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DH is addicted to gambling. Going to Gamcare. Will it stop?

(50 Posts)
OiMissus Thu 25-Jul-13 10:15:23

Will he always be addicted to gambling? Will I always have to check and double check and control our finances?
I've caught him 4 times in a two year period. First time: I found out after the wedding that for the 6 mths leading up to the wedding that he was gambling his wage, online, every month. I didn't recognise the man I married. We didn't deal with the problem properly, so a few months later he was doing it again, when we should have been saving for the baby (I was now pg) and the new house, still online up to £1k a month. I took his card off him, gave him spends for a couple of months. It was hard work, and miserable.
Then he lost his job, just after we moved into our new big house with big mortgage, and he dealt with this by gambling again. This time in betting shops, probably threw away about £800 over an 8 week period.
Each time he has been remorseful, upset, ...but still not quite completely honest. Each time I said that I'd chuck him out, that I would not have him destroy everything.
A few months ago I caught him again, I noticed about £200 disappear from our account over a 4 day period.

As much as I wanted to, I didn't kick him out.
He's remorseful. He is so upset that our marriage is seriously on the rocks. (We are now going to Relate).
He's now getting counselling from Gamcare - he's had two sessions so far, and likes the counsellor.
We have a joint account. At the moment, he shows me his finances and expenditure every day (rather than me take his card off him and dole out cash when he needs it). I hate this.
The house is in my name, and it's mine. If I kicked him out, I think I could afford to stay here. We have a wonderful son of 19 months.
Leaving our crumbling marriage to one side, because I don't believe that gambling is our only issue, ahat I need from ye wise women of mumsnet, is to know if he will ever get over the gambling. What is your experience?
BTW: He says that apart from the odd bet before, the gambling addiction - and wreckless gambling started only after we started a serious relationship. He says that he gets no joy/excitement/thrill at all from gambling. Quite the opposite, he feels despicable, but felt compelled - couldn't fight the urge.

picnicfantasic Fri 26-Jul-13 22:49:24

Hi OP. In answer to your question, imho, no it won't stop.

Have just started a new thread outlining my own experience, feel free to join in for support.

Wishing you well.

KareninsGirl Fri 26-Jul-13 16:55:46

oblivion, I am pleased you got some legal advice and it makes interesting reading for me too as I'm in a similar position re my house.

I was going to speak to a solicitor about my will over the next few weeks, and I will keep you updated on that one.

I don't want my DC's inheritance being compromised.

Good luck with Relate x

IntoOblivion Fri 26-Jul-13 14:38:49

Just back from solicitors:
Because the house is solely in my name, he / his debt can't touch it.
That is, if he runs up debts in his name, he has no claim on assets in my name AS LONG AS the debts are not "matrimonial". Eg. If he paid for a family holiday on a card in his name, that could be conceived as "matrimonial". But debts allocated to betfred or whatever would not touch me.
Now, if we were to divorce/separate, the story is different. He would have a claim on my house. It starts at 50/50, and then you start to negotiate/ put your story forward to prove your right to a bigger slice.

So, in summary, as long as I hold the assets in my name, he can't touch them through gambling debts. Which means that we can continue with Relate to see if we can give the marriage a chance. (And we can find out more about addictions and how to handle them with a bit more room/time to breathe.)
I feel much happier with this legal advice. Thank you for steering me in this direction.
I will still separate the accounts, and ensure that everything goes in my name only in the future.

tribpot Fri 26-Jul-13 13:54:57

Sorry OP - you're right, I was thinking of another thread where the OP's DH has managed to run up massive debts (repeatedly) and she's bailed him out.

The comment still stands, though - he isn't accepting he has a problem.

IntoOblivion Fri 26-Jul-13 12:33:17

his problem has cost you every penny of savings and your entire inheritance for god's sake! Your benefactor did not intend you to have to flush that money away down the toilet. - tribpot
This is not my story, I think you're confusing me with Carpe's brother, perhaps. My DH has not yet affected my savings really, apart from he hasn't contributed as much as he could, and therefore I've had to save more.
karen I hope your DH seeks help. Good luck. i had to push DH into action. I found it very depressing that he could not motivate himself - despite his assurances that he was doing everything possible...

KareninsGirl Fri 26-Jul-13 10:11:14

Thank you for the update and for keeping this thread going.

My H gambles. I found out through bank statements. The lies/deception are the bit I can't handle as I now feel I can't trust him. He has, in the past, looked me in the eye and sworn blind he hasn't been gambling until I've confronted him with indisputable evidence. That's what hurts the most and that is what makes me doubt everything.

I'm not sure the level of trust I once had in him will ever return.

He has promised to seek counselling as this is not something he can deal with alone and I am not qualified to steer him through the process. I am not nagging him but am waiting to see if this happens or not. It has to come from him.

I think you are very strong and very brave x

CinnabarRed Fri 26-Jul-13 09:52:58

My very lovely stepfather is an alcoholic who has been dry for more than 20 years.

Every morning, he promises my mother that he won't drink today.

He knows, as an addict, that he is unable to promise any more than that.

He also attends AA meetings at least twice per week.

I admire him very much. He understands his addiction and has learnt how to , respects its power, and has learnt how to manage it.

tribpot Fri 26-Jul-13 09:29:02

he believes he'll never do it again

I don't think this is a statement any addict who was truly intent on recovery would say. I wouldn't make that promise to my DH, for example - I know that I will always want to drink and I sincerely want not to give in to that. But I also live in a world of anticipating my triggers - I was offered a glass of a red wine cocktail in a hotel earlier in the week and had to wave it away very quickly, the smell was enough to give me cravings. But I know that will happen, so I anticipate it and work through it. I can't anticipate every trigger.

He also doesn't demonstrate true remorse. You're not 'being negative', his problem has cost you every penny of savings and your entire inheritance for god's sake! Your benefactor did not intend you to have to flush that money away down the toilet. He doesn't get it, on some level he believes he's entitled to spend the money (and of course you haven't helped by threatening to leave but not following through on it, he's behaving like a naughty child).

That said, he is very, very early in his recovery and he may come to understand these things in time. But he may not. You have a very real and present danger in the meantime.

Addiction takes different forms, and it is quite possible to be an addict but not exercise your habit every day. One of the key differentiators is that once you start you can't stop. He has definitely demonstrated that.

Spend some time with Gamanon. You aren't going to make sense of this in one day.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 26-Jul-13 09:18:41

I think you're handling it very well so far. Of course it's upsetting because we're talking about emotional thing like family and your relationship, but I'm glad you're being realistic and taking what sound like the right practical damage-limiting steps.

IntoOblivion Fri 26-Jul-13 08:56:02

(name changed, just in case)
We spoke last night when he got home from his last gamcare session (which was a bit of a waste of time, he said- they didn't really get anywhere - just filled in forms mainly.) I didn't tell him about the solicitors or bank appts, but told him that I'd been looking more into addiction. i asked him if this was going to be our life, of meetings every week. And then one day, when I'm not watching, I'll return home to find a repossession notice or bankruptcy, and me and Boi would be homeless?
He believes it'll never happen. he believes he'll never do it again. He believes that now he's taking action, it'll be sorted. The gamcare thing is only for 12 weeks anyway... (I believe that he really believes that - but I think we are both very naive about what addiction really is - I said that I don't think that he really thinks he has an addiction - to be honest, I am still a bit in denial about this myself. he doesn't do it all the time, it's happened four times - although each time lasting months or days - , i think... everyone is different,...)
He thinks I'm being negative and looking for a reason to end the relationship. I said I have to protect me and DS. I said that I'd look into if it is possible to ringfence my assets so that he could never threaten them, to safeguard the house, to give the relationship a chance... (which then gives me the excuse to see a solicitor today, and make the bank appt).
It was tough last night. When I'm not with him, it's quite easy to think about ending the relationship, when he's there, it's much more upsetting! (Obviously!)
Anyway, this was just a little update to keep this thread going for Karen also. I'll try and post again after the solicitor's appt today to share what I learn.

KareninsGirl Thu 25-Jul-13 18:56:23

I hope you find some answers love. Am watching this thread with interest.
Think I may have to visit a solicitor myself following various posts on this thread.
Un-MN hugs x

CarpeVinum Thu 25-Jul-13 16:08:58

Good luck Oi. I know this is hard.

Please consider keeping this to yourself for the time being. I can't find data for gamcare, but for GA less than 8% who start the programme get to a year without recidivism.

With such a high rate of relapse, and the potential for a spanner in the works it might be worth the extra layer of protection of not giving him a "in his head" justification to add complications.

<big fat hug>

I think you are very brave. And about 5 squillion times smarter than I was.

OiMissus Thu 25-Jul-13 15:57:11

Thanks all. I have an appt with the solicitor tomorrow afternoon. I've just spent the last hour documenting our relationship and gambling timeline and all financial info, and putting together a simple "Aim" what I'd want if the marriage breaks up. (I'm still saying if, but in all likelihood I think it's the right thing to do.)
I have made an appointment for Saturday morning with the bank to separate the account.
Thank you all for sharing your opinions and experiences. I think I'm beginning to see sense.

ImperialBlether Thu 25-Jul-13 14:27:59

OP, you say, "*If I was still in love with him, I'd stick with it and support him.*"

I think you can still love someone and recognise you are powerless over their addiction.

Love yourself, too, and your child. Think of the life you want to lead. It's not a life of constant worry, is it? It's not a life where bailiffs come knocking, is it? It's not a life where every time you've mislaid your purse your breath is knocked out of you, is it?

Let him go. If he doesn't see this as his rock bottom, then he would have dragged you down further and further. Tell him you love him but the life he's offering you is not for you and your child.

Keep yourselves safe.

CarpeVinum Thu 25-Jul-13 14:21:25

Hence the need for her to sort out finances so that can't happen.

There is a strong possibility that the ony way she can wholly insulate her assets and earnings from him is by disolving the legal contract that binds them.

Which has the additional benefit of offering her emotional insultation as well. In way that seperate accounts do not.

Just know that rooms are packed across the world each night with addicts of various sorts who ARE managing to live a healthy, positive, altruistic, 'normal' life.

And any of those people, even if they have sustained for a couple of decades, could relaspe. And unless they have lived all that time in a state of constant alertness their families may not know about it until it is too late to protect themselves (economically, emotionally) from the fall out.

Before deciding if they want to start to rebuild trust and a day to day sense of security and freedom from unforseeable mines...all over again.

I wish any addict well on the road to recovery. I just wish I hadn't allowed myself to be part of the collatoral damage that is pretty much unavoidable when people relaspse. And failure or relapse not exactly an unknown quantaty.

All over the world, day and night, servers are packed with gamblers who AREN'T managing to live a healthy, postive, altruistic "normal" life, while the people in their lives are under a very different impression of what the current status quo of the addiction is.

ChipsNKetchup Thu 25-Jul-13 14:11:58

You do what is right for you and ultimately you must protect yourself.

I can recommend 'The Heart of Addiction' by Lance Dodes as an excellent book for him to read if he is serious about tackling his addiction. It changed my entire perspective dramatically.

I hope you find peace.

cogito I completely agree. Hence the need for her to sort out finances so that can't happen.

OiMissus Thu 25-Jul-13 13:29:32

I know stinkingbishop. (I hope I don't sound heartless).
Dh is not a bad person, not at all. He's a good man, a good husband, a great dad...
Someone asked earlier what our other issues were, other than the gambling. In a nutshell, I have lost trust, respect and love for him. Whether that started with finding out about the gambling, I don't know.
If I was still in love with him, I'd stick with it and support him.
As it is, we're going to Relate to try and fix things, and I'm struggling to find those feelings. And now, with the realisation about addictions, I question whether I should put all this effort in (it's not a happy existence, particularly!).
I have made an appointment to see a solicitor. The first 30 mins is free. From that, I expect we'll have covered the main issue of the house/finances.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 25-Jul-13 13:23:26

"I think I just need to get out. I don't want that responsibility."

Addicts may not be 'bad people' and recovery may happen but that'll ring pretty hollow if/when you end up homeless, penniless and being chased down by people he owes money to before he recovers.

Whoops, sorry, just read the rest of the thread!

Well, it's your decision. I'm an addict in recovery. It does happen. My DP has been to the grand total of one AlAnon meeting! I go to one or two AA meets a week.

We all get lectured about addiction not being about willpower or morality. We're not bad people (apparently). Something flipped in our brains, whether that's genetic or external they don't know yet, and we're in the grip of a disease that was classified as such by the WHO in the 1950s.

I therefore see the weekly checking in with AA a bit like if I had diabetes or was in remission from cancer. You don't stop taking your medicine just because you feel well.

But anyway, your choice, obviously. Just know that rooms are packed across the world each night with addicts of various sorts who ARE managing to live a healthy, positive, altruistic, 'normal' life.

I don't know anything about Gamcare but I think GA might be really helpful (I attend AA). The group context gives a sense of hope, you can learn from others' experience, watch outs, strategies for avoiding people, places and things that may kick it off. The best thing would be if he could get a sponsor to help him with the 12 Steps (they're essentially the same for all addictions).

I wonder also if there's a gambling equivalent of AlAnon which is for families of alcoholics? That might help with the one thing which I think you're going to find really difficult which is not controlling. All the time you're taking responsibility for keeping his addiction in check he's not admitting everything is unmanageable and he is powerless over it. He needs to realise and accept that and then he can start the process of recovery. He will never get better till he takes control.

BUT stepping back from his issues does not mean not taking control of yours. I agree with all the posts above about protecting you and your DCs, financially and emotionally.

OiMissus Thu 25-Jul-13 13:03:44

I've just looked at the gamanon site (thanks for the link). I read the "My story" section. It's all happy endings (so far), tales of love and support, but they are all tales of gambler and partner going to one or two meetings a week, forever.
I don't want that. Frankly, life's too damned short. I think I just need to get out. I don't want that responsibility.

tribpot Thu 25-Jul-13 12:47:00

Imperial - there's more risk of the addict dying with substance abuse. It's easier to be financially destroyed by a gambler though, I agree. Choose your poison confused.

JuliaScurr Thu 25-Jul-13 12:45:25

you can have a great quality of life whether or not your dp recovers from his disease of addiction.

JuliaScurr Thu 25-Jul-13 12:43:34

call RoW first - they're free, solicitors aren't

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