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Compulsive Gambling Leaves a Trail of Destruction

Gamblers are Not Fun to be Around

As the adult child of a compulsive gambler, I feel justified in saying that gambling is quite possibly one of the worst addictions. It does not get nearly as much attention or press as alcoholism or drug addiction - yet gambling destroys lives, not just the gambler’s life, but the lives of families and anyone who is involved with them financially, such as business partners and employees. At the same time, gamblers are treated like royalty at the casinos, with lots of perks and freebies. It’s legalized self-destruction.


Gamblers Can Keep on Going...

The insidious thing about gambling is that a gambler who has access to money can literally support their habit for many years without getting caught. Gamblers will function quite well as long as they have a ready source of cash, such as a family member or income from a business or investments. Money is slowly siphoned from the source until there is nothing left. By that time, the damage is done and it is usually irreversible.

They Usually End Up Penniless

My father has reached his seventies without saving a penny. He was a fairly successful insurance man with 50 years in the business, yet when the true extent of his addiction came to light last year, we were dumbfounded. The sum total of my father’s income is now a meager Social Security check. He has no assets. He has no savings, and he is too old to make up for lost time. He never saw any reason to purchase any property or make any sound investments. If not for my mother’s pension, they would be out on the street.

It's Never Enough

A man who has spent a lifetime telling other people how to invest for emergencies has ended up penniless. This inability to plan for the future is another symptom of the disease of compulsive gambling. Gamblers do not think any further ahead than the next bet. They live their lives in a fantasy world where the next big win is right around the corner.

Some gamblers do experience big payoffs, but the money is quickly spent on placing more, and bigger bets. Any financial relief is out of reach because no matter how much money a gambler can get their hands on, it is never enough to satisfy their insatiable craving for betting.


It's Not Just The Betting

A gambler’s true addiction is money. Money is what they need to fuel their habit of placing bets, whether it be lotto cards, horse racing or blackjack. Money enables the gambler to “stay in the action,” a gambling term for active betting. This makes gambling a very tough addiction to break, because like food addictions, the gambler is addicted to something they have to use in everyday life - money.

This is another symptom of the compulsive gambler: Their skewed relationship with money. They view money as something to play with, almost like Monopoly money. They make financial decisions based on how much money they can hoard for gambling. It’s a twisted mindset that allows them to blow everything they have while bills go unpaid. Their low self esteem compels them to live like high rollers - and spend on luxuries when they can’t even pay the mortgage.

Almost as Bad as the Gambling...the Lying

When we uncovered my father’s gambling addiction, the devastation to my family unit was irreparable. We figured it out because my father had tripped himself up by trying to cover his tracks. As it turned out, my father had helped himself to an annuity my mother had religiously contributed to every month for 25 years during the course of her teaching career. This was In addition to fudging bank statements so that she didn’t know he was siphoning off their other savings account. It was money she was counting on to supplement their income when they reached their eighties. In the blink of an eye, more than half was gone. If it had not been for my quick thinking, they would have lost everything.

The other insidious thing about problem gamblers or compulsive gamblers is the pathological lying. They spend their lives trying to cover their tracks. In order to keep their secret they will lie to anyone, spouses, children, parents, coworkers and friends. Deep down they hate themselves for their habit, but like children, they are unwilling to come clean.

Forgiveness Comes...Eventually

My father’s inability to own up to his destructive behavior is a big reason for my current unwillingness to speak to him. It has been almost a year since the truth was revealed, and I am still angry at the waste and the bleak future my parents face as their fixed income slowly becomes inadequate to meet their needs as they get older. As an adult child I also am suddenly worried about having to support my parents at some point. This is not something I should have to worry about with people who earned a good living during their work lives. I also resent all the money that my grandparents left being swallowed up by his disease. Any adult child of a compulsive gambler who thinks they will see any type of inheritance is fooling themselves.


How Do They Live With Themselves?

Even though I know it is a disease and he really can’t help himself, part of me resents him for not being adult enough to seek help sooner. Part of me wonders how he sat down over breakfast every morning with a woman who has taken care of him for 50 years, while he was robbing her blind. How does someone live with themselves?

The other part of me resents his obsession with money and being the hot shot while I was growing up. He had money for expensive vacations, expensive jewelry and nice cars, but paying for his kids college education was out of his reach. He was never generous with money, even though he always had a wad of bills in his pocket. His weird relationship with money was passed on to his kids. My sister and I have struggled for most of our adult lives to build a healthy respect for money. We’ve both finally reached a place of sanity and serenity in our own lives.

It's Exhausting For the Family

Gam-Anon and other organizations preach forgiveness above all else. Gambling is a disease after all, and you can’t blame someone for being sick. I know that I will eventually have to forgive, right now I’m just trying to figure out how to sit in the same room with a parent that I never actually liked or trusted. I’ve been talking to a disease for most of my life, not a real father. As most adult children of any kind of addict know, it’s not that you actually hate them - that’s too toxic to carry around. You just get worn out and tired, just really tired.

© by Macteacher 2013


Francine Glasser from Kingston, NY on March 08, 2019:

I too am an adult child of a gambler and thank you for your accurate portrayal of gambling addiction

Wendy Golden (author) from New York on August 14, 2017:

Thanks for writing Oscar Jones. Yes, gambling is designed to win money for the establishments that take bets. The big losers are the customers - it's always been set up that way throughout history, which is why it is fun for the occasional gambler who can afford to lose a few bucks. It gets scary for the average person who can't afford to lose money, those are the people it hurts the most. Good luck to you.

Oscar Jones from Monroeville, Alabama on August 12, 2017:

Scroll to Continue

thanks for writing this. i am trying to back myself out of debt with some lost to gambling. being religious taught, i now see it as evil. its easy to say, no one cares what i do. but i know that is a lie, or cop put to being responsible even if there is only yourself involved. the south is full of this "entertainment" venue. its where everyone goes. but if you go in you are at extreme risk. its based on a greed to get rich quick.. thats what they play off of, in order to take your money. and with the gradual play it back potentiometers of these "fun" machines, you will lose it all.

MarLoe on March 29, 2017:

RomillyT Thank you very much for your kind and encouraging words. Huh. Sounds like you, too have been through the wringer, too. I am very happy that life and your situation changed to something so wonderful. Yes eventually I will get back on track and hopefully will get myself together enough to find a decent human and loving and supportive man, that doesn't just move through on his pursuit to go somewhere else, but that decides to stay. Should that not happen I will get my life together that I can have fun and exciting in a constructive and healthy way.. Thank you again. It really helps to hear these words and also these not so nice stories, but it puts everything into perspective and even though it really hurts right now it helps me to want to focus my attention and emotions home.. THANK YOU VERY MUCH..

RomillyT on March 29, 2017:

Hi White 11, hi MarLoe

White 11, are you sure there isn’t a way out? I used to dream about sorting out our problems and working for a normal company where I got paid and all the debts and people chasing us for money would go away. I had been dragged into a hideous nightmare by my husband but I didn’t think I would have the strength to leave. I longed for him to sort it all out and sort himself out. It was never going to happen. Fortunately I had my parents and some good friends who dragged me through when I finally got the courage to leave but it was a very hard and emotional time and I felt dreadful for taking my 3 year old son away from his father. 4 years down the line I am in a healthy and supportive relationship and I am relaxed and happy in a way I could never have been with my addict ex-husband. I realised recently that I had stopped crying and fretting and was feeling emotionally stable. It was worth the heartache, fear and sheer hard work of going it alone. It seems like you didn’t finish your post. I feel your devastation and what’s more, I understand fully having been there myself. Please come back and talk to us. You can talk to us even if you can’t talk to anyone else.

MarLoe, sorry but I’m glad. You were on a hiding to nothing. You would never have been the most important thing in his life. I, too, was lonely living with my ex-husband. He never came home. When I met my new partner, I am ashamed to say I just expected him to go out every night to the pub. He didn’t. He came straight home and I burst into tears (I was always crying back then) because I realised how much I wanted just that; a man who came home to me. Do we have such low self-esteem that we think we should play second fiddle to gambling and drinking? I did but I don’t anymore and I never will again. You are heading in the right direction when you say that you can learn to focus on yourself and see that as fun and exciting. Because it IS fun and exciting. There are men out there who will treat you well and spend time with you in a rewarding and trusting relationship. It does wonders for your self-esteem. It may sound a cliche but you are worth more than you have been settling for MarLoe.

I still see my ex-husband when I pick my son up on a Sunday when he has been to visit him. Recently he has been begging me for money again and I have dropped round food parcels. I send my son with food as he comes back starving hungry. He has been asked to leave his job as he is contributing nothing and he wears trousers with holes in them. He is pitiful, a shambles, but I see now that I was getting him through life which was taking up all my energy and resources while he was dragging me under. Often I come away from seeing him feeling stressed, exasperated and upset but now it doesn’t last long. I have broken free and it feels very good indeed. I have peace.

Love RomillyT

MarLoe on March 28, 2017:

Thank You again Wendy. Yes I got away by the skin of my teeth. Eventually will get my life back on track and hopefully walk away from this situation stronger, more confident and in greater appreciation of the person that I am.. Really enjoying your posts... They have helped me when I was feeling pretty desperate and down.

Wendy Golden (author) from New York on March 28, 2017:

Hi Marloe,

I"m glad you left him. I am single, I'd rather be alone and wait for the right person than participate in any more toxic relationships...and I can tell you that being alone can be just as exciting as a relationship.

There are always ways to make new friends, learn something new, etc. I just signed up for a riverboat cruise through France in 2018. I'm so excited! I'm going alone, I know I'll meet people and have a big adventure. Do something that you've always wanted to do - the right person will turn up while you're busy living your life. :-)

MarLoe on March 25, 2017:

Thank You RomilyT and Wendy. Would like to report back and let you know that I am not longer with my boyfriend. It ended up that he broke it off with me as I was still justifying it in my mind. I am scarred and hurting, but I know it is for the better. When I think back on how many Sunday evenings I would do the drive around the casino to see if he was there and how that in itself is not a healthy situation and how lonely I felt. Now I have to put the focus on myself, which seems to be so much less exciting, but I can learn to have that be a fun and exciting focus. Realize how deceptive and dis honest this person is/was and that really hurts, but I am determined to get better and make my life worthwhile. Thank You again fro your honest sharing, frank words and sincerity.

white11 on March 24, 2017:

Married 25 years to a CG with two children I'm finding myself completely defeated and just wished I had the courage to get up and just walk but with our children being so young I can't. When I met him he was a gambler then but at the time I just put it down to being young and irresponsible. Gradually got worse and worse until he was caught stealing to fund his addiction. That point I thought would be his lowest but couldn't have been so wrong. He attended GA but lasted couple of meetings and convinced me everything fine. Thinking everything was ok and brighter we invested into a business. Over time it was £10k needed here for this or £15k for that until it got to the point he couldn't hide it anymore. I was devastated!! We were in so much debt I couldn't leave him and I was too embarrassed to talk to anyone. Once again I thought that this was his lowest point and yes forgave him, until recently

Wendy Golden (author) from New York on October 20, 2016:

Hi Roomily!

Glad to hear your divorce is going through! That must be a huge weight off your shoulders. Congratulations! You are right about repeating patterns. My gambler father taught me that people cannot be trusted. My codependent mother taught me that it's ok to let someone abuse you and mistreat you - that you must stick by people you cannot trust.

I cannot tell you how many times I would pray that my mother would just divorce my father, when I was a kid - so I wouldn't have to deal with his insanity anymore. But a lot of it was her insanity as well. People cannot mistreat you unless you let them.

I'm still working on undoing what my parents taught me. Overcoming my trust issues is still a process. Addicts don't even realize the extent of the damage they do to their kids.

Marloe: I am in my fifties as well. I know people that met the love of their life in their sixties and seventies. You are entitled to spend the second half of your life in a relationship where you are valued and cared for, where there is trust and respect. You deserve to be with someone you can rely on. Hold out for that, it will show up. The man you are with is not relationship material. CoDA meetings helped me a lot. Meetings will help you gain some clarity, and help you make better choices about the quality of people you let into your life.

And who knows...Mr. Right might be sitting in a CoDA or Al Anon meeting. ;-) Good luck!

RomillyT on October 19, 2016:

Hi MarLoe

This article was massive in getting me to move on from my gambling husband and I am pleased to report that my divorce has just come through. His mistress was gambling. He didn't need a woman because that wasn't his main thrill. He too was very secretive and evasive to the point where he ruined our lives and lost us everything including our house. If your partner is a gambler then, as macteacher said, you are in a relationship with a disease. My father was an alcoholic like yours so I learned to be the carer in a relationship and then I married an alcoholic gambler because I was repeating what I knew. If you don't live together yet then I would be worried about you taking this relationship onto the next stage if I'm honest. Really good luck to you MarLoe. You need someone who is there for you and addicts can never be relied upon to do so.

MarLoe on October 18, 2016:

Hi there. I really appreciate that you took the time to get back to me. I already contemplated to got to Alanon, but will look into CoDA meeting in the area I am living in. Yes this is no way I want to live a life and not the kind of relationship I would like to have. And yes I would like things to either move towards possibly moving in and even considering marriage as I am in my early 50's and not really any time to waste, but know that this is impossible with the current person. Besides the fact, the he was so insistent on honesty and I am finding out that there has been deception. I am not able to trust a person like that. Not very respectful thing either. There is not trust as I feel deceived and betrayed. And thank you am very well aware of the fact, that if it is not working at this stage - we don't live together. I really appreciate your feedback and honesty. I grew up with an alcoholic father and over the growing up years many times had had that sinking feeling, when the person should be there for you, but they are not really. I am starting to have this sinking feeling with this person more and more. We don't spend a lot of time together and he seems to be in a hurry always to go some place else, then I see his vehicle at gaming parlor for hours at a time...WTF??? So thank you. As much as this hurts I hear what you are saying loud and clear... Will get the help I need for myself..

Wendy Golden (author) from New York on October 17, 2016:

Hi Marloe,

I'm glad you liked my article. My mother married a gambler, it never got better, it got worse. Your boyfriend has already shown you that he is evasive and not quite willing to tell the truth. He is hiding things because he knows you wouldn't approve of the extent of his gambling. I highly recommend seeking out a CoDA meeting - CoDependents Anonymous.

You are not married to this man, I assume you want a healthy relationship at some point that leads to marriage. My rule of thumb is this: If a relationship turns me into someone I don't like, I need to go.

You say yourself that you don't like checking up on someone, but yet, you are doing just that. Is that what you want in your future? Gambling is a disease with no cure. Your choice, you can cut your losses now and heal and move on...or you can stay in something that makes you mistrusting, nervous and uncomfortable. You always get to decide what you participate in. Good luck, and seek out some support.

MarLoe on October 16, 2016:

I'm so glad I found this article!! Thank You for your openness and honesty. I've been dating a man for a little over 1 year now and am completely baffled, that I am just finding out, that he is spending way too much time in a Casino. He makes it sound like it is just he pops in there occasionally to get away from life and to meet up with friends and colleagues. His behavior towards me started to change and one day I decided there is something no quite right. I thought, that perhaps he is seeing another woman, which might be the case. I don't really know. So one evening I drove past the casino to have a look and sure enough his vehicle was parked there. I have done that on a few occasions as I am trying to figure out what the heck is going on here. I still think, that there is another woman, but it might just be gambling. I do realize, that this is where sickness begins and quite frankly not how I want to spend my time and life. Checking up on someone. I would like it to be an open and honest relationship, but I cannot get anything out of him, when I ask, what he did the evening before, when I know well enough, that he was at casino. He leads on that he stopped in at gaming parlor to have a chat with his friend, then he went to pool and home to make meat loaf, when in reality at 10 o'clock his vehicle still at gaming parlor. I had one conversation with him a while back, that I am not interested in a relationship that is built on deception. I would like an honest and open relationship and that I want to know who I am with and what I am dealing with. He was very uncomfortable and down played his casino time. He does not realize, that on occasion I do check and see, which does me not make very proud of my behavior, but I think that is the sickness here. And maybe I am just as sick as he is, but I really want to know what I am dealing with. I don't think I have the nerve to walk in there and I still think I catch him in the act with another woman, but maybe that woman is the gambling???Where do I go from here? I tried to talk to him. He is not willing to go there and be honest. He stone walls and turns it around so I have to defend myself so he is off the hook. Well know this behavior of him. I cannot believe that I am in a position like this. All the great things he said and done and now this??? It just really hurts to think that there has been deception all along and honesty was lacking and that I am just finding out, and only through my own diligence and intuition. I still keep thinking there is something I did to push him that way??? But that is my own sickness to think like that!! Luckily I do not w live with this person. Do I walk away??? Do I confront him again even though I have tried and be very non confrontational. If I ask him what he did and who he talked to at casino he gets very quiet and doesnt say a word, which I cannot interpret, really. I think I would walk away if my boundaries were solid and strong enough as lying and deceiving is a deal breaker to me. I love him and I care about him but I love me too and I think the bright lights and the high he gets from being in there is nothing I will ever be able to compete with...

RomillyT on December 07, 2015:

I've been wondering how you are doing Christopher and it actually makes me feel emotional to read that you are still not gambling and how you want to look after your partner and have a secure future. I think it's absolutely wonderful to hear you say that. I despise addiction. I absolutely hate it for what it has done to my life. I would love for you to kick its arse more than you can possibly know. Your current credit card debt can be paid off but it won't be manageable if you start gambling again. Yesterday my husband came to see our son and walked into the supermarket unexpectedly (I had asked him to text me so me and our son could meet him at the station) and he bumped into me with my new partner. He looked so shocked and upset and went bright red and it broke my heart because we should have been together for life and would have been if it were not for his gambling and drinking and refusal to face up to it and stop doing it. Don't ruin your future Christopher. Stay strong and don't give in. It's really so good to hear you haven't gambled. One day at a time. You can do it.

Wendy Golden (author) from New York on December 06, 2015:

We're all rooting for you Christopher. Stay strong and determined, and take one day at a time.

Christopher1985 on December 04, 2015:

I have read through the article again and everything makes so much sense to me now. Ever since my first post about 6 weeks ago I seem to have lost my urge to gamble. I realize that the money I gambled is lost and I will never see it again. I am starting to cope with that fact and the realization I have a great girl who I want to take care of and a family I need to look forward to having and supporting, not only financially but emotionally.

I was never in the right mindset through all my years of gambling. Constantly betting with the hope of just breaking out even but it never worked out that way. How sad it is now to not have savings and a 401k, which I started but then blew and still have 15k of credit card debt. Oh how I desire to save for a nice retirement for me and my significant other and put my children through college. I truly feel like I can accomish so much in my life if I never place another bet and I've never had so much motivation as I currently have. I hope to have found the strength to quit for good.

RomillyT on November 23, 2015:

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I do know this stuff, like you say, but sometimes I believe what he says and I need to hear otherwise from other people to stop me from believing I am a bad person who just walked out on him and took his life and happiness away even though I know that gambling had done that to him long ago, way before I left. I really appreciate you reminding me I am not the cause of his unhappiness and that it is his responsibility. I'm good. Onwards and upwards!

Christopher1985 on November 22, 2015:


It seems like the only reason your husband doesn't have anything is because he lost it with his own actions. One thing I've learned is to not blame your mistakes on others. It appears you were only trying to help your husband get better and be a positive influence. Gambling is such a terrible disease and it is sad your husband hasn't bettered his life over the last two years. If he really wanted to show you he has changed, he should have started going to counseling, found ways to overcome his debt and start living a normal life instead of blaming you for his downfall. I hope your husband eventually realizes the errors of his ways and leaves you in peace.

Wendy Golden (author) from New York on November 21, 2015:


You are never responsible for another adult's misery or happiness, which I know you already know. Your husband continues to make bad choices, and to drag you down with him, if you'll let him. You're better and stronger than that. You've moved on with a new person-so keep it moving. See a lawyer, divorce his sorry ass, and ask whatever higher power you believe in to keep an eye on him.

You've paid your dues, he's no longer your responsibility. He doesn't love or care for himself, so how could he possibly love anyone else? He's manipulating you because misery loves company. You deserve happiness honey, it's time to cut him lose. Sending good, healing energy to you and your son.

RomillyT on November 19, 2015:

So the latest…2 years after leaving my compulsive gambler husband I ask him for a divorce on the grounds that we have lived apart for 2 years. I thought it would be kinder than divorcing him for unreasonable behaviour and I wanted to be sure that I wanted us to divorce so I have waited for 2 years. In that time he has not got himself together and shown zero responsibility to me or his son. He has just got worse. Plus which I have now met someone new with whom I live and who wants to marry me and be a stepdad to my son. When I told him yesterday he reacted really badly and told me he absolutely wouldn't agree to a divorce in the absence of any good reason. We argued for about an hour and a half over the phone on and off as he kept ringing me at work. In the end I had to say I would think about meeting up with him to get him to leave me alone and stop phoning. He has told me that if I am so vindictive as to take away the one thing he has left - a wife - then he will have nothing left to live for. He says I am the one last glimmer of hope he has left, that I have everything and he has nothing and that would just 'grind him into the dirt' when he has absolutely nothing else left and there is no end in sight to his misery and debt. Is he implying he will commit suicide? He says that if I am to be so vindictive and nasty as to divorce him then he will come after half of everything. He won't get anything as he had to pay off debts with his half of the money we got for our home and hasn't paid anything towards his son for 2 years but it's just the emotional blackmail and the fact that he won't let me be free and the threat of him doing something bad that is just too much. Once again I feel utterly drained by him. Everything in our life was a battle and even getting divorced has to be. I feel full of anxiety and like I have had all the stuffing punched out of me again. I don't ask for anything from him and he has a job and only himself to look after but he still lives in a hotel and is heavily in debt. It's just the pressure of knowing he hasn't let go of me emotionally at all and to think he says he will have nothing worth living for that heaps the pressure on. Any views from anyone would be gratefully received. My head is a mess again. Thanks, Romilly.

Wendy Golden (author) from New York on November 03, 2015:

Christopher gambling is an addiction to the act of gambling, it's not about actually winning, although it feels like a high to win. It's the actual act of it that is so compelling and why so many get sucked in. I'm glad you're feeling better, but I still recommend consulting with a therapist.

Many gamblers make the mistake of thinking they can beat the habit without support until they relapse. I wish you continued success on abstaining from all betting including Powerball.

Romilly , thank you for sharing your story and supporting him as well.

RomillyT on November 02, 2015:

Damn right! Bookies make money by feeding off people's weakness and addiction. It's horrible. My son has a friend in his class whose father is the MD of one of the major gambling companies that my husband poured all our money into. When I see their huge house, expensive cars and luxury holidays it is hard to deal with the fact that it took me losing my home for them to have theirs. Don't give them another penny of your money!! My husband used to come home euphoric when he had won and I guess that is the 'rush' you speak of. He would also come home utterly deflated when he had lost. Ultimately he lost. Keep up the good work Christopher. As macteacher says, we are SO rooting for you! Oh and well done on getting through that gruelling test.

Christopher1985 on November 01, 2015:

Thank you again for your support. The test was very tough and hopefully I passed as it would open many doors for me. This was the first weekend in a long time I didn't stress over every game going on this weekend, who was playing and who did and didn't cover the spread. The bookies are the only ones getting ahead and I've never realized the odds you have to surmount to come out ahead. I am hopeful of having one less distraction in life and focus on only positive things such as getting to the gym, excelling at work and helping others succeed. I believe there are individuals with the willpower to learn and succeed if given the chance and a little direction.

I am thinking this is similar to addiction. Right now I have a stronger desire to quit this habit more than anytime in my life. I used to enjoy the rush, the bolt of lightning of joy that would hit me after winning a huge bet against all odds at the closing seconds. I don't know if I was ever trying to make money or just living for the thrill. At some points in my life I was betting to be the center of attention where people around me were living vicariously through me. Nobody else was betting but me, betting thousands every game celebrating my wins but I just had to keep going until it was all gone.

Reading through these posts and stories it is opening up my eyes to the horrors of compulsive gambling. I am working..why am I breaking my back to give it to a lowlife thriving in the disease plagued by so many? Why did I think I can beat these people? Every day I feel like I am slowly recovering. I feel like I can better control my actions. I am laying off the $2 powerball ticket. I used to think $2 is so insignificant especially if it means I can win $100 million but buying the ticket is fueled by greed. I feel healthier already.

Wendy Golden (author) from New York on October 30, 2015:

Good luck on your exam Christopher. You're right to not want to drag your girlfriend into your gambling problem. Your destiny is definitely in your control, and you're young enough to survive the financial loss. My family is ruined because of gambling, but that doesn't have to be your fate. Please get to a GA meeting as soon as you can. It will help you on the right path. Good luck, we're rooting for you!

RomillyT on October 30, 2015:

Really good luck with your PE examination Christopher. Like you say, if you don't pass then you can do it again. Let us know how it goes and even better, let us know you have also made that first step towards kicking that horrible addiction into touch. My husband was also introduced to gambling when a teenager by an older man he was working for who would take him to the bookies at lunchtime. I wish he'd been honest with me about his addiction, I wish he'd acknowledged it, I wish he'd got help so, so much. Then our lives together would not have been ruined and we would still have our home, our business, our savings and our future. My son would have his Dad at home. Sadly, that is not to be and I could never trust him again. No money will ever be enough for him. It's not too late for you Christopher. Please go and get help once the exam is out the way and we would love to hear how you're doing. Best of luck, Romilly

Christopher1985 on October 29, 2015:

I am appreciative for all the advice. I have not made a deposit since my post. I think it would help to go to a Gamblers Anonymous group as I have given up the habit for weeks and sometimes months at a time and I would always make that one bet. The one bet would lead to double that bet when if I lost it and so forth until my months of savings is gone in a day or weekend. I don't want to bring this attention to my girlfriend who I am living with as she would not understand or resent me forever. That is one of my motivations to stop.

I feel that one of the reasons I am like this is my childhood "friend" who got me started, making bets and playing poker for endless hours. With highs where we would feel like we were on top of the world but mostly I only remember the lows where we would be so down we did not want to do anything but sulk. Why could I not see this? I could have just saw what gambling was doing to my "friend". His problem was worse than mine that when he lost all his money he would bet all my money telling me "don't worry you will definitely win" but when I lost he said "oh well". The desperation of an addict was not fully clear to me. I just thought we would somehow win $100,000 and live the good life but could we even stop if we made that? I'm sure we would want $200,000. I remember once before I really got started gambling he showed me his gambling account and he had $40,000. I thought he was rich. It was gone in a few months.

I know I control my own destiny. I'm with a wonderful girl who treats me so good and takes care of me and I don't want her to be brought into anything that has to do with gambling. I sometimes think that with the horrific thoughts and outcomes from gambling I can stop. I am truly starting to see I can never recover all my losses. Thank you again for everything. I have my PE examination tomorrow, an 8 hour test to be a licensed engineer. It is going to be incredibly difficult. I know that if I don't pass I can take it again, hopefully without the distraction of gambling.

Wendy Golden (author) from New York on October 29, 2015:

Christopher I grew up with a compulsive gambler who has wasted all his money and is now penniless. He is trapped in a marriage with a woman who hates him. But he can't go anywhere because he has no money and is too old to get hired anywhere. He is living in a hell of his own making because he has allowed his disease to run his life.

I applaud you for acknowledging you have a problem, that is the first step. Now you must reach out for help. Please don't fool yourself into thinking you can handle this on your own. You can't. You have a progressive disease that will only get worse left untreated.

There are many groups like Gamblers Anonymous that can help. You might also want to see a therapist because there are usually underlying issues with addiction. I'm rooting for you. Please keep us posted on your progress.

RomillyT on October 28, 2015:

Please, please get help Christopher. Well done for being so open and honest and brave in acknowledging the problem. You have an impulse control disorder and like any form of addiction, only you can make the decision to stop. It sounds to me like you really do want to, so why do it on your own when there is help out there? You are not alone; lots of people have a gambling addiction but you are one step on from many in reaching the point where you acknowledge that you want and need to stop. If you have family then do it for them too. My ex-husband just wouldn't acknowledge his problem and still won't even though he lost us pretty much everything. You are only 30 and doing well in your career so from my perspective, (45), that is still young and you have every chance to create a wonderful future. You can turn your life around and learn how to deal with this so please go and do it Christopher. I will be cheering you on. I would love you to fight this and beat it. You could post and tell us how you are doing. If you find a local Gamblers Anonymous group you will find yourself surrounded by kindred spirits who truly understand. Group therapy is so cathartic and, in my experience, a huge relief when you feel surrounded by people fighting the same battle. Go for it Christopher. Time to take control. You CAN do it.

Christopher1985 on October 27, 2015:

Thank you for all the posts. I have been gambling since I was 17. I am 30 now. I have always wanted to stop but couldn't, thinking I had to get can I keep living without gambling knowing I lost so much. I am doing well in my career but feel like the past 6 years since I graduated college have been completely wasted. Thinking of all the things I could have done, house I could have bought if I never got into gambling. I am realizing now it is never enough. I would win $5,000 and I want $10,000 and eventually lose it. I feel like I was going crazy...betting on every sport I can think of, sometimes with terrible thoughts going through my head after losing on a miraculous play after counting my winnings. All I want to do is stop but am afraid once I build up my bank account I will get that urge and empty it on impulse. It feels like my life has been so consumed with the desire to gamble there is no end. I feel that if I stop now I am starting my life at 30 with all the time until now being everyone else got a giant head start in life. Career wise I am doing very well but none if it will matter if at the end of the day I have nothing to show for it. I want to go seek a counselor but at the same time feel I need to stop on my own. I think this thread is providing help to me knowing I am not alone and seek advice. Can I still plan a future trip with my family to vegas, going to shows but playing a couple hundred bucks for fun or will it trigger me to bet everything I have? Here is to the hope I get better and kick this illness.

RomillyT on September 28, 2015:

Hey Justagirl

I second what Macteacher says. I know what it is like to have grown up with a parent who is an addict and how upsetting and destructive it can be but your life is way too precious to end because of someone else's illness. This weekend I discovered that my alcoholic father had gone and cancelled the 80th birthday party I had planned for my mother in a drunken rage, he doesn't remember doing it and now, unsurprisingly they don't want us to hold it at their venue. It's really hard not be angry at him when his addiction affects everyone else around him but I try my best not to. Addiction is an awful, horrible, destructive illness but you are 16 and on the cusp of your own life. You have it all ahead of you. There is so much you can do and see, places you can go and people you can meet. You are not trapped in this situation. Soon you will be free and then you can show your mother the love and support that she will be needing as the partner of an addict. (Yes, I've been there too!) Your Mum wants to believe in him and maybe she is trying hard to hold it all together right now to get you and your little brother through to adulthood. I know it's hard but try to show love and understanding to your Mum and Dad and know that your own adult life is not far away. As a teenager there were times I felt powerless, frustrated, angry and upset at what my Dad was doing to our family but this will pass and you will be able to look back with perspective. Right now you are full of emotion so vent it here and not on yourself or your family. Stay strong and know that you are not alone. Sending you love, Romilly

Macteacher on September 25, 2015:


You're 16 and in two years you are legally of age to have your own life. As someone who's been what you've been through...I can assure you it gets a whole lot better. You're meant to do important things in the world and killing yourself would cut that short. Stick around and don't give up.

I strongly suggest an Alanon or Gam-a-non group where you can connect with other kids who are in the same boat. It really does get a lot a whole lot better so hang in there.

JustaGirl on September 25, 2015:

I'm only 16.

My mum and dad started fighting a lot when I was 13-14. And they were fighting every few months since. For a long time I knew something was wrong financially but I had no idea why my mum was angry at my dad. But I just ignored it and payed more attention to the nearest party.

This year my mum and dad were fighting a month after we came back from a trip to my home country. I was eavesdropping. I heard my mum say, "why? Why did you have to go the day we came back?" I instantly felt like I knew what it was but I kept it to myself, it couldn't have been through I kept telling myself. Little did I know that I should have trusted my instincts more.

A month ago my mum and dad were in a terrible fight where he finally said it aloud for me to hear. I screamed I didn't want to know anymore. I thanked god that my little brother hadn't heard it.

I can't look at him the same.

Somehow my mother convinced my dad that i hadn't heard and that I didn't know what he was. But I knew he was a gambler. And I HATE HIM.

Supposedly he's changed and my mother believes him. But I don't. Should I?

I've felt more sad this month than I have all my life.

My mother believes in him.

But if we ever get another argument, bill or anything because of his sickness I will KILL MYSELF.

Wendy Golden (author) from New York on August 12, 2015:

Thank you, Romilly, for your sharing your story and responding. The ultimate goal of these gambling hubs is to help others who are going through it. It's a horrible disease, and without treatment, it only gets worse. Best of luck to you and your family. I'm glad you feel better and know which direction to take for you and your son. :-)

RomillyT on August 12, 2015:

Thank you so much for your response Wendy. Coming across your Hubpage has done some real good for me. Reading it was like ticking off a mental checklist and marking ‘Yes’ ‘Yes’ ‘Yes’ for every item. This is the first time I have written down what happened over the past two and a half years and it was hugely cathartic. After I had posted I felt like a huge weight had lifted; I had energy, positivity and a fresh understanding. A problem shared.

More than anything, thank you for stressing what sort of a man my son will become with his father as his role model. I am so determined to counter any behaviours that are reminiscent of his father’s worst ones and, you are so right, if I put him back in that situation then what chance do I stand of making him into a good and responsible adult? I feel like a lightbulb has come on in my head. Gambling will always be the most important thing in his life, not us. I have done the right thing. I feel like I have been given a form of absolution and I can be free to love someone else. Thank you Wendy and thank you everyone else for sharing your stories.

Wendy Golden (author) from New York on August 12, 2015:

Hi Romilly,

You have nothing to feel guilty about. Your husband is the one who needs to take some responsibility for his illness. I don't know what the divorce laws are like in your country, but over here if someone wants a divorce they can get it, even without the other person's signature - especially when there is an issue like compulsive gambling. If you really want to divorce him, and it sounds like you need to for your own protection, then just do it.

You learned from your mother to repeat a pattern of sticking it out with a toxic partner. Your mom is probably not in a good position to give advice, since she is also trapped with an addict.

My mom also liked the money when they had it, except she was caught up in an illusion, a fantasy, that eventually crashed around her ears. Yes, you bought into the fantasy, but it is never too late for a reality check. You might want to seek out some counseling, and go to 12 step meetings to help you with the guilt.

I can tell you that if you go back to your husband, your son will learn, if he hasn't already, that it is perfectly ok to lie, sneak around and stay out all night when he's married. What kind of a husband do you want your son to be? What kind of a man do you want him to be? Because right now you're the only stability in his life, not his dad, and he's looking to you to teach him right and wrong.

You were, and are, married to a disease, not a real person. Until your husband gets help for his illness, the gambling will always come first - not you, or your son. You deserve to be with a man who puts you and your child first. In your husband's world the gambling is his real love. You can't possibly compete with that. I will pray for you and your son that you are able to pull out of this mess and move on with your lives. Good luck.

RomillyT on August 11, 2015:

I’m so glad I came across this page. I’m in turmoil right now because I walked out on my CG husband 20 months ago but he still comes to see our 6 year old son on a Sunday, is looking terrible and crying, saying he loves me and is very depressed. We were together for 18 years and I really loved him. I knew he gambled but he was so secretive that I had no idea how out of control it was. He had inherited £300,000 and we had a nice life but he wouldn’t leave our 2 bed top floor flat in a horrible town and move and buy a house somewhere nice even though we could have done. We had bought that flat in our early 20’s and made money on it so should have been financially secure for life. I felt it was his money that he had inherited so I couldn’t insist that he use it to buy us a house. He liked to go to the pub every night and come home late. He started a business and this supplied him with a steady stream of cash. I went to work for him, got pregnant with our son and gave up all my financial independence in 2008. With a dawning realisation and with panic mounting I began to discover how many people were chasing him for money and listened to him lying and lying, again and again. A lot of the time his lies would be worse than the truth but he was so caught up in them that it became his default. Of course he was also lying to me but whenever I confronted him about money he would insist everything was fine and consistently manage to evade any sessions or phone calls with the accountant regarding finances. He was like a child and I was like his mother. My father, who I love and adore, is an alcoholic and my mother has looked after him and dealt with it for almost 50 years now. Without her he would have been dead long ago so I do understand that I am a codependent and that I am repeating the pattern that I grew up with. I was struggling to try and keep control of him, a new baby and a failing business but it was a losing battle. Finally, after a customer he owed money to threatened me physically, after finding out the bailiffs had broken in and on seeing one debt collection agency letter too many, I took advice and marched him to see a liquidator. On that day I discovered he owed at least £160,000, that he was at real risk of going to prison, had committed fraud, that we would have to sell our home to cover the money he had taken illegally, our business had to close immediately and therefore our income had gone and also our savings had all gone. When people found out they would not get their money they started to try and find us and some people turned up at my elderly parents house which affected the health of both of them. I had a bit of a breakdown but found myself a job immediately and secretly approached an ex-employer of my husband’s who offered him a job but he would not take it. The tax authorities started an investigation because he owed so much VAT and personal tax and one Friday night the Official Receiver came to my door to say that he couldn’t avoid them and that he would go to court so he may as well communicate with them. He had given them an old address, an old mobile number and was not answering emails. He was not at home when the Official Receiver called because he was at his horrible dive of a gambling pub. We had to sell our home quickly before one of his creditors took out a charge and stopped the sale but because I was not a director of our company it turned out my share was protected. He didn’t know that so was relieved when it turned out I would get a lump sum and told me it was our money to start again. I am afraid that at this point, 9 months after the company had folded, with him refusing to get a job, making me the sole breadwinner, with him still drinking and gambling “I’m having a small bet, just a small bet.That’s alright isn’t it, a small bet?” I’d had enough. I couldn’t take anymore. I was drained. I had no respect for him and couldn’t accept that he was still seeing himself as the poor victim of some bad business conditions and not taking responsibility for what he had done. His ability to delude himself is off the scale. If he does not like a reality he tells himself that it is otherwise. This is how he got £1,045.00 in parking tickets in one year. In his head they simply didn’t exist. After I asked him to leave his concentration was worse than ever and he slipped up and left one of his many online gambling websites up on the computer. It was then that I saw that his normal sum to gamble was £1,000.00 or £500.00 and he was doing this every day, sometimes a few times a day. He kept threatening to leave but wouldn’t and on the one occasion he did, he returned drunk and crying just over 24 hours later. The arguments got worse and our son, who was three, was stuck in the middle of it all. In the end a cottage to rent came up just by my best friend so I left a couple of days before Christmas 2013. It was the hardest thing I have ever done and I felt like I was leaving a child. An old friend gave him a job and he moved into a cheap hotel in London where he still lives. He has not paid any money towards our son and I am slowly using up all the money I got from the sale of our property. Plus which, I am having to pay back working tax credits that I claimed because I thought we could barely afford to pay ourselves when in actual fact he was paying himself large dividends and not telling me. I do not trust him and will never feel safe and secure with him. He said he was lying to me to protect me but I think really it was because he was in the grip of a terrible addiction. He was never an easy person to live with as he also has OCD and working round that is very tiring; if things weren’t exactly right then he would be unhappy and everyone suffered. For years I did everything around the house but didn’t complain because I thought he was supporting us. When I found out he was secretly destroying everything we had then I realised that he was giving us nothing; just consuming and sucking me dry. My credit rating is poor because I am associated with him and I cannot get a mortgage. It turns out he had stopped paying our mortgage and before that was consistently late with payments. He also hadn’t paid our council tax for some time. I was responsible for all the other household bills so they got paid. After I left he tried to sneak money owed to me on the sale of our garage away but I was alerted by our solicitor. I have lent him money to put a deposit down on a rental place (which was also a lie, it didn’t exist) and to release shares which I know I will never see again. I have now met someone new and my son really likes him. He supports me emotionally and comes home every night. We do things socially together and are a happy little unit. I felt like I was climbing back up again until last weekend when my husband (he won’t agree to a divorce so we are still married at present) told me that sometimes he is so depressed he can barely bring himself to come and see our son. He told me he absolutely loves me and thinks of me every day. He was crying and looks so unhealthy as I used to make him come in and eat proper dinners and now I know he won’t be bothering. I feel so guilty and remember all our happy years before all this happened. I wish I could wave a magic wand and go back to those happy times when we had money and I lived in blissful ignorance. My mother stayed with her addict but I have deserted mine and he is suffering without me and our son. My Mum once said that I enjoyed the money while it was there so implied I should stick it out now with my husband when times are bad but I don’t think she understands how stressful it was and how unsafe I feel. Also that he is a bad role model for our son who used to say ‘See you tomorrow Daddy’ when he left in the morning because he didn’t expect Daddy to come home at night. I don’t think the guilt at leaving him will ever go away and it will be something I have to live with. Because despite everything, I know he loves us but cannot stop his destructive and selfish behaviour. He had everything and he lost it but I know the worst part was losing us and for that I will always feel guilty.

Wendy Golden (author) from New York on July 06, 2015:

Hi Jenn,

Thank you for sharing your story. You seem more level-headed than most adult children of gamblers when it comes to finanices. Kudos to you for learning how to save and taking care of yourself financially.

As for your father, you are a grown woman who has built her own life and you don't owe anything to anyone - especially a parent that has taken advantage of you. Just tell him the truth, that you are not comfortable with him staying with you and you would rather he stay in a hotel.

There is no point to pretending you have a happy relationship with the man. You will just make yourself miserable. Perhaps, if you opt out - he might have to actually do some soul searching and make some changes.

The only reason my father has stayed out of my way is because my mother has been willing to take care of him for all these years. He would be helpless without her. If he came knocking on my door to stay with me - I would turn him away. I would help him file for public assistance, but that's it. I am not comfortable around him and can only take him in very small doses. I don't feel guilty about this - he alienates everyone - that's his challenge, not mine.

There is no law that says you have to love the unlovable or tolerate an abusive relationship with your father. Just take care of you. I hope my advice helps. If you still feel guilty, then it probably couldn't hurt to consult a therapist. Good luck, stay strong! :-)

Jenn on July 02, 2015:

Thank you for sharing your story. It helps me feel I am not alone. My Dad has day traded (gambled) his life savings away 3 times. It is amazing the upswings I have seen his account go and the downswings. He just lost 70 percent of his account yesterday. He is coming to visit me and my children and I am so afraid of him coming here. He will be angry and mean to me and the kids. I am afraid of him.

He has lived with me 5 times over my life, once when I was a student paying my own rent, college and bills. I can't believe a grown man would have the gall to move in with his 20 year old waitress daughter to leach off her.

I am now a financial planner because I have had the experience of what I would relate to the depression generation growing up. It caused me to be overly-responsible in life and take responsibility for not only myself but other people's actions (like my parents). I saved every extra penny for years. At 40 years old I am starting to relax more and not be afraid of money. It's just money - if I am responsible it will be a tool to take care of me. Before I was just so afraid of losing everything.

Sorry for babbling. I just need to get it out. I am so afraid of him moving in for a 6th time because he made horrible life choices - 3 divorces, countless abusive relationships with women. I moved almost all the way across the country to get away and he still comes by.

How do you tell your parent that you do not want them to come and visit? That they are not welcome. Will I regret it when he dies that I treated him that way?

Wendy Golden (author) from New York on February 03, 2015:

Hey JumperW,

Yes those childhood memories can really get to you. I think I might still have PTSD from my father's epic meltdowns when I was a kid. I can tell you that with all the modern technology, one of the best things I did was get rid of the television. I've been without for 8 years and I don't miss the commercials, sports events etc. I hope you find peace from your damaging childhood. Thanks for stopping by.

JumperW on February 03, 2015:

I am sad reading this. Lately memories of my childhood have been haunting me - perhaps because of the all the Super Bowl hype. My dad was a compulsive gambler. Back in 1969 he'd lose/win $3000 a weekend. Considering I came from a family of six and my dad worked at GM and made around $1oo a week - we could ill afford to lose money with his gambling.

When he'd win - it was nice to be home but when he lost (and that was most of the time) it was like walking on eggshells. We never had a family vacation - couldn't afford it. On weekends there would be bookies in our house "taking numbers" for football games. As a child I never went anywhere - my mom had to be home in case a call came through for numbers. She made $20 every Saturday morning taking numbers.

Now, 45 years later I'm still affected. Hearing a football game or baseball game sends me into place that reminds me of how sad I was as a child because my dad spent his paycheck and then some. I remember my mom worrying if we'd have enough money for food or to pay the mortgage. We lived in a tiny, tiny home because my mom was afraid that if my dad gambled all the money away, she could at least scrape up the $63 in monthly mortgage payments.

I can recall the yelling and screaming at the television because of a team losing. He'd have three TV's going and a radio. We'd have to ask if it was alright to turn on the kitchen light because sometimes it would cause static on my dad's radio and that too made him mad. As, I said, walking on eggshells.

When my dad died at an early age paperwork came tumbling in to my mom. Apparently my dad forged my mom's signature on loan papers. There was no end or reason to his gambling.

Even though it's been a long time ago the scars are still there. I am trying to work through it but there are days that I don't think I will ever get there. Thank you for the comments. They do help.

Wendy Golden (author) from New York on December 30, 2014:

Hi Mark,

Thank you for your story. You seem like a good man who is stuck between a rock and a hard place. You are doing the right thing by getting help for you. Because no matter what happens with your wife, you deserve to have your life back and be happy. Gamblers hate themselves. They know, deep down, that their addiction is destroying everything around them. Your wife loves you, but her mental illness is all consuming.

My prayers go out to you and her. I hope you both find some peace. I'm glad my hubs helped.

Mark Matchett on December 28, 2014:

I hesitate to post on your wonderful article because you seems to respond to all who do and my story is just like all the others.

On December 12th, I asked my wife for a divorce. I do not want a divorce, but I need a divorce to stop this madness. On Christmas day, my wife came back to the house to move her belonging out. She has had a gambling addiction for 4-5 years.

Numerous times she has agreed to quit gambling, but it rarely lasted more than a week or so each time. In the past, she has banned herself from the local Native American casino, only to drive to other Native American casinos 1-2 hours away. Between being emotional distraught over losses and the alcohol consumed while gambling, her drives home were a nightmare.

She knows what it would take to not throw away 23 years of marriage as I have told her over and over in the past. Many times I told her the wrong way, by screaming and yelling. Many times, by cooling off a day later and calmly telling her eye to eye that I could not do this anymore and most recent with the silent treatment, which she has now accused me of committing mental abuse upon her by my ignoring her. It is devastating and humiliating to know that she has chose gambling over us and our marriage. It feels like I have a hole punched in my chest by her choice of gambling over me.

Until Christmas Day 2014, I had no idea that my pain, from a spouse addicted to gambling, was such a common occurrence. A friend was consoling me and pointed me to Gam-Anon's website. From there I just kept googling for more information which eventual led me to your Hub's. I am not ALONE! How I wish I would have had the knowledge that I gained in that next 36 hours, 4 or 5 years ago.

While answering 20 questions titled, "Are you living with a compulsive gambler?", I answered yes to 19 of 20. Only the question of "Do you find yourself constantly bothered by bill collectors?" was no, but that is coming sooner than later.

I am not going to state the horrific stories and events over the last 5 years due to her compulsive gambling problem. Some are the same as others have told, some are so sad I am tearing up as I write this. She took care of all the finances for the household until recently. I am trying to figure it all out, but appears that in credit card balances alone we are over $55,000. There may be more as I dig through the mess of lies and betrayals.

My closest Gam-Anon meeting is a five hour round trip, but as soon as they respond to my email to them, I am going to go. Monday I am setting up an appoint with a therapist that deals with gambling and the fallout from living with a compulsive gambler. I am making an attempt to fix me. I hope that someday by me fixing me, it will indirectly help her with her problem.

Thank you for your two articles on the subject that I have found here at Hub Pages. You have opened my eyes.

Wendy Golden (author) from New York on December 12, 2014:

Dear Em,

Thank you for sharing your story. It's awful when you feel nothing but disgust and contempt for the person you're supposed to be able to respect and admire - your father. Other people don't understand what it feels like, but I do. Yes...what will we do when they come begging for help because they couldn't take care of themselves? You're right I won't know either until it happens. My prayers and good wishes to your and your family.

Em on December 09, 2014:

Thank you for writing this article. I am also the adult child of a gambling addict (my father, though I use the term loosely). I am so sorry for your and your mother's situation. I am more fortunate in that my mother saw early on that her husband had a serious problem, so she took over managing all finances. I have no doubt that if she hadn't done this, we would have nothing. Because of her, we are considered very wealthy. Of course my father does not appreciate any of this and constantly accuses her of stealing/hogging all the money. I can't express how frustrating this is for my mother and for me to hear. It's such an outrage that he can't have the decency to evaluate his actions and see how she saved us from the street.

I was somewhat aware of his problem from a very young age, but the moment that it was really shoved in my face was when I was around 9 years old, he snuck into my bedroom at night and went into my closest to search for cash. I didn't dare make a sound because I was scared, but I can't explain why I was. That moment is seared into my memory and I don't think I will forget it until the day I die.

I'm 29 years old now, so I have been living with this for 20 years, and you are so right when you say it moves beyond hate to just plain defeat. I can honestly say I don't care about him at all and I want him out of our lives.

He's 67 years old now and he recently asked for a divorce. My mother once told me that she would not divorce him because she couldn't' stand the idea of all that half of the money she saved will go to him, and then the casino. The waste is phenomenal. But now, she is just so tired of all his verbal attacks that she agreed. Even with division of half the funds, she will be fine for the rest of her days, not to mention my siblings and I would be happy to support her if need be (she totally deserves it after all that she has done for us).

I can't help but wonder how he could be so stupid to ask for a divorce now, at his age, and thinking he won't lose that money within a year and be on the street. But as you pointed out, gamblers don't think about the future, only the next bet.

At this point, I feel nothing for him, and I tell myself that if he ever came begging to me after losing his portion of the division, I would turn him away. However, I won't really know what I will do until it happens.

Wendy Golden (author) from New York on November 23, 2014:

Elaine B. - I look forward to seeing it.

Deb T - It's hard to feel for addicts, you are right. There are times I can't stand to be in the same room with my father. Their behavior is devastating, but it is rooted in a real mental disorder involving impulse control. Normal people can get a handle on destructive behavior, while the brains of addicts are constantly screaming at them to indulge in their addiction, with no thought for consequences.

An addiction counselor once said to my mother "no one says they want to engage in behavior that will destroy their finances, their lives and the people around them." She's right, but it's still real easy to hate the addict, the lies, the manipulation....

For myself, I've worked on a mixture of compassion from a distance, while keeping very firm boundaries with the addict. I no longer get caught up in the drama - I leave them to handle it themselves. Good luck with your family members. I hope you find some peace.

DebT on November 23, 2014:

A "disease", in my opinion, is an illness, such as cancer or MS. You have no choice in whether you are afflicted with this. Addictions are just that - addictions. If the addicted individual gets the proper help and support and is willing to work instead of run away, they can regain control of themselves. I don't understand how, when the gambling addict sees what he/she is doing to their loved ones, they don't get the help they need, if not for themselves, but for their loved ones, whose lives they are ripping apart. I am not saying this is an easy thing to do, especially if the addict has had a difficult life and this is their escape. I love my addicted family members and always will but the anger, hurt and resentment I feel is always present. My heart is broken.

ElaineB on November 22, 2014:

I have such a story to tell concerning my 77 year old mom who has destroyed her finances and lied to us non-stop these last six years. I have a document but it exceeds the allowable word limit. I will try to trim it down. :-)

ologsinquito from USA on August 29, 2014:

I agree that a lot more attention needs to be paid to this horrible problem, which must be getting worse because increased access to gambling, with casinos popping up everywhere, makes it all the worse.

Wendy Golden (author) from New York on August 24, 2014:

Dear potowatmi gamer,

You recognize that the damage is unmanageable. You recognize that your addiction is unmanageable. Get some support. Find a GA meeting, and through them you can probably find some free counseling. You can get healthy by taking it one day at a time, and finding support. And you can get your life back. Your kids only have one childhood. I know you want to be a good parent.

Nobody says they want to gamble until they're destitute. It's not your fault - however, just like any disease, getting treatment is the first step to getting a handle on it. Good luck.

potowatmi gamer on August 23, 2014:

I was on here a year ago. I read others stories n they scared me straight for a little while at least! but lately I've spiraled out of control. I lost at least 7000 2- months. i feel awful. i lost over 3 grand worth of furniture i messde up my payment plan w the light company i lost my place for me kids im one step away for the social.workers taking them we have.a house no but no fridge n stove.cuz i lost it twice. im devastated i now can feel the.side effects fron financial ruin i owe every payloan store n my town i lost my license i have warrents for non paid tickets e everything in my life is all bad.

Wendy Golden (author) from New York on July 16, 2014:

Dear lost a sister to gambling,

I'm sorry she hurt you. I hope you are healing. When it comes to gamblers and money they cannot be reasoned with. Even though it's painful not to talk to your sister, you did the right thing. Until she gets help, she is not rational, and you are better off. Prayers to your family.

lost a sister to gambling on July 15, 2014:

I never new my own sister that had been so caring and loving to her family ,would have this evil side to her .. I had notice for 2 weeks how moody she was upset about not having any money . One day I was at our moms house.She drove up in her car like she was in a hurry to get out , when she came up to me and said ,"what are going to do about moms funeral plans" I said it would cost so much money for the burial, she asked what happen to the 10,000$ dad left you I told her it was 5,000 , dad left me for taken care of him the last 4yrs. of his life . 8sibblings and 1 caretaker and that was myself. She said I was to split the money among all 8, I said that was not true. I bathe him feed him took him to doctors visits spent most of my time with dad . she became so furious .. She gave me this look I would never forget It was like the devil its self.I told her she should go back to the same seat she jumped off of .. she new what I meant .. Then all hell broke out SHE punched me with close fist once then twice to the right temple. I could not believe this beautiful person I knew as caring loving sister became someone evil. I went to the doctors . because my eyes and head hurt so bad. She had giving me a head concussion . I cried for 4 days straight, My doctor told me I should press charges. I did not want to but, I did get a restraining order and the judge approved it. It has been 1yr that I have not spoken to her..She has tried to talk to me but, I refuse to until she gets help. I have to stay away from evil people . I pray for her , and hope she gets the help she needs. Next time it might be her husband,, that gets those punches...

Wendy Golden (author) from New York on May 31, 2014:

Hi Dawn,

I"m so sorry for all the devastation in your life. You have every right to be angry and depressed. There are groups online that you can join. You can do a Google search. I found one called that looks decent. Keep reaching out. You will find the right support. I know you're in a dark place, but there is light at the end of the tunnel - you just can't see it now, but it does get better. My prayers are with you and your children.

Dawn on May 31, 2014:

Hi; I added a comment six months ago. I am familiar with the feeling of emotional shock and it is becoming too common these days. The divorce attorney recently obtained a $3k judgment against me (more than a 1/3 of which is "finance charges" for doing ... absolutely nothing). She made out well, as my "settlement" evaporated when the ex deliberately let the house go through foreclosure after his attempts to have me evicted through the Court failed. Sadly, there is a support order for our college age daughter (whose credit is trashed by medical and education bills properly OUR responsibility), so he "scared her out of the house" before he quit making payments. My own attempts to (try to ) deal with the situation without guidance merely resulted in my request for a settlement conference being dismissed after initially being granted. I had to laugh when I realized that in foreclosure (a civil process and order) there is a well-defined procedure for its enforcement. With divorce, there is "no such thing" and that has left me in the middle of nowhere, without means to effect any positive change. Contacted Gam-anon, where I was told I could be set up with a "pen-pal" as meetings are more than a hundred miles away in this state ... it's been a while and I have heard nothing, not even in response to my second e-mail asking if they could let me know they'd gotten the first, or send any info that might be helpful. My state representative continues to ignore my e-mails and there is no help available from any of the places I've contacted (legal or otherwise). When he filed for divorce, about three and a half years ago, I would have gladly have just taken five to six months to save some money and get my finances in order, but he refused to allow me that much peace and reasonable offer. He hired his attorney to "wap" me, as he called it ... and I had been previously threatened by same with felony charges stemming from trying to get a protective order after the previous divorce (I would be, and our children were, terrorized by yelling and threats, etc, whenever I was "allowed" to exercise visitation). And sure enough, I was soon facing allegations that I was abusing our (then) 17 year old through a motion for an emergency custody change. Nobody, including my own attorney, even questioned why a person who'd made this allegation repeatedly in past, would take an abusive woman back in, marry her ... and then leave the children while he stayed in residence with married girlfriend.

Our daughter was recently blamed, by the police, for "bringing on" an assault by a roommate ... she would never have been in that situation but for the problem gambler's desperate drive to deny all obligations. In fact, she was forced to take student loans to get the apartment and was not able to move in for four months or so (but still had rent) due to her car being broken down. She had to wait for another round of loans to get the car repaired ... and the roommate ended up being evicted; she is now left playing "catch up" and I am trying to help ... it's just a never-ending nightmare of complications that shouldn't even be possible ...

My daughters and I all have sleep problems. I have nightmares pretty much all the times I remember ... helping to explain my near continuous state of exhaustion. Finances destroyed as well as credit ... lost my last job when the car decided to dump for nearly a month. I need two front tires (which hope to get from salvage when I have some funds); the police have already told me twice that the car WILL be impounded if it breaks down in an awkward place and I can't afford to have it towed.

I don't have the funds to get through ... and living twenty miles to the nearest towns, I've been forced to gather cans for gas money ... for groceries ... to put some minutes on the phone.

I recognize the emotional shock. It's a buffer against the cruelty and insanity of a situation I did not create, had no desire to stay in and now (and for a long time) can't leave. Even when the house is sold and the sheriff's deputies come to evict, I will not have not have the credit or financial means to move my personal possessions ... so will likely lose a lot there, too.

It has been made clear to me that problem gambling and its consequences are for me to deal with and figure out how to fix ... even if it is humanly impossible for me to do so. I can't keep up with the destruction, nor can I do anything against someone who is determined to destroy me, wherever that twisted attitude comes from.

I only wanted to be able to leave with my life. once I realized that THIS (gambling) was the major force and impetus for the problems of the last sixteen years. Even the debts I had were more or less a result of his coming after me after the last divorce, trying to deny me the relationship with our daughters. I wouldn't have had legal fees this time, if there was ANY reasoning with such a person.

He's fine ... his girlfriend is now divorced and he lives with her. He hasn't made any efforts to comply with Court orders and needn't ... he knows I have no resources to have them enforced. I merely wasted thousands of dollars on an attorney for a worthless piece of paper, for a professional who doesn't have the knowledge (or is it care?) about problem gambling and the drive to retain EVERYTHING, or what contortions of mind are performed to justify his sense of entitlement to all ... even to the point where the destruction hurled to punish me has spilled over into the lives and credit reports of our (now) young adult daughters, who've done absolutely nothing to merit the injustice.

There are a very few caring people out there; probably the only reason I haven't completely given up. It is galling, though, to realize that in Indiana, gambling revenue is the third largest contributor to the state's coffers but the amount spent on even listening to the effects of problem gambling in the lives of family members ... is $0. We don't count ... we aren't even worthy to receive acknowledgement. And the state is leaving it to the people whose lives are taken (this destruction left to me is not anything resembling "my" life or a result of "my" choices) to clean up the mess ... and any other private citizens or organizations who care to help. And there aren't many of those ...

The slogan for the Indiana lottery is "Everyone wins". I haven't won, nor have my daughters (I don't gamble; purely mataphorical). I can't even break even, and I'm getting too tired to keep treading water ... in regard to the attitude toward innocent and ignorant family members, the slogan "We don't care" is most appropriate. Finally, this isn't a "pity party" so much as "it is what it is" and what is ... is wrong.

Wendy Golden (author) from New York on May 14, 2014:


I'm so sorry about your family. You all must be very angry, and rightly so. I'm sure his Mom really loved him, but she had an illness that compelled her to steal and lie from her own child. I hope your family can eventually find some peace. Thanks for sharing your story.

sandyj on May 12, 2014:

These stories are so sad. My husband just found out his mother has been stealing from him for years to play the slots. He found out 2 days after she passed so he went from grief to anger back to grief just in time to go to her funeral and hear how wonderful, loving and caring she was. My kids and I are stuck in anger this site is helping me make it less personal. Her mail is forwarded to my house I get a super special "deal" from the casino almost daily. I need to move on there is no one to be angry with thanks for your posts and your stories...none of us are alone in this unfortunately.

Wendy Golden (author) from New York on May 06, 2014:

Hi Coralee,

I honestly don't know what to tell you. I feel your desperation. Enablers are very hard to deal with, even harder than the gamblers. Your Mom is not doing your sister any favors, because sooner or later your sister will end up on the street when Mom's not around to bail her out.

If you can get a consultation with a lawyer, that's what I would recommend. to see what your options might be.

Just like with my parents, you may have to let it go and pray for them. Once you've done all you can...there isn't much left to do but let it play out. You might also want to attend some meetings of Gam-anon. It might be helpful. Keep us posted. My prayers are with you and your family.

CoraleeGreen on May 05, 2014:

My unemployed sister is a gambling addict and lives with my mom. Mom and I just discovered that she accessed mom's accounts and ran up considerable debt in my mom's name. I admit, my mom is an enabler and has never held my sister accountable for her actions. She refuses to change. And my sister knows this, she knows my mom will pay off the debt, regardless of what it does to her personal financial situation. I think my sister should be forced out of my mom's house. But my mom won't hear of it, she can't bear the thought of my sister possibly ending up on the street. She doesn't want to live with me because she worries what would happen to my sister. Is there anything I can do to help protect my mom's assets? All assets are in my mom's name but mom has been known to get my sister to pay the bills online, etc., which, as you know, invites her to steal the funds. She doesn't seem to think my sister will do this again but I don't concur. We changed her accounts but the fact is, I believe gamblers will just try to tap other possibilities we haven't thought of. I feel so helpless. My mom is in her seventies, so vulnerable as it is. Thanks for your help.

Wendy Golden (author) from New York on April 28, 2014:

Dear Somewhere in Canada,

Thank you for the feedback. You are right. I did a lot of digging around online looking for stories from families and spouses, but there was very little. That's why I decided to write about it myself. There is nothing so draining as growing up with an addict, whether gambling, alcohol, doesn't matter. Gambling is just even more insidious because they destroy their family's future, before they destroy themselves. Thanks again for stopping by. :-)

Somewhere in Canada on April 27, 2014:

What I appreciate about your articles on gambling is that they are written in the voice of a person who has been affected by someone ELSE'S gambling. There are all sorts of sites where the gambler gets to tell his/her tale of woe, but there are so few articles written from the family/friend point of view. It's frustrating. You are able to capture, in no-nonsense prose, precisely what so many of us are experiencing.

Wendy Golden (author) from New York on March 17, 2014:

Hi slayergirl213,

I think it's great you can speak your truth. I spent many years angry and resenting my father. I still think he's destructive. But in my case forgiveness is more for me than for him.

I forgive him and try to show compassion because it makes me feel better. Carrying around that anger was too much for me, too stressful. But that's me, everyone has their own process. That does not mean that I would ever trust my father or let my guard down for a minute. Forgiveness is one thing, stupidity another. LOL.

There are absolutely times where it's just not possible to be around someone. I'm sorry you went through all of that. I hope you and your family find some peace. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your experience. :-)

slayergirl213 on March 16, 2014:

I really admire people who can forgive people that have done things to them. I am not one of those people. I can't figure out how to forgive someone so I can set myself free; I don't see the connection. My "father" ha ha, actually gambled a long time ago, almost lost our house, sometimes not enough money for food, and couldn't have cared less about anyone but himself, and still doesn't. He was busted, made to straighten up, and even all these years later, 35 years to be exact, he will never admit the destruction he caused to me, my mom or my siblings, or that he had a problem. Oh, and he traded one addiction for another. He is now an alcoholic for about 30 years, which continues to wreak havoc on my family today, including my own children. I avoid him like the plague, and only see him because my codependent mother chose to stay with him through it all, like the martyr she has always been, but I love her and want to see her. I can say with no uncertainty that yes, I hate him and all he has done to us throughout our lives. I don't want to forgive him because he doesn't deserve it and doesn't ever think he has done anything wrong this whole time. I can't wait till he dies and I am free, that is the only time I will feel free, not through forgiveness. Sorry to be so negative, but I was being as real as possible. I am glad for you that you can somewhat forgive, I don't think I will ever be there myself.

Wendy Golden (author) from New York on March 15, 2014:

grand old lady,

My Buddhist practice has really helped with the whole thing. It really does foster compassion. I can only change myself and how I view things. I can't change anyone else. My father will always be disturbed, and I'm learning to accept that - and keep up very firm boundaries. Thanks for stopping by.

Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on March 15, 2014:

The hardest thing to reconcile seems to be your intellectual understanding of your father's illness with the fact that you had suffered all your life and are bearing the consequences of it. I don't know what to tell you, but I must say you have written a most informative piece about life as you knew it, what it's like and the struggles that are involved.Shit happens and it sucks. But I do pray that you experience peace that surpasses understanding. Sometimes, that's the thing that we really need in circumstances like yours.

Wendy Golden (author) from New York on February 19, 2014:


Thank you for sharing your story. It sounds awful. But you came clean and got honest. That's the first step. Money can be made back once you're in recovery. Don't beat yourself up too much, just focus on getting well. Best of luck.

Travis on February 19, 2014:

I too just came clean to business partner and family. Not only gambling addiction but also addicted to pain pills. I spent hundreds of thousands and have left my wife and I in ruin. Lost my business my business partner, and best friend over it. Have gambled and taken pills I wasn't prescribed over the past two years. I had everything, and threw it all away. Going to sell a Rolex today so I can give my wife money to cover bills while I go to treatment, don't know if she will be there for me when I am back. Had a gun in my mouth for hours and I couldn't pull he trigger. 30 years old and I had more than most do at retirement. Have maybe 150k equity in our dream house and some money in IRA's worth about 75k and two vehicles paid off and that's it. Account is negative 2k. Came clean with everything, signed myself out of the business with my partner so he wouldn't send me to jail. Don't know where to start. I hate addiction. It's the worse thing I could imagine. Good luck to any dealing with it.

Wendy Golden (author) from New York on February 11, 2014:

Dear MGApilot,

Your story is heartbreaking, thank you for sharing. To deal with CG partner on top of health issues would break most people. I hope you try to get some support. You've been traumatized and could probably benefit from counseling or a support group like Gam-Anon. You are right, she is the same as a meth addict. She has a disease and cannot help herself. My prayers are with you.

Dear USAHombre - I'm glad my story has helped. I wish you nothing but success in beating your addiction. I know you can do it and lead a healthy life.

Dear Realitybitesme,

Please go to a Gam-Anon meeting, or get a referral to a counselor. You and your fiancé are in a toxic relationship. His gambling will always come first, because he has a progressive disease, and you will end up on the street anyway because he is not able to be a real husband.

You and your daughter have to come first. Please try counseling and meetings and please don't marry this man. He will destroy you and your daughter if you stay. I'm sending you prayers and good energy.

Realitybitesme on February 11, 2014:

Hi your story is very insightful. I don't know what to do, my fiancé is a CG we are with each other 5 years now and are scheduled to get married this June and I have just caught him for 2nd/3rd time. The first time was 3 years ago when I found out that our accounts were empty and he had stolen our daughter's christening money and he had spent all his tax money and left in dept of €30,000 to the taxman. I hadn't much money as i have given up work to look after our daughter, his mother gave us the money in the end to pay the taxes and I forgave him and made sure that he had to go to ga meetings, he didn't like them he couldn't relate with anyone so I organised counselling he did well there and then just stopped going. I took control of all our finances but when he couldn't get his way he would cancel the debit card so I couldn't use it and have no money while he would withdraw the cash direcly from the bank or stop the online banking so I couldn't monitor the transactions. I finally checked it today and in the past 6 weeks he has wiped out our wedding fund nearly€10,000 I don't know what to do, he lies all the time and if I question him he screams at me and tells me I'm imagining it all and try's to put the blame on me and make me feel guilty. I love him but I also hate him so much I wouldn't trust him as far as I could throw him. I find myself lowering myself to his level just to catch him out on his lies. I don't know if he can change. And the funny part is that I haven't even confronted him about it yet I'm afraid of his reaction and I don't even know what to say, I told him the last time that I would leave him but realistically I won't I've no money and nowhere to go, is this my fate for the rest of my life. My daughter is the only thing that is keeping me going lately. He is a good person but his gambling comes before us. Im just so tired and drained emotionally. i feel like im a different person to who i was 5 years ago. Thanks

USAHombre on February 10, 2014:

Dear Macteacher:

Thanks for your encouragement and prayers. I'm using all available resources to keep me on track -including your post. I'm also including GA this time. Please know that your own very personal story has made a positive impact on my journey - thank you!

MGApilot on February 10, 2014:

This has been some of the best first hand information I have found. My partner of 15 years is a CG. When we met we lived in Reno and I knew she liked to play the machines. We would go out every once in a while, and I get pissed at losing 20 dollars, but no compulsive gambling issues arose while we lived there. We moved to CO for my job and the closest casino was an hour and half away. Every few months we would go up, spend maybe couple hundred bucks, and that was that. We lived there for eight years and unfortunately during that time I incurred some serious health issues. I had a stroke, due to an infection from a surgery (they gave me last rites), had seven surgeries in five years, including back fusion which left me with foot drop and am now disabled. My family convinced us to move close to them, they were 800 miles away, so a year and a half ago we did. There is an Indian casino 10 minutes across the border. I thought all of my illnesses and surgeries were my hell, not even close. Within 6 weeks my partner was sneaking to the casino. We have a joint checking, which pays the "daily living" bills and I have always handled that. We had excellent credit and were in a good financial position when we moved here. The first sign of something wrong has that she stole 30 dollars from my sisters purse. They didn't say anything to me at the time because they couldn't prove it but we were the only other two there. A few weeks later 20 dollars goes missing from my sisters purse. They say something to me and I was baffled. I told them it didn't make since because she had access to money. A few months later, after I kept pressing the issue and I flat out called her a liar, she admitted to it. She also had her own checking, checks started bouncing. With our excellent credit she had gotten new credit cards, hid the fact, and was running them up with cash advances. She was working at the time, she is a nurse, but did lose that job due to absenteeism. She would pretend she was going to work and go sit at the casino for 12 hours because she called in. Better yet, she has even had a co-worker call her cell phone and then tells me they asked if she could come in, and this on the evening of my birthday. She also cashed out her life insurance policy, sold numerous pieces of jewellery that I gad given her and this was done all before I knew. Me being disabled, I do get a small monthly check that goes into my own account. She had to file for bankruptcy. It ruined my credit because I was an authorized signature on one of the older cards which she maxed out. I'm still fighting to have it changed since I'm not legally responsible for it. I had to cash in my 401 to keep us afloat. My parents had to pay our mortgage for three months, ALL of this in less than a year. It is as if a bomb had exploded. I am in debt up to my eyeballs now trying to survive. But a few months ago I noticed I was short on one of my meds that I use for muscle spasms. Confronted her and she finally admitted to stealing my meds. Not only do I need them to help my pain, I go to a specialist for these meds who tests you. Not to see if you are using illegal meds but that you are using yours and not selling them. So I am living in a home where I have to hide EVERYTHING! And just last week, I have a small pillbox I keep in my bag for when I am out, I must have forgotten it on the bar stool one night and when I went to break one it would not break like usual. Looked at it, they weren't my pills! She had replaced them with something of hers. I am allergic to a lot of meds and for her to now be risking my physical well being, it reaffirms that no one matters but her. I don't like what this has made me become. I yell at her that I hate her, that I can't stand her, etc...I don't want to be that way. The relationship IS over. We haven't shared the same bedroom for over three months. We are working on the logistics of it all. What to do with the house, furnishings, etc. And yes she still gambles, even with access to funds taken away. She got another credit card and hid it until it needed a payment. MAXED. On cash advances. One of those "27% rebuild your credit BS" cards. They know they can garnish wages, she can't file bankruptcy. Sad thing is, I may end up there. To sum it all up, I don't know nor do I like this person. She's tried GA, we tried counseling, when she would go. There has been no genuine effort on her part and I deserve to be happy. I tell her that if her addiction had a outwardly visible image that she would look like a meth addict. Sores all over her body from picking and nasty rotten teeth, that is what I see. That is how low she has gone. Thanks.

Wendy Golden (author) from New York on February 09, 2014:

Dear USAHombre,

Good luck battling the addiction. At least your honest about it, and that's the most important part. As long as you can keep yourself afloat financially, that's important. However, the money could be spent on so many other things, which I'm sure you know. Thank you for sharing your story. Good luck, my prayers are with you.

USAHombre on February 09, 2014:

I'm addicted to gambling. I know that, and I've know it for some time. I'm an action gambler...blackjack was my game of choice. Then six years I decided that I needed to get my life in order. So I stopped, cold turkey. I didn't attend any GA meetings but I talked about my addiction with a close friend of mine who is recovering from her alcohol addition. She was helpful in keeping me on track. But then a little over a year ago, I received a decent settlement from an auto accident.'s all gone...I gambled it all away - and then some. I'm not proud of any of this but I'm trying, once again, to get a grip on my life. I'm sober right now and hope to stay that way. It is a destructive addiction. I've never relied on anyone else to feed addiction by asking for money nor have I ever stolen anything from anyone. My addiction was feed by the financial resources that were solely mine. This doesn't make my addiction any better because I have caused great emotional abuse to my partner of 15 years. I know I have the resources available to me to live with my addiction without having to be in action to feed my addiction. I must admit that I was really happy during my 5 years of sobriety. However, like so many addicts, I played mind games with myself when I received that settlement. The addiction crept up slowly and the blackjack dealers and other regular players were my friends. I'm retired so I spent my days in the casino when my partner was working. I was living a very lonely existence for the better part of 2013. The casinos do entice people to come in with their promotional offers. However, an addict is going to go regardless of the what is or isn't offered to them. I never blamed the casinos for my addiction...I'm the one with the problem. I am the one with the defects. My father, who's in his 70's, also has a gambling problem...but doesn't admit it either. In fact, when I told him about my addiction, he didn't want to talk about and told me that he was sure I didn't have a problem. But I do, and I have a lot of work ahead of me. Thanks for sharing your story as well as to those who have shared their stories.

Wendy Golden (author) from New York on January 24, 2014:

Dear Buddyblues,

You are not wrong to walk away. You do what you need to do to take care of yourself. He will not stop gambling until he decides to get real help and get honest about his addiction. By all means, tell his parents. The more people know - the less he will be able to take advantage of them. My prayers are with you.

Buddyblues on January 23, 2014:

I am the wife of a gambler... just found out... 2 yrs into marriage he comes to me saying he is in trouble... i had no idea... he owed £8000 to loan sharks at 400% interest, and had no rent for the coming month and we still had to pay the outstanding monies on our holiday we had booked.. so in total £9000... it was all he loan companies the ones that advertise on TV.

I was shocked...I had no idea! i asked him how this had happened and he said online gambling.. It was all going to reach £14000 in 15 days if it wasn't paid and he was in a flat panic, vomiting from stress and crying..

so good wife sits him down with a plan.. ( i am excellent with money and budgets if i may say so myself ) I draw all my savings out to pay it... I scream at him, I cry and demand cards get cut up and that his salary comes to me and I give him an allowance... He is more than happy to do it and kind of behaving like a puppy dog waiting for the next instruction. I war n him if this ever happens again.. it is the end... ( i have a family of disorders...i don't not need another one, no thank you!) He pays me back in a year... that year not being the greatest romantic 2nd year of our marriage if you know what i mean as i did not trust him and wanted to punch him when my friends would go out and i would decline... again!.

so when i start talking about savings and how much he has and we should start putting money away for a deposit ... he stays up late, always collects the post... but the main thing i noticed was his weight loss again.. I notice he had a credit card.. i asked him when did he get that.. oh he needs one to build a credit rating.. fair point.. for the past 5 months i keep bringing up money, savings, how is he doing and we need to start working together... i even went so far as to say that i knew something is up.. if he has something to tell me, he best tell me as he does not want me to assume he worst,.... he said nothing just that i always fight with him

anyway, he was out on Sunday and i thought now is my time i know something is up and i went through his work bag.... well there are letters issued for court proceedings, her has a visa credit card, a Barclay credit card and found welcome letters from online gambling sites.

£4000 of debt.... the worst thing is he is 35.. worked in London for 7 years , has no money not one penny and owes so much money .. he gambles loans...

i feel dead inside.. i want to walk away.. only when he is confronted does he start trying to organise his life... the reality of this is that it is highly likely it will happen again... do i want to gamble my future with him? as that is what i will be doing if i stay with him... i don't want to rent when i am 70... what about kids..

i am quite a tough cookie and ready to walk away... i like the guy, right now i don't love him i hate him... i feel sorry for him... he thinks by having a spreadsheet and payment plan set up its all ok that he is sorting himself out.. he is meeting a gamcare Councillor on Monday... but i feel dead inside... i don't care if he does or he doesn't ... he has lied to me daily so i don't believe a word he says..

i want to know ... is it worth me writing a letter to his parents telling them what is happening, as i don't feel he will get the support he needs from me as i am in a low place right now and just trying to figure out how i have ended up picking such whimps of men in my life.. i have nothing to say to him.... and i also think that his parents need to know.. as he will never ever tell them...

we are both in the UK with family from our home country so it is hard doing this by myself...

i feel ashamed for wanting to just walk away.. but then why should i , it wasn't me who let us down...

sorry for the morbid post but i just don't really know what to say or do...

Wendy Golden (author) from New York on January 17, 2014:

Hi Kalina,

I am so sorry for your pain and suffering over this man. I'm afraid you can't help him - he cannot be reached. Everyone has their own rock bottom and until he reaches his and decides to turn his life around...he will use everyone around him, including the woman he loves. I know you love him, and I have also loved self destructive people, so I know how painful it is, but being with him will only destroy you.

He has a progressive disease, and only he can decide to get help. Asking for money and bailouts is not asking for help - it's just asking to continue his addiction.

I don't know where you are, but if you can find a Codpendent's Anonymous meeting you might want to try a group like that. They have been through it, and they can support you. I hope you are able to move on and find some peace. My prayers are with you.

Kalina on January 17, 2014:

I would like to share my story having a compulsive gambler exboyfriend. I know what most of the people would tell me but only a person who has been on this site of the mirror can undestand me and judje me. When i met my exboyfriend we fall in love from first look- he was and still is the love of my life. We met in an another country where both of us were working. At the time we met he did not work and was searching for a job ( or at least pretending). At the beginning he was so kind and gentle and rush the relationship so fast that for me it was scaring but i did not pay any attention and enjoyed the ride. We were both 23 at the time.My partner had money all the time.... I had started to doubt... His behaiviour all the time was changing-like two people in once. He had a problem with the alcohol as well.. One night called me and said that he loved me a lot(i am sure that he was playing slot machines and winning) after 30 min he called me and asked me for 150 euros(and after losing) .I gave it to him- after may be 2-3days when he was drunk he confessed me that he playes pocker. I worked before in a betting shop and new the psychic of the gamblers. Later in our relationship i have found out that my boyfriend was stealing to feed his gambler addiction.I really tried to help him with speaking,supporting, threathening but nothing helped.I was begging him to find and start a job but he was not willing to do it-it was easier for him to steal,sell and gamble.He was my pretty bad boy... The things turn out really evil..He was very jealous, abusive,started hitting and cheating me.I was forgiving himeverything after the story of crying,feeling sorry and promising. I found out that he took and owed money to all of our frends as well.I could not take it any more when one night being drunk he told me everything about how he stole from peoples homes.He was lying to me so long time...I was so scared and afraid from the person who was in front of me...He even tried to rape me one night...I went to the police-i know that a lot of people would blame me for what i did but for the moment i put myself on place of the people who he was stealing,being afraid that he could scared someone to death or that someone could kill him like seldifence. I thought that this would stop him,but it did not. The police catched him and gave him 2 years in jail.I did not know what he did before, his lawyer said that he maid more than 130 home robery for which he confessed.I was there during the whole process -my heart did not let me to leave him alone. He asked me to promised me to wait him and to stay there.I promised this but i was so afraid that everything will repeat and i was so weak that i left the country.I kept my promise hoping that he would change how stupid isnt't it?I kept a contact with his mother asking always how he was and what he was doing.She told me that he never stopped asking about me. 1.5 year later i had money and i was intending going on a holiday and mostly seeing my exboyfriend in this country.Before i go i gave my phone number to his mother to gave it to him....She did not replied to me any more.When i went to the county where he was prisoned i reached her again and asked her what had happened and if she gave my numbwer to him.She told me that he called her asking for 1000euros his father during the time he was in the jail saying that he is under drugs and he played pocker in the jail.This was the reason she did not gave him my phone number ,cause she wanted to prevent me.I said to myself that the pain would be too big for me and him( thinking about him most of all ) that it is better not to meet. After 3 months he went out of the jail and reached me on facebook.The story began like before too many promises,excuses and the stupid me believed him again... He was convincing me that he had changed himself ,he wanted now to be financial independent and to start a life with me to have a family.How much needs one woman especially those who has still feelings to tell her that she was the one and wanted chilldren from her.I fell in the trap again.He found a job was working as a taxi driver -everything lasted just 1 month and he asked me for money again saying that he had car accident and he has to cover the expences for it- lie again.....He never stopped searching me which made me think that he really loved me. He went to England and started stealing again....He reached the bottom and did not take any lesson from it...After a month in England the police caught his friend....He did not have money to come to my country but was finding money for drinking, the time he was saying that he stopped with the pocker.One day he gave me ultimatum if i buy him the ticket he will come--from before i know that giving him money i make him only a bad favour so i denied.He got angry and said that i would feel sorry.After 5 days a girl went to him in England- a girl with who he had a realtionship all these time. I went so down-i lost my mind... Finally i found out from her that he never stopped gambling.... Even living with her he still was searching and callin me... I was and i am still too weak -this is the only man i have loved in my life. Now he works for which i am happy... But i think that i have lost the love of my life just cause i did not believe him that he can change and did not support him enough and she did. He takes drugs,drink and play pocker. Do you think that the love to someone can change him.... I am blaming myself and he is making me feeling guily for that i could not help him not to go in the jail..... Give me advice.3years alredy passed but my heart is still beating for him.... He reached the bottom and instead of going up he is going down.... How could i help him?

Wendy Golden (author) from New York on December 29, 2013:

Hi Ellie,

Gambling amongst seniors is a real problem. Your Mom's story is very sad. There isn't much you can do except encourage her to go a GA meeting, which she probably won't do. A lot of seniors feel isolated and lonely, that's why they get depressed. Maybe there's some kind of social activities in your area for seniors and you could get her interested in that. My prayers are with you and your family. Good luck.

Ellie on December 29, 2013:

My mother is 75 years old and has been buying lottery tickets for many years. My sister and I only found out about her habit she came to us to help pay her telephone bill. We didn't understand why she couldn't pay it and asked to see her bills. Lo and behold, she was spending almost all of her money on lottery scratch off tickets. With her permission, I took control of her social security check with a joint account and now disburse funds to her little by little. She still won't buy food because almost all of it goes for her habit. She knows my sister and I will buy her food so she uses our guilt to keep her addiction going. Only recently did I decide not to fund her habit any further but she doesn't really care that she's destroying her life and that even food is not important to her any more. I know she's depressed, but her doctors can't intervene because she acts perfectly fine when she's in their presence. They also can't make her do the right thing if she doesn't want to. I'm afraid she will eventually starve to death. She only eats frozen dinners from the dollar store because she doesn't want to cook anymore. She also doesn't clean her apartment or herself. Her social security check is not enough to hire assistance for her but too much for her to receive help from the government.

Wendy Golden (author) from New York on December 24, 2013:

Dear dgreat Juan,

Thank you for your post. Congratulations on facing your addiction and dealing with it. That really is half the battle. Any addiction is a lifelong struggle. You sound determined to take your life back, and you will. Definitely keep us posted on your progress - it will help other CG's. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. :-)

dgreat JUan on December 24, 2013:

This is a nice article MacTeacher, very enlightening indeed. It will help both the CG and the family members how to deal with the disease. Its really hard to eradicate this disease and it will always keep on coming back even if you are trying. The idea of having to recover losses is always in the CG mind. Sometimes, they think to recover small amount only, but then it turn out losing more money than what is supposed to be recover. Its true that what matter for CG is how to be always in the game, no matter where the money to bet comes from, be it in a credit card, saving acct, etc. For me, I'm still struggling to be on the recovery , but the important thing is that I realize it before its too late. Actually I've been reading several article about CG, I hope someday I will free from this habit and eventually claim back my healthy life style free from this devastating disease. Thank you for your sharing, it give me more perspective on how a CG is perceive by family members. I believe a can see the light at the end of the tunnel not so far away as my personal resolve is to finally end this mess even how hard it is. I will come back to this hub when I've finally recovered to share more on my experience as CG and my recovery.

Wendy Golden (author) from New York on December 17, 2013:

Hi Bernie,

I'm sorry for what you're going through. It's awful. No he won't change. The only person you can change is you. I went to CoDA meetings and they really helped.

You might find a group, like AA is very helpful in addition to counseling. You are doing the right thing by helping yourself and by getting him out of your life.

You can do much, much better. You deserve a relationship where you are the priority - not an addiction. Good luck, my prayers are with you.

Bernie 2013 on December 16, 2013:

No quick fix for this prob I have found. My partner of 5 years was a gambler when I met him. Had nothing much of his own, never has. Bled his parents over the years, went to jail for fraud, he just brought a new car this year, (in his name) but I found out my own brother is paying his car payments for him until he returns back with money from his job. In the meantime my credit card is owing. I owned my own house before him, but in arguments he says "he will take half, so I should lawyer up." (which now I finally am going to see one). He blames my drinking at times for his gambling. I always thought by cleaning up his debts at the start of our relationship that he would have a clean start but now I have found this has not worked. He did go to counselling once and will not try any medication such as anti depressants etc. Am I doing the right thing by trying to get him out of my home/my life We are not married, with no kids. I realise his first love will always be gambling compulsively at times, and sometimes he tries to control it. When he does, he blows everything. (usually his own money) but then I have to try to find money for bills etc. He is a good man, he said he loved me more than gambling when we first met. But now our relationship has turned to crap. Its like living with another person in the middle of us. (gambling). I thought I would never give up on him, but now when we fight, usually over gambling (when I am drunk) it can turn into domestic violence cos its push and shove etc and I am so angry I hit out, and he has started to hit back. I can't beat this thing, but my prob with drinking is not helping either. I have gone to counselling and am willing to address my issues, but he is not willing, wont answer my questions honestly, and I am getting really sick with nerves etc. I want him to have back all that he has put into property since he moved in, but most importantly, I would like the control back over my life. I just feel so hurt, and so let down. He wont change will he ???

Wendy Golden (author) from New York on November 27, 2013:

Dawn I'm so sorry for the ordeal you're going through. I also have real issues with the legalized gambling industry. They have laws in place to keep bars and pubs from serving alcohol to someone who is inebriated. Yet, a casino will take the last dollar from someone who clearly looks like they're in dire straits - they won't cut them off. The laws need to change.

I'm sending you prayers and good energy that you and your family make it through to the other side. You will. I know you're angry now, and you have a right to be, but it does get better. It really does.

Dawn Clabaugh from Bourbon, Indiana on November 27, 2013:

I have spent the last three years dealing with the discovery of gambling of which I knew nothing. Called and contacted people at the state level, the state "help" hotline (yeah, the family members can get counseling ... at our own expense ... to "cope"). Meanwhile, the attorney I was forced to hire to PROTECT me and our children did an abysmal job ... one young adult daughter's credit is already ruined ... her car has been broken down for nearly three months ... while Indiana just gave tax credits for "free play" at casinos. I get angry when I walk into gas stations and am asked if I want to play "poker lotto" and the clerk tells me they are REQUIRED to ask everyone. The state is making off with (OUR) assets .... but does NOTHING to help families .... including enforcing Court orders. I'm tired, angry and disgusted ... particularly that we've been brainwashed to think that we need to continue putting up with this while the states look good through the revenues ... of course, the casinos and other venues aren't doing too badly, either.

Wendy Golden (author) from New York on November 23, 2013:

Thank you fivesenses. I look forward to reading more of your hubs. :-)

Leena from new delhi on November 23, 2013:

Yes, gambling destroys many lives and is an addiction the gambler needs to overcome...voted and shared.

Wendy Golden (author) from New York on November 19, 2013:

Thank you Mel. I never got "it" either, but addictions don't make sense. Thanks for the compliment. :-)

Mel Carriere from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on November 18, 2013:

I never got gambling. Slot machines bored me and I never got any thrill at Poker. A lot of my co-workers practically live in the Indian Casinos, however, and I just don't get what the attraction is. I suppose it's a sort of a thrill, but if I had any disposable cash I think I'd like to do more travelling. This was a great hub, and your personal experiences are definitely captivating to read.

Wendy Golden (author) from New York on November 08, 2013:

I think it's important for family members to know. Because your sister might try to get money out of her at some point, but that's up to you. I'm a big believer in the truth. :-) Thanks for stopping by.

Somewhere in Canada on November 08, 2013:

My situation: should our elderly mother know about my sister's gambling? My sister does not have access to our mother's bank account (thank goodness).

Wendy Golden (author) from New York on November 08, 2013:

Hi Anonymous,

The fact that you know you have a problem is the first step, and the biggest. You can not ever win back your money. The casinos are set up to make money not give it away.

You cannot control this on your own, it's bigger than you. If you are serious about saving your marriage and your relationship with your child - please seek help. You can look for your local Gambler's Anonymous meetings online. The meetings are everywhere. This will only get worse until you get into recovery. My prayers are with you and your family. Thank you for sharing.

anynomous on November 07, 2013:

Hi, Im 22 years old, currently attending college for nursing. Last semester I failed chemistry because I was skipping class to go to the casino. Now Im hoping to get accepted in clinicals in the spring. Im making straight A's now, but my gpa went from a 3.4 to a 2.7 bc of the gambling. My husband found out in May about the casino from our loan officer at the bank when we were financing a camper. Our bank covers us up to 700 and I made us stay negative. I would hurry and take out cash for us to last the week he was home from offshore she he wouldn't know. He found out and threatened to divorce me. I would play the "catch up" game in blackjack. Once I would lose so much, I would then double my bet. most of the time, lose that too. I just can't see why I love it so much when I can never come out ahead. One day I spent over 2,000 in one day trying to win back my money I lost before my husband came home from work. The very least I would spend in one day would be $200. Anyway, my husband found out and I quit for about 2 weeks. We also have a child. I put together a Christmas fund and would have the bank autodraft the money out of our checking each month, so we would have $2000 saved up for Christmas. I had to get it out and put it in the bank because I was in a whole so bad. Then I started up again. I wish my husband would have taken me off the banking account so I would of stopped. But its by no means his fault. Im taking away from my family and being very selfish and don't know how to stop. I don't miss any more classes and currently have all A's, but our bills are going unpaid. I just feel like I need to keep going and hopefully hit big to catch up on our bills so I can finally quit without my husband finding out, but the problem is I can't seem to win.EVER. I know I have a problem with not knowing when to quit, but I never get up big enough to stop, my goal is always to stop at 1000. or even 500$ ahead but I can't. Im just afraid to get help and tell my husband bc he may divorce me. And the sad thing is Im just so depressed except when Im gambling. But right when I walk out the casino and realize how much I just lost, im back to it.But I don't know if I would even care if we would get a divorce, bc I just feel like we drifted apart so much & he definitely deserves better,, the big thing is that I would want to make sure our bills would be caught up first bc I feel too bad about doing this to him.Yet I continue. And also wouldn't want my husband to use my gambling problems to take my son from me the 7 days he would be home. I just don't know what to do or why Im even writing this bc I don't think I will get help until I somehow cover up the bills I have missed. thanks for listening.

Wendy Golden (author) from New York on October 25, 2013:

Courtney get help right away and go see a lawyer. You need to cut your wife out of the loop financially and get her on a monthly allowance.

All of your assets and money need to be in your name only. She can't have any access ever again. You will need a second person as power of attorney. Maybe one of your kids or another relative, that's why you need a lawyer. Someone you trust.

Your wife is very sick and if she refuses to get help, then you must take care of yourself by cutting her off financially or she will put you so far in debt - you will never get out. The sooner you take care of this the, the better. Call your local Gam-Anon to see what resources are in your area. My prayers are with you. Good luck.

Never give up on October 23, 2013:

Narcissism is a character of gambler aside from being a pathological liar. I am an addict of gambling too and u have been battling this disease for a long time. I hate it to the max but this sick brain keeps haunting me. Get the person to a treatment center ASAP and never trust money to her. The addiction has muddled hers values but she is struggling too.

She needs help right away.

Courtney on October 21, 2013:

I dont know what to do, I am running business out west and my wife and kids reside in Ontario. We have been married for 23 years and have 4 children, my wife Mary Jane has always taken care of the bills and as a trusting husband has always given her everything I earn.I just found out last month, after always hearing about financial problems, going to the bank to check bank records for the first time in over 20 years and finding out that I have a bank payment Im paying on this new Chevy Cruise I bought for our oldest daughter Natasha for university. The problem is I paid cash for it, this find is only the start. Thousands have been disappearing for years but I believe that Im just not all their so I trust Im wrong. About 7 years ago, Jane and me where at the casino and I needed some more money to play but the wife swore to me there was know money accessible , so I walked around for maby an hour and who did I come across at the ATM but Jane drawing out money. I was so upset at her greed,that was the first I relized she maybe had a problem. About 6 years ago I received 60.000 for part of a contract which took care of bills to date about 45 days later I received the remainder of this contract of 170.000 and within 3 months that,was gone, this story goes on but anyway Im at a loss with what to do. She has liad constantly for years with know care or remorse. I have fell into financial problems and she doesn't care. I don't blame all money problems on her because life we know is expensive, but Im in a know win situation, the credit cards are maxed, our land tax is 20.000 in the hole etc. Please can any body give me advice. Thanks Courtney

Wendy Golden (author) from New York on October 10, 2013:

Dear Addict,

I know better than anyone that when someone is in the throes of an addiction they are unable to reason or think about consequences. Unfortunately it doesn't make it easier for their spouses and kids. I applaud the fact that you are in recovery. Congratulations! Your daughter is lucky to have a parent who's willing to take responsibility for their disease and seek help.

My father is still in denial about the magnitude of his betrayal of his family, and has not really embraced any kind of recovery. The compulsive lying is still just as bad. But it is what it is. I can forgive, but most families of CG's are unable to forget. I have done my best to protect my mother from any further depletion of her assets, and that's the best I can do. As for my father, I can only pray for him.

Best of luck to you in your recovery. :-)

addict on October 04, 2013:

Im a compulsive gambler but in recovery,for myself first and the other reason i do not want my daughter who is now 4 years of age going through

what you have gone through, all i can say is we as compulsive gamblers are riddled with guilt for years in recovery over the damage we caused while may think we are selfish but but that would be wrong......when a gambler is in action they are unable to think of the consequences of the aftermath because of what's happening chemically in their brain...i am in no way defending your father or any compulsive gambler but it is a disease....all that aside i feel your pain best wishes

wellness16 on October 01, 2013:

No worries macteacher. I'm glad for you. It is sad but let's just hope that things get easier for them (the troubled) internally - maybe hoping wellness for others (specifically for people that are significant in our lives) might invite great things for us. I can't change my childhood but I am grateful for what I have now..hopefully, I did learn something from my parents' errors (or naivety).

Best wishes and keep swimming. :-)

catlarry on September 30, 2013:

Thank you, macteacher. I'm working on forgiving my father. My childhood wasn't bad or traumatic. With no one around, I did whatever I wanted. It wasn't until the last few years that I started realizing that I needed an upbringing and didn't get it.

I wouldn't want to be dealing with your situation. You have no choice but to be involved.