This is my first post and I'm unsure what I'm going to gain from this, but I have no one in my life who is going through the same or has any experience of going through the same so I suppose I am just hoping to feel like I'm not the only one in the world going through this.
My boyfriend of 4 years is a gambling addict and is in 20k+ debt because of online gambling. He has had many a relapse which has got him to this point but around a year ago he came clean about his total debt and stopped.
Once he had stopped for a while he decided that he was past the difficult part and that because he is a keen football fan, he will just football bet and exclude from all other forms of gambling. I was concerned but I cant control him football betting and I didnt want to give an ultimatum. I'm sure people will think 'but that's still gambling' but he made a very good argument about how football betting is very different to slots and casino and is just a hobby and not linked to the king of gambling he has a problem with. I wasnt convinced but, there you go. I was naive and not wanting to lose him. I was sure he would choose football betting over me.
Low and behold this week I found out that for the past 5 weeks he has been betting again on slots etc. Confronted him and this was not easy, especially as we are now tied financially and I cant believe he would risk everything knowing it could impact me and his family financially. We have argued, cried, fought etc constantly over the last few days but he still remains adamant that football betting was never the problem and that he wants to continue to do it.
He has now said that he will stop all betting (a promise he has made previously) but does not accept that football betting is an issue. That in itself suggests to me that he inevitably will end up doing it again because he doesnt see it as an issue. And also I just dont understand how he cant see that it ALWAYS without fail leads back to a complete relapse. It always has.
Does anyone else have experience with a partner who refuses to accept certain elements? Is it denial or am I wrong? Can people 'just bet on football' and not spiral back into a gambling frenzy?
I blame myself everytime because I always say I will leave if it happens again. I know that is wrong because it's an illness but I always end up hurt and my life is important too. Just as important as his recovery. I do not want to leave but I do think my life will be a continuous cycle of this happening. I am not strict enough and I dont push him enough to get help. His mum had leant him 17k to pay off some debts (unsurprisingly this all happened not long after) and I feel like I have an obligation to tell her that this has happened because although he says he would never let it happen, him gambling now affects her not just me.
He also lied even when I said I had seen his history and I think I never realised before how convincing a liar he was, and that is scary.
Sorry if any of this seems harsh like I'm dismissing that this is an illness and just feeling like a victim.. I am relatively naive to gambling addiction and I think that's a huge part of the problem.
I'm sorry to hear that you are going through this with your boyfriend.
I really relate to what you are describing with you boyfriend trying to justify his continued gambling. I used to say to my wife that if I stay away from casino/slot games then it's harmless fun. The problem was that the football didn't give me the constant anticipation, adrenaline that slots would with their quick spinning cycles.
Addiction is an emotional illness that doesn't happen without cause/necessity. The key to long-term recovery is for him to get the professional help to find out what is driving his addictive tendencies and work on the areas of his mental health that are lacking. If he doesn't get to the root of the problem then at best he will be a busy-aholic who suffers boredom who feels restless, irritable and discontent and at worst he will take himself and everyone around him to the depths of despair with his addiction/s. I'm not saying this to scare you but to give you my beliefs based on my experience in recovery.
I also understand how you want to take care of him and help him but there is a fine line of helping someone who is helping themselves and someone who is saying all the right things whilst destroying everyone around them (manipulation).
My 23 yrs as an active addict and 8yrs as a psychotherapist has taught me that you can't believe what you are being told by someone in active addiction. I don't believe in any way that addicts want to lie. It's a necessity that is driven by a poor sense of self and the need to feel good from the Neuro chemicals that addictive behaviour brings.
Please use the support that gamcare offers to set boundaries that will protect you from emotional and financial harm.
Hi... I am a compulsive gambler and a certainly wouldn't live with one.
Firstly gambling is gambling is gambling. Your boyfriend is in denial. Some gamblers develop a hierarchical mentality and that certain forms of gambling are somehow different from other forms of gambling because there is a "possible" element of skill or deductive reasoning involved. This usual means that you have stock market, spread betting, card games at the top and then slots and lottery play at the bottom, clearly games of "luck" only. But the bottom line is that its all just gambling and all compulsive gamblers ultimately reach the same place... financial ruin and personal misery. Don't entertain all this nonsense that he's coming out with. he's a gambling addict just like I am. Full stop.
Below is some information that i have copied and pasted... about the mind of an action gambler, that maybe of some interest and incite and help you to think about the way forward...
many "action" gamblers are domineering, controlling, manipulative men with large egos. They see themselves as friendly, sociable, gregarious and generous. Their average IQ is above 120. They are energetic, assertive, persuasive and confident. Nevertheless, they usually have low self esteem. Historically, they started gambling at an early age, often in their teens, by placing small bets on sporting events or playing cards with friends or relatives. They progress through the four phases of the compulsive gambling disorder over a ten- to thirty-year time span.
action compulsive gamblers prefer "skill" games such as poker or other card games, craps or other dice games, horse and/or dog racing and sports betting. These types of gamblers dominate legal and illegal sports betting. They gamble to beat other individuals or the "house." They often believe they can develop a system to achieve this goal. During the desperation phase of the disease, action gamblers many begin to gamble specifically for escape, medicating the pain they are feeling from the destruction created by their gambling with the narcotic-like effect of slot machines.
The above may explain why your boyfriend may start with football betting but end up on slots.
All the best with whatever you decide to do.
P.s I only gamble on slots. I am purely an escape gambler and have the complete opposite personality profile.