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Divorce During Recovery



I am a compulsive gambler. I have gambled nearly every day for the past 25 years. I already destroyed one marriage due to gambling and now my second marriage is heading for divorce. I have been in recovery for eight months (GA and counseling), but because of a slip, I had to reset the date of my last bet. I am currently at 92 days gambling free. 

Here’s my issue. I want to remain married to my second wife. We have a child together, and I want to build a gambling free life together. I have taken significant steps forward in recovery and have improved my relationship skills. However, my wife filed for divorce anyway. She says that she cannot forgive me; that I am too risky to remain married to; she cannot trust me again; and that I should not have married her in the first place knowing that I was a gambler and hid it from her. Basically, she is really angry and bitter. We have been married for two years, together for three. 

What makes me angry is that now that I am finally admitting and addressing my issues, she is still going to leave? I am finally getting help, doing the right things, and doing everything I can to salvage the marriage, and she still cannot find the courage to stay. Someone in GA told me that it is courageous for her to leave me and divorce me. I responded by saying that I believed it would be more courageous for her to stay with me. This situation really does make me angry (and is a trigger to gamble, which thankfully I have not done). But if recovery is supposed to change the life of the gambler and everyone around them who subsequently suffered as a result of the gambling, then why can she not see that our lives are improving and abandoning me (us) now is the absolutely wrong thing to do? 

Thanks in advance for reading (and responding). 

This topic was modified 2 weeks ago by njd1115
Topic starter Posted : 22nd June 2022 7:51 pm

Hi njd115,

For sure recovery is for changing the life of a CG. Whoever told you that recovery changes the live of those around us who've suffered ?. Here's the truth, we come here because we've reached rock bottom so my question is this. Why should their rock bottom coincide with ours. 

Finding the courage ?. Finding courage is the CGs job, finding wisdom to stop is a CGs job. I truly hope your story has a happy ending & you can rebuild relationships & salvage your marriage. Abandoning ?, CGs abandon everything in life that's precious in order to finance the next bet. The only advice I can give is to say this is YOUR addiction not hers. Own it, deal with it. Actions speak louder than words.

Sincere Best Wishes



Posted : 22nd June 2022 11:39 pm

Hi Njd115

All the best on your journey to seek a GF live. I can’t tell my wife the true extent of my gambling as I know I would lose her and rightly so. A compulsive gambler is a hard thing to change and gain trust back in. We can hide everything so well and cause drastic circumstances. We have the demon inside and I believe gambling is all about luck. That’s why you never see a poor bookmaker as your luck runs out eventually. Actions speak louder than words. You have just got to do the right thing and become GF and prove how much you want to change. My wife hates me gambling and has a rough idea i have had problems with it in the past. Stay GF my friend and I really hope things work out for you. 

Posted : 23rd June 2022 11:49 am

@njd1115 Thanks for posting. It’s an interesting thought process that I’ve had myself. If I’m doing the right thing now then why don’t those around me forgive me and get back to normal. Unfortunately it’s sometimes too late and it’s as simple as that. How many times did you promise to sort yourself out to keep her happy and then done it again? Some partners never leave and have a life of misery. Some last 10 years like my wife and finally have enough. Yours has clearly thought threes years is plenty.

As a long time GA member, one of the biggest mistakes I see is people coming to GA because they are trying to keep others happy and use that as an excuse when it doesn’t go their way. If you do this for yourself because you’ve had enough maybe you’ll stop being selfish. The orange book says watch for selfishness and strive for selflessness. 
If you love your wife do the selfless thing and let her decide her own future. It’s a very brave thing she’s doing. Will she be happier? It’s up to her to decide, not you.

You might actually get her back in the long term because you’ve acted with her interests at heart, not your own, but you might not. Think of the serenity prayer. The answer is in there. Keep doing the right thing because it’s the right thing to do rather than because it gains you something.

I know it’s not what you want to hear but maybe it’s what you need to hear. 
Good luck in your recovery.


Posted : 23rd June 2022 4:58 pm

Hello njd and welcome.

Yes we understand its hard but this is what a gambling illness will often lead to

Every time I gambled I put my dignity, my time my self respect, my mental health and my relationships in the slot. 

You are an ill person trying to get better and not a bad person trying to be good. The focus must be on recovering from this illness and you will naturally then be in a better position

If you don't love yourself nobody else will do that for you

Your partner has made a decision. I presume you have talked about it and have some understanding of her reasons.

Gambling affects the lives of everyone close to you in some way. It's not an isolated activity as firstly the symptom is money and then all the stress depression and anxiety that filters through you to others

It's a devastating addiction and progressive illness that can empty bank accounts in seconds

I Realise now that I was secretive because in no way was I proud of the activity and what I had done. I defrauded my parents over years and only now am I making reparations to them with a healthier relationship. 

If any relationship with a girlfriend gets serious I tell them of my past issues so I can be monitored and they know. It helps me be open and honest.

I don't want full trust again when compared to this addiction. I can never be complacent again and the result is that I give my parents a report of my finances on a regular basis. Nobody lends to me without cash security as I saved money during recovery in a protected fund....bottom line is I pay my way. We discuss financial reparation and agree its probably for the best that I did not affect a wife and kids

Hard as it is, if you love somebody set them free to make that decision.

Gambling is a vice and a mugs game. Its a highly addictive drug addiction and indeed an illness. It feeds off other conditions like stress and anxiety and then they all work off each other in a vicious spiral downwards

I understand the decisions of gamblers partners......they get a very rough ride. 

I feel your future is showing people you are better from the illness with an organised life. Reality checks are actually what you need, hard as they may seem

Best wishes for a gamble free future.

This post was modified 2 weeks ago 2 times by Joydivider
Posted : 24th June 2022 12:26 am


Every time I gambled only indicated that I had certain emotional triggers and that I could not cope with how I felt with I myself.

Every time I gambled was a form of escape from reality.

I was an emotionally vulnerable person trying to escape into a dream world which did not exist.

Stay focused on your recovery and understand you are not evil bad or stupid you are just emotionally vulnerable. 

Once you love yourself you will be able to love other people.

You will find in your recovery that in the past we transferred our pains fears and our frustrations on to the very people we were supposed to love.

Sadly, your partner has made a decision and even though people will think you are the unhealthy person there was a reason your partner married you.

Sadly, your partner is unable to heal from the pains of her past.

The Gambling addict betrays people trust.

The Gambling addict causes their partner to live in pain and fear.

The Gambling addict adversely affects the lives of everyone around them.

When in action the Gambling addict lives in guilt and shame and the pains become so over whelming.

I was secretive because I knew what I was doing was very unhealthy and I went against my own conscience.

The recovery program is about healing our pains including the pains of our hurt inner child.

The recovery program helped me become proud of who I am today.

I would say or do anything to get money to stay in action and on the adrenaline rush.

In time your partner will hopefully find healing of her pains before she met you and during your shared times.

Gambling is a self-destructive unhealthy habit.

We not only hurt our self, but we hurt people around us.

The stress and anxiety are all fear based issues.

The pains of my past caused me to live in fears I did not understand.

Please stick with your recovery you are worth it.

Love and peace to everyone.

Dave L

AKA Dave Of Beckenham UK


Posted : 24th June 2022 8:21 am

Thanks for the insight, everyone. I have been pondering all of your words and compared them to my original post. 

My original post reeks of selfishness. I sound like someone who is only in recovery to gain something from someone else. I don’t quite understand this recovery yet. When I first started I believed the whole point was to save and/or repair all of the relationships I ruined, including my marriage. Those I see in GA have basically said the same things you all have here. I will continue in recovery (tomorrow is day 100). As for my marriage, Chris said is best, her happiness is for her to decide, not for me to decide. It’s a tough pill to swallow that I will no longer be a part of her life, but she didn’t cause this mess. I did. Anyway, thanks for the replies. 

Topic starter Posted : 30th June 2022 4:14 am

@njd1115 100 days is a great achievement. I’m sure you have the blue book, towards the first 90 days, and I’m also sure you were told in GA to just give it 90 days. I say the same thing to new members and then decide what life you prefer, with gambling 90 days ago or without now?

I know life hasn’t magically fixed itself but keep doing what you’re doing. In some form or other if you stay away from gambling then life will get better. Talk in the room or on here, share how you are getting on and keep trying to be a better person one day at a time.



Posted : 2nd July 2022 2:45 pm


Good for you 100 gambling free days is a great achievement.

When I walked in to the recovery porogram I was not able to talk about my pains and how vulnerable I was.

But over time I was able to learn how to articulate my feelings and emotions.

Part of the healing porces is talking about it.

Once I was aable to listen to and share my therapies and talk about my past I opened up more.

People will often think or say all you have to do is stop gambling really do not understand how vulnerable we are.

The important thing told to me no matter when your last bet was keep going to meetings.

There were a lot of unhealthy things done to me in my life.

For me being in the recovery porogram I understood that I was a survivor.

It will be your choice to decide that gambling is unhealthy for you.

That by me gambling I made things much worse than they were.

Just for today I will not gamble just one day at a time.

In time literature helps but for me sharing with people who have been through the painful healing journey seemed so much more calmer and at peace.

The last thing I want to do in my life today is gamble.

I do not want to lie to myself or any one else.

Love and peace to everyone.

Dave L

AKA Dave Of Beckenham UK

Posted : 2nd July 2022 5:34 pm
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