Get practical support with your gambling problem Forum Friends and Family Want to know how to help more effectively!

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    I live my life alongside a CG, he is my best friend and the love of my life. He is doing his best to do right and get on a good path. We have currently gone as far as to make sure he has no access to his money at all, it is all in my name and I give him an allowance daily and pay the bills as needed. I was doing a lot of research on gamblers who opt in to be self-banned from casinos. I live in Rhode Island, USA and we really only have one casino he goes to, there is only one other in the state and it’s about an hour from where we live. I feel as though if he were self-banned it would decrease my stress of leaving him alone and would greatly deter him from going because he wouldn’t risk getting arrested for being on casino premises. The only thing I’m afraid of is his bitterness over my control of the finances. He tries his best not to get vindictive over my financial decisions but it inevitably happens sometimes because he feels he is completely out of control of his life. If he were to self-ban I still wouldn’t want him to have access to his finances because of fear he would go to greater lengths to gamble.

    To me however I fear he may also feel less in control with a self-ban because he will know for sure he has really been cut off from something he feels compelled to do. And due to that lack of control I think he may only agree to it if he is allowed access to his finances. He will feel as though he can have one or the other.

    I’m looking for direction on how to approach this matter and potentially try to make him see what’s best for him.






    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!


    It was good to see you in group and I hope you found the conversation useful. And I hope you will find answers to some of your questions here too.
    I see in your post an anxiety to get things right for your partner’s sake. It is great that he has your support. I also have a concern that you might be forgetting to think about what the gambling has done to you and what support you need in your own ‘recovery’. Sometimes, it is when we recognize that we can never get it all just right for someone else and instead concentrate on the things within our own control, that we can feel a sense of release. I can’t promise what will then happen to the cg you love, but you can feel better and more in charge of your life. I hope this makes sense.
    Most of all, it is good that you have been able to join us on this site and I wish you well.



    Hello Ali it was nice to meet you in chat and i have to say i am guilty of never venturing over to the friends and family section even though i have family members who gamble myself and i find it hard to deal with but i am a cg myself.. so i guess i have just stuck to the cg section but its always lovely to see someone from f&f in the community group like a few hours ago. Nice to meet you and well done on coming here



    Hi ali,
    It was nice to see you in the group today. I am sure by attending the chat room today, you would have a better understanding of your position in relation to the person you are supporting.
    I am a CG myself and in recovery and have used this site to challenge the problem I was and am facing. I just want to say you are in good hands.
    All the best in your journey. Sam


    I have been living with this for over eight months now, knowing about the compulsive gambling; the gambling had been going on much longer than that. My CG has not gambled in 105 days, but we still are having challenges. Even after all this time and all the ups and downs it so hard to tell someone how to approach this situation. I’ve said it’s like potty training it’s not going to click until they are ready!! At least your CG has admitted he has a problem. My husband’s vice was the gaming cafes or internet cafes…video gaming machines. I wished we had the same option as you have at the casino’s to self ban.

    I would have a very honest conversation and ask him to ban himself from the casino. I would under no circumstances give him access to the finances again. It’s a huge accomplishment that he turned over everything to you to begin with. I also feared he would eventually resent turning over the finances. That really never happened but I can tell that he would like to have some control back and I have only noticed that recently.

    I know I am not really giving you an answer but in my opinion the most important thing is you are protecting your finances. By the time I realized what was going on and I got a handle on money our credit and finances were shredded and are only now getting back on track.

    It is a very long road to travel. How are you doing? Have you found a gamanon group for yourself. I have found that to be a huge support for me, people who understand your feelings and the crazy life you are leading.


    Hi Ali
    I am glad you have found your way to this site. I’m sorry that the F&F only group only has a 15 minute window at the beginning of the hour and then it is inaccessible. It would be great to meet you.
    I wouldn’t be on this site if I didn’t know that the addiction to gamble can be controlled and I think you have made some good moves towards helping your CG. You cannot make him stop gambling but looking after the finances is always a good first step – it protects you and also your loved one. In my opinion though you cannot be his keeper and his conscience – you cannot save him – there is no approach that will potentially ‘make’ him see what is best for him – as a CG he will believe he knows what is best for him.
    Unfortunately when the addiction is triggered the demands for finance can be quite frightening and it is easy to give in. Understanding the addiction will give you power over it – it is important to always remember that you do not have the addiction and therefore you are the stronger.
    Keep posting Ali – there is a wealth of information on here for you. Hopefully I will meet you in a group soon. Nothing said in an F&F only group appears on the forum.
    I am away for the weekend but I will look for you on my return.


    Thank you all for your thoughtful replies, I appreciate any and all feedback I have gained from this website.

    To BB, I have read quite a few of your posts and I have to say that i’m almost mad at myself that I don’t know the exact date my CG last gambled, I’d like to have a running number of days like you. I think he would be proud of that. I actually attended my first Gam-Anon meeting last night, unfortunately where I live i had to take an 85 mile trip to accomplish that feat but I was determined and the others at the meeting commended me on my perseverance towards self-preservation. It was well worth the long hours.

    Velvet, I’ve have seen your replies to many posts and I really admire your insight. I appreciate the way you speak to people and I’m glad to have your response on my post. I have tried my best to make myself available for F&F chat times but I have a busy schedule and it’s not always easy.

    thanks again


    My ex partner is a CG. There was a recent interesting topic on the forum somewhere about self banning.

    Your partner possibly may feel that he will have less control if he self bans – but less control of what ? It sounds more like he wants to keep the option to gamble there and alive rather than give a commitment to a gambling free life.

    It also seems to suggest that he has not yet recognised the fact that if he gambles then he is and always will be out of control, if anything self banning places him in a better position to be in control.

    If he wants to gamble then he will as you rightly say find a way but a self ban cuts some of the options and gives him time for a re think.

    Ali it is great that you have control of the finances and although again he may feel that he lacks control, again he is not in the position as yet to be responsible for controlling finances which when the wrong decisions are made cause damage not only to himself but to others around him.

    Personally I would rather listen to the protests than be sitting here facing yet another financial catastrophe and all that goes with it, as tedious as I know it can be.

    To me Ali someone who becomes serious about recovery wants to put all the barriers in place as difficult as it may be. I don’t think it would be a very wise move to give in to any increased demands for money or to allow any bargains to be struck between choices of more money or self banning it just totally sounds like he wants to keep the avenues open.

    Your own boundaries and barriers are just as important, trust in yourself as to what is best for you and just do your best to stick to your decisions because for you they will be the right ones.



    I’m actually not quite sure my CG knows that self-banning is an option that exists.


    Hi Ali
    In your first email you mention self-banning so I suspect Jenny felt that the idea was being pushed around by your partner.

    Giving information to an active CG as to where he/she can find the support they need is something that F&F can actively get involved with. Perhaps you could look into the self-banning facility at the casino and write the information for him on a piece of paper so that he can look at it in his own time. I don’t suggest you tell him directly as his addiction will probably see you as threatening it and another row could ensue. He, of course is the only one who can actually do the self-banning which is part of him taking responsibility for his own life.

    I also believe in printing off the ‘gamblers anonymous 20 questions’ (Google – gamblers anonymous 20 questions) and leaving them for the CG to find – he might screw it up and throw it away but many CGs are not aware that the problem they have is recognised and the 20 questions can be a seed sown in a confused mind. Whatever his reaction to your suggestions, in my opinion, it is best not to over-react. The light bulb moments for CGs are seldom, if ever, when the loved one F&F is suggesting ways forward because the addiction uses such conversations as a way into argument which can be turned into an excuse to gamble.

    Keep posting. I hope to ‘meet’ you in a group soon



    Very frustrated today, my CG has been doing so well under pressure, I have been thoroughly enjoying my gam anon meetings and today while away on vacation my spouse asked me to go to the casino with him. It is an utterly defeating moment to be asked such a thing when you have been making such strides, a small insignificant moment in his eyes but a world of hurt in mine. I am almost ashamed I thought he was doing so well and yet again I have to be grateful he asked my opinion instead of running out of our hotel room at the wee hours to go by himself.


    Hi Ali
    Recovery, especially in the early stages can be very frustrating for the person closest to the CG.
    I’m not sure about being grateful that he asked your opinion but I do see where you are coming from and at least you know the addiction is still in his head and activating his brain. I also take it that he did not go and gamble and that is a good thing. If his addiction was triggered and he resisted then you must have reacted well
    What made you feel he was doing ok? Had his overall behaviour improved?
    Unfortunately a CG can gamble in other ways apart from going to the casino – they can play with people all the time just not machines or cards. Compulsive gamblers may stop wagering for money but may continue to make ‘mind bets’. Some newly abstinent gamblers say that what they are keeping track of is the amount of money they have saved by not gambling while their addictive minds are still in action. If this is the case the CG can get excited by the prospect of an actual gamble which they are unable to shake off and it is possible that this is what happened.
    Abstinence is not a recovery which is why I am asking about his general behaviour.
    Don’t feel defeated, you are doing well. Keep enjoying your Gamanon, I know I did and it made all the difference. Hopefully you well keep posting here and the knowledge you gain will help you cope.


    Velvet, I felt as though he was doing good because he had been very cooperative with our money situation, we’ve gone through the cycle of him having and then not having access to his money on multiple occasions as I’m sure many partners and CG’s go through. Generally when we hit the “no access” stages he is cooperative but generally grows more bitter and reluctant/ resistant and tries to “handle” the situation himself and ultimately has a lapse in judgement leading to poor decision making. This “cycle” however I have seen minimal resistance and he has been more cooperative with the process. We have some rough moments but have overcome much of our communication issues on the subject of money, spending and the desire to gamble so this was my feeling that things were going good. They were better than past attempts and that was the good in it.

    I’m not quite sure that grateful was the correct word to use but it was definitely like you said about bing happy to know what is going on in his head. I do feel as though I reacted in a positive way by simply saying no that I didn’t want to go to the casino and that I also thought it was a bad idea for him to. He simply said okay and that was the end of that.

    I’m not quite sure I fully understand your concept of “mind bets” I get the explanation you provided at first but lose the analogy towards the end of your paragraph on it.

    My next concern whilst we were on vacation was when I tried to bring up the concept of the casino self-ban that originally brought me to this community in the first place. I only asked if he knew what it was to which he replied yes and then I asked if he would be interested in doing it again he replied to say “if it was necessary”. I was a little thrown I have to admit because although I do recognize the disconnect that exists in an addicted persons mind between a problem and a debilitating process it still never ceases to amaze me how one who has literally rebuilt from absolutely nothing more than 10 times in the past year can still not see such a helpful step as “necessary”.

    I’m slightly ashamed at myself for thinking so harshly of him but am at least proud to say I don’t express everything that I feel with regard to such.



    Hi Ali
    I am sorry that I have not replied to you before – I am afraid you slipped under my radar and I hope you are still reading.
    Do not be ashamed of yourself for your thoughts. ‘If it was necessary’ (to self ban) sounds like a line his addiction was hoping would throw you off course and in that respect it succeeded. The addiction will have many, many confusing ripostes designed to flummox you because it is the master of threats and manipulation. The addiction to gamble is constantly seeking to gain time to get itself back into the driving seat if it thinks it is being threatened – and talk of self-banning is a threat to a CG who is not really ready to stop.
    I hope I am homing in on the part of my post that you didn’t fully understand.
    ‘Some newly abstinent gamblers say that what they are keeping track of is the amount of money they have saved by not gambling while their addictive minds are still in action. If this is the case the CG can get excited by the prospect of an actual gamble which they are unable to shake off and it is possible that this is what happened.’
    The addiction to gamble is not about money. As non-CGs it is the gambling for money that we tend to see as the signal that the addiction is live and so if the CG stops gambling with actual money, the non-CG may feel they are in a recovery. When a CG gambles their minds are fully activated by addiction but it is possible for a CG to stop gambling with actual money and to make all the right noises but to have the addiction alive in their minds. Abstinence is not enough.
    It seems to me that your CG may want to control his addiction, he may have tried to abstain but he possibly does not have the determination and courage at this present time to let go completely – he seems to be keeping a door open ‘just in case’ and self-banning could close that door. If this is the case then an actual gamble is never very far away from him.
    ‘Abstinence is not a recovery which is why I am asking about his general behaviour.’

    In case it was this line that you had a problem with. Once again it is important to recognize that the addiction to gamble is not about money – money is the tool, not the goal. CGs drastically change reality to fit their personal perception and it is this that is so destructive leading to lies and manipulation, breakdowns in relationships, loss of self-esteem and confidence. A CG in recovery behaves differently to a CG who is active so I was asking if your CG was behaving differently and if so what the difference was.
    I have brought up my thread entitled ‘The F&F cycle’ in case you have not seen it – it may help.
    I am glad you knew you could question something you did not understand and I hope I have answered you adequately. You are of course welcome in any F&F group – times in ‘Support Groups’ at the top of this page where your questions can be answered in real time.

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