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Ask Dave

Winning With An Addict?

Dave has some bad news for a woman who asks how you can get out of debt when your spouse has a gambling addiction.

QUESTION: Lisa asks how to get out of debt when your spouse has a gambling addiction.

ANSWER: You can’t, and you won’t win financially as long as you remain married to an addict. Either the spouse gets some help and healing, or you won’t be married to them. There is no success in between. It’s a myth because you try to make this abnormal, dysfunctional life normal. We love those people even when they are misbehaving, but we create an illusion of normalcy that isn’t going to be there until things are normal.

The romanticizing of poker on ESPN has gotten us to the point that we’re gambling money hand over fist. When you have a dysfunction in someone’s life, it always drains money. There is no such thing, ultimately, as a rich addict. People may start out rich, but they won’t stay that way.

You can’t avoid this in a family. You have to take it head on. Give the person every chance to change, but you can’t stay attached to them indefinitely unless you want to bear the brunt of their curse. And you will. He’s got to get help and he’s got to do that for his own good and the good of the family.