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How do you help someone you love with a gambling addiction

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#1 Posted on:
Wed, 01/08/2018 - 17:30



My boyfriend and I have been dating for almost 8 years. I found out a few years back he had gambling issues but he was always really good at hiding it. It wasnt until recently after we bought a house how big of a problem it really was. He has part of his paycheck going into an account with only my name for all our bills so i feel okay there....but the rest of his check is thrown away within two hours of him getting paid. So i end up paying for all the groceries, household supplies, if we want to go out with friends so entertainment. Anytime I bring up how this hurts me and how i want us to have a future and get married someday but that with his gambling it doesnt seem realistic that it will happen he just starts yelling at me and saying that he has a disease that there is no cure for. I am so tired of getting yelled at made feel like complete **** but i dont know how to help him. I dont want to leave him but he keeps threatening to leave me and that that would make my life better. He has also started throwing around talk about how he wants to kill himself. I am starting to get scared and need advice from anyone who can help.

Posted on:
Wed, 01/08/2018 - 18:57

Forum admin


Hello Silvermoon,

Welcome to the forum and thank you for sharing your story. I will leave it for forum members to respond to you from their perspective as loved ones of gamblers. But I would like to say that if you are concerned for your partner's mental health, or that your partner may harm himself, contact his GP and/or the local Mental Health team where he lives. If you fear he is at risk of immediate harm, call 999 or the local mental health crisis team.

Remember you can call us on our Freephone helpline on 0808 8020 133 or chat to us on the Netline - we're open 8am til midnight every day.

Best wishes

Forum Admin

Posted on:
Wed, 01/08/2018 - 20:57



Sorry to see how you're being treated.

He doesn't have an incentive to give up all the time you're picking up the slack. If he wanted to give up there are things he could do which would block his access to gambling with immediate effect but he doesn't want to. He's hiding behind the excuse of his 'disease' but the truth is while it's something that's with them for life it can be and is successfully arrested by those who seriously want it and put the effort in.

You can't help him until he wants to be helped. You're not responsible for his health and safety. There are agencies he can turn to if he's genuinely suicidal rather than just manipulating you into shutting up, putting up and funding his addiction. Samaritans for one but you need help for yourself and that's what you need to focus on. Being yelled at, being scared of him, being manipulated and ground down by him is abuse. Think about how you want to live. What you want need and deserve from a truly loving partner. An active CG who won't give up can't provide it.

Posted on:
Wed, 01/08/2018 - 21:08

Merry go round


Hi silvermoon. The way you are allowing him to not contribute to going out or groceries etc is inadvertently saying it's ok. The only way to help a gambler is to not pay their share. Not pay their debt. Not give them money. They are very good liars, manipulators, full of self pity. The gambling affects their mental health leading to mood swings, bad behaviour. I found my husband would tell me he was leaving as a distraction. There would then be confessions of debt, promises of no more. I got help for myself, went to gamanon. safeguard your finances and get help for you. Compulsive gambling is not curable but it can be arrested. They have to want to stop. You can't do it for him. Unfortunately life can be very unpleasant with an active gambler, but the whole time you're willing to put up with it the more he'll hoodwink you. Find a meeting and show him you're seeking help for you. This isn't your fault and you don't deserve to be treated in this way.

Posted on:
Thu, 02/08/2018 - 04:43



hi silvermoon

as i was a compulsive gambler myself i know what i put my wife through so also know what he must be putting you through... as harsh as this sounds and obviously keep an eye on it but him telling you he is going to kill himself is probably just his way of getting you off his back... i know i often said this and then my wife would lay off me for a while as she would be worried... 


you have every right to live your life the way you want to and should never have to be minipulated by him... he will be the same as all of us, really nice guy but its just the gambling that makes him like this... he is the one that needs the help and if he is not willing to make and effort to stop then there can only be one option...


maybe show him this foruum and this thread in particular and he may see that yes he may have a disease but he is not alone and there are ways to help. it sounds to me that as of right now he does not want to quit gambling as he is not even making an effort to try and stop... i had so many relapses over time and am so lucky that my wife stood by me but she made it absolutely clear that one more time would be the end... tell him you want full control of the household finances, receipts... everything if he is willing to stop he will be fine with this, if he starts throwing his toys out the pram you know he does not want to stop and you will have your answer of what you need to do.

good luck x

Posted on:
Mon, 20/08/2018 - 15:28



Hi silvermoon,

Reading your post was like someone writing about all my thoughts and fears! I went through the exact same thing and have been going through it for the last 2 years.

I found out about my boyfriends compulsive gambling 6months in to our relationship and by then I was already head over heels. He made me believe that this was the worst it had been and that he would never do it again if I could just help him this one time but of course one time turned into 10 times! I finally lost myself and became a hermit because I was always helping him and leaving myself with nothing whilst he was the one with the addiction and was still out partying, getting his hair cut, new clothes new shoes and basically not a care in the world whilst I was doing everything in my power to help and for a long time I thought that was the right thing but in fact all I done was enable him.
Long story short he went off to Gordon moody rehab on 6th August and so far so good although for the first 2 weeks we aren't allowed any contact and then after that it will be one call a week.

Your partner has to want to help himself and if he doesn't you will keep going round in circles and I know that's probably hard for you to hear as his girlfriend as you love him and I know it was hard for me to accept also. Personally I would recommend a rehab if you can as my partner tried counselling, ga and even hypnotherapy to which none worked.
I hope he gets the help needed and you become stronger together! But as his partner your doing right by seeking help for yourself too as u will need to learn more about the addiction also so you can be his support.

Posted on:
Tue, 21/08/2018 - 07:10

Merry go round


Nothing will help until they choose to stop. The person you can help is yourself. If you don't see you have a problem you won't recover either.

Posted on:
Tue, 21/08/2018 - 09:48



Its a harsh time living with an addict as we can manipulate the ones we love. As addicts our fix will always come first. Gambling is an especially insidious addiction as its much harder to see the signs unlike other drugs. The people who are closest too us get hurt the most as they bail us out finacially and emotionally due to guilt we create. I was exactly like your partner until I hit rock bottom and finally admited to myself that I had a problem and need help (and not financial help).

GA has helped turn my life around, its not easy by any means especially at the start as what we want is some quick fix to get back to what we think is normal. The reality is its a life long battle, we take each day at a time, but once we are open, honest and commit to our recovery we can live happy healthy lives. But it can only come from the addict themselves. 

An addict who does not seek out recovery for themselves will ruin their own lives and anyone around them. There are GamAnon meetings where you will meet people in the same boat as you and they will offer advice. My advice would be to tell him he has a gambling problem and you can no longer accept it having an impact on your life, its you or the bookies basically.

If he is choosing you he has to go get help, you should have full financial control, total access to his bank account, creadit score (sites such as clearscore and others give a credit statement, if he signs up you can keep tabs on any loans or credit cards he may have or take out). He should be going to nearest GA meetings and engaging in the 12 steps recovery program, he should be self excluding from all betting sites and betting shops (which he should do in your presence) he should allow you to install Gamban on his mible so only you know hte password so he cant remove it (it blocks gambling sites). Get him to open up about his addiction to family memebers so you have a network of support and its not all on you dealing with the stress of it. These are the things a person who is serious about recovery would do.

If he is not interested in helping himself then your on the road to ruin and must cut him out of your life as currently your on the same path Im afraid. You deserve far better than being in an abusive relationship. Seek help and support for yourself and if he is serious about it he will do the same.