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Struggling to understand  


Hi all,

I've come across this forum after searching for some answers!

I woke up a few nights ago to find my husband upset and he confessed to a gambling addiction and said he had hit rock bottom with it all! He's never gambled with our money our joint account etc but has been using the spare money he has and from working extra etc!

We talked about it and he's talked me through things but what I'm really struggling with is the fact everything seems to have just gone back into the way it was, as if he never told me!!

He's self excluded from most sites and I've gone in and changed passwords on others but he doesn't want to go to any ga meetings he wants us to do it. Which I can understand but is this what happens after its dropped on you that they have a gambling problem? Do things just carry on like it's not there?

I feel bad bringing it up and asking more questions but I don't know how else to understand it! Can you really gamble 9 - 12 hours a day for almost a year, put all that money into it and then just not go on the sites? 

Hope someone can just explain what happens after you've been told!

This topic was modified 7 months ago 2 times by Overthink
Posted : 12th January 2020 4:27 pm


As a gambler myself (now gamble free for 380 days after 20 years + of gambling every day) I don't have an answer to your questions!  

For now, have a read around the forum and there are things you need to do to safeguard yourself, and to help your partner to get more blocks in place.

There is always a way forward and well done for being here.  There are many experts.  Have a read around.



Posted : 12th January 2020 9:42 pm
Forum admin

Dear Overthink,

Welcome to the forum.

It is a positive step that your husband has been able to open up to you about his gambling problem, lots of our forum users can testify this is often a really hard step to take. However, his unloading onto you has left you with lots of unanswered questions, as you have found this can  make understanding his gambling problem difficult. You are right, in that it can be very hard for someone to gamble that many hours a day for almost a year and then to just stop without added support. However, without knowing more about your husband’s gambling and the situation you are in,  it makes it harder to give you advice that could benefit you both.

As you look to support your husband, it’s just as important that you are supported too. This is why the support we offer is not only for those with a gambling problem but also those affected by others gambling. With this in mind we would welcome you visiting our NetLine or calling our HelpLine on 0808 8020 133 where we could help answer some of the questions you have.  

With some more details on the situation you are faced with, we can talk through the support available to you and also look at further support that your husband may find beneficial.

Best regards

Forum Admin

Posted : 12th January 2020 9:57 pm

Hi Overthink,

Although you don’t mention amounts, gambling for that amount of time suggests a serious problem.

Self exclusion from SOME sites would always by a worry. It suggests he may want to get back control and re-build finances.

anyone wishing to stop, and stop for good should be self excluding for good (5 years). For online use gamstop which covers almost everything.

Are there any debts ? - you should ask but also do credit checks yourself. Putting in those hours would to me be looking at at least £1k a month of losses. 

What has triggered his desire to stop ?

Can he do it without going to GA ?

Of course, but whatever way he does it , it’s hard, it requires effort, it requires openness and honesty, and it’s a lifelong commitment. To be honest, it’s hardest trying to do it alone - I wouldn’t have got this far without some pretty significant support on here.

It’s more than 30 years since I tried to quit, and only last year that I fully committed. A lot of pain to me and my loved ones in the intervening years.

In addition- what is he going to do with all the time, and effort spent gambling in the past ?


Posted : 12th January 2020 10:04 pm



Yes definitely. Give you an idea of gambling. Did you know the idea of the Sandwich came from an earl who was so stuck from long gambling sessions on cards that he needed to get something to eat to save time? Perfectly true story. It is all about the brain really. Your amygdala is there to protect you and bring pleasure. If your brain manages to cheat itself into thinking it should find both protection and pleasure by a slot or cards well there you go. That person will stick with what he is doing until the money is gone. You can get help with this with cognitive behavioural therapy, neuro-linguistic programming or hypnotherapy. All this information can be found via the counsellors here so you are in the right place to get help.

Good luck!


This post was modified 7 months ago by c43h
Posted : 13th January 2020 6:32 am

Hello Overthink and Welcome to the forum.

Deep breaths because you need to start again now after Ive told you this is a complex drug addiction.

Now Im going to sound tough because I care about you. You love him but you have a gambler in your home and its the worst addiction I know about.

You have a job on! Are you ready?? For any security you will need control of all the money and he will be on a sandwich allowance providing receipts

This is nothing to do with willpower alone. If he has been gambling in a compulsive way its a serious problem. Do you even know the full extent of this problem because I would hazard a guess that you dont know his full activity or losses.

This is no silly game about a flutter. It affects millionaires and people from all walks of life because its ultimately not about the money...the money is tokens to get his fix...the hit is the activity...... win or lose.

Next its a mugs game on the odds set. The gambling dens are out to make a lifestyle living....nothing is on offer which prevents that. Its a tax on hope and on the needy

As long as you are aware that this isnt about blind love for the safety of both of you. He is an addict and money is obviously quite important for how you plan to live.

He needs help and so will you to some point. Please ring gamcare again...the doctors is a good step and you should think of letting him experience at least one GA meeting....push him through the door...when hes inside it will humble him and he will benefit from it.

What happens after you've been told would take a book. Books you should now pick up and videos you need to see online. You will learn those books and with knowledge you will be strong.

You can both never be complacent for the rest of your life. Thats a positive statement as he heals

Best wishes from everyone on the forum

This post was modified 7 months ago by Joydivider
Posted : 13th January 2020 11:34 am

Thank you all for your replies!

He's told me it's in excess of 40k but feels it won't be benificial to work it out properly and know the actual figures of how much he's won and lost.

He wants to stop after hitting rock bottom with it all and spending so many hours looking at the screen and hiding it all. 

I'm doing by best to help but to me I'm in a difficult place because he's   hit rock bottom told me the extent of the problem and then everything's just gone back to normal, although he's suffering mentally. 

I'm just confused how it just stops without any help. I mean it's been a year, possibly longer fully addicted and thousands of pounds. He's said it's not about the money it's that it's a struggle to accept the loosing.

It seems to be he's told me about it and then stopped! Is that even possible? I know everyone's different but if he can just stop like that why didn't he do it before? 




This post was modified 7 months ago by Overthink
Posted : 13th January 2020 1:09 pm


It doesnt just stop without any help. It doesnt work like that once a person has got the gambling addiction.

This forum wouldnt exist if people just stopped with a click of the fingers.

It took me 10 months after joining this forum to do something to make me stop. 10 months where I thanked everybody...told them I would stop but didn't. Thousands of pounds later I ended up crying for four days and seriously thinking about suicide.

Then I finally did what needed to be done and told people close to me. I handed control of all money away from me and started living on an allowance. I self excluded and showed my loved ones all the forms.

I provided regular reports of what my allowance balance was. All serious transactions were done with other people meeting me in the bank with the cash and watching me pay large bills like rent arrears.

I could no longer lie about money as they would know I was gambling. I could no longer defraud them by saying I had money trouble that was nothing to do with gambling.

It saved me and I healed. I then began to see gambling as nothing but self harm and extreme pain.

Im not interested in gambling now. I have a good life and I buy nice things. I try and help others

Best wishes from everyone on the forum


This post was modified 7 months ago 2 times by Joydivider
Posted : 13th January 2020 7:11 pm
Posted by: Overthink

He's told me it's in excess of 40k but feels it won't be benificial to work it out properly and know the actual figures of how much he's won and lost.

I'm doing by best to help but to me I'm in a difficult place .

I'm just confused how it just stops without any help. I mean it's been a year, possibly longer fully addicted and thousands of pounds. He's said it's not about the money it's that it's a struggle to accept the loosing.

It seems to be he's told me about it and then stopped! Is that even possible? I know everyone's different but if he can just stop like that why didn't he do it before? 

Is that 40k of debt or 40k of losses ?

if it’s debt he (and you) need to know the amount to the penny.

not dealing with it is simply burying his head in the sand (a common trait among us gamblers ).

he needs to deal with - at the very minimum making a plan to pay it back, no matter how little each month. He may need to get the interest frozen as if it’s not it may prove impossible to make a dent in the debt. He may need to go bankrupt or agree a process to reduce his debts. 

If it’s not debt then I agree, it’s largely irrelevant what he won and lost.

Why didn’t he just stop before ?

it takes a crisis for most people to even consider stopping. Maybe he has run out of money or credit. It’s easy to stop when you have no money or can’t get another loan. Any fool can pause their addiction then (although we will fantasise how we will win next time).

as you say - everyone is different, but do you think he is dealing with his addiction, his debts, his behaviour towards loved ones ?

without knowing all the details it doesn’t seem so, but only he can answer that.

stopping is hard, really hard.

To a large extent you need to rewire your brain. The success rate isn’t that good even with GA, Gamcare, counselling and CBT.

Doing it alone ? The success rate is far worse. Almost everyone on this board will have attempted to stop using will power and alone at least once if not dozens of times.

Gamblers are masters of lying, hiding things and deceit. We are immature, we kid ourselves as we kid others. We lack honesty and openness. We don’t want to talk about our problems, we would rather ignore them.

i’m not sure if this describes your partner or not, but you will probably know in your heart.


This post was modified 7 months ago by KS2
Posted : 13th January 2020 7:50 pm

Thanks for your reply Joydivider!

I'm so glad you are now healed from the pains of gambling. Its a very strong thing to do, admitting you have an addiction and that's why I want to help. 

I will try and get him to join the forums as he is against any face to face meetings for now.

Thanks again to everyone who has replied with your insights and helpful words! 

Posted : 13th January 2020 7:55 pm
Lost and Found

I'm no expert, but it is possible that what you are seeing in your husband and what he is experiencing is his relief in offloading his guilt and suffering. Believe me, it is vile having to keep all that inside, carrying all that hurt and pain around and I longed to just blurt it out so that I could let people see the horror I was hiding. This will have been eating him up inside and will have weighed very heavy on his mind.

He will have felt massive relief at getting this off his chest, and may be under the illusion that simply by getting this out in the open, he has addressed it. It is very early days, and your husband will need to unravel the reasons why he gambled, in order to truly address this. It is not enough to just say he has had enough. He needs to know why he has had enough. It's one thing to say you want to stop but another entirely to commit to it. That's when the resistance will kick in as he has to come to terms with losing his crutch. The addiction will play with his mind, tell him that he needs it, that he can't cope without it.

The best willpower in the world cannot prevent you from gambling because it is not so simple with addiction, it is a compulsion and you act on impulse which prevents you from thinking about the repercussions of your actions. You are so torn between what you want and what the addiction wants and the addiction is so powerful and persuasive because the high is the ultimate goal. Gambling is like a sedative. People think that it is all exciting and thrilling but what it really does is slow everything down and you enter a trance and dream like state of calm. It is just you and the machine, no mad crazy world, no problems, not even the worry of your gambling that moment, it all goes away. People run to it even though they know this is the one thing that is killing them because it is so powerful and like anaesthetic to a troubled mind, like being hit with a tranquilizer dart...It makes you immune to the loss and a slave to the deposit button. It takes great determination to beat this addiction.


I tried so hard to control mine, self excluding with one hand and opening another account with the other. It is very common to feel tremendous relief at the decision to stop gambling but this doesn't last. The gambler will soon start to struggle as the brain fights for its fix. Despite our best intention, we will try to find ways to gamble again and that is why it is so important to put safety nets in place.

He will need to let you control his finances and close off any avenues to bet. Does he only gamble online? Is there a possibility he will go to bookies etc if he closes down online gambling? As fast as you close down options, he will try to find a way is frightening and I can understand the fear and worry you must have.

I agreed to hand over my bank cards to my partner, but what he didn't know is that I had already made a note of the info I needed to bet online. Gamblers can be very persuasive, manipulative and deceptive. Lying came easy for me and I never lie normally and have high morals. Gambling changes people, makes them do things they would not normally do.

I became very good at protecting my gambling. The more happy and chirpy I was, the more I was gambling in secret. I didn't want to have any questions, or blow my cover. I faked so many smiles and laughs so that I could go back upstairs and try and win it back again. Inside, I would be dying, but mostly, I was dying to get back to the site. 

After closing down all my own accounts, I made them all again in my partner's name. I wanted to stop so many times, but the gambling always found a way in. When I found a way to bet, I would be both excited and terrified at the same time.

Are you able to get him to sign up to Gamstop? It is a site where you self exclude from all UK online gambling sites in one simple step. 

It saves the risk of self excluding only to seek out another place to bet. With Gamstop, I eventually gave up looking for somewhere to bet because I was stopped at every turn, so I just got on with the task of being gamble free, which was a life saver.

Your husband will have a lot to think about. It is very important that you don't fall for the 'everything is back to normal' facade. If your husband really wants to see the back end of gambling, then he will need to go back to the start and discover what led him to gamble in the first place....was he depressed, was he bored, stressed? What was gambling offering him that he couldn't get elsewhere? 

There is a very good chance that he is playing down the actual extent of his gambling and also the figures. He will need to be totally honest, not just with you, but with himself if he is to stand a chance at recovery.

I did this without any GA meetings. It's not for everyone, but it is not easy at all to do this without external help. Gamstop was a life saver for me, but also honesty. I finally got to the point where I was 100% honest and let my partner in so he could help me. I let go of gambling with both hands, instead of still clinging on with the other. My losses were also about £40,000 over 20 years. I gambled for about 6 hours a day at that. Your husband has a serious addiction as this is an awful lot of money in that short length of time. Does he really have that much 'spare cash' to have lost on his own? Is there a chance there is debt you don't know about?

I am sorry if you feel overwhelmed. It is incredibly hard to deal with this. You will also need a great deal of support and advice too. This is a great place to start. Your husband will also benefit from talking to other gamblers for motivation and support. 

I wish you both the best moving forward.


Posted : 13th January 2020 9:37 pm
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