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The last straw?

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

The last straw?

Postby Mightbethelaststraw » Thu Mar 30, 2017 8:38 pm


I first realised my husband had a gambling problem about 2 years into the relationship, when he admitted to stealing from my wallet. He was a really big drinker and regular gambler, and I was often blamed for causing the stresses that made him gamble.

A few years on, he has reduced the frequency of gambling and accepted more responsibility, however, now he binge gambles. I have control of the finances, but every so often he gets access to money... has a bad day/week/month then binges. He just had his biggest binge ever... and its gutted me. I've been through this cycle (broken promise-gamble-lie-apologise-promise) so often now I've almost switched off.

My husband is a wonderful man and I love him, but I don't want to spent another 10 years repeating these cycles. Thankfully he has finally booked an appointment with a counselor and is seeking support... however... I really don't think I can handle another binge.

Beside removing access to money... what can I do to help him succeed? Because I really don't want to do the alternative 🙁

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Re: The last straw?

Postby L073 » Thu Mar 30, 2017 8:50 pm

Lost both my in-laws within a few months, my 20yr marriage broke up. Not an excuse. My first time ever posting here. But I have lost so much money. And I know I won't get it back but still I keep betting in the hope. I need help. I feel so useless coz I keep going back. Sometimes I want to tell people close to me how out of control I am, but can't do it.
Just continue to feel ****. And lose a lot of money. I wish the government would ban this crap.
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Re: The last straw?

Postby AnotherLoser » Thu Mar 30, 2017 10:34 pm

L073 wrote: I feel so useless coz I keep going back.

I absolutely know how you feel. (though I tell myself I'm an idiot) But what I know is that beating myself up doesn't help. What does help me is just keeping busy doing other things (enjoyable things - craft, reading, picnic on the beach - it doesn't have to be costly activities) so that suddenly I realised time has passed and for the last (however long) I didn't gamble.

I really hope you are able to find something that keeps you in a positive state of mind - perhaps we (generally as a group here) can encourage each other to keep busy with other things and find support from that. Best wishes for keeping things under control.
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Re: The last straw?

Postby Jerry (facilitator) » Mon Apr 03, 2017 1:45 pm

Hi Mightbethelaststraw,

You asked what else you can do to help your husband aside from controlling money. I think that is an incredibly difficult task. People tend to change their gambling when the consequences of their gambling outweigh the benefits. Unfortunately gambling is incredibly addictive so the consequences need to be huge. Often it is easier for gamblers to find other people to rescue them from the consequences so they don't have to change.

Often time friends and family will take some of the financial burden of the gamblers debts, (paying more rent, buying the groceries, filling the car with petrol etc). While this makes life easier for the gambler, it also removes some of the consequences of gambling.

So what you can do is let him experience the down sides of gambling. If he doesn't have enough money for petrol, then he has to walk, not enough money for groceries, goes hungry.

One problem is if you have joint assets. If you don't pay his share of the mortgage while he becomes homeless (and hence experiences a consequence of gambling) you also become homeless and loose your house. Having joint assets makes his gambling consequences your consequences. If you pay extra rent/mortgage to keep your house, you take away any consequence of his gambling. For this reason separating finances is one useful step. But of course that is easier said than done.

What sort of consequences do you think he would be experiencing if he lived alone and didn't have any financial support?
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Re: The last straw?

Postby suzybeauty » Mon Apr 03, 2017 9:45 pm

Hi dear, I have a good solution. Tell him not to go on his own and if he promises to do this, tell him you will take him with you to one of the venues every 2nd weekend, preferably where there is entertainment like dancing or a show going on. Have a dance or if not into dancing, listen to some music there together, have 1 - 2 drinks max (no more than that or a coffee), eat. Enjoy some together time first, than give him a set limit to have his entertainment fun with what he likes but tell him if he spends it all and once it runs out, you both must go home or do something else until you go home. You can either watch him play (for entertainment fun) or if you don't like the pokies, tell him you'll be getting a snack or coffee while you wait for him in the eating area until he's finished playing. That way, you don't have to worry about him spending/binging behind your back. He will do it otherwise so you are better off going with him and setting spending limits. If he is wanting more money once he runs out then tell him the whole thing is not going to work and he will need professional help. This is what I'm currently doing - I'm the pokie gambler and my partner is taking me there on Sat night with a spending limit of $60. I have stopped going on my own as I was spending lots & lots during the week. I have also changed my way of thinking, I'm not going there to make money or chase losses but for some entertainment fun. If I happen to get a win, I cash out and go home. If I don't win, I go home as well and say to myself at least I had some entertainment fun and a night out with my partner. But make sure you and your partner spend some quality time together first as mentioned before, being by each other's side is very important, then after that, he can have some fun. My father is also a pokie player and my step mum was so fed up of his spending too, she got sick and stressed in the beginning but also realised the method to just go there with him once a week and have coffee with him there. They are old (my dad is 79) so they don't dance but at least they are there together, even though she doesn't really like the pokies. She even plays them too now while he's playing them! However, I do feel that they do spend too much so please stick to my method, set a spending limit for him and it should improve things with you both. However, if he doesn't do this, call the whole thing off. He needs to promise he will stick to the spending limit you give him or else he needs to see a councellor. Perhaps he can still see one while you try this method of being with him there so he can control himself. Or if he does want to quit completely, then that is great and get him some financial coucelling help too. It's only my suggestion as I'm working on it for myself. I will hopefully quit completely one day but for now I'm doing this weekend method. All the best to you and please post about your progress with your husband. Suzy :)
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Re: The last straw?

Postby pamela » Tue Apr 04, 2017 8:51 am

Hi Suzy ..I am glad that system works for you but most of us here are addicts that want to stop so controlled gambling is not an option because the day will come when you have access to more money or the urge becomes too strong and its back to square one.It happens.There are plenty of places to go that dont have pokies but if that is what you want then thats your choice.I have found though ,that overtime that one day of pokies is never enough.Be careful
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Re: The last straw?

Postby JohnK » Tue Apr 04, 2017 10:49 am

Hi I am new to this site. My wife has a problem with the pokies. I have lost count of the number of times I have said 'that's the last straw' ....and it wasn't.
This has gone on for 20 years. We are both in early 60s. When we met 22 years ago there was no immediate signs of gambling. The first was prior to us living together and she got very depressed and even 'claimed' to have taken an overdose of medication. I recall she was groggy but I believe she new what she was doing. Anyway that was the start when I paid her $5000 credit card debt. Naturally she assured me it wouldn't happen again ...wrong.

There were several instances after that costing me probably $30K (I had received a redundancy payout and paid off my house but took out a loan supposedly to do renovations .....most of that was used paying off her credit cards. She promised me she would stop and said she only had 1 visa. Turns out she had 3! She lied about her wherabouts and often missed work. I even went searching carparks of the Clubs she used and despite seeing her car there she would deny having been there. On a couple of occasions I went in and confronted her which never ended well. I was weak ....should have left her but things were now complicated as she got Breast Cancer and naturally I couldn't leave her while going through that. The cancer was used as an excuse for her to go to club or when visiting Perth the Casino. She said it was her 'escape' and often stayed out all night. Once again my weakness kicked in and despite threats to leave her I never did.

I helped her with the deposit to buy her own house. The bank loan was $195K. The mortgage at one stage got down to $160K. When she sold the house 12 years later she owed $464K plus had credit cards and the house sold for $525K. She had taken out several loans against the equity. We did marry after 12 years of engagement ( we got engaged while she had cancer). The house was sold after we married. She claims it was not just gambling as she had various family members 'bludging' of her and/or in genuine need.

Anyway without boring you with all the examples and details in between she still spends too much (impulsive buyer) plus on numerous occasions usually when I am working shifts or away visiting my elderly parents, she hits the clubs. We now have one main Bank account and a credit card linked each plus one visa/debit card where our FN allowance from our pays goes in. She always overspends and starts using money from our offset account for everyday expenses (including smokes ...her other bad habit). Over the past 12-18monyhs she has had several binges including claiming her card was 'skimmed' to explain more than $2000 missing form account. She also used $4000 from another account which was money from her small business. Recently (20 March she made 4 cash advance withdrawls from our visa and 5 x $200 from offset all in the one day. I did my usal 'this is the last straw' and she said she agreed to go to Gambling Anonymous meeting. We didn't go due to other drams on the day, as she/we is also dealing with a wayward granddaughter and basically we are carers for her young Great Grandaughter.

I'm sorry for waffling and am probably getting a bit personal now. I just don't know what to do. I threaten to leave but don't. She has stopped any opportunity for us to retire although she doesn't see it that way. If not for her spending and gambling we could have been set up today.

I just don't know what to do.
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Re: The last straw?

Postby pamela » Tue Apr 04, 2017 1:00 pm

its obvious your wife has a problem that has destroyed you both.But.unless yourcwife wants to stop there isnt much you can do.You can suggest she get help or you can limit the amount of money she has access to.Have seperate accounts so you can prorect yourself.I know from my experience I should be heading into retirement but I cant because of my pokie debt.its a terrible addiction
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Re: The last straw?

Postby POPEYE » Wed Apr 05, 2017 9:13 am

Last edited by POPEYE on Wed Sep 06, 2017 9:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The last straw?

Postby blastoise (facilitator) » Wed Apr 05, 2017 3:33 pm

Hi JohnK,
Welcome to the forum and thank-you for sharing your story with us. Hopefully this can be a space where you can discuss your concerns and find out from others in similar positions what they have done. One of the things that has come up in your story is that you have continued to bail her out of financial issues each time. I know it seems like you are doing the right thing in supporting her and paying off the debts, but is appears that this might be enabling her to continually gamble and rack up debt knowing that you will pay it off, so there are no consequences for gambling.
I would suggest a discussion with her whereby you make an agreement that she: see a gambling counsellor, you both see a relationship counsellor (yes, we are here because of her gambling, but the relationship is suffering and a relationship involves you both). If she is playing pokies, arrange for her to complete a Self-Exclusion program.
You are also entitled to see a gambling counsellor for free as an ‘’affected other’, and this can help you make a decision about what to do re your financial situation. I am mindful to open this up too much given that the focus is supporting you, but I would think about restricting her access to any mutual finances, so that YOU are protected. If she can’t commit to the above, I would question her willingness to change. It sounds like she gambles to manage emotions and stressors, but it seems to have significantly impacted on the financial future of both of you. You deserve to retire and enjoy the rest of your time, not be working forever.
Feel free to private message me if you need to, otherwise call Gamblers Help (non-gamblers call just as often, and you are not alone) 1800 858 858.
I hope that helps in what direction you should go, and remember that you are not alone

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