Gambling Addiction & Recovery Support Group

Compulsive gambling is an urge or addiction to gamble despite harmful negative consequences or a desire to stop. A preferred term among many professionals is problem gambling, as few people described by the term experience true compulsions in the clinical sense of the word. Problem gambling often is defined by whether harm is experienced by the gambler or others rather than by the gambler's behavior. Severe problem gambling may be diagnosed as clinical pathological gambling if the gambler meets certain criteria. Extreme cases of problem gambling may cross over into the realm of mental disorders. Pathological gambling was recognized as a psychiatric disorder in the DSM-III, but the criteria were significantly reworked based on large-scale...

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My Husband has a gambling problem

I Have been dealing with my husband's gambling addiction for over 2 years now. A part of me thought it was done and over with but when christmas eve came around and i found him gambling again while i was left at work i realized i had to do something for me and our 3 daughters. I love him with all my heart but we are loosing everything, bills our rental house ( i left after christmas with our girls and stayed with family hoping that would help things) just not sure what to do anymore.

I have recently got on my own with only my income and got my own place and he is now living here with us but i still keep thinking how do i know things will get better. He really wants to get better. We are starting our first meeting for GA at a local church. This will be a weekly meeting.
I hope i am doing the right thing. I love him with all my heart and i dont want to loose my family he is a great dad and husband he just has a real bad addiction.

When we talk i mention things that need to be done and he is willing to do them so ....

any advise on how i can help at all... i know this has to be something he has to do himself.



Quigley, hi. I thought I sent a reply to you earlier, but I guess it did not go thru. I am glad you found this site... it has been a tremendous help to me since late October... I really thought I had lost it. The people here are caring people who understand how caustic and destructive gambling is to the compulsive gambler (CG) and to his/her the loved ones.

I am a wife of a compulsive gambler.

I cannot express how glad I am that your hubby has admitted to having a gambling problem and has agreed to go to GA meetings starting next week. Those are two huge and gigantic steps for him.

I was a confused, enabling wife, who had buried her head in the sand when I came here. It is taking a while, but things are becoming less foggy for me.

I think you have a lot of courage for taking the firm step you took in December for you and your children. I realized too late that gambling is no respecter of persons... it doesn't care about age, race, religion, gender, loved ones or strangers.

I hope you continue to stop in at this site and stay connected... folks here care, they are encouraging, and they bring a touch of reality to an otherwise a surreal existence for the CG and in your case the loved one of a CG. So glad to meet you.

thank you very much! I have been dealing with this for over 2 years now and somedays i just dont know what to do. I hope and pray things get better. I know he needs my support and i will there as much as i can but like most have said to me "he needs to want to help himself"

I will keep in touch and let you know how our meeting goes tomorrow night.

Have a good night and take care :)

x Crystal

gambling addiction is the most difficult addiction to get it under sontrol. a person with this kind of addiction cannot do it alone. your husband needs your support and go to GA meeting religeously. also he can no longer control your family finance anymore.

we don't know what his status is? is he willing to go to GA willingly or was forced?
there are many personal gambling addiction story here which i found very useful, may be you can print some out and let him read.

Thanks everyone for your information. I feel that i need the meeting for myself too because i need to understand why this is happening and maybe there is more that i can do, something that im not doing now. if i go tonight and notice this is something he should be doing on his own i will not attend future meetings. maybe what i need is a counsellor?

He is definetley willing to go to meetings. i just was the one to find a local one. as we can not afford a counsellor as they are over 100/hour.
He was on here last night ready some stories. he is definetly wanting to join this group.


Hi QuigleyC..WElcome ..
I hope Your Hubby joins 'DS. '
Be well sanr.

>>He was on here last night ready some stories. he is definetly wanting to join this group.

Thank you for letting us know.
make sure he knows that under each person's profile, there is JORNAL section which contains more story maybe he can relate to.

Dear Quigley,
I am also married to a CG. His gambling has been a problem for over 2 years now. I, like you, have children. We have ALL suffered such an extreme loss. In our case, my husband has lost over $75,000 in gambling debt. He has declared Bankruptcy, we've added a 2nd mortgage on the house, etc...There are NO WORDS to describe the amount of suffering my children and I have been through. Anybody who is involved with a CG can relate to that statement. This "disease" robs you of everything. My husband has shown that he cannot get a handle on it and has gone to great lengths to feed his addiction. He has opened credit in my name, he has emptied his 401K, etc...I fear what else he might be willing to do. He also has said time and time again that he wants help. He has said that he would be willing to try anything. He has been to GA meetings, has had sessions with counselors and psychiatrists, and has allowed me to take over the finances. He has even joined this site. However, it is never long before he falls off the wagon again and finds new inventive ways to gamble. It is to the point that we are able to just cover our bills every month. We have nothing left to our names, and if an emergency ever came about...everything would completely unravel. I, too, love my husband. We have been married for 8 years and share two beautiful children together. I don't want to give up on him, but I don't know how much longer I can withstand this way of life. My last ditch attempt to hold this family together involves exactly what you mentioned. I am personally accompanying him to the GA meeting this week and every week from now on. I FIRMLY DISAGREE with the other posting which told you that escorting your husband to the meeting is like treating him like a child...and that this is not helping. If you feel that is what you need to do, then that is what you should do. It CERTAINLY isn't going to make matters worse, that is for sure. In my situation, it's the only thing left that I can do to try and help my husband. My husband has fallen off this "bicycle" far too many times, and I truely believe I would be doing him and our family a diservice by sitting back and watching him lose it all without becoming active in the role to help him get better. I've tried to let him seek help on his own, and it didn't work. Before long, the GA meetings were "not helping" or the times were too "inconvenient". I've heard it all. This time, though, I'm taking a more proactive approach. If it doesn't work, atleast I know that I've exhausted every means that I could think of to aid in his recovery. Good luck to you!!

Crystal, checking in with you. How did the GA meeting go for you and hubby? I am very interested to hear about the outcome to say the least.

While both Mike and Katherine (hi Katherine, nice to meet you) have valid points in response to your post, I hope recovery is found for you, your children, and your hubby.

Once recovery begins, I understand it is like the "east meeting the west" a never ending journey.

Best regards to you and your family today!!! deb

Hi Katherine,

i totally understand your frusterations and how you feel. It was so hard for me for over 2 years i was trying everything to put our family back together and he would lie until he was blue in the face.I left my husband Christmas eve because i caught him gambling CHRISTMAS so that was the breaking point for me and i knew i had to take care of myself and our daughters and i still am. we are trying really hard now to get things back to the way they used to be and who knows maybe that will never happen but i have hope because this person i see now is not the man i married. and i kills me. i went to the first meeting with him monday night and it was great it helped me a little but not as much as i thought it would. it was good to hear other stories and there is hope there were a few people that were there that haden't gambled since 1998. I have hope there are 3 meetings a week where i live and he is dedicated to going to all of them and that makes me proud. I do agree wiht you about the comment about escorting him to the meeting because that is definetly not what i was doing (escorting him) i found it helped. you know i also felt helped me was when i left because i had a better feeling of hey i am taking care of myself and i can do this and he is now opening up to me more and we are really trying to make this work i know we will also need marriage counselling at some point because i cant trust him. i am alwyas here to talk if you ever need someone.

Hey Deb,

I guess i just felt like angry when i was at that meeting on monday because i didnt get why this sort of thing happens. i know its a sickness but i just dont understand it. i only wanted him to go to one meeting a week and he wants to go to 3 a week now so that is a step in the right direction. i really believe he really wants to get better.

X Crystal

Quigley, Deb and Katherine - I applaud you all for sharing your heart felt and heart breaking journeys with us. I am a CG and I have been on the other side of the coin. I am the addict with the disease - the liar and the cheat. Today this is changing and I have been clean for 7-8 months and in recovery for much longer. There is a time when I would have loved to have known the support and care of my husband like this and for him to give me my wake up call.He now supports me every step of the way. It is wonderful that you are showing such support and care. You seem to all have come to realise the basic bottom line that ultimately the admittance and the change is up to your hubby. The one thing I have learned is I cannot be rescued even though i wanted this time and time again. I had to come to this place myself - but - encouragement and support along the way is so important. YES go the the Ga meeting- if they run like our meetings you will be a silent participant and not able to share. You will still get insight into the life and mind of the addict. It will also show you that you are not alone. I know there are also specific meetings for those who are affect by the gambling of their family members - ask about these at your GA meeting. It is important that you have somewhere to go just for YOU.
I say WHATEVER IT TAKES! - Thank you for sharing your stories and honesty. Bless you.

Hi Crystal, thanks for the update on Monday's meeting. Please know that I understand that you would feel anger at the meeting.

Sometimes it is like we are waiting for the 'cure' to fix a problem, there is a build up, then when we go, it is not what we expect, and it does not heal all of the pain that have been inflicted by over time... the lies, etc.

I am VERY glad your hubby is wanting to go to three meetings a week. Super news.

I do not know where on planet Earth you live, but, here is a web site that I found very helpful to me: Under "Resource" there are some newsletters I found very helpful.

Call the toll-free number 1-888-ADMIT-IT. Tell them you are a loved one of a CG. Ask them to mail to you the "Self help recovery workbooks." They will mail to you a packet... the packet contains several books. Workbooks for the CG and workbooks for the loved one of a CG.

They are very good workbooks. Written specific for each.

The ones for the loved-ones help you focus on things that HELP YOU!!!

Best of the day to you and hope to hear more from you. deb

I too, am a wife of a compulsive gambler. I'm here because I'm at the breaking point.

We've been married 10 years and have three children. I knew he liked to play cards when we met, but had no idea what it would've developed into.

We are both active duty military and 8 years ago we moved to Biloxi MS. We both went to the casinos...I like to throw the dice he like to play cards. We also went to shows...we had fun, but I was so naive and still am (you think I would have learned by now). I had no idea until I got a call from the credit card company asking about two $500 dollar charges...that was the beginning for me.

He controlled all the finances and I completely trusted him. He had drained our savings and maxed out credit cards. He would get the mail so I wouldn't see bank statements. He even gambled while I was in the hosital with meningitis while I was 7 months pregnant. I found that out when I was looking through the taxes (he did the taxes without me and just had me sign, like I said...naive). We were there 4 years and I was happy to leave. We took all the money we made from selling our house and put it towards his credit card debt.

We moved to Nebraska and I thought now that we're away from casinos he'll stop. My heart broke even more as I saw all the casino signs. 15 minutes away in Iowa were multiple casinos. This is when I found out about the lies. He was gambling when he told me he gone for a couple of days for work. We lived pay check to check and we could have lived comfortabley on his pay check and saved mine. This is also when the fighting got worst. I told him he needed counseling and we went to marriage counseling and he refered him to an addiction counselor and she reccommended I see her as well. We were seeing the same counselor seperately. The next session we were to meet together and I got sick and that was the end of that. He did go to a few GA meetings,, but according to him he's not like those people (ciminals, poor). In the mean time he took a second mortgage out and cashed in the IRAs. We were only there 3 years and he said once we get to Georgia everything would be OK.

So here I am in Georgia for the past year. Its only gotten worse. Its not just casinos any more. Over the years its spread to online gambling, dog tracks, all night poker parties, fantasy you name it, sports bookies. I did manage to finally convince him to give me his pay check and I take control of all the finances. I got the debt down to $16,000 and lost motivation when I found out about his secret bank account and loans. He just took his pay check back this week. I'm afraid he won't pay any of the bills. He sits in front of his computer all the time has some sort of fantasy sports on. All we do is argue. He blames me for his problem...if I wasn't such a b*t*h, he wouldn't be so stressed (gambling is his stress reliever). Or if I showed him affection he wouldn't gamble. He doesn't understand my heart is broken and all I have left is anger. I finally had my breakdown 2 weeks ago and told someone at work then went to the chaplan. I couldn't stop crying and could not go to work. When I told him that, he said I jepordized his career and should have taken the day off and called a 1-800 number for help.

So here I am today.

This is what I've learned:
If they don't want help no matter what you do will change them.

We've been married 10 years and have 3 children...I love him...But my heart is broken and I'm filled with anger, saddness and depression.

What do I do next?

Molly, hi. I am glad you found this site. While reading your post it was as if I was reading my very life.

I have been married to my husband for 17 years. In the last 9, close to 10 years now he has been gambling (poker). My experience is just as you describe, from the mailbox, to the hospital, to his blamming me for everything.

Do you work outside of the home? I didn't notice that in your post.

You asked now what?

Know for sure, you did not cause this nor can you fix the problem or your husband.

I can suggest some practical steps I've taken in the last year.

1) get a post office box, so you can intercept the mail. My PO box cost me $10/month - It has saved me thousands - I only wish I had done it 9 years ago.

2) go to a support group of some kind (I do not know what kind of flexibility you have with your children or your schedule)...

3) contact the GamAnon hotline for local information.

4) open a credit report with someone like Equifax for you... it cost $12.95/month with Equifax... you get free credit report yearly.

5) put a lock on your credit with someone like Eqiufax for you... it cost $2.00/month with Equifax... no one will be able to take out credit in your name.

Opening up to my family, my husband's family, a few of my friends, and a joining a women's co-dependent-type support group has been helpful for me this year.

Reading books on Co-Dependency, by Melody Beatty has been helpful as has this site... both helped me get my head out of the sand and realize the desparate situation my family is in.

Now that I've accepted the fact that I cannot change my husband, I am doing the things that I can to connect myself to people and protect myself and my son.

I wish I had reached out for help like I am doing now years ago... I would have saved my son and me some years of anguish (all of which my hubby would say are in my head).

Everyone here is very supportive. Please come here often. I wish I could reach thru the screen and give you a hug.

You more than likely have already been to the Gam Anon site but here is the link just in case:

Do what you need to do to protect you and your children... Your husband is in a fantasy world as you say... He is not capable of protecting any of you and he will not.

Hi JordansMomDebbie,

Glad to hear form you. I do work. I've been active duty in the military for 19 years. My husband has been in for 23 years. This also adds to the stress and decisions I make. I have thought many times about divorce, but being a single parent in the military is very difficult. We both travel and the biggest stress in my life is making sure my children are taken care of. My closest family in 1,000 miles away and I don't like leaving them with anyone for longer than a day.

I have tried many of the tips you suggested.

I get the mail first now most of the time. A PO Box would be difficult (another errand I would have to do).
I've been looking for a support group. The closest one is over 100 miles away. In my search I found this site. I am going to try to get more involved in church.
I had the credit watch gold family plan for 2 years, but my husband was unwilling to sing up so I could monitor his credit. He did get me a credit report back in November, but since then he has really gotten worse with getting loans.
I don't have any close friends or family I talk to. That's why I'm trying to get more involved in life for myself. I'm signing up for online classes. I looked into a pottery class on Saturdays, I can do this with my 2 older children. I don't have much time for myself with a crazy work schedule, cubscouts, and now baseball season is starting and all 3 of my children will be playing. But all this keeps me involved with life.
I'm trying to get a finacial plan. My husband drained our IRAs so I'm going to a finacial counslor to get a plan to start putting money in savings.

When I joined this site (Sunday) my huband was out doing whatever it is he does. But since then I haven't seen him on his computer and he seems to be trying to help around the house. I just hope its not a false front to keep me from leaving him. I've been down this road before.

Thanks for your support.

Molly, you are a very strong person. Military, 3 kids, kind hearted, etc. I know you will make it thru this.

My husband would come home from his job early and go thru the mail to intercept bills, my mail, etc., and then go back to work. That is how he got me for $15,000 last year before I knew it.

The neat thing I hear in you is you are active in many life supporting events (your job, the kids activities, and pottery).

You know, one thing you may consider is seeing if you can file with the court paperwork where you are not responsible for debts your husband incurs (this is permissable in Florida where I live). An attorney can tell you about Georgia law.

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