Dear Barb – Gambling Addiction Puts Future at Risk

Dear Barb:

I am so upset, I don’t know what to do! I have been married for five years and I thought everything was great. My husband and I dated for several years and when we finally got married it was a dream come true for me. Our problems began when a casino opened in our city. Chris and I began gambling a little. At first it was so exciting we really looked forward to going on Friday nights, but after a while I began to lose interest and worry about the amount of money we were spending.

I thought Chris felt the same way until I looked at our savings account and discovered most of the money was gone. This was money we were saving to buy a house. When I confronted Chris he was very remorseful and said the gambling just got out of hand. He says It’s not a problem and he will be able to control it. I want to believe him, but I have my doubts that he will be able to stop it. I feel it must be a problem since he kept it hidden from me. Is it possible for someone to just stop gambling without any help? Looking forward to your reply.


Hi, Brenda. It does seem that your husband has a problem, due to the fact that he secretly took money for gambling that you both had planned to use for something else. He showed no regard for this money. Obviously his desire to gamble took precedence over plans for your future.

As far as your husband quitting gambling on his own, anything is possible, but statistics indicate that people are more successful in overcoming any type of addiction with professional help.

The first step in any form of recovery is acknowledging that you have a problem. This can be very difficult to do and it does not appear that your husband is ready to admit that he has a problem. Until he is ready to acknowledge his addiction and work to resolve it, I don’t know that there is a lot you can do to help him.

When he is ready to take the first step towards recovery there are many treatment options, including Gamblers Anonymous, a 12-step program similar to Alcoholics Anonymous. As well, there are many counsellors and therapists who specialize in gambling addictions. This works well for individuals who prefer the one-on-one approach as opposed to a support group.

Perhaps if your husband is unsuccessful in tackling this problem on his own, he will be ready to accept professional help. In the meantime, I would suggest you take the necessary steps to protect yourself and your assets. Best of luck, Brenda.

Email your questions to Some submissions may be edited for length or to protect confidentiality; your real name and location will never be printed. This column is for entertainment only. The author is not a professional counsellor and this column is not intended to take the place of professional advice.

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