Helping someone to stop


I can only imagine the feelings you are having in regards to your husbands gambling. I myself am a compulsive gambler. It got so bad last year that I lost my house. This can get really bad, but can also be managed. I don't know how successful you would be in expecting support from your husband during this time. I think instead you should consider outside support from people that understand how you feel because they are in the same position.

Gam-anon is support group that you may want to consider going to. They usually hold the meetings at the same time and location of Gamblers Anonymous (GA). Gam-anon is for friends and family of compulsive gamblers. If your husband is serious about quitting he could go to the GA meeting while you are at Gam anon. I wouldn't pressure him into it though. To successfully quit gambling the gambler needs to be ready to do it. And it has to be on their time schedule. You may say "but he's lost so much already, he has to quit now". I understand those thoughts but when you are in the midst of the addiction, it is your first priority. I'm sure you know people that have tried to quit smoking, drugs, drinking or lose weight because someone else is pressuring them and it doesn't work.

They may quit smoking for a month or lose a few pounds, but ultimately end up right back where they started. I fear that if you look to your husband for support you will continue to be disappointed. And you are already so upset that adding on another problem to this horrible position you are in is not a good idea. Compulsive Gambling is a very serious issue! Most compulsive gamblers have attempted or seriously considered suicide. When you continue to disappoint yourself and others, it is very destructive emotionally. I considered suicide many times over gambling and I don't even have someone counting on me financially. I am not married so my money is mine to spend as I wish.

I can only imagine how much worse I would have felt if I knew I was upsetting someone along with myself. It's important for you to understand that your husband already feels horrible about himself. Like with any addiction there is more to the story than just the outcome of the addiction. When people become addicted to something it is because they need a fix to make themselves feel better. And in some cases that reason may go away but the addiction has already taken on a life of its own. I started gambling because I was not satisfied with my life. I was in [yet another] relationship where I chose to put him above myself. I gained a lot of weight and the casino was a safe place to go and get away. By safe I mean I didn't have to look good to be accepted and have fun. I could go in my big jeans and sit on my butt all night and no one bothered me.

Most women gamble to get away. And most men gamble to boost their egos. GA has a list of 20 questions that you might want to give to your husband. Let him answer them in his own head. The questions can be found on the GA website. They are questions like "have you ever lost time at work due to gambling". I answered yes to every single one of them and that was an eye opener!

Your husband is probably not going to want to talk to you about his addiction because it is so raw for you and you don't understand. He needs to talk with people that aren't going to be angry or hurt with what he says. He needs to be able to say "I lost $5000 in one night" and not have the person he is talking to think or say "O my god, I can't believe you did that". Last year I started dating a guy that I met (of all places) at a casino. He had a major gambling problem. He helped me see the severity of my addiction.

One weekend we went to Dubuque IA and stayed in a hotel right by the casino. All we wanted to do was gamble. Neither of us had as much money as we wanted considering we were going to gamble 3 days in a row. He ended up losing all his money right away and was desperate to get more. He borrowed some from me which I couldn't afford to lend him. And when that was gone he preceded to search his car for a credit card he could get a cash advance from.

He takes home over $1400 a week from work and has very little living expenses and he couldn't even get a $100 cash advance on a credit card. His desperation was really upsetting to me. I wasn't angry at him. I was sad for him and myself. I saw myself in him. There have been so many times that I have been in that same position and felt so horrible about myself. So many nights I drove home from the casino just wishing I had the guts to crash the car. Worried about how I was going to get through until my next pay check. Nervous that checks would bounce and I would have another bank close my checking account.

But the gambling addiction is so strong that once I had cash again I was driving up to the casino to lose it. That weekend I decided to quit. I ended up going to Gamblers Anonymous and as a result my boyfriend quit gambling! He has been a compulsive gambler since 1979! He would always say "you can gamble forever as long as you control your loses". To which I finally said "true, but I'm not controlling my loses. I'm going to Gamblers Anonymous instead". He says now that I saved him. The funny thing is though is that I had no intention of him quitting. I was going for me and me only. He has been more successful than I have. The longest I have abstained has been 6 weeks. He on the other hand has not been to a casino since May!!

Since October I have gambled twice. I am still planning on quitting altogether. I've not been happy with my set backs. Although they are so much less severe than they were before, I know if I say it's ok to gamble once a month I will end up going more. I have to continue to tell myself that I can not control it. I can control weather or not I go to the casino, but once I'm there I have NO control. It's the weirdest feeling. It's like when I'm there the outside world does not exist. I will take money out of the cash machine that I know is allotted for bills and lose it. I will spend every last dime I have, time and time again and yet continue to go.

Last time I was there I left with $150 but at one point in the night I was ahead over $1000. And the only reason I left is because the casino was closing. I left there at 4:00am and was supposed to work at 8:00am. I ended up calling in sick and lying to everyone about it. So even though I won money, it was still a bad experience.

I am trying to get you to see his side. That this is an addiction and if you can't support each other right now, then find support elsewhere. Take over the finances and get help.