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How to support someone if they have cravings?  


Hi there

My partner is working so hard on his recovery and is now around 2 wks gamble free. 
We made a list of our strategies to battle this illness and i am in full support of him. I monitor his finances, credit report and he has installed the phone bans (most of his gambling is online through his mobile phone). 
One of the things in our list is for him to always try to communicate it when he has urges or cravings. He plans on calling his sponsor when he gets one (he attended 2 GA meetings but don’t have a sponsor just yet although he did get some really nice contacts) but i said he can always tell me as well. In the weekend he said he had a ‘minor urge’ because of the football but he said he distracted himself and got over it. As far as I can tell from his bank accts he’s telling the truth. I was happy he told me about the urges but i was wondering how can i respond to this more supportively in the future? Should we talk about it more or should we go for a walk etc to take his mind off things? Will it help if i regularly ask if he gets the urge or wait for him to open up?

Thanks in advance for your replies! X

Posted : 3rd March 2020 7:03 pm

Hi Pep, it's lovely that you are so supportive to your partner, I can't imagine what you must have lived through yet you remain dedicted and supportive, that says so much about you. It's wonderful too that you have allowed him to be honest with you and to stay safe by being honest about when gambling urges come, as they do for many of us and often at that. But with the right support, the urges or thoughts can remain just those.

All I can think to say - is by putting myself in his shoes and knowing what would feel supportive -  I have to say that I couldn't ask you to do anymore than you are doing. For me, its all about communication and if I felt I could be open and honest with you about my true feelings, knowing that you wouldn't judge me or chastise me for them, then that would be a great help in itself. I would need to have that person I could go to, I could talk about anyhting with and trust completly and that does sound like that's what you both have already.

I am sure others will chip in but that's my bit for what its worth.

You could say to him that you'd like to check up that he's telling the truth from time to time and ask him how he feels about that? If it was me being asked I would value the question knowing it was coming from a caring and loving place. OK, my ego would be bruised but its still a good measure. I say this more importantly for you than him actually, as the truth is for many of us (not all) that gamblers can't be trusted that much. It's sad to say but manipulation and devious behaviour is very much a part of the addiction and the gambler will often find ways to justify having a bet and their associated behaviour. This is where you need to be so strong with your sense of self and your own identity, to be able to notice that if it happens and to act appropriately without giving in to blind love as so many do. It's so understandable of course. Anyway, thank you for posting, please continue to post and there is a chat room session starting in half an hour at 8pm if you'd like to come in and say hi. My name is Simon and I shall be in their. I am currently in Thailand, its 2.30am here but I've been staying awake purposely to do an evening chat room visit! All the very best, 🙂

This post was modified 4 weeks ago by Simon50
Posted : 3rd March 2020 7:25 pm

Thank you @simon50 and hope you're enjoying Thailand?

I've been with him for 5 years and always thought he only had poor financial management... he confessed to me about the gambling problem only 2 weeks ago, I was absolutely heartbroken mainly because I wished I knew sooner so I could have supported him sooner.  I cannot begin to imagine the agony and feeling of isolation he must have gone through trying to conceal everything from me.  I sometimes still cry when I think about it. Of course i was also deeply saddened by the enormous amount of debts he incurred but our mindset is that it's all in the past - he should not try to get the money back, we just have to focus on the now and future.  His dad helped with most of the debts but we also agreed he'll pay every penny back, he's got a direct debit setup monthly to pay off the dad.

I also know that there may be some slips along the way so I'm trying to prepare myself mentally and emotionally.  He said he will never ever gamble again.  I told him that's what we are hoping for but if it does happen he just needs to get himself back up again as I don;t wan't him to ever think the there is no more hope if it happens again.

I have access to all his accounts and credit report and he knows he is required to produce receipts if he withdraws cash to spend.  I am hoping these are good measures.  In terms of the communication, I really try to read a lot about CG and just encourage him to be open and talk to me without fear of being judged.

Any other advice very welcome. x


Posted : 3rd March 2020 7:57 pm

You are a rock in his life. Im admiring you for everything you do for your partner. Don't be scared to be a bit more tougher on him as that definitely helps. I'm gambling addict for years and the only thing is making me stop is the thought of loosing my family. I have a wife and 2 children. 


Posted : 4th March 2020 2:53 pm

Access to his accounts only goes so far. He's still controlling them if he has access to cash. It would be better for him to hand his finances over fully either to you or his dad. In the very early days Mr L asked me for any cash he needed and I got it. He still doesn't carry even small change routinely.

My advice would also be not to be too understanding. It leaves you open to deceit and manipulation. Gamblers often can't understand what they've done themselves. We have no chance of doing so. 


He's going to need to learn to manage any urges himself because they can strike any time. From what I've read here ignoring/distraction helps them fade fairly quickly.

This post was modified 4 weeks ago by Lethe
Posted : 4th March 2020 6:51 pm


Thanks for your reply. He is managing the urges himself but i’m sure it wouldn’t hurt that he’s encouraged to talk about them and communicate openly. And yes we should always keep our guard up x

Posted : 4th March 2020 7:00 pm


Thank you so much. You should be proud of yourself for deciding to lead a gamble free life. Good luck on keeping away from the next bet!

Posted : 4th March 2020 11:07 pm
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