My husband has today told me that he has been gambling. After 18 months 'clean' he went and put a lottery bet on back in October, and then in the 4 months following this has managed to get two credit cards accruing thousands in debt.
He is full of remorse, saying I deserve better and he understands if I leave etc (not helpful given we have a 9 month old baby) he's apologising and saying he wants to get better but he knows he's let me down.
Almost 2 years ago he confessed to using credit cards to gamble, which I posted about at the time. We went through all the proper steps. I took control of the finances, he went to GA, we worked out a plan to pay off the debts and everything seemed okay. We had our first child in May, and since then, having other things going on, I didn't check in on him as much as I had been. I thought things were ticking along well. He stopped going to GA after the baby was born and kept saying he would go back but I just didnt think to push it. I kept askkng him every month how he was feeling, had he had any urges to gamble etc and he has lied, telling me he is fine no gambling, no slip ups etc. I just took his word for it. Didn't even think to question it.
Im upset and angry at him for doing this to me again, and im angry at myself for getting complacent, and not keeping up on the checks. I'd just been so distracted since the baby was born. I can't help thinking 'what if...'
He's at a GA meeting now. I've taken his cards and changed the passwords for his credit card accounts. Ive told him he has to tell his family (last time I agreed not to tell them as he was worried how theu would react) and he has agreed and already spoken to them (they have been supportive but you can tell they don't quite understand the severity of the situation).
He seems so broken I'm almost scared to get frustrated with him or upset for doing this to us, I don't want to make him feel worse and him end up feeling like there is no way out. He seems very stressed and down. Says his head is a mess and he cant think straight.
I'm not really sure why I'm posting. I just felt like I had to say something.. hoping there is someone out there who can offer some support or advice.
Abstaining through will power is hard. If the foundations are there he can gamble in his sleep like second nature. The day a magician comes up and says I can make you gamble normally again every gambler in this forum would most likely sign up to getting cured but that is not the case at the moment.
From your point of financial security, you need to be the one that holds all finances till you feel satisfied. Watch less TV or at least turn of the tv on the breaks so you avoid unnecessary gambling ads ( these are programing points) as they do more harm than you think.
Finally. Forgive and move on from this point. Guilt and bad conscious needs to make way for life. Look at the good things you have together and move on together. Finances come and go. This will pass.
Sorry to hear you are going through this shocking situation.
It must be extremely hard for you to have to come to terms with this unexpected situation especially with having a young baby in your life. You have every right to feel angry, disappointed, sad, fearful, anxious etc. I understand that it's very difficult to navigate a path going forward especially due to the fact that the trust has been broken.
I find it hard to read the bit of your post that says you are angry at yourself for not realising because you were busy with your baby. You are absolutely not responsible for his relapse and I really hope you have self worth/self value so that you do not become someone that is easily manipulated and taken advantage of in the future.
I believe it's important to look at this situation to learn what hasn't worked and try something different that might work better.
Please get emotional support through this because it's not all about the gambler suffering and please ensure that you have boundaries that protect you and your baby.
I hope posting on here has helped you release some emotions/feelings.
Thank you for your messages.
It has helped to vent a bit and your kind words mean a lot.
Things don't feel any better today though. Not sure I really knew what would happen but I was hoping after some sleep he might feel a bit better, a bit of relief that he'd done the hard bit of telling me. He has woken up saying he feels sick, like he can't breathe and his head his foggy etc. Its so strange to see him like this as he's not an emotional person. I've suggested he make a GP appointment if he's feeling like this (wondering if it could be anxiety?) But I'm not sure what they will do... I'm just worried about him really.
Also im not sure his Dad, who previously didn't know about this problem, is really helping as he is saying things like "you just need to be stronger" "just don't gamble" and I know its not as simple as that.
This time feels worse than the last, he seems mentally in a totally different place. He wants to get help and is very grateful for my support but its like he just can't think straight.
Feels like quite a lot to deal with right now, but I'll do my best to get some emotional support for myself.
A trip to the GP for him is in order. As much for your peace of mind as anything. Sounds like panic attacks which is quite understandable given the shock.
He is remorseful but you need to see some changes - is he doing this online or in bookies? There are options for him exclude. The lies come with territory here, you need the see that he has no avenues open to gamble.
You and your baby need to come first at this point, if you need some space then get some.
It's not surprising to hear that he's not good with expressing his feelings and emotions because if he was then he wouldn't be an addict.
I was an addict for 23yrs before becoming a psychotherapists/CBT therapist. My journey to recovery involved becoming emotionally literate and revisiting past traumas that had caused me to repress feelings/emotions and release them.
People with mental health issues and addiction problems tend to be people who over think and under talk and who are also not very emotionally literate when it comes to feeling and expressing.
His real recovery will involve him taking a leap of faith into vulnerability but if he doesn't do that then unfortunately no one can make him.
I really hope things work out for you all because you don't deserve to have to live life on the edge.
Your post is pretty much an exact repeat of the kind of things I was hearing second time round.
None of this is your fault but now you know you have some decisions to make. First off protect yourself financially to minimise any further potential damage. Once you've done that you have breathing space to see if he means what he says. You don't have to walk on eggshells. He's not the only one who's stressed and unhappy and it's understandable that you feel as you do. It's for him to take any anger on the chin. Mr L wasn't spared exactly what I thought.
His head might be a mess but he still needs to start on the essentials. Debt repayment advice, self exclusions, counselling (free from Gamcare) and regular and ongoing attendance at GA. No excuses. He'll get told straight by those who have been where he is. If he's serious about beating this he needs to get going.
@walliss77 wow starting recovery after 23 years must've been incredibly difficult, well done. I can't imagine him ever opening up about his emotions but I do agree it is key to recovery. He lost his mum as a teenager and while I didn't know him then, I have been told he didn't deal with his grief very well. Whether this has contributed to his problem or not I don't know, but I can't imagine it helps.
@lethe you are right, I do need to keep a bit of a level head and get those things sorted out. I want him to realise how much he has hurt me and how much disruption he has caused to our life, but I'm also conscious of his fragile state at the moment and concerned about making it worse.. is there a balance between support and 'tough love'?
@hertsc GP has signed him off for 2 weeks with the potential for medication if his state hasnt improved in a week. Hopefully it won't get to that stage though and a bit of time to come to terms with the relapse will do the trick. He is gambling through bookies. He travels a bit for work so is doing it inbetween meetings. So hopefully not being at work is a barrier in itself at this stage (though I am aware he needs to work so we will need to tackle this) I'm thinking getting him excluded from bookies (is there a way to do this online for a whole area or do you have to go to individual shops in person?) I have his cards and have changed the passwords to his online banking so he has no access to cash. Is there a way to set up something so I get alerts if he signs up for more credit?? Other than that I'm not sure what else to do.
I finish maternity leave next week and so am conscious that my time will be even more limited, I want to make this as manageable as possible for me but also want him to take some responsibility. How much of this can he do himself? It currently feels a bit like Its all on me.
My journey was incredibly difficult and the reason it took me so long to get to the real problem is because I tried all the easy routes that didn't work for me long-term (having no access to money, self excluding, being so busy that I had no time to gamble). All of these measures that I tried repeatedly only brought me temporary abstinence. I still had low self worth, controlling tendencies, an extremely low tolerance, impatience and was extremely restless irritable and discontent. I was surviving and not thriving and knew there was something more required to get the inner contentment and peace of mind that I saw others have.
Unfortunately not many take the painful emotional development journey that is required and therefore are frequently in and out of recovery.
Addicts are very stubborn and his journey is in his hands but try to protect yourself mentally and financially in case it doesn't go as well as hoped.
Thank you for sharing your situation with us all, I'm sorry to hear you and your husband are struggling due to the recent relapse with problem gambling.
It's good to see you're getting support from our forum community, please keep accessing the forum. You may also like to join our "affected others" chatroom that runs specifically for the Family and Friends of problem gamblers? It's open every Wednesday from 7pm until 8pm via our GamCare website so please feel welcome to come along to one of our sessions.
You can also access another online meeting for Family and Friends every Sunday evening from 8pm until 9pm via the below link:-
It's really good to hear that your husband has seen his GP for support with how he's feeling. Have you thought about seeing your GP to get support too if you've felt any changes to your own mental or physical health?
Please remember that none of this is your fault, rightly so all your attention and time has gone in to caring for your newborn child over the period of your maternity leave. Although you're a Family team unit and you support each other as husband and wife, you are not responsible for making sure your husband attends the GA meetings or for keeping him on track with remaining gamble free.
Relapses can happen, this doesn't take away all the hard work that you and your husband both put in over the previous eighteen months. It also doesn't mean that he can't achieve this again as long as he willing to accept he has a problem, reach out for help and make the lifestyle changes needed to overcome the problem gambling.
Would you feel safe and able to ask your husband to call us please so that we can support him further? We can make a free referral for counselling, talk about self exclusion from betting shops with The Multi Operator Self Exclusion Scheme (MOSES) and discuss everything else with him in more detail.
Please remember that you, your own wellbeing, health and support network is just as important as your husbands. It's vital that you talk to your support network and don't go through this alone, Family, Friends, our helpline and/or Netline and other support platforms such as the ones I mentioned above.
It may also help your husband and ease some of the pressure from you financially if he was to open a bank account that blocks gambling transactions and allows a limit to be put on the daily withdraw amount. There are a few banks that now offer this kind of account, the below one seems to be very helpful for many people.
You're bound to feel a mixture of emotions from the relapse and whilst problem gambling is something that your husband needs help and support with, it doesn't mean that you can't put firm boundaries in place. This is acceptable, it means you support him and his recovery but not the gambling if that's what you feel you want to continue doing.
This is a non-judgmental, safe place where we can talk things through further if you'd like to call our helpline on 0808 8020 133 or our Netline via our website for further support. We're open day and night.
You can also contact the below links for support and advice with debt and financial matters:-
https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/ - Advice with financial matters, debt, any options towards essential living costs and legal.
Sending you all the best.
I didn't see emotional support as my job and in any case I didn't have the energy for it. I needed all my energy for me and what I had to do to even begin to feel safe. Being too understanding leaves you open to further lying and manipulation.
Your husband (like Mr L) can get the support he needs at GA. He needs to identify and address the issues underlying his gambling which is where counselling and GA come in.