with all my heart – one would probably challenge this by saying that if this was true, I would “do the right thing” and walk away. We have been together for a awhile now. My SO’s problem existed far before we got together (although we knew each other as children long, long ago). I have a feeling that if I continue to push, my SO will leave. It’s probably the best, but it’s so much easier to say than do.

    I want my SO to get the help they need, but this person still doesn’t see it as a problem. I understand at least that the CG needs to hit rock bottom and see that it’s a problem before being willing to get help. Rock bottom has been hit before, but not enough for the change. Any feedback would be appreciated.


    This person’s family still loves and cares – I don’t want to give the impression they don’t. It’s just that I think I’m enabling. They are trying to stop doing that, so they are farther along in the process. That said, they probably don’t respect me much. I guess I can’t blame them.



    Hello Annie

    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


    I appreciate the quick response, and will begin exploring throughout the day. Just my heart is breaking. SO’s family has been through so much, I have been through so much. I want to provide a unite front, but they have all but rejected me. They seem suspect of my intentions, but they have no idea. I wish they knew and understood because I respect them.


    Hi Annie
    The other issues that you have mentioned are common to the addiction to gamble and usually once the addiction has been controlled these other issues disappear in time, although of course people can be subject to paranoia and anger for other reasons too.
    I have brought up my thread entitled ‘The F&F Cycle’ which I hope will help you begin to see how the different problems you have described fit in to the cycle of addiction.
    It is of course impossible to tell the feelings of others and even if his family are at their wits end they may still (and probably do) care and long for a positive outcome; realising that we cannot see into the hearts of people or save them is an important lesson we learn with this addiction. The only person you can save is you and if you look after yourself this is ultimately the best thing you can do for your SO.
    When you say you have moved away, is this from your CG or just from his family? If you have moved away from him, is this because of his addiction? If he is with you, does he live with you?
    Co-dependency is a difficult subject and is often bandied about too easily. Maybe ‘Co-dependent No More’ written by Melody Beattie would help you recognise if you have a problem with this or not because feeling that you are the only one left caring is not, in itself, co-dependency.
    You have done well refusing to give your SO any money as money is the same to a CG as a drink is to the alcoholic – it feeds the addiction and helps it grow, it never helps; be it 5 pence or 5 thousand pounds it is money with which to gamble and it is the gamble, not the money, that is the problem.
    I would never challenge your assertion that you love your CG but what I would warn you against is believing that love in itself will conquer all – it doesn’t. It was my belief that provided I showed love every day, one day the penny would drop and my CG would see the joy that honesty, kindness and giving love brings and he would awaken him from whatever had him in its grip– it didn’t, it merely offered enablement and I possibly kept him in his addiction longer than was necessary.
    Does your OS ever admit he has a problem? You don’t have to answer this but I wondered what went wrong with the intervention.
    I wouldn’t be writing to you Annie, if I didn’t know that the addiction to gamble can be controlled but the path to that recovery is slow and difficult and often the outcome is not the one that is desired.
    Keep posting, you will always be heard and understood. You have done well writing your first post which is always the hardest.


    Hi, Velvet. First of all, I can’t thank you enough. I’ve been weathering this mostly alone.

    My SO does not live with me. I moved away last month to be near my kids and left my SO back in another region (my SO was obviously not happy about this but loves me and understands). We still see each other every few weeks as I travel a lot for work. While we are still together, the physical distance has provided some opportunity for clarity.

    I agree with you – love isn’t enough. I understand that on an intellectual level, I just wish my heart would be aligned with that.

    In this distance and time that I have had, I have done some work on myself – analyzing and journaling accounts of my childhood wounds that may contribute to why I enable and am codependent. It has been quite illuminating.

    My SO blames gambling on the system being rigged and is on a mission to beat it. This person is so incredibly intelligent it is hard to reconcile the irrationality of this line of thought. It has led my SO to constantly feeling paranoid and uptight. It is so heartbreaking to watch. That is why the physical distance has helped me keep my sanity.

    Thank you so much for the resources. I am determined to at least help myself through this. Conversations about it with my SO are very difficult and usually end in anger or the silent treatment. I guess I need to buck up and know that this is part of helping my SO – the discomfort and the risk of losing this person I love deeply. I guess it’s better than losing my SO to self-destruction. I just wish I wasn’t so selfish.


    I appreciate your point about co-dependency being thrown around for just about everything. Same thing as narcissism, etc. I agree.

    The reason why I came t the co-dependency label is from a therapist. I have a long line of supporting and enabling people who have addictions from drugs, alcohol, and now gambling. I seriously am trying to re examine why I do this.

    Thanks for pointing this all out! Really – you don’t know how much you are already helping me!


    Hi Annie
    Many CG are often highly intelligent but they lack logic and rationality when it comes to gambling making it very difficult to communicate with them without feeling you have come off worst.
    Maybe the following will help you cope better, it isn’t recognised professionally but it has helped so many people I always think it is worth passing on.
    Active CG are always ready for combat, as arguments often can be turned into a excuse to gamble, the atmosphere in a room can change as soon as they feel that ‘that’ conversation is starting again.
    If you can imagine your SO’s addiction as a slavering beast in the corner of the room waiting for any perceived threat, I believe it helps to recognise the danger signals and avoid them. As long as conversations are light and general the addiction beast stays quiet but the minute your SO’s addiction feels threatened his addiction beast is between you and from then on ‘it’ directs the conversation.
    The good news is that although your SO is controlled by that beast you are not and by listening to what he is saying rather than rising to the lies, threats and manipulation, you will gain knowledge. Once the addiction beast is between you, you will not hear your SO, you will only hear his addiction seeking to demoralise, confound and blame you. The addiction to gamble is the master of threats and you are not and nor should you have to be.
    It was explained to me by a CG like this. The constant failure experienced by CGs destroys their self-confidence and self-esteem leaving them feeling worthless. When, for instance, you tell your SO that you love him he will almost certainly have trouble believing you because his distorted perception will have trouble accepting that you would love someone who is such a failure. Believing himself to be without worth your SO will fight back with distortion and lies because sadly, at the moment, he doesn’t have or know any other coping mechanism.
    In my opinion, standing back and listening to what he is saying hopefully makes it easier to stay out of 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 might sound 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 and looking after you is so very, very important.
    I will leave this here and await your thoughts. Ask me anything and if at any time you don’t understand me or disagree with me please just say.


    Hi, Velvet. Sorry it took so long to respond. I think you are right on. I understand what you are saying, and you described exactly what happens to a “t”. It is beyond me how this beautiful, intelligent, sweet man could feel so lost in himself. You have given me some really great techniques to use. Maybe a “candy coating” around my heart and self may help from the pain and wanting to help stop all this for him and for me. I will be checking in a little more. Thank you again!!


    When you say, “rising to the lies, threats and manipulation, you will gain knowledge” – do you mean confronting him or yelling at him? Thanks!!

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