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How to support a gambler‘s recovery  


My brother has been gambling for at least 10 years, since he was in his late teens. In the past, I made the mistake of lending him money e.g. for his bus ticket to work and he has even forged my signature to get a loan in my name for him. I have lost plenty of money as a result of his gambling. My mum and I have taken it in turns in the past to manage his finances  so that he has as little access to it as possible. He used to ban himself from gambling venues but would always find a way to gamble. Fortunately, for the last few years, my mum and I have taken a back seat with all this as he seemed to get things under control when his partner made it clear she wouldn‘t tolerate it. My brother is still with the same partner and now has a 1 year-old. He did go for about 2 years without gambling but has secretly been doing it again for over a year. I spoke to him today, in which it was clear that he knows he needs to change/stop gambling but he doesn‘t want to. He thinks that he needs to start by telling his partner and that he will  somehow stop gambling by himself. I can imagine the lies and secrets are hard to bear for him. Has anyone got any advice on how he could go about telling his partner? I am worried she will not understand that it‘s an illness and may just leave him (which of course she has a right to do). I think it would be good if he can tell her what steps he is taking to get better but he isn‘t taking any.

Posted : 23rd June 2021 10:10 pm
Forum admin

Hi mb339,

Thank you for posting on our forum. You sound very supportive of your brother.  As you mentioned, your brother does not appear ready to stop his gambling at this point.  Problem gamblers can shift through phases of pre contemplation ,contemplation etc., until they feel ready to action help to stop gambling. Your instincts  might be right that although your brother does not feel ready to stop , the secrecy and guilt is weighing on his conscious. He might be feeling a bit confused  about what to do for the best and that is understandable.  The secrecy and lies can be damaging in a relationship and affects trust. Your brother is welcome to talk to us on our helpline, Livechat or post on here and use our chatrooms.  Sometimes it can help to talk to us as we are not emotionally connected, it is a safe space to share and not be judged. We are not here to tell your brother what to do,  but rather it would give him  the opportunity to air his thoughts and feelings. We do not know how your brother's partner will react to knowing about your brother's relapse if he does talk about it.  His partner may find out anyway....

We support you and any other family member affected by your brother's gambling.  So please try to look after yourself. 

Best Wishes,


Forum Admin


Posted : 24th June 2021 1:36 am

He should does tell her straight out, don't water it down or leave anything out. She in entitled to full disclosure. As you say she may decide to leave him, but that will be her decision to make. Some of you behaviour as enabled his so you need to be aware of this, even now you are worried about what her reaction will be to his actions. It's good at least that he realises he needs to tell his partner.

I get that none of this is easy, addiction is a messy business and well done for reaching out. But the answer to all this lies in your brothers hands.

Posted : 28th June 2021 1:46 pm
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