Gambling Addiction

Archived Responses: 

September 2003

I have discovered recently that my husband arranged a layover in Las Vegas at the end of business trip to gamble. In the past he has lied to me about the amount of money he has lost on an annual trip to Vegas with a friend. This recent turn of events (he also lied to me about how much he lost) indicates that we need counseling from a therapist experienced with gambling addiction and (compulsive?) lying. A therapist located in the Berkeley, Oakland or Alameda areas would be preferred. Thank you.

My father was a compulsive gambler who has been clean for 14 years. I sent your post to my mother who has been through it all with him and this is her response:

''Very few therapists are truly knowledgeable about gambling addictions. Since it isn't substance abuse, it is often viewed simply as a bad habit of someone who needs to get more responsible with money matters. There is someone we know of in S.F. with this specialty but I'm not aware of anyone in the east bay. One of the biggest problems with gamblers going to therapists is that they are skilled manipulators and pathological liars. While they are in the throes of their addiction, honesty and disclosure is rarely present, obviously making therapeutic progress unlikely. Rather than spending money on what I think is an unproductive route, this woman needs to seek out Gamanon for herself, and she needs to try to get her husband to call GA for meeting times and places. That is her only viable solution. Therapists play a part later on in program, when other issues which had previously been pushed under the rug, surface and need to be addressed. Couples counseling is therefore useful once substantial ''clean time'' is accrued.

Hope this helps - good luck! Anon