28 August 2012 at 9:19 pm #2270nomore 56Participant
I have been married to a gambling addict for 28 years. He started gambling in High School and it became worse and worse over the years until total destruction was accomplished. I had no idea about gambling at all, in my country there are few casinos and I had never met a gambling addict. Like most family members I couldn’t understand what was going on and why my husband was not able to stop. It is a behavior and not a substance so one should think it would be possible to just give it up. WRONG!! My husband completed inpatient treatment for the first time in 1990 and became the equivalent of a dry drunk. Instead of gambling, he worked compulsively. We moved back to the States in 2000 and 6 months later he relapsed. Within a year he had maxed out all credit cards, gotten new ones and taken out cash advance loans. He emptied my personal accounts by stealing my cards and cashed in his complete retirement funds. He borrowed thousands from family members and finally started to embezzle money at work. He turned himself in, was charged and sentenced to a year in prison since he worked for the Federal Government. And yours truly had no clue what was going on since he is very intelligent, a good liar, like all gamblers and was very manipulative. My daughter and I were left alone to fend for ourselves. With no money, the house in foreclosure and no support from his family at all. That was the first trip to hell. After his release he relapsed right away and was sent to inpatient treatment for the second time in 2005. He didn’t gamble for about 4 years but his personality did not change one bit. He relapsed again in 2009 and that was when I finally decided to quit my forced enabling and shed my equally forced co-dependency. He had always threatened me with taking away his financial support and I had no choice but go along with him down the slippery slope. He was very lucky to be admitted to long term inpatient treatment this time. The program did not only work on the gambling but also on the issues that led to the addiction in the first place. My husband has been in recovery for almost 3 years now and is a changed person. Unfortunately it is too late in many ways. He was ordered to pay restitution and will never be able to pay it all off. As a result, we cannot ever buy a home again because we will not get a mortgage. My financial survival depends on him from here to eternity for several reasons. I have no family and very few friends in this country and the trauma I experienced will never be resolved. I suffer from out of control anxiety because the ground has been ripped out from underneath my feet so many times that I will never feel safe again. Even though he does not gamble anymore for the time being, the pain is still very much present and because the past is always catching up with him/me all my hopes and dreams are destroyed. I have no more goals because I know that I cannot ever reach them anyways.
My purpose for joining this board is simply to share my experience with others that are just starting this terrible process. Don’t go where I have gone, be aware and do what you have to do to protect yourself and your loved ones. Only then will you be able to support “your” gambler in his/her effort to beat this demon or at least to keep it in check.
Take care and ask me anything you want. Insanity is doing the same thing all over again and expect a different outcome every time.
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