I hope you’re all keeping safe and well. I haven’t written on the forum for a while so here I am!
When my partner confessed to me last year I was obviously very upset and went online to try to learn as much about the addiction as humanely possible. One of the things that was so difficult for me then was I rarely found a ‘success’ story from the perspective of the partner/family of the gambler. Now as I always say, living with a recovering gambler is a lifelong commitment and all compulsive gamblers are just potentially 1 day away from the next bet. So it’s really difficult to know what a ‘success’ story sounds like – CGs (and families) can never be complacent ever. However I just think that a positive story from the perspective of the partner/family can possibly provide some hope especially to those who are just at the beginning of learning about the gambling addiction of a loved one.
When my partner confessed to me, it was like an out of body experience. I felt like my life was turned upside down. I can still remember all the emotions – betrayal, disbelief, sadness, hopelessness, isolation and failure. But after seeking support and learning more about the addiction, I also eventually felt that there’s hope. There is hope if the CG is committed to fight the battle and is committed to work with you on what will give you the peace of mind and sense of security you deserve. I always tell my partner that I will be with him to support him all the way (relapses and all) if he continues to be committed to fight the addiction. If he just gives me excuses and I don’t see hard work then I cannot support him. It will break my heart but I won’t stay if he’s not willing to do the hard work.
My partner is almost 1 year into abstinence/recovery. He’s on the step 4 of the 12 step programme and has been consistently working hard to keep to the straight and narrow. This time last year, he said he wouldn’t have had any money to even buy his own sandwich at work. Now I can say we are in a good and comfortable position. He pays off his dad monthly (and will do so for the next 4 years), contributes to our savings (kept in my account) and we have also recently moved in to our first property. Don’t get me wrong, of course we got financial help from his parents to be able to afford the house but if this happened when he was gambling, the gifted monies of course would have just quickly evaporated. I have also seen a big improvement in how he views life in general although he still tends to be a bit pessimistic and lacks confidence at times (progress not perfection as they say).
The main thing that worked for us is his commitment not only to the GA programme but also his commitment to do what makes me comfortable and gives me peace of mind. It isn’t an easy journey of course, we have the quarrels that are normal in a relationship but we try out best to always improve our communication. I never felt closer to him like I do now and really feel like we have a much stronger bond. Also as I always read questions about trust, ‘how can you be with someone you don’t trust?, my answer is yes I don’t trust my partner with money matters and I don’t think I ever will. However, I trust him in all other aspects. And I can live with that.
This is what we currently have in place which so far is working for us:
GA – This has been his life saver. He has an amazing sponsor and he is currently doing the 12 step programme. He attends a meeting either via Zoom or in person twice weekly and writes a gratitude list every day.
Gamstop – we both signed up to gamstop for 5 years and we both agreed that this will be renewed and we should be signed up for life. I don;t gamble but read on here that it's a good idea to get myself signed up as some gamblers will use the account of the partner.
Monzo banking – I have access to his banking and the app is installed on my second phone. I get notifications for all his banking transactions. He’s enabled the gambling block on. The bank requires a 48 hr cooling off period if he deactivated this block. I check it every day so will pick this up if he did. He knows he can’t withdraw cash unless absolutely required for which he needs to provide receipts. He has no credit card. A good advice I got from here is to watch out for unusually high amounts of ‘legitimate’ transactions (for example, he may offer to pay for a colleague’s lunch in exchange of cash) and so far I haven’t noticed this.
Credit report – I access his credit report almost every day to look out for any credit searches as this could mean he applied or tried to shop around for loan offers which is obviously a red flag. I also regularly check if he opens a secret bank account where a loan can be paid into. I find that the best credit agency is creditkarma because it reflects the searches quickly but Experian is good too. These checks may not work for others but I feel like doing this gives me peace of mind, it's for my own mental health and I don't consider it as a task.
Family support – I am glad that his parents are on board with this especially his mum who used to enable him his addiction in the past. They know they must never give my partner cash. I also give his dad monthly updates via whatsapp as he requested.
Gamcare forum - I learned so much on here. Lots of really 'educational' posts and very practical tips and advice. I keep on learning and I am very grateful.
This has become a really long post, thanks for reading up to here. I hope this has provided a glimmer of hope to those partners who are just beginning their journey. I would like to highlight that the gambler needs to lead on his recovery, needs to be committed 100% and as partners all we can do is support. I am not claiming that we are a success story but I feel like we are heading towards the right direction. I wish you all the best especially those partners who recently just found out about the gambling addiction.
Keep safe and well,
Thank you so much for writing some hope on the forum. I’ve only been accessing the forum recently. Have to say some of the posts left me feeling without hope for the future. I am glad that things seem to be on the right track for you both. I am feeling at the start of the journey and hoping we can end up in a good place too. I am the wife of a gambler and been hoping to speak to someone in a similar situation.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts
Sorry it took a while for some reason i may have overlooked the notification that there’s a new reply to my post.
You are most welcome and I am glad you found some hope in my post. My partner continue to work hard and for this we are both grateful.
How are you and your husband doing? I don’t think i can message you directly here but happy to chat if you need someone to talk to.
Thank you for coming back to update us on how you and your partner are doing. It's great to hear that you're both doing well and thank you for sharing what's helped you both. Your feedback is so vital for others.
Best wishes to you both,