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How can I help?

I found out yesterday that my husband has been hiding a gambling and debt from me for the last 18 months.

This isn't the first occurance - about four years ago he admitted to gambling, though was not in debt. We worked through it - he went to GA meetings, I took control of the finances. Naively I believed him and didn't think twice when he said he didn't need the meetings anymore. Since then we've bought our first house, and got married. I've always controlled our joint finances and savings which he always contributed to. However, I have now found out that he has been using credit cards and overdrafts to fund all of these contributions, and has racked up £XK of debt in the process.

We've talked it through and worked out how much he owes. It's all in his name and he has refused to let me help him clear anything. He's admitted he needs help, spoken with a GamCare advisor over the phone and has gone to a GA meeting today (I'm making him prove all of this is happening). I've cut up his credit cards and taken away his debit card too. We'll have to work on sorting the debt out but I understand the addiction is the main problem.

I guess I'm just looking for advice on what I should/shouldn't be doing moving forwards? Is there anything else I can do to help? Do I pretend everything is okay and act normal or should I keep bringing it up to ensure he's working through it?

Any advice/thoughts appreciated.
Hi Junebug57,

Thanks for reaching out for help, your story is a common theme in the path of compulsive gambling. I too have been through the "I don't need to go to meetings" phase and it was a fallacy. The most important thing to overcome addiction is to keep going to meetings, no matter what. People that go to meetings and keep going to meetings are much less likely to fall back into the realms of gambling.

when people first go to meetings, it's to help them out of the crap that they have got themselves into, then things start getting better, more manageable life, and better relationships, everything seems to be ok. It's at this point that people need to keep going to the meetings not so much for themselves, but to help newcomers. It's this change in mentality that has so far helped me keep going in recovery for over 2 years now. I'd probably be ok without meetings for a while, but in time, without the meetings, the old ways of thinking "stinking thinking" will surely return.

Going to meetings and talking about recovery in my house is a common thing now, and there is no resistance from my side, because I'm working the recovery program, helping others, which helps me. I would be wary of myself if I started to get snappy at my wife for bringing up the subject, as this would normally mean that I've not been doing something that I should have been.

I think it's important to keep talking about it, and make it a easy subject to talk about, consider gamanon meetings for yourself and gain an understanding of addiction. It is an illness, and GA meetings and working the recovery program are medicine. Once in active addiction, there is not a cure, it's a life long process to stay clean / sober / gamble free. For some this realisation that it's life long can be very daunting and can stop people from going to meetings, which paradoxically is the very thing that will keep them well.

Please keep us posted on progress, maybe consider your husband starting his own journal on here.

In Unity

One day at a time.  My last bet was 15/03/2016 and I hope and pray each day that it stays that way.

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