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My husband is a gambler

I gambled compulsively for over 25 years and, it wasn't until all my resources were used up, that I stopped. I cannot comment on your husband, I can only tell you how I tick as a compulsive gambler. Nobody here can give you advice either and none of us are remotely qualified.

However, if I were in your husbands shoes I would not stop while I was constantly getting bailed out. When I first went to a GA meeting, although I knew I was as bad, if not worse than most people in the room, I would not admit it to those who mattered in my life. It is much easier to lie (and I did that compulsively too) than to have the embarrassment of telling the truth.

As a compulsive gambler who has racked up thousands in debt, you could probably safely say that he hasn't come to terms with the fact that he needs help. And unfortunately, in my experience, until we can hold our hands up and admit we have a problem then the task of stopping gambling is a hopeless one. I could only stop (with of course the help of GA) once I was entirely ready to stop for myself.

Taking control of the finances is a wise option, and one that many compulsive gamblers have done when they first stop gambling, however, your husband might resent this if he is not all for this action. Some actions of this nature, unless both parties 100% agree, can push a compulsive gambler into much deeper and more secretive addiction. It can also lead to more serious criminal acts (in order to get money), just like a teenager might rebel against some sort of punishment inflicted by their parents when they have done wrong.

I am not saying that these extremes will happen, but they are possible. I took the long hard route with every imaginable consequence of my gambling actions before I was ready to look for help. In the GA literature it tells us that compulsive gambling is a 'progressive' illness and, with the 'wool pulled over my eyes' for 25 years, I proved the hard way that this is true. It only gets worse if nothing is done. I cannot allow things to get worse than they were when I first walked into a GA meeting, which is why (6.5 years on) I still attend meetings and work the GA program.

Everything I do today to recover from my Illness of compulsive gambling I do without being forced, it has to come from within. I have learnt that it is the only way I can change my life. If I was doing it for anyone else other than myself, then it would only be a matter of time before I went back to my old ways once everyone involved was satisfied that I was making an effort.

If I were to give you any advice then it would be to support your husband by being there for him, because although it is horrible to say, things will get tougher. Monetary support will only make things worse.

I hope you have found this useful. And I hope you sort things out.

Big Dave (Eastcote/Uxbridge)
Oh bless Worried Wife,

I'm sorry to hear your going through this situation with your husband.
This addiction has taken so much from me and Dave writes so well that we can't give you advice, but maybe there is some support available...

Gam-anon is the sister organisation of GA that supports the families, friends and loved ones to help them understand the addiction that is compulsive gambling. Details of Gam-anon can be found on the main ga page via the friends and family tab.

I really wish you the best...
In unity

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