Husband’s gambling addiction requires help

Dear Annie: My husband had surgery and was off of work for some time. As a result, we are behind on our mortgage, heat, personal loans, etc. We needed to borrow money, which has put us in an even bigger hole. We have a plan to get back on track, but it means allocating our weekly paychecks properly. This is where my problem begins.

This past weekend, my husband “had” to go out and spend money on those video slot machines they have at bars. He does this quite regularly and spends anywhere from $60 to $140 each weekend. I’m all for him being able to enjoy his hard-earned money, but not until we are financially solvent, and I can’t seem to get this through his head.

Last week, he took $300 out of our checking account and wouldn’t tell me why. It turns out he paid his sister $200 that we owed her and then used the rest to play the machines. As the money ran out, he began taking $20 at a time from his sister’s purse until the entire $200 was gone. What makes me even angrier is that his sister allowed it. That money could have paid some bills.

My husband knows how I feel, but he can’t help himself, and if I say anything, it only agitates him. Since he makes more money than I do, he feels entitled to spend it. I realize he has a gambling problem. He’s admitted it before, but only after the money was gone. I can’t keep living like this. Can you help him see this is wrong? Too Tired To Fight Anymore

Dear Tired: He knows it’s wrong, but he can’t stop. This is an addiction, and until your husband can face up to it, you must find your own ways to cope. Talk to his family members and explain that giving him money enables his destructive behavior. You must be in charge of the family finances, and the majority of your husband’s paycheck should go into an account that he cannot access without you. Then contact Gam-Anon ( at P.O. Box 157, Whitestone, NY 11357 and ask for help.

Dear Annie: My husband and I were recently invited to a birthday celebration for a dear friend. We were one of four couples we often see socially.

The written invitation outlined the events that would take place during the evening. The day before the party, however, the host decided to add a daytime event. My husband and I had another commitment at that time, but the other couples were free.

By the time we joined the party in the evening, everyone was consumed with talk of the activities of the day, and my husband and I felt excluded. Was it right for the host to add this activity at the last minute? This couple calls it “spontaneity.” I say it’s rude. What do you think? Left Out in California

Dear Left Out: We say it’s their party and they can do what they want to. Those who cannot attend will miss out and it’s no one’s fault. Hosts cannot be expected to tailor their celebration around your availability, and your exclusion was not intentional. The only rude aspect was everyone else discussing the day’s events in front of you. Please try to forgive them.

Dear Annie: I appreciate all the mentions you make of the need to donate organs, but I wonder about restrictions for donors. Are there age or health limitations? I’m 51. Is there any point in signing a donor card now? Montreal, Canada

Dear Montreal: There is no age limit on organ and tissue donations. The condition of your organs is the only thing that matters. There are some restrictions — those who are HIV positive or have active cancer, for example — but otherwise, a doctor will evaluate your organs for suitability at the time. Please let your family know that you are signing your donor card today.

• E-mail your questions to or write to: Annie’s Mailbox‚Ñ¢, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611.

Creators Syndicate