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Living With A Compulsive Gambler

by Eva
(Elk City, Oklahoma)

I live with a compulsive gambler and every time he loses big time he becomes so angry I can't hardly live with him. It is a long story but he says I am the cause of him not being able to pay "his" bills (riding on that merry-go-round called denial).

He will actually say I am nuts and that he didn't even go to the casino, but I have actually taken pictures of him. Get this--I was run out of the casino a month ago by three security guards. So I don't even bother to go there any more.

The guy I live with has not worked in over a year, does not get unemployment now and gets an inheritance from a trust fund, He gets money from oil rights, so his family sends him about three thousand dollars every month. But he does not use it for bills, he takes most of it to the casino and gambles it away. I have tried to tell his family but they just enable him to gamble. His brother is the executor of the trust fund and he has told me that that is the way his parents set the trust up so it is out of his hands.

I have even had casino employees to tell me that the guy needs HELP...they have seen him losing "big time". I went and spoke with the manager at the casino and she told me the only way they could ban him is if he says he has a problem and I know that will not happen.

Every month he gets money and gambles it away....the bills don't get paid and he blames me for it! Any suggestions? Other than get out? It is really starting to depress me and drag me down.

Eva in Oklahoma

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hi Eva, and thanks for telling your story here. I can tell that you are a good person, and you want the best thing for yourself and the people around you. Being in a relationship with an addict of any kind is extremely stressful. I will try to help.

You say you want advice other than "get out." From what you've written here, it is not clear to me why you're in this relationship. You don't indicate that you're married or that you have children. You don't say anything about loving him, or any good qualities that he has.

I'm sure you do love him, or you wouldn't be there putting up with all of this.

From what you describe, it sounds like you're somehow giving him the message that his behavior is acceptable. This is pretty much unavoidable when you're in relationship with an addict.

Since he does not pay bills, does that mean you pay his share of the expenses? If so, you're literally supporting his addiction. Do you try to avoid doing things that make him angry? Have you told him that this behavior is totally unacceptable to you?

He probably keeps doing what he's doing because he gets the impression from you that he's right in what he's doing.

If you're not going to leave, then tell him everything...all that you like and love about him, and everything that you don't like and find unacceptable.

If you can get yourself to, then stop paying his expenses. If you keep covering for him he will have no motivation to get help for his compulsive gambling. The only hope you have for a good relationship with this man is if he gets into a recovery program for compulsive gamblers. It is an illness, and he needs treatment for it.

Take care of yourself, Eva. Focus on what you want, and the kind of person you want to be. Do not help him any more. Love him and believe in him if you can, but do not help.

You are worthy of a good life and a good relationship, and only you can provide that for yourself. Make up your mind what you want and go for it.

You can do this, Eva.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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Jan 14, 2011
Gam-Anon support group
by: Ron M.

I recently realized I was living with a compulsive gambler. The behavior problems it has caused me compelled me to reach out for help. My call to Gam-Anon (support for family members), proved to be the right choice. After speaking with a hot line volunteer I arranged to attend a meeting in about a week--my first. I felt that I needed support as this problem was harming my marriage and I love my wife very much.
I took it upon myself to locate the Ok hotline as well as enclosing the link to the Gam-Anon web site. I hope you find the help and support you need, and ultimately reaches through to your loved one. God Bless, Ron

Oklahoma Hotline for meeting location or general info? 405-525-2026; 405-912-2200

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