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Gambing addiction

(38 Posts)
ToothFairyMary Mon 10-Nov-14 02:31:48

Can't sleep as feeling so stressed and worried.

DH has been playing poker for a few years now. When he first got into it he worked really hard to learn as much as he could and took it very seriously, playing in small online tournaments to start and slowly building up a pot of money. He was determined to understand how to play properly and really succeed.

I was initially concerned as I knew nothing about it and was worried about the gambling aspect, but he's always been very open about it. A couple of years ago he had a fairly big win, and paid off some credit card debt of mine. He did it willingly, but since then if I've mentioned a concern over his playing he has said things like 'oh but it's ok if I'm paying off your credit cards isn't it' so I've felt it hard to criticise.

We have gone through a very stressful couple of years with birth of dc2 and redundancy for both of us, combined with house moving stress/failure.

We are about to start a large building project and it is very stressful and worrying. We will be spending all of our (not unsubstantial) savings. However we are desperate for this work as have no space for our family and no chance of moving for the foreseeable future.

I've noticed DHs mood changing the last few months. We have been thorough a rough patch relationship wise. It escalated on Thursday when he got paralytic at a work do and forgot where he lived/lost his wallet so couldn't pay the taxi, was a complete mess. I had an important day on Friday so was really annoyed with him as my Dc ended up waking up so I only got a couple of hours sleep and he couldn't help me at all. On friday he then stayed after work and didn't get home til 8.30, when he was clearly drunk again.

Id been hoping to talk so was livid he could do this again, but it's so out of character I asked him what was going on and if anything was wrong.

Eventually he came out with it, he's managed to run up £4k on his credit card playing at poker clubs. He's been worried about telling me as he thought I would leave him.

This is obviously a blow in light of the work we are about to do.

But more than that I am so worried about the addiction side of things. I don't know how to handle it. He has said that he will not go to clubs at all any more, but still wants to play small tournaments at home in the meantime. He also wants to take on a second job to pay off the debt but this is pretty unrealistic in our current situation as his job is very intensive.

We will eventually be able to pay off the £4k but now I feel I can't trust him to put our family first. I'd like him to stop playing completely until it's all sorted but I realise if this is a true addiction it needs to come from him.

I feel sick about it all as his actions have such an impact on all of us. I'm also worried about his drinking which seems to be a bit of an issue since this (I'm assuming because of the stress). Alcoholism/addictive behaviour runs in his family so it's really concerning.

Has anyone been through this?

ToothFairyMary Mon 10-Nov-14 08:59:03


I feel so alone, there is noone I can discuss this with as I promised DH not to tell anyone. But he's also getting very defensive if I bring it up

BMW6 Mon 10-Nov-14 09:04:57

Yes, 28 years ago my boyfriend was addicted to gambling on horses. I tried to help him stop, ranted if he succumbed, tried to control the finances (we were living together). He told me he'd stopped, but was lying - the addiction was too strong.
He committed suicide. He was 23.

He needs professional help - you can't do it for him. Like any addict he will fool himself that he has it under control and that he will win money.

He hasn't and he won't, but until he realises this he will continue to lose money and try to win it back, only to lose more.

I'm so sorry, but until he has sorted this out I believe you need to be apart, for both your sakes.

Best of luck flowers

TheHermitCrab Mon 10-Nov-14 09:05:30

He needs to go to a gamblers meeting, or if not a group meeting, someone who can give advice, so he can see how it is affecting his life and those around him. Giving up the big stuff and only playing small will NOT work, the wins will not be enough for him when he does win and it will just escalate again.

The drinking will probably be linked, he was winning, paid things off for you, probably felt like he knew what he was doing and the debt was run up by trying to chase loss after loss. He needs to not focus on trying to make his debt into the wins he once had and trying to make easy money, and focus on realistic ways to improve his financial situation. Money rarely comes for nothing!

Really REALLY needs cutting at the bud, not just reducing. If he's fessed up to you that's a really good start.

Clearly you know it isn't him being himself, he needs to talk to someone.

(personal experience)

TheHermitCrab Mon 10-Nov-14 09:08:59

I don't agree with BMW6 I don't think you need to be apart if you can get him some real help, and he WANTS to stop. (although he probably won't in the first place if he just wants to cut down)

It's hard but love and professional and emotional support can help towards improving his situation and getting back to couple you used to be.

He's been selfish, and obviously it isn't your responsibility. But leaving him at this point may make his shitty situation even shittier, and give him no reason to change :/

AnyFucker Mon 10-Nov-14 09:10:13

He needs professional help, and you need support

Keeping his secrets is the wrong thing to do

BMW6 Mon 10-Nov-14 09:20:15

He's been worried about telling me as he thought I would leave him.

I had that when he first told me of his addiction. I loved him so much and reassured him that I wouldn't leave him.

He continued gambling and lying to me. If I could go back in time I'd tell him we would seperate while he got professional help, and when he was "fixed" we could try again. I'd also talk openly about it - his family knew, but didn't tell me. I knew, but didn't tell them (or my family). We all enabled him out of love, and lost him as a result.

ToothFairyMary Mon 10-Nov-14 09:40:54

The enabling is what I'm worried about. And that he still wants to carry on. I told him he should stop completely, at least until the money is repaid but he got upset about it.

I don't know how to broach this with him. Separating at the moment is very hard because of our housing situation. The building work is imminent and it will be chaos. That on its own is going to be very stressful and I literally don't know how we are going to get through this with the gambling worry on top

I don't know who to confide in. I get that he is ashamed about what's happened, but his mum knows he has been playing and expressed concern in the past. I kind of feel like her knowing may make him face up to it more than me. But His DF is v ill (terminal) and I don't feel I can put this extra stress on her

I will suggest he contacts gambling anon and stop completely. I'm scared he won't agree to it though. This has to come from him, I know.

He is seeming very very down and criticising himself a lot. It's scaring me.

AnyFucker Mon 10-Nov-14 09:53:15

Walkng on egg shells and being too scared to bring up these issues is
totally enabling

Him walking around with a hangdog face should not inhibit you. If you think he may harm himself if pushed to do the right thing, then even more reason that he must seek professional help

You cannot manage him, and he clearly cannot manage himself

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Mon 10-Nov-14 09:57:23

No I haven't been through this but suspect him thinking he can play at any level and control himself is being deluded. On top of this a drink problem could scupper his existing job let alone affect his ability to start a second.

As a side issue with a young family to consider and redundancy etc still in the recent past I would strongly counsel against using all your savings on a building project. Is it possible to scale back?

ToothFairyMary Mon 10-Nov-14 09:59:56

His actions have such an impact on our little family. This is why I'm scared to broach.

I know I need to be tough but I haven't been great mentally myself (pnd) and it feels like the walls are closing in on me

How do I insist he does this? Do I literally say he has to leave if not?

SuzanneSays Mon 10-Nov-14 10:05:05

Hi, there is support for you too, perhaps try contacting Gamblers Anonomous who can offer you advice as well as your partner?

ToothFairyMary Mon 10-Nov-14 10:07:27

I don't know about the building project, no chance of scaling back really. Perhaps we could hold back on part of it and at least keep a few grand in the bank. It does feel very risky as for years we've had our savings as a financial buffer, though even with redundancy we both found jobs v quickly so never needed it.

We have been working towards this for such a long time, we need more space desperately, and due to mortgage rules changing we will be unlikely to be able to move until dc2 gets cheaper childcare

Our house situation is part of the reason it's all been so stressful

I agree he needs to go cold turkey. Any kind of playing is normalising this.

We are so close to starting the build I feel such pressure to work out what to do. I wouldn't say his drinking is affecting his work though, it's the culture there that is partly responsible , it's like nothing I've ever seen before. Very unhealthy.

He has agreed to scale back from the work drinking.

God what a mess.

ToothFairyMary Mon 10-Nov-14 10:08:10

Thanks Suzanne.

I'll try and get a chance to give them a call. I'm desperately trying to not cry at my desk at work right now hmm

TheHermitCrab Mon 10-Nov-14 10:08:54

I will suggest he contacts gambling anon and stop completely. I'm scared he won't agree to it though. This has to come from him, I know

He is seeming very very down and criticising himself a lot. It's scaring me

You have no other option really but to be pushy. You need to explain to him that what is important in your relationship right now is you two and the child and not his hobby/habit/addiction.

That he HAS to stop, for the sake of all of you. And that you will be there for him, support him but ONLY if he takes the steps of professional help.

He will say it's not a problem that needs that much help, and that you are overreacting and he knows what he needs to do. But insist he sees a professional. There are helplines, chat rooms, one and one and group meetings, so whatever is is style, there is something to start from.

No excuses, he has to make it work. "Cutting down" shouldn't be his priority when your relationship and money is on the line.

As for the debt - 4k - reassure him it can be paid off - he'll be in a rut of thinking "one more win" could wipe the 4k and your the one stopping him.

It's rubbish, and just as much hard work for you as him, which isn't fair. But if you want to stay with him, and get the old him back, the work is hard. But he HAS to see that. If not, losing battle.


AnyFucker Mon 10-Nov-14 10:24:12

Making getting some proper support for you your priority not "if you get a chance" thanks

AnyFucker Mon 10-Nov-14 10:24:12

Making getting some proper support for you your priority not "if you get a chance" thanks

AnyFucker Mon 10-Nov-14 10:24:34

Make getting some proper support for you your priority not "if you get a chance" thanks

AnyFucker Mon 10-Nov-14 10:24:49

sorry, pc being silly

RunawayReindeer Mon 10-Nov-14 10:33:19

Hi, just wanted to say I have no time to post thoroughly but I have been living with somebody addicted to gambling for 7 years, so just marking my space until I have a spare 5 mins to chat a bit bettr

ToothFairyMary Mon 10-Nov-14 11:07:38

Thanks all for responding.

Reindeer I look forward to your message later

ToothFairyMary Mon 10-Nov-14 12:28:06

I think I'm going to have to go home. Trying not to vomit at my desk. Not sure why if it's just stress?

I've been reading other threads about DHs that have gambled and it's panicking me. I don't want to think this night spell the end for us as I love him. But I can't enable him

I've just remembered that during my hospital stay for DC2 (CS) he was pretty much attached to his iPad playing. Even when I was in the hdu after blood loss.

I remember it making me feel so empty inside but I blocked it as I wanted to feel happy about the birth of my child. So I suppressed the feeling

It's just not normal is it hmm

Is there any positivity in the fact he chose to confess rather than me discovering it?

TheHermitCrab Mon 10-Nov-14 12:37:11

I think there is a lot of value in is confession instead of you discovering. The confession shows he's thinking about his actions and the negative effects they are having, and may be a step in him wanting to get help.. xx

AnyFucker Mon 10-Nov-14 12:47:21

Yes, there is value in him coming clean rather than getting caught before it spiralled completely out of control. Hopefully, this is the extent of the financial trouble.

It bodes well from that POV, but I would be extremely concerned that he thinks he can continue to play and keep control of it. This is the crux, love.

Meirasa Mon 10-Nov-14 13:16:34

I am married to a man who is a gambling addict.

It has not always been easy but we have managed to make it work. Primarily because he admits he has a problem and works with me rather than against.

This is how we made it work:
We have a joint account and then I have a private one. I check them religiously every day. I question everything. He knows it and expects it and it becomes rare.
All receipts are given to me.
He attends GA when he needs too or if I suggest he should go- lets say something bad has happened and I feel he needs to.
I am in charge of our finances out of necessity rather than any great desire and will always have to be.

I love my husband, we have a great marriage and thankfully his addiction is not the whole of us and him. I was lucky enough to marry a man, who's greatest flaw is this but his good points make up for it so much that it wasn't worth walking away from him. I made a choice. Considering his debts were 178K in total in 6 months by the time of my finding out, we had a lot of work to do, especially in dealing with his childhood issues which led him to arcades and they because his safe place- later online gambling :-(

I can honestly say this won't work out well for the vast number of people married to a gambling addict, but there is hope if sees he has a problem and he want's to help himself, however it did take an awful lot out of me- it was really hard work and it took a long time to forgive what he had done. I view it as he was ill and needed help. I would not do this at the cost of a child though.

He has relapsed twice, come to me twice and luckily the amounts of money were small and even smaller. So it hasn't been perfect but it's been a good 3 years.

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