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Don’t know what to do…

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  • #1430
    veryconfused
    Participant

    My husband has been gambling for about 12 years.  His gambling got really bad about 5 years ago.  He spends thousands in one night and doesn’t see a problem with it because we do pretty well financially and we’re able to pay all our bills.  As his gambling has progressed his disinterest in everything has progressed as well.  He is no longer into his work, family, or anything but gambling.  He has told me it’s all he enjoys and he can’t and doesn’t want to imagine his life without it. His gambling has caused many problems in our marriage.  We may be ok financially but we have our own business and it’s not stable, so we could easily be hurting in the future.  He recently went to the casino and spent a lot of money and I was at my end so I told him that’s it, he either quits gambling and starts working again or we’re done.  I love him very much and I always felt like we were soulmates, until gambling took over and changed him.  Well he relunctantly said he’d quit.  He’s been angry with me ever since, it’s been about 2 weeks since that happened.  We got into a huge fight tonight over nothing, he’s just very angry with me.  I took away the one thing he loved.  He left and says he’s moving out.  I don’t know what to do, I love him and don’t want to lose him.  But I feel that if we go back to the way things were I’ll lose him anyways. 

    #1431
    monique
    Participant

    Dear Veryconfused
    I write to say ***** and Welcome to this site.  I hope it will help you to become less confused at the very least, but also become a place of support, wisdom and encouragement for you.
    I think you will find that there are many people who share similar experiences and feelings as you read posts here and/or come into some of the ‘live’ group sessions.  Each of us is unique and has a unique relationship with the gambler (partner, son, parent, friend), but there are many things in common, which means we can really help each other.  You can also speak to the staff on the Live Advice Helpline, when it is open.
    You describe someone you love very much and who has been a soulmate.  But his addiction has changed him; he is no longer offering you that kind of relationship – he has made gambling the love of his life for now.  This is so painful for you, who are still there with the ability to love as before. 
    There is hope for him to live a life free of gambling and there is help available;  I suggest that you tell him, if you have the opportunity, about this site and its resources and any local Gamblers Anonymous groups you can find out about.  If he suddenly stopped gambling on his own – ie without a support network of people who understand the addiction, he may well be feeling pretty bad and unable to cope with his own emotions.  This may be why he seems so angry and has walked out.  Gamblers are often angry with those close to them and may try to blame them for how they feel – eg, he claims YOU have taken away the thing he loves.  But it is his responsibility.  He did not want to become addicted, of course, but now that it has happened, he will have to make his own decision to get help and to live without gambling.
    Meanwhile, one of the important things that you will learn here, is that your job is to look after YOU.  You can guide your husband towards recovery, but you cannot do it for him – but you CAN look after yourself and start a new chapter in YOUR own life.  This includes protecting your personal finances and your own emotional and physical well-being.  It is likely (in my opinion) that your husband will not stay away, but I feel it would be good for you not to try to persuade him one way or another, at this point.  Just try to decide what you want for yourself and work on that.  If he stays away a while, use the time to really care for YOU.  You may feel that what you want is your good relationship, but that is something that requires two committed people – right now, think about what you want/need that you can work on for yourself.  You may be surprised at your thoughts, but see where they take you.  We can get so caught up caring for someone else that we get out of touch with our own true *****.
    I would also suggest that you do not make any ultimatum to him unless you know you are going to go with it – otherwise you will find yourself manipulated by the addiction/addict.  IF you reach a stage where YOU need space on your own, then talk about it seriously, but for now, it is probably good to stay calm and look after yourself.
    No one else can tell you exactly what to do, but offer thoughts and ideas, along with support, so you can work out what’s right for you, step by step.  No one can say what the longer term outcome will be, but help you as you walk forward on your own new and better path.
    I hope this is of some help and that you will find more of what you need here.
    Monique
     Keep hope alive.

    #1432
    Dunc
    Keymaster

    Hi VeryConfused, a warm welcome to the Gambling Therapy Friends and Family forum.
     
    Having found us you have also found a diverse community of other friends and family members who can support you on your recovery journey.
    Here on the forum you can share your experiences in a safe, supportive and non-judgemental environment and by reading others stories am sure you will see that you are very much not alone in the issues that you describe.
    Please click here to see our services page, feel free to use all that this site can offer… It’s all free
    To chat with others in real time you may wish to make use of the support groups, the ***** of these groups are advertised under "What’s on and When" or click here to see the weekly group schedule. Please feel free to use the Friends and Family and also the community Groups.
    At present we have 3 dedicated groups for friends & family members. These are at:
    Tuesday 20:00 > 21:00 Uk
    Wednesday 11:00 > 12:00 Uk
    Thursday 21:00 > 22:00 UK
    Also to say when you registered we would have sent you an email with an attachment, this attachment will help you navigate the site and find the support you so rightly deserve, alternatively this guide can be downloaded by clicking here.  
    For one to one chat you may want to try the live advice helpline. Click "connect" when the Advise line is open
    http://www.responsiblegambling.org/get-help/for-someone-else-who-gambles
    http://www.problemgamblingguide.com/help_for_families.html
     
    Take Care
    Harry
    — 8/13/2013 10:40:51 AM: post edited by harry.

    #1433
    velvet
    Moderator

    Dear Vc
    I hope you post again soon. 
    It is very difficult when a CG (compulsive gambler) earns enough money to cover the addiction.   Unfortunately the addiction has longer to work away secretively, causing greater damage to those who love the CG and also the mind of the CG.
    I did everything wrong for all the right reasons for so many years so I hope you will not find me judgemental when I tell you that CGs do not react well to ultimatums.   Your husband is unable to think rationally or logically about his behaviour – he be***ves that gambling bring him over-whelming joy – he is totally unaware of the price that will be exacted from him and those who love him, for such a be***f.  
    I cannot tell you what to do, I have no crystal ball, I cannot tell what the outcome of your situation will be.   I do know that you are more important than you realise.   You cannot stop your husband gambling but you can help the one person you need to help and that is ‘you’.  
    If he is still absent from the family home, please try and use this time doing things that please you – things you have not done because the addiction has been filling ‘your’ head 24 hours a day as you sought to save you husband.   See friends, shop, have a massage and think of anything else other than addiction.  Feel refreshed, stronger – know that you are not controlled unless you choose to be.
    Fighting your husband will not make a scrap of difference to his be***f in his addiction. I think it is good, although difficult; to know that arguing about a CG’s ***s is a waste of time.   If you can stand back a bit and listen to what your husband is saying, it becomes easier not get caught up in an argument that has no point apart from making you feel less in control.   Once you begin to try and put your side the addiction has something to get its teeth into.
    A non-CG loses self-esteem and confidence – that is what the addiction wants and ***** from the loved one so that it can be enabled – it does not like being thwarted.   I be***ve the way to thwart an addiction is to confuse it by regaining your confidence and self-esteem – by knowing that you are not to blame, that you are unique and special, that you are stronger than your husband who is owned by an addiction and you are not.
    A CG is emotionally immature and just like a child who has had his toys removed your husband has behaved angrily and irrationally.  You wouldn’t give in to a child who was screaming at you to return it’s toys when you know the toys are dangerous but you would probably seek other ways to educate that child.  Unfortunately your husband is an adult and capable of greater hurt and harm than a child – but the principle is the same.   Give in to his addiction and you will live with it and its consequences.   Stand up for yourself and refuse to live with the addiction but learn about it because knowledge brings power. 
     
    Although it is not recognized professionally the following is a coping method that many of us have used at the beginning of our recovery to help us cope.
    Imagine your husband’s addiction as a slavering beast in the corner of the room.    As long as you keep your cool and don’t threaten that addiction it stays quiet, although it never sleeps.
    Your husband is controlled by that addiction but you are not.   When you threaten that addiction, it comes between you and controls the conversation or argument.   It is the master of threats and manipulation and you are not.   Once it is between you, you will only hear the addiction speak and because it only knows ***s and deceit, it will seek to make you feel blame and demoralize you.   When you speak the addiction distorts your words and your husband cannot comprehend your meaning.   I doubt you even know how you got into the huge fight that resulted in his departure – his addiction chose that fight – not you.  
    My CG explained it to me by saying (for instance) that when I told him that if he didn’t *** but lived honestly he would be happy, his addiction was distorting his mind convincing him that I was ***** because he truly be***ved that he was unlovable, worthless and a failure – he was lost and fought back because he didn’t have any other coping mechanism.   The addiction has no love for the CG nor for those who love them – its victory is ‘failure’.     However much your husband convinces you that he is in control – he is not. 
    I hope you are still reading and that you post again.   I fully appreciate you love your husband but I know that looking after ‘you’ is the greatest support for you and for him.    
    Well done on writing your first post
    Velvet
     
     

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