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Journeying Forward: Stories of Rebuilding and Recovery - Shouldering Heavy Family Burden

“I was shocked to find out several months later that he had already maxed out my credit card limits!”, exclaimed Melody, whose husband drew funds from her credit card behind her back to fund his gambling habit. After her husband self-filed for bankruptcy, she had to shoulder her family's financial responsibilities.

Melody, a 27-year-old nurse, earning an annual income of $50,000 and owed a total of $107,000 to 8 financial institutions. The main cause of indebtedness was due to heavy family burden.

Life is a drama.

Sometimes life can get overwhelming when you have to shoulder everything. That may be the case for Melody.

“My husband, who had a gambling habit, withdrew cash from ATMs using my credit cards (he knew the PIN number). This went on for a few months without my knowledge. As a result of his gambling habits, he had to file for bankruptcy because he borrowed from banks and licensed moneylenders and could not repay.”

“I became the sole breadwinner for the family, paying for childcare expenses and providing financial support to my parents.”

As the interest charges and outstanding debt accumulated, Melody quickly found herself unable to pay her credit card and households bills.

Finally seeking help.

“I did not share (my debt problem) with anyone other than with my spouse. I was worried that my debt issue would affect my employment as I am a nurse (in the Government healthcare sector).”

Melody finally sought help through a referral from her husband’s Official Assignee (OA).

“The Official Assignee, who administered my husband’s bankruptcy case, referred me to CCS when he came to know that my husband had used my credit cards that caused me to be in debt.”

Onboard CCS DMP

After attending the Debt Management Talk, followed by credit counselling, Melody was able to work out a repayment plan with the help of her Credit Counsellor.

“I followed the budget worked out with CCS to ensure I have enough to pay the DMP monthly instalments and my household expenses.”

Melody has this to share with our readers: “(You) should not be afraid to seek help from CCS to find suitable solutions to your debt issues. I am very appreciative to CCS. (Being on the) DMP helped me to repay my debts in a manageable manner, and I also rebuilt my relationship with my husband after he overcame his gambling addiction through counselling and casino exclusion ban.”

In Singapore, gambling can range from lottery tickets, horse racing, sports events, electronic gaming machines and online gambling. Gambling addiction can detrimentally impact mental well-being. The addiction can manifest silently, wreaking financial havoc and personal turmoil.

Pathological gamblers struggle to rein in their impulses, spending excessive time and money on gambling. They often resort to desperate measures like borrowing, lying, or even resorting to illegal activities to fuel their habit. Despite mounting debts and family strife, they persist, showing signs of remorse but feeling powerless to quit.

Recognising the signs such as increased gambling time, borrowing money, unexplained debts, irritability, and absenteeism, is crucial in intervening and supporting those affected.

Where to get help

1.   Gambling Helpline:1800-6-668 668

2.   Addiction Medicine Clinic, Changi General Hospital

(For treatment of alcohol, benzodiazepine and gambling addiction only)

2 Simei Street 3

Singapore 529889

Consultation by appointment only. Please call: 6850 3333

3. National Addictions Management Service (NAMS)

Institute of Mental Health

Buangkok Green Medical Park

10 Buangkok View

Singapore 539747

Consultation by appointment only. Please call: 6389 2200

4. Recovery Support Group Meetings

WE CARE Community Services

11 Kampong Bugis

Singapore 338988

For enquiries, please call: 6471 5346

Adapted from Health Hub “Understanding Gambling Addictions” (reference:

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Credit Counselling Singapore

Published 2 April 2024.