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My husband is a gambler - HELP!
My husband has been gambling for years and I have caught him out on numerous occasions. The last time was a year ago and we are in the process of settling the debts and I thought just coming through it. The trouble is the lies - I feel I can never trust him so I go through his pockets!! Anyway the other day I found a betting slip and when I questioned him he said 'no' he has not been in a betting shop for ages. Obviously I had the slip in my hands so he couldnt deny it anymore - he said it was for the guys at work and I am blowing this out of all proportion. I feel absolutely 'gutted' and physically sick. We have 3 children ages 1, 6 and 10 and I know it would tear their world apart if we split up but what are the alternatives? I am in floods just typing this and I cannot see a way out. He has never gone to meetings and I dont think he is the kind of person who would see it through - he always says he can do it on his own. I am now at rock bottom but he carries on quite happily - what can I do? Any advice would be appreciated
hi im a compulsive gambler myself and through it all my husband walked out on me on the 14th dec last year and it is killing me i have now joined ga and am about to do my 5th week tommorow it really helps and has made me realise the problems i have had for years, everytime i come home i cry as i dont have my husband there with me all i can say is try to get him to go to a meeting and also the lies he is telling you that is what compulsive gamblers do do it before anything happens to your marriage like mine has it is the worst thing ever i have been marrired for 25 years and am hoping he comes home anyway good luck and let me know how you get on
Thank you so much for your reply - I really appreciate it. We finally talked, at first I couldnt bear to as in my head had made up my mind and with 3 children I had to consider them. Anyway he is off to his first meeting on Wednesday. I am hoping that all will be fine, need to take one step at a time but at least he is going. It is the lying that I find hard to take as I never know if he is telling the truth or not and even if he is I wouldnt believe him as so much gone on before. I feel sorry for him too as no matter what he does I wont trust him!!! Like you say it is part of the gambling and I know he is not a bad person but just cant bear living like this anymore, so Wednesday it is, I hope this will help!

I am so sorry to hear of your story and hopefully your husband will realise he what he has lost and come home, I can imagine how hard it is for you too but at least you have made that step forward and hopefully he will see that. I truly wish you well and hope things improve for you. Thank you for replying, thought no one would, it really does help to know other people are listening. Take care
This is a very disappointing site - you ask for help - 101 people read it and only one reply....!!! Not much help when you are desperate.

I am a compulsive gambler and have been all my life and will be for the rest of my life. I am currently in recovery and I had my last gamble on the 21st October, 2008. Today the thought of gambling never enters my head. This is a miracle as at one time my whole life revolved around gambling. Your husband going to GA is a start but there is a lot of work to do. To begin, he has to honestly admit he is powerless over gambling. If he doesn't do this, gambling will always have power over him. You cannot make him get well, it is up to him.

I put my wife and my daughter through hell, a mental torture. Most gamblers are extremely secretive and like your husband I did my gambling without my wife's knowledge. It wasn't until I had backed myself in to a corner and had no where else to turn (credit had run dry) that I came clean. This was about 8 years ago and resulting in a 2nd mortgage. The thing that hurt my wife more than anything was the secret life I was leading and like you she lost trust in me.

At that time we took some practical steps that I was more tan happy to do;

1. We got a joint bank account and my wife held my bank card (I no longer had any credit cards). If I needed money for anything we would get it out. I would get hold of a card only if it was the last resort (going away on business).
2. I took my name off the deeds of the house. I loved my wife and daughter and although I had gambled all this money without a care for anyone, I did not want them to be homeless. This sort of went some way towards guaranteeing that. If I went on a gambling spree then the creditors could not take the house.
3. My wife opens every piece of mail that comes through our door. She still does.

I returned to meetings but never fully conceded to the illness and never fully committed to the recovery program. What happened? I gambled again. Although I hadn't gambled for a while I still had untreated gambling, as the illness is in the head not in the action of laying the bet. (Might be a bit heavy this but I am just sharing my honesty, experience and strength with you).

This was my rock bottom after nearly 30 years of struggling I was on the verge of suicide. I ended up in the river, noose round my neck but survived and went back this time knowing I had to try the program of recovery. I have thrown myself into my recovery and I am reaping the benefits. If I can do it anyone can. I am probably what you call a lost cause but in reality everyone has opportunities to live a life that is joyous and free, if only we take what is on offer.

My wife attended Gam-Anon for a while and it really helped her. She no longer attends and I don't push her to ask why.

You need help and support yourself. Try and get to a Gam-anon meeting or a counsellor or your Doctor but ideally Gam-anon as in all probability you are not well. We compulsive gamblers make people very sick. It's not done on purpose it's just what happens. Gam-Anon is a fellowship of loved ones of compulsive gamblers. They will provide you with some practical advice and support. They do not bite except may be their partners!

I don't want to frighten you but this is a serious psychological illness that results in death

We are not dealing with a moral issue here, we are dealing with an illness and unless treated on a daily basis, the gambler puts him/herself at risk and people around him/her at risk. First and foremost you have to protect yourself and your young children and then support your husband if he is making an effort. If he is not prepared to help himself there is very little you can do, after all you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make it drink.

He has made a start and every journey has a beginning.

I hope you have got something from this and I hope and pray your husband takes the solution that is offered freely to him. It does work as long as we follow a few simple guidelines.

Take care,

just one further thing to add regarding your husband telling you he is attending meetings. do you know for sure that he actually goes through the door to these meetings or have you assumed he is telling you the truth.i only ask as this is what i did to my wife,pretending that i was attending when all i had done was find out where and when these meetings were,but never actually going.this advice btw comes from me at a time when i have recently made a firm decision to quit gambling,which is something that previously i didn't really want to commit to,even though i told others that i was quitting.this time,i really want to give it up and i will hopefully.good luck to you
I am also the wife of a compulsive gambler and completely understand how you are feling. My husband puts his addiction before everything else and i do not know how much more I can take, At the minute I am completely distressed and do not know what to do. My family know he gambles but have no idea that it is a problem. Therefore I find myself lying and making excuses for him and also as they dont know I have no one to talk to and feel really lonely.
Ive been with my hubby ten years and all he's ever done is gamble. we have three children and this still isnt enough to stop him. i left him last year, i came back after a week to give him another chance, he said he'd get help, he never did, he started again in december gambling, i only found out two weeks ago, he let me down, i carnt trust him, i even find it hard to love him, he says this time he'll get help what do i do
Hello Nat, I see that you have had quite a bit of responses to your post and I can give some from my pooint of view as I am a compulsive gambler who has been in recovery for over 10 years now. I remember the pain and suffering that I caused my family and friends and really I didn't have too much of them left towards the end of my gambling. I had my daughtr beg and plead with me to stop gambling and I just become more sneakier and thought I was hiding it from her and the others, but really my character was so bad and nasty that they could see right through me. My husband of 18 months walked out on me and still I gambled. I only got the help I needed through GA was when I was emotionally and financially bunkrupt and had no where else to turn. But I was at that time ready to accept the Gamblers Anonymous program once again as I had been in and out of their rooms for quite a few years. Your husband needs to do this for himself and not to please you, just be aware that us CG's can be pretty sneaky to be able to gamble. You may be able to go along to a meeting with him (permission granted) and as someone else suggested get along to a Gamanon meeting and this will help you to understand about this illness.
Do not leave money or cards laying around where your husband has access to them and maybe you will need to sit down with him and work out exactly where your money is going.
You take care and you come on back here and report on how you are going.
Hi Nat,
I have just come on the site so I hope you get this reply a few months after the event. My husband is in GA and is coming up for 7 years this year which is a major achievement. I am very proud of the process that he has come through and where he is now. I do have to give one caveat though.... The change that an addict goes through will mean that there are fundamental changes that take place in his psyche and mind. This may sound obvious but I have been blinkered all the way through as it has been such a private journey for him with my support of his meetings of course and me wondering how to give other support but never being shown nor allowed really. So with the recovery - which importantly has to be seen as a LIFE LONG thing the partner - ie you- has to learn to adjust, accommodate and nurture. To do this really well, I think you need some support too. It all sounds so obvious to me now but I haven't done it and it has made things tough and me feel pushed out to some degree... but if I had understaood sooner then I would see clearly that this is actually a common part of the recovery process. It is hard for all involved but REALLY worth it and I just wish I could help more other than be supportive on this email..

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