I came across your website while looking for an online site where I can voice out my doubts and concerns. Hopefully you will be able to be my listening ear.
I am married with 2 beautiful kids, my daughter is coming to 11 years old and my son soon turning 6 years old - both are celebrating their birthdays this April.
My marriage, coming to 12 years this June, is turning into a tiring journey. for me.
My spouse, whom I thought I knew well enough, broke the trust I had in him right after a year after our marriage.
He is a compulsive gambler, a substance user (more of sleeping pills than drugs..thank God!) calculative and also a liar.
We both knew each other since 1995 and we tied the knot in 2000.
His drinking and gambling of 4D and TOTO are well known but I was still naive enough to think that they would disappear after we got married.
I found out his gambling has been very active like 5 times a week and there’s a period when he is spending almost $100 per week.
I was shocked but what is more hurtful is after promises that he would quit his gambling habit, he later went into horse-betting.
This led to a burden of financial issues whereby he ended up tricking me into allowing him to take up a bank loan, defaulted in paying the loan and spent half the loan on his gambling debts.
Due to all this debts and unfullfilled payment of bills, I ended up selling my precious home.
I regretted selling the flat but thinking of my son who should be in nursery soon I relented.
Till today, he is still gambling and all the betting slips were hidden in his locker at work as he knew I would search through his bags.
The day I found the horse-betting ticket, which he denied was his, was the day that my heart is totally crushed.
My eldest child has seen enough – the shouting, curses, vulgarities, pills, tickets and even those days that the father came back high.
My kids and I were shamed the day he laid drunk under the block and a neighbour knocked on our door to inform us of his miserable condition.
Our life is darkened by him.
There is a day that my girl blurted out: “Mama,with or without papa it doesn’t make a difference as he had never been one and I’m ok with it.”
Now I wonder if it’s best to walk away. I am emotionally tired, drained of love and empty of trust for him.
What worry me is I’m jobless now and I don’t want to lose my kids. They are my strength, soul and life.
They are the voices that stop me from jumping off 12th storey and their words are my motivation to survive.
I can’t do without either of them.
I know my spouse has cooled off on the pills abit but the gambling is still there …
Please help me Gilbert, I am totally depressed, confused and lost right now.
Please help me. Sorry if this e-mail is so long but I don’t know what to do.
Thanks for your mail and sorry to hear about your marital predicament.
Having a gambler and substance abuser in the family can be difficult and I must admire your resolve to keep the family together despite severe stresses.
Your husband certainly needs help and please refer him to a counsellor at the nearest family service centre if he is open to counselling support.
We can also provide him a volunteer counsellor if he is keen to let us speak to both of you together.
It is also difficult to break away the chain of gambling as it is like a drug.
One needs the dosage of betting regularly to get his fix.
I am also glad to know that his drug usage is with sleeping bills and not other stronger stuff which means that it could be easier whetted out of his system.
Do have a good one-to-one chat with your husband if possible.
Sometimes, gambling and drug abuse are symptons of things not right at home.
I can see that you have focused quite alot of attention on your two kids which is good, however, do spare a thought for your husband who may be yearning for your attention.
Have a simple date with him – without the kids.
Rekindle some of the dating experiences you have with him while you are still courting each other.
Try all ways to stay in the marriage if possible but do inform your husband that he needs to seek help else he will lose the family.
He has to pick himself up also.
I am providing you a volunteer counsellor Patsy.
Feel free to connect and spend time talking your issues with her over a session.
Please email me whenever you feel like – I will response asap.
We are here for you.
Editor’s Note: If you face similar issues with a gambling family member, do write to us at email@example.com, we want to hear from you. Thanks alot.