Get practical support with your gambling problem Forum Friends and Family Sports gambler in recovery watch sport

Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
  • Author
  • #6597

    My husband is currently in rehab for an online gambling addiction- mainly betting on horses but also on football events occasionally.

    although he is not allowed watch sport while in rehab, he seems to think that it will be ok once he stays away from horse racing when he comes home. I myself am not comfortable with the idea of any sport and think he is fooling himself and not really ready for recovery. Im not a hopeless romantic Im a realist and if he comes home and hasnt changed, Im out- but Id like to give him the one chance for now but that will be it- theres too much at risk to stay with him if he doesnt change. 

    My question is- Is it possible for a recovering sports gambler to watch any sport or will it all just be a trigger in the long run? I dont think it is but maybe Im too hurt and scared to think any different. 

    Does anyone else have any experience /advice around this



    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 Darcy
    While your husband is in rehab he will get the chance to voice his thoughts on horse racing in the future and he will be receiving the tools for a life-time recovery.
    It is only natural that you are worried. Your husband’s addiction will undoubtedly have confused you and it is easy, therefore, to believe that he will fool the counselors and therapists in the rehab but they are trained to spot those who are really wanting to change their lives and those who are paying lip serve. I grant you that not all compulsive gamblers who go into rehab are willing to listen but the fact that your husband is there is reason to hope.
    It is scary to think differently and allow yourself to trust; the fear of being let down again is understandable. It is important for you to use this time while he is away to work on yourself, to learn to relax and be happy, to do the things that his addiction stopped you doing such as seeing friends and enjoying hobbies. If your husband is using his time in rehab well, he will return to you a changed man which is why it is good that you are healthy, happy and in control of your own life when he returns
    I have known of some sports gamblers who have watched sport while living successful gamble-free lives following treatment, it is not something that will happen immediately in recovery and the gambler needs to be aware of the dangers of doing so. I have known gamblers however who have turned their backs on the sport that triggered them.
    Your husband will be talking In rehab about how he thinks his life will be when he leaves and I am sure he is being advised about how dangerous it is to test his addiction.
    It would be good to ‘talk’ to you in the privacy of a group Darcy. Nothing said in the group appears on the forum. I know it can be very lonely waiting and hoping at home. I would be interested to know if he is on the GMA programme but possibly you would not like to write this on an open forum.
    Speak soon


    Hi Velvet

    So sorry for the late reply and thank you for taking the time to talk to me. My husband is home 16 days now and remains gamble free. His wages are now paid into my bank account and he is working at paying off his debts- which will be there for quite some time.
    Its been quite a rollercoaster since his return. I was originally happy to have him come home but it has quickly turned to anger and resentment. I dont know when I will view him without anger again for the situation he had put us in. With regards the sport he originally agreed to not watch any. I knew this would be hard as his family are very sporty and alot of their conversations centre around sport. I came downstairs last Sunday night to find him watching highlights of a match that was not a sport he usually gambled on but was enough for me to hit the roof
    It wasnt so much the fact he was watching it but the fact he wasn’t planning on telling me he had. I agree non live sport of a type he doesn’t usually gamble on probably isnt the worst to watch but Im terrified if he watches it it will cause him to spiral back to where he was.
    I know I cant control him but I can control myself. Im torn between working on our relationship or cutting my losses and leaving. I feel pressure to make up my mind before our one year old daughter gets too old and then also I feel robbed of having more children as I couldnt risk him relapsing with more children to be hurt.
    Im trying to be realistic but Im fearful of everything the future holds. I know its day by day but this isnt my addiction I don’t know if Im cut out for it all especially whenhes willing to test his addiction so soon


    Hi Darcy
    I am sorry to hear that you feel you have had a roller coaster ride since your husband came home. I know how difficult it is for the loved one at home when they have not been able to off-load their worries, however, you write that your husband is gamble-free and that sounds good to me.
    Your fear is understandable but your husband will have discussed his future behaviour in rehab and it is quite possible that he has been told that he can watch sport, that he has not gambled on in the past, with no ill-effects – maybe you could ask him if this is the case.
    Imagine, if you will, that you are someone who has always been late for work – one morning you make a special effort and arrive on time but instead of being treated normally you receive cat-calls and comments such as ‘what’s the matter, couldn’t you sleep’ or ‘what happened to you, did you wet the bed’ – it could be enough to undermine your effort and make you wonder why you bothered. Your husband is gamble-free and that is what you wanted – working on your relationship takes two of you and communication is all important. It is important that your husband trusts you to recognise his effort.
    I think it would be good if you asked him what you could do to support him – sitting down and talking calmly is so much better than hitting the roof when you have ‘possibly’ misunderstood your husband’s behaviour. I know it is hard and I know you will possibly think I am off my head suggesting that you ask him for advice on how to support him but he will be more aware of himself then he was before rehab as a result of counselling. In my opinion, your husband is less likely to slip if he can talk to you calmly about making decisions to watch some sport, or to share with you his hopes and worries about his recovery, without fear of a row
    It was never going to be easy Darcy but I have heard many success stories now and so I know a good life can be enjoyed with trust on both sides, tentative trust at first but gradually improving thanks to open, calm, discussions.
    Well done so far to both of you
    Keep posting


    Hi Velvet

    Thanks for replying to me. My husband remains to the best of my knowledge gamble free. Our relationship is still far from perfect but we are both trying and things have returned to some resemblance of normal-for me anyway.
    My husband still misses watching sports-he was advised not to until he was further along in his recovery. The aftercare family counsellor has listened to my concerns and agrees but has advised me to look at the bigger picture-I wanted him to stop gambling and he has.
    I just cant seem to let go of the fear and give him my full trust again as much as I want to I feel like I would be a fool to belove he will never gamble again. I dont know if this is a self protection tool as I feel I do always need to be aware just in case he relapses.
    The financial mess he created is still there. I know it will take time to clear as Im adamant he must do it himself but in the meantime Im under extra pressure to cover any unforeseens that arise and this makes me bitter.
    I know I should be grateful he is not gambling but fear and anxiety are winning every time within me. Do you have any advice on how to overcome this? I know one day at a time love in the moment etc but honestly its easier said than done


    Its a difficult situation to be in. I myself have been on your husbands side and have been through rehab here myself. Whilst in rehab they say about letting go of the past and to move forward as a fresh start/clean slate and not think about what you have lost. For me this wasnt just about money, but making relationships with friends and family better moving forward.

    It sounds like it is working for him so far, and sounds like he is doing his best to make amends. It may be though that you are never able to fully trust him again. How would that make you feel?

    The only real thing you can do yourself is to limit the damage if it does happen again. keep yourself a bit of money put away, so if it did happen it would limit the financial aspect of it and you would still be ok. Ive known far too many people that have blown every single penny they have had, and you have the power yourself to majorly limit that kind of damage. 

    maybe build up the trust over time with money, start small amounts (I dont know your financial situation or whether or not you even trust him with money to go shopping or suchlike, but you have to start somewhere?)

    However you do it its not easy, and time is the greatest healer.

    wish you all the best


    Hi Grasshopper,

    Thanks for your kind words and good advice.
    My husbands still remains gamble free. He attends his GA meetings twice a week and the aftercare programme once a week. It has become our new normal.
    I suppose looking back over the last few months I have come to realise how lucky I was that I was not financially dependent on my husband. we have shared financials on our household but I have always been the higher earner which has thankfully covered all the bills with lower contributioNs from himself while he sorts through his debts.
    I still struggle every day with my decision to stay. I am getting better at staying in the moment but it would be a lie to say I dont have more bad days than good. But I suppose hes only been home from rehab 8 months-a lifetime of trust was destroyed and it will not be easy to get it back overnight.
    Im not sure why Im posting again but I felt compelled to. Maybe because I want to share that there seems to be hope again. I know every day brings a new battle but Im tired of being afraid. I just want to live without looking over my shoulder or is that awareness now something I need to accept as normal in order to keep myself safe?


    Hi Darcy
    I am so pleased you felt compelled to post again. I believe that I understand the feelings that you are experiencing and I hope this will help.
    It takes a long time for an addiction to develop to the point where rehab becomes the answer. In that time a gambler will damage a lot of lives, not least his own.
    The world, to a gambler embracing a gamble-free life, is often scary. In rehab he can learn how life should be and what he should do in different circumstances but nothing can fully prepare him for the reality of a gamble-free life. He returns to those he has hurt and is therefore incredibly sensitive to possible criticism. He is constantly aware of how he should be behaving. He is afraid to fail.
    The seed of a gamble-free life is planted in rehab; it is nurtured and watered until it takes root and begins to show signs of growth – but it cannot fully develop until it is transplanted back into the real world with all its stresses, temptations and fears. It is only time that helps it to grow tall and it takes a lot longer for blossom to appear.
    It is really hard for those who receive their loved ones home, the painful memories are still raw and it is so difficult to believe that this ‘new man’ will not revert back to type – too many hopes have been raised and dashed too many times in the past. In my opinion, love that was understandable strained during the active addiction years doesn’t just return when a man appears to have changed his life – we do not choose our feelings.
    I think that maybe it would help you to stop looking over your shoulder and enjoy what pleases you. Allow yourself time to know what it is that you really want. I think that it is easy to expect too much, too quickly.
    Please keep posting, your worries are normal, trust cannot be rushed.

Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.