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My story: husband gambler

Is someone you care about experiencing issues with gambling? Come in here to discuss your concerns and get some helpful tips.

My story: husband gambler

Postby Julia » Mon Oct 10, 2016 6:03 am

Hello everyone,

It's my first time joining the forum and I really look forward to hearing from people who have had similar experiences with problem gamblers in the family.

My husband has a gambling addiction, both online sports betting and market trading. We have been together 9 years, married for 3, and ever since the beginning of our relationship I knew he gambled a lot, but it wasn't until later that I realised he had a real problem. Many of you will recognise my story- he is constantly online, gambling is his main source of entertainment. Despite earning a huge salary and being a very smart and capable man, he was constantly running out of money and borrowing money from me, his parents, even his colleagues (I discovered to my embarrassment!). He even gambled away our house deposit, which was a loan from his parents after our wedding. When I think about how much he has lost, my mind starts spinning... Throughout our relationship I have confronted him many times, tried the 'ultimatum', entered into endless negotiations that led nowhere. He recognises that he has 'a problem' but believes he can control it.

This year, after he owed me a huge amount of money, I decided things had to change. I planned to leave the country as soon as he paid me back, just to get away and have some space. Luckily, instead of leaving, I spoke to a friend and confessed to her the reality of my situation. She was shocked, after all we are the 'perfect couple' on the outside, but she advised me to again talk to my husband and make him realise the seriousness of the situation. Which I did, and he finally agreed to go to a counsellor together who specialised in addiction. During this session, I broke down in tears and was a complete wreck all whilst my husband was very uncomfortable sitting next to me, trying to rationalise with the counsellor that he knew he had a problem but wasn't ready to give it up because he still believes he can control it. It was then that I realised I needed help, just for me.

I joined a local AlAnon group (for family members of alcoholics) because there is no GamAnon in my area. I can't tell you how much my life has changed since then. I learned my role in enabling his addiction, and also realised how much it consumed me and emotionally drained me. I learned to set boundaries and immediately stopped lending him money, and forced him to take his own responsibility. It caused many arguments and friction between us, but ultimately it was worth it.

Now, 6 months later, I find myself much happier and more at peace. Now he pays every single bill on time and we rarely argue about money. This in itself is a huge achievement and I have to thank God for leading me to AlAnon. Life is much better and I really recommend the program to anyone who needs help.

But now, here is the question...

He is making improvements in the 'symptoms' of the issue (paying bills on time, not borrowing money, etc.) but he still continues to gamble. We don't own any property yet and don't have any children, but now I am at a stage in my life that I want to begin a family. I know that as he continues to gamble, every penny he loses is one that should be put towards our future together. He has no savings, no assets (despite a huge income) and although I have made steps to secure myself financially, i can't help thinking what we 'could have' or 'should have' by now.

It's also difficult because our everyday life is not bad now; we are generally happy and have a good relationship. It's just this issue constantly in the background.

I don't want to force an ultimatum, because I know he has to desire to change from within, but also don't see how we can have a future unless he addresses his addiction. Am I wasting my time? Should I just leave and force him to realise what he is losing? Or shall I continue in light of these positive changes and support him in confronting his addiction?

Well, that's my story. Would love to hear your experiences and any advice from those who have been here before.

Thanks
Julia
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Re: My story: husband gambler

Postby annie  » Mon Oct 10, 2016 7:26 am

Hi, there's someone here.

This is my morning ritual to let others know they're not alone, as I have felt I have been over the past years. I took a few minutes out to think about your situation as this is coming from someone on the other side the support person. I have so much respect for you and the support you have given and are willing to give and to your future family. It is understandable how you are feeling and how frustrating it must be.

I haven't got your post to read as I am writing this so I am hoping I remember it correctly. Has your husband had counselling or is it just you helping him ? As much as we like to help others there is only so much that we can do before there needs to be others involved , also it would not be good for your relationship if he were to begin feeling that you are ' running the show' ( I am not in any way trying to be disrespectful , you are amazing )
I'm thinking that a third person needs to be involved so this can be worked on together, take the pressure off you and so you can discuss your fears with someone that can work with both of you. Face to face counselling is offered and has helped me so much rather than just writing of my experiences ,you become more accountable and get to know who you really are for yourself and start to feel again and have a clearer head to be able to fight the addiction. It's worth fighting for. Don't give up,

Keep in touch, hope it goes well.
annie 
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Re: My story: husband gambler

Postby Miette (facilitator) » Tue Oct 11, 2016 10:52 am

Hi Julia,

Thank you so much for sharing your story and the experience through your relationship. It sounds like you have been so supportive, despite the toll that the situation is having on you. It is great to hear that AlAnon has been so beneficial to you.
I guess in response to your question, I would ask you - what are your expectations of your husband? What do you need to see change? How much are you willing to put in - and what do you need to see him doing in turn?

Welcome to the forum, and best wishes to you through your journey,
Miette.
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Re: My story: husband gambler

Postby pamela » Sat Oct 15, 2016 8:21 am

Hi Julia and welcome..as a gambler I really appreciate seeing the effects from the "other"side.You have done an amazing job to get where you are now but is it the life you want?Unless your husband wants to stop there is very little chance he will.He may be paying bills but as you say there are no savings , only yours.Maybe some family counselling to try and see what you both want..but you are doing the right thing by not lending him money..he has to want to stop and until ut becomes a real ussue with him he may not..I am not trying to be negative but being an ex gambler I know how we think and while we are "managing" it isnt a problem till it comes to a head.I hope everything works out for the both of you..
pamela
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Re: My story: husband gambler

Postby sinny » Wed Apr 12, 2017 8:57 am

Hi Julia, how is your husband situation now? can he control and stop gambling now or not?.I m a gambler all my liife now. I m REAL understand how an addicts Feels ....I have made numerous credit cards and loans just to fulfill my urges to gambling, online sport bets, pokies, casino games ettc,,,i dont like racing though ..never bet on horse or greyhound,,may be that a bonus :)...I m in deep financial trouble now , as banks calling me everyday because i missed quite a number of payments already,and still dont know how to keep up. I have consider going to declare bankrupt as a way out. i dont know if that is the resolution to my gambling problems, as becoming bankrupt, you will be cut from getting any credit rating , ie . zero and will be a red tape on your credit file for few years...but all the debts will be voided anyway...I m so stressful now, just when i have the money, i cant stop thinking of going to place bets on sports as i always believed i can WIN . and playing pokies as i think i may get THAT JACKPOT ...but at the end, i will lose all my weekly pay for sure...but that is me,,,i will trying to stop all forms of gambling,,soon...just for the sake of my family,,dont make any promises to anyone, as too many promises been broken before, it is only me who can stop all this...thanks for sharing your story Julia...
sinny
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Re: My story: husband gambler

Postby mamala4216 » Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:09 pm

Hi, I am a wife to a gambler aswel.

We are planning on a Holiday to NZ so that required getting a credit card, when that had come through I paid for the flights etc. i kept it on me hidden at all times...so i thought, he had stolen it and over 3 days spent a total of $2600. plus extra cash from his mother.
i only found out because one evening it was dark, going on 7pm. he is normally home by 3pm and I had no messages, his phone was off. none of his friends or our family had herd from him. he was last seen at the train station, by that point i was thinking the worst. I thought he was in a ditch, cops pulled him over, got in a stabbing, i was scared. i put my girls in the car and drove around looking for him...then a headache feeling hit me, maybe he's at the pokies...there was his car

he wasn't even upset that I found him. he wasn't sorry..he was angry and looked at me as if it were my fault that he was there.

I dont know what to do. or where to begin . I need help because this hurts.

p.s my daughter said "daddy was just hungry mum."

Ma
mamala4216
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Re: My story: husband gambler

Postby Jerry (facilitator) » Wed Jul 19, 2017 2:54 pm

Hi


I think Julia has the right idea about how to help your partner to quit gambling. It is such a complicated thing to do that you really need help learning how to do it properly. GamAnon (for friends and family of gamblers) would be ideal, but they can be a bit rare. It sounds like Julia learned a lot from AlAnon, but you can also learn the same sorts of things by discussing your situation with a gambling counselor. Calling Gamblers Help line might be a great first step, they can get you in touch with a gambling counsellor (1800 858 858). or you could search for Gam Anon meetings in your area:

http://gaaustralia.org.au/gam-anon/

It is really difficult to help someone to change their gambling, but help is out there.
Jerry (facilitator)
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