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Lucy's story

My husband has been a gambler for over 20 years. Recently I discovered he had been leading a double life. He is a shift worker so while I was at work, he was gambling huge amounts of money at the pokies.

He is 62 years old and got involved with a 37-year-old who encouraged him to gamble. He promised to help his son with the deposit of his new home but gave $22,000 to her instead. He then became so desperate he stole $37,000 from his other son who is a student and lives on a shoestring budget.

His father left him some money in an inheritance, but he blew the lot within a matter of months. Seven years ago, he left me for another woman and ran up a $40,000 debt. He also stole the money I had set aside for my dying mother's funeral.

Despite all this I took him back so that he could have a relationship with his three sons and I even helped him pay off his debts. To this day he has not acknowledged what he has done and blames everyone else for his addiction. He went to one AA meeting. He became very violent towards me when the truth reared its ugly head.

I feel as if he does not want to help himself. I finally asked him to leave and my sons and I have spent months trying to salvage what is left of our lives. He continues to gamble and search for new relationships on dating sites. My advice to others is get out while you can. If I had done that instead of trying to help him, I would have spared myself and children a lot of heartache and avoided the financial crisis he put us all in. Up to date, a financial advisor has estimated he has blown over $1.65 million. The best I can hope for now is rebuilding my life with the support of my sons.