I’ve been gambling for a number of years, and recently everything has come to a head for me. It used to be the odd football acca on the weekend, but now my biggest vice is online slot machines. I feel sick and I just don’t know how to stop.
Back in 2017, I undertook Matched Betting to help boost our finances as we were saving for a deposit to buy our house. I felt so much pressure that it was crippling, and think it may well have been this that may have led me down the gambling path.
Around this time, I suffered a foot injury which curtailed my then-regular running habits, which in turn led me into a spiral of depression and anxiety. During this time, and probably ever since then, I have treated gambling as an escapism to distract me from the bad points of my life. Especially in the last 18 months of COVID restrictions, I struggled immensely and too many times I’ve turned to gambling as my crutch.
Before this, I had a period back in 2011 where I would gamble on FOBTs, but managed to wean myself off those. I then had another relapse on online slot machines about 18 months ago, which the wife found out about after I had borrowed some money from the joint account. It broke my heart that I let her down then, and it’s breaking my heart now that I’m doing it again. She’s very quick to point out my flaws (as many wives do), so I’m hoping that something doesn’t end up escalating in the next couple of weeks because of how I’m feeling.
I took out a £1k loan to help alleviate the shortfall but ended up gambling it and then continually increased my overdraft, each time falling back into the trap. I’ve got another two weeks until payday and don’t want to touch the joint account unless absolutely necessary, as I need to fight this battle head on. I’d love to come clean to my wife but having spoken about this before with her, I feel like I have betrayed her trust and just want to knuckle down and deal with the issue.
Having watched the Paul Merson gambling documentary this morning on BBC iPlayer, it really hit home with me how easy it is to get sucked into addiction and what a debilitating illness it really is. If you haven’t watched it yet, i wholeheartedly recommend it.
I desperately want to beat this illness and come out the other side again, but I feel like I’m on a path to self-destruction with no real concept of how deep in trouble I am, as the depression and anxiety has been crippling.
So, today is day 1 of the rest of my life, gamble-free. The big question for me is ‘do I come clean to my wife?’ Or ‘do I take this on myself?’.
Hi, welcome to the forum. I would recommend coming clean with your wife as gambling is all about keeping secrets so no matter how she reacts it will be a great weight off your shoulders. For me, I didn't come clean and kept on spiralling downwards until the fateful day when my wife found out. The fallout was tremendous but, you know what, looking back it was the best thing that could have happened as there was no way I would have stopped if she hadn't. I am now 16 months gamble free thanks to the amazing support from my wife and close family along with the blockers in place and some counselling arranged by gamcare. It took a long time for my wife to get her head round what I had done but she got through it by looking at it as an illness that I was recovering from. The trust she had in me will never be the same and I still have no acces to our finances, only a credit card for spending, but it's a small price to pay for getting my life back.
I think the Paul Merson programme will hit home with many people and as he said if by watching it he can save 1 person it will have been worth it.
Good luck and stay positive
All the best
To answer your question, you absolutely tell your wife. You'll never be happy or relaxed until you do. She deserves to know, and during your recovery, you'll need the support.
Well done for starting. Take one day and one step at a time. Sign up to GamStop, download GamBan and put blocks on your debit and credit cards. You might never need these measures but they're great ways to stop impulse gambling.
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