Support us

Guidance from a recovering gambler  


I am hoping someone can provide me with the inspiration.  

My husband and i have been together for nearly 20 years, we have two young boys and have survived together through some very difficult situations - including gambling debts on 4 other occasions.  Myself and my parents have paid off the previous debt which although at the time I thought was the worse thing ever, looking back the amounts were reasonable for us to cover. 

I lost my mum last year after an 8 year battle with cancer, at the beginning of her illness my husband finally admitted to having gambling debt - we sorted it and moved on.  Our first son was born 7 years ago and he promised that he wouldn't do it again.  He was a fantastic support during the whole 8 years of my mum's illness and more so in her last few months.

I had to return to work full time due to him having difficulties finding a job following a redundancy, it was planned for me to return to part time work after a year.  He managed to secure a part time role back in September and we don't seem to have evolved from there. I have been very fortunate to have been offered a promotion at my work and to reduce to 4 days for the same salary i am earning now. 

However he dropped the bombshell two nights ago that not only has he got debt of £18k, he has also stolen from his work a further £12k which he doesn't have the funds to return.  I have taken a loan to cover the £12k for his work but to say i am devastated is an understatement. 

As the main income provider he has increased our outgoings by £800.00 a month let alone if he has to pay the consequences of his actions and a possible jail sentence.  Not only will he have no career he will also have no means of earning money to pay what he owes. 

I don't know the man that has done this and i feel like it is an imaginary being.  I love my husband very much but i feel like i have been sacrificed by him with no second thought. I want to help him as i know that is what he needs but i don't know if i have the strength that he requires from me.  Plus whats the guarantee he isn't going to put me in this position again?

He feels very guilty now and ashamed but if the worse comes to the worse i will have to work two jobs just to ensure i don't lose our house and our boys don't suffer.  I think the difficult part i am struggling with is whatever decision i make includes a decision that will effect my children and they will have no say.

I would be very interested to hear some of the views of a gambler that has been in this situation and what i can do to help him and what i need to do for him to help himself.  



Posted : 5th September 2019 10:43 am
Posted by: B22024


I would be very interested to hear some of the views of a gambler that has been in this situation and what i can do to help him and what i need to do for him to help himself.  

Unless you have already paid the £12k to his work, I would suggest you don't. Why bail him out (again) ?

Did you pay it to his work, or did you give it to him ?

Do not - I repeat do not believe a single word he says. If he says its raining, step out the from door and check. He will lie and lie and lie.

He needs to go to Gamblers Anonymous & his problems are that bad that he needs to go to multiple meeting a week for at least a year. He needs to make it a lifetime commitment.

What can you do to help him ?

Check all his credit reports & do so regularly. Are his debts really £18k plus £12k - its probably more.

Forget about helping him (maybe bus fare for GA meetings), look after yourself.

Go to GAMANON yourself for advice and support.


And consider this.


If you were my daughter or sister my honest advice would be to consider ending marriage. Sorry if that seems brutal.

Posted : 5th September 2019 4:31 pm

Believe me you are doing him no favours by bailing him out yet again. As a gambling addict over the years I have been fortunate to have been bailed out by my family. In true hindsight I used and abused the fact that I knew they would do it again.  Until I came to realise that I had to take responsibility for my actions. I adore my family they really are my world, yet they were until now never considered, when I gambled. The harsh truth is you need to tell him to man up, get a job and pay off his own debts. Agree to contribute towards any debts that would impeed you and your kids lives. Mortgage, essential bills etc. As for any thing else he has to deal with it. Most importantly he needs to want to stop gambling, and seek help. I have learnt the hard way and I know I am on last chance saloon with my husband and my children. My husband now has full control over all finances, and believe me it's hard on both of us. He has to give me a daily allowance which in it self is degrading. He also checks what I say I have spent. Which is a crazy but necessary way to live. He needs to know you love him but also you have had enough. There is a true saying that you have to be cruel to be kind. In dealing with a compulsive gambler that is so true. If he says it is Wednesday I suggest you look at a calendar. Check and double check everything. Gambling turned me into a liar a thief and a horrible person to live with. I wish you luck with everything and hope you can sort everything out. Give him the details of the nearest GA meeting, don't give him ultimatums, let him choose what he does  with it. Actions speak louder then words. Good luck and there will always be someone on here to talk too.

Posted : 5th September 2019 9:41 pm

Thank you for responding to me. 

I am trying at this moment not to make any hasty decisions and to fully understand the situation. 

Its clear that their are mental health issues associated to a gambling addiction. 

I haven't given him any money but for the sake of my children his work needs to be sorted. As for the other debt which is in his name I don't want to take this on. 

He is asking for help and that's a step in the right direction. He contacted gam care and disabled all his accounts before he told me. He has a doctors appointment next week to deal with the issues that he uses gambling to escape from. 

His brother has gone down the same path over that past few years and I can't help but think there is something connected. As I said we have been through some very difficult situations, he lost his brother at 25 and his dad 6 months later, now my mum. This seems to be his trigger.

My mum played a big guidance role in his life and the gap with her not being here for both of us is massive. 

Of course I will prioritise my children but I also want to be able to tell them that I explored all avenues before deciding to walk away. This is a huge decision and one my children have no say in but who will probably be the most effected. 

Posted : 6th September 2019 7:08 am

Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. You have no idea how much it means to me that despite your situation you have been generous to reach out.

He had contacted gamcare before he told me and put a stop on all the betting accounts.

Despite what he has done, a part of me cannot help feeling that it is not comparable to murder or deseveres for him to take his life to pay for his actions. 

I am sad that rather than deal with the struggles he was facing in reality together, he chose a fantasy world to escape too.

I will stand by him as long as he is putting in the effort to right the wrongs. I have seeked marriage counselling as I feel a part of his recovery is for me to be able to understand and for us to work on being able to support and trust each other again. 

He will also start the treatment sessions with gamcare both 1-1 and the group sessions. 

Whilst I am happy to work with him for his finances I am not happy to do it all for him. I will of course ensure my finances are well protected. 

I believe that he is telling me the truth, when he came clean regarding the amounts, I will know tonight for sure when I log on and check through everything. He still has money in his account so I'm pleased he managed to ask for help before spending everything. 

I haven't asked him at this stage as to what the stake amounts were or what his biggest loss or win was. I think I will put him in a position to lie to me so I would rather he worked this through with the counsellor first.

I know he is not a bad person and I know that he didn't think about his family when in the moment of doing what he has done. 

I hope he is true to his word with all my heart, time will tell. 

I wish you all the best with your situation and hope you stay strong to achieve your goals xx

Posted : 6th September 2019 9:43 am

Hi... I echo much of what has been said. I would imagine that your husbands remorse is genuine. I would also imagine that he wants to make things right??.... but here is the rub. For the gambling addict...

"gambling can seem like the solution as well as the problem"... Its the only addiction where you could possibly say this.

The addiction feeds on money not alcohol, not heroin, not food... but money!! Your husband thrives on being in action. From my own experience its a real buzz when you win a bunch of money for seemingly doing nothing. When ive won a months salary for half an hour in the bookmakers I start to think.. "well whats the point in working" But of course the more you continue playing the game the more you get sucked in. The more you get sucked in the more start to lose the value of money. Money  becomes tokens to carry on being in the game... and you become only partially aware of the consequences of what you are doing and when you do start to appreciate what you have now done you start to feel desparate to get back what you have now gambled away. Eventually you only gamble to escape the consequences of the gambling. It becomes more about escape than anything else.

Personally I can understand why you paid that 12k... it may reduce the chances of your husband going to prison. But as others have said from a purely recovery point of view it was a mistake. And I am talking about your recovery here. If you don't follow of path of self-protection for you and your children, you may end up in the gutter with your husband. It sounds melodramatic but thats where it ends... your husbands gambling brings you both down.

I hope this incite helps a little.. regards.. S.A 

This post was modified 11 months ago by S.A
Posted : 6th September 2019 11:12 am

Your honesty is amazing and it has truly given me an insight to how he feeds this addiction.

I haven't done anything as yet with the work money. I have asked him to come to me with a plan on how he is able to rectify this. 

Tonight for me will be the make or break. I am going to look at his spending habits and I pray he has told me the truth. If he has this is a massive step and shows some of the respect I deserve from him.

I will put in place boundaries to protect myself and I have ensured I can keep a roof over my children's heads. This I have not shared with my husband. I want to encourage him rather than deflate him.

I have some inspirational captions that I will put up at home for us both to keep focused on. 

Posted : 6th September 2019 12:26 pm

Good luck for tonight and try to stay as calm as you can in the situation. But please don't take all the burden on your shoulders as this will just encourage him not to take responsibility for his actions. 

Posted : 6th September 2019 5:49 pm

I will, thank you for caring xx

Take care of yourself also 

Posted : 6th September 2019 6:09 pm

I am a former partner of a gambler. Can I ask why it is yourself that feels the need to take on a second job to clear his debts and not him? 

Posted : 2nd October 2019 10:33 am
Share this page

Please Login or Register