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how can i help him?
Posted: Wed Mar 12, 2014 12:33 am
my partner and i have been together for almost 2 years. he started gambling about a year ago, the pokies. he was unemployed for a little bit and i think it gave him a release. he also got addicted to the wins and wanted more and more. he was stressed about his money situation. eventually it got to the point where he was putting all his money (centrelink) through. so he had no money to live on. i started to give him some to pay for bills and food, probably fueled his gambling too which i am really ashamed of. im sure he went to other people to get money but im not sure who.
at one point i realised he wasnt going to stop. he knew he had a problem and he hated himself for it. so i suggested that if he was going keep going to the pokies, then he was only allowed to go if i went with him. it worked for a bit, and he was only putting $20 through a week. but then he just started going on his own again. i feel like he blames me for that, because he has said one of his triggers is that he feels lonely, we dont live together and i cant be there all the time because i study. so to pass the time and boredom and to have people around him, he goes to the pokies. and he has no concept or awareness of what he is doing and how much he is putting through, that his pay check can go in a matter of hours.
he has a really tight budget and a lot of debt he is trying to pay off. and i know this stresses him out too, especially if he has additional things to pay for like birthdays or weddings (we have 2 to go to this month). so he goes to try and win money in order to pay for it. again, his whole pay check can go through in a couple of hours and he will leave with nothing. which just makes the whole tight budget scenario even harder than it already is.
the problem though is that his gambling is so erratic its hard to track. i dont even know if there is anything wrong, if i am just imagining and blowing it all out of proportion because of his problem gambling in the past. he will go for ages and ages without doing anything, then all of a sudden he just snaps.
sometimes, he will tell me what he has done. but sometimes i think he lies about it. he will tell me that he has lost x amount of money because it fell out of his pocket or his wallet. like tonight, he told me that he took $250 from the atm, put it in his pocket but that it must have fallen out when he went to take something out of it later. Every time he loses a large number like that, its always the same reason. and he gets really angry with himself and goes on and on about how depressed and disappointed he is and how he cant afford to just lose money like that.
when he tells me he has gambled, he has the same attitude and says basically the same things, how disappointed and pissed off and angry he is. he also goes AWOL before it happens (both when he tells me he has gambled and when the money has just disappeared), he wont respond to texts or answer my calls until hours later, and then its usually late at night, just before he goes to bed he tells me what has happened.
i know if i confront him he will deny it until his face goes blue. my gut says he has been gambling but i still have a bit of doubt, maybe he really is just that careless? i have been to see a counsellor with him, but it wasnt helpful, he didnt want to go back after the first session (unfortunately she wasnt very good, even i think that) and he is reluctant to go see anybody else, always making the excuse that he doesnt have the time.
i just need to know what i can do for him. i cant talk to him about it because he just shuts down and denies it, so that makes me doubt whether im seeing things and looking for things that arent there. if he is gambling, if he has gambled tonight how can i be there to support him if he wont let me help him? how can i help him fight the urge to do it again in the future?
ps sorry its a bit long, hopefully someone can get all the way through it though to give me some help
RE: how can i help him?
Posted: Wed Mar 12, 2014 8:58 am
Firstly, I am no councillor, I am a gambler ( trying hard not to be)....I can really relate to your story ....as I have done and said most the things your partner has said. I don't know how many times I told my partner that I had lost my wallet, lost money, didn't get paid, had a big bill to pay ( you get the idea) and all the while I was putting all my money into a poker machine. I can also relate to boredom depression that your partner is experiencing, whilst I had the addiction before these things came along, boredom and depression just escalated my desire to gamble even more....it's funny I would go the club because my partner was golfing...but I never spoke to anyone...I just sat and gambled...so it was never for company.
Anyway....I can only speak from my experience and I am sure the councillors will give you advice on how to handle things. My partner used to say if I find you gambling your out on the street, I know in my heart she was trying to be a bit supportive, but this is one reason I lied and deceived her about gambling....I hated the lying but I was so ashamed of what I was doing and wanted to stop but really didn't know how and I think deep down inside probable didn't want to stop at the same time as I enjoyed the thrill of the club...the chance of winning. I wanted a magic pill that would make me not want to gamble anymore...I now know I have to do the hard work...deal with the urges....show restraint when wanting to go to the club or to buy something as well.
I think if you could sit down very calmly with your partner and talk to him about your suspicions and what you are feeling then maybe you might just catch this addiction before it spirals to far out of control. I would seek out a better councillor first and talk to them on how you might be able to help/approach your partner.
I think ( although don't really know for sure)...if my partner had been more supportive and a bit less aggressive to my addiction would I have gone as far as I did with gambling...and would we still be together now...something I will never know I guess.
I think you are a amazing person for trying to help your partner...it is great testimony to your character and strength Karen...good on you. I am sure someone on here will give you some really good advice soon...but hang in there Karen...you are doing the right thing by trying to help.....I wish you all the very best.
One last thing ...I do think your partner will be open to change ( counselling) given that he feels ashamed/angry etc.....you can never ever win on poker machines...for the money you put in you will never get that return. All the very best mate.
RE: how can i help him?
Posted: Wed Mar 12, 2014 10:36 am
Thanks for your message. My name's Bri, I'm one of the facilitators on here. It's nice to 'meet' you
I'm really sorry that you're having such a distressing time at the moment. You say that you've been to see a counsellor before with your partner but that he's not keen to try again. I'm wondering if you're aware that support actually exists for YOU too? It's really important that you take care of yourself. Perhaps you'd like to call the Gambling Helpline and speak to a counsellor? They'll be able to give you some advice and support regarding what to do next and how to look after yourself. The calls are free from landlines. I'd really encourage you to take advantage of them
Also, we're always here for support , so hope to hear back from you soon