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I feel so alone.

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    My husband has always liked to gamble.  We have been married for 31 years.  We moved to Northern California in 1997 and that’s when he found a small Indian Casino.  He would go there once in a while and usually spend more then he said he would.  It would cause me to get upset, and we would argue.  Then we moved to Oklahoma in 2003 and it didn’t take him long to find another casino.  He would go there pretty often and he would always spend more money then he promised.  We would then argue.  He retired from the Air Force and we moved to Missouri where he quickly found another casino.  He would go there and the same old story with the money.  He would say things like I just got carried away, I was having just having fun, and it’s just entertainment.  In the past couple of years he’s been buying scratchers and lottery tickets almost everyday.  He’s spending a lot of money on that "hobby".  It has really been putting a huge strain on our relationship.  I think that he has a gambling problem, but he doesn’t think that he does.  He thinks he just gets out of control, and he feels like he can control it.  He feels like because we pay our bills every month that he doesn’t have a gambling problem.  I’m to the point that I have realized that I can’t make him change.  I’m about ready to give up.  I feel really depressed and all alone in this situation.  I don’t have anyone to talk to.  Right now I’m so mad and hurt that I don’t even want to talk to him.  I don’t see this getting any better. Take life one day at a time.


    I really need some advice.  I understand that I can’t change him.  Trust me I have tried.  When he does gamble how I am supposed to react?  The way I react now is to just get mad. We have had many fights over this.  He mainly just listens, and obviously it doesn’t help. 


    Hi Shelley
    Im sorry you have found yourself in this situation but glad you have come here for support.
    I am the compulsive gambler in my home, I have been clean for a while now and I totally understand your frustration with your husband.
    If I may, I would like to give you my insight from my experience (we are all different)
    I have to say, im not sure if any reaction will be taken in any way but a personal attack by your husband.  I know this because after my binges I would be ready for the onslaught from my husband.  Ready with lies to cover my tracks.  This addiction is insidious.  I was once told to imagine my addiction as a snarling beast on my shoulder, whispering enticing thoughts to me to gamble.  Once I separated the addiction from myself I guess it helped me see that I was still the same person I always was, but had been controlled, for want of a better word, by this monster that had taken me over. 
    So, to answer your question,  I guess you have to think that any conversation you have with your husband about his gambling, is not actually to him, its to the addiction.  Because its the addiction that will answer you.  Im not sure if im making sense or not.  I do know that my brain was so consumed with gambling, when to gamble, how to get money to gamble, how to cover up my losses so that I could gamble again that no other thought/conversation could enter my head.  It was only when I stopped gambling that slowly my mind freed up for other things, normal things, day to day things.  To say I missed a lot of my childrens growing up is an understatement.
    I think all you can do at this point is protect yourself, your money and work on your recovery.  Making threats wont work unless you are prepared to go through with them.  Screaming and yelling will just feed the addiction and give your husband the reason to leave and gamble again.  Don’t enable him, perhaps taking control of your life will show him, and the addiction that you will not live with it in your life anymore. 
    My favourite saying is that we are not responsible for our addiction, but we are responsible for our recovery.  The first step, however must be taken, and that is to admit we are powerless over gambling.  I hope your husband gets there. 
    Remember though, you are important, this is not just about him and what he is doing.  It is affecting your life, and that makes it a problem.  Do what you can for yourself.
    I wish you all the best Shelly.  Keep posting here, it really does make a difference.
    Love K xxTo live, that would be a great adventure – Peter Pan


    Kathryn what made you decide to stop gambling?  I think my husband realizes that he has a problem.  I don’t think he believes that he’s a CG. I will keep coming here, and I will try to heal.  Thank you for caring.


    I have brought two threads to the top of this forum that I think will be helpful to you – they were for me and still are. One is the ‘The F&F Cycle’ and the other is ‘How do you react when they gamble?’.
    I hope you will read your thread over and over. A lot has been said to you that may not sink in or make sense the first time you read it, but you most likely will glean something new from subsequent readings. Kathryn’s perspective as a CG in recovery is priceless and I am so glad she posted here for you.
    I want to share something now that Velvet said in her first post to me on my thread. When I first read it I was disappointed and skeptical and could not imagine even considering the words for my situation and where my state of mind was at the time. However, it was not until I accepted their credence that I began to heal and was able open my mind and start implementing real coping skills in dealing with my husband’s addiction. I hope you will thoughtfully consider these words for yourself:
    “I don’t know whether you know the words of ‘Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow’ but I hope they help."
    "There are two days in every week about which we should not worry; two days which should be kept free from fear and apprehension "
     "One of these days is yesterday with its mistakes and cares, its faults and blunders, its aches and pains. Al the money in the world cannot bring back yesterday. Yesterday has passed forever beyond our control. We cannot undo a single act we performed. We cannot ***** a single word we said. Yesterday is gone."
    "The other day we should not worry about is tomorrow with its possible adversities, its burdens, its large promise or poor performance. Tomorrow is also beyond our immediate control."
    "Tomorrow’s sun will rise, either in splendor or behind a mask of clouds – but it will rise. Until it does, we have no stake in tomorrow, for it is as yet unborn."
    "This leaves only one day – TODAY. Any person can fight the battles of just one day. It is only when you and I add the burdens of these two awful eternities – yesterday and tomorrow – that we break down. It is not the experience of today that drives people mad – it is the remorse or bitterness of something which happened yesterday and the dread of what tomorrow may bring. Let us therefore LIVE BUT ONE DAY AT A TIME."
     — 9/2/2013 3:10:43 AM: post edited by adele.


    Adele my Motto is, "Take life day at a time."  I need to read and re-read all the advice on this forum.  Please hang in there with me.  I had a conversation with my husband today.  I asked if he thought he was a compulsive gambler, and he answered yes.  I asked if he wanted to change, and he said yes.  I asked if that meant forever, and he answered no.  He still thinks he can control it.  I then asked him do you think that a recovering ********* or **** addict could still drink and do ****s.  He said no, but the difference is that’s a chemical dependency.  I don’t think he’s ready to quit.  I think he still thinks he can control it. 
     I asked him if he thinks a separation would be a good idea.  I thinks that I just want an excuse to leave.  I told him I want to give him some space to think about what he really wants in life.  He doesn’t think he ***** that.  I have to admit I have threatened to leave him before.  There are ***** when I think just walking away would be easier.  I do love him.  I just feel like we don’t have anything in common anymore.  
     I’m emotionally and physically drained right now.  I will keep coming here to vent and to get advice.  I can only hope that with time get stronger and understand things better.  I  will try to take this journey one day at time. 


    Hi Shelly
    I have seen the rep***s you have had and I hope you are feeling more positive as a result.   Kathryn is an inspiration on this site – her thread ‘Be***ve’ is in our CG forum ‘My Journal’.   You have asked Kathryn a question but I know she is getting on and living her gamble-free life and might not see it so I suggest that you write to her on her thread.
    I see that Adele has pointed you towards my thread ‘F&F cycle’ which I hope helps you see the loop that unfortunately it is deceptively easy to get into.  
    You cannot stop your husband gambling Shelly, accepting that fact will take you forward.  It is often said on this site that if what you have been doing hasn’t worked, then maybe it is time to try something new – reacting differently confuses an addiction that has been in control for a long time. 
    I don’t know whether you have read the following on other threads but I will write it here anyway because although not recognised professionally, I and many others, be***ve it to be an invaluable coping mechanism – I see that Kathryn has touched on it as a coping mechanism for herself.  
     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 and is always ready to ward off potential threats.
    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.  
    My CG explained it to me by saying that when I told him (for instance) 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 a lost soul and fought back because he didn’t have any other coping mechanism.  The addiction to gamble only offers failure to those that own it.    However much your husband convinces you that he is in control – he is not unless you allow it. 
    As you have been married for 31 years your husband’s addiction will have caused a lot of wreckage and by no means, just financially.   My CG was active for 25 years but turned his life around 7 years ago and lives a healthy, happy gamble-free, so my message to your husband would be that he has plenty life ahead of him to enjoy if he changes his life.   However he will probably not listen to me – his recovery will start when he accepts he is a compulsive gambler and wants to change his life and he ***** the right support to do that.  
    Looking after yourself seems too easy an answer but strangely enough it is one of the finest ways to break out of the addiction cycle and can make a massive difference to the person you love, who owns the addiction.  Your husband will not have deliberately hurt you – he didn’t ask for or want his addiction any more than you did.   By changing the one person you can change – which is ‘you’; you will be supporting him in a different way.
    Your mind will probably have been full of what your husband’s addiction is thinking and doing for 24 hours a day – days of ‘your’ life wasted on his addiction.   It will have caused your self-esteem to crumble and your confidence to fade.  Take some time for you every day and do something that perhaps the addiction has prevented you from doing.   Think of you and your pleasure – think what makes you happy and does not involve gambling.   Build up this time each day.   The addiction to gamble is totally selfish – to enter recovery your husband will have to be selfish and likewise to trigger your recovery you need to think of self first.  
    Your husband will learn when he starts his recovery that he cannot gamble responsibly but it is a daunting thought for him before he takes the leap of faith.  He will feel he is giving up everything he trusts in.   Other CGs and dedicated counsellors can help him move forward and accept that he cannot gamble in the future – it is too big, probably, I think, for you to cope with suggesting to him.    Just as F&F gain from the support of those who understand them – CGs gain support from other CGs.   We cannot save a CG loved one – only the CG can do that.
    You feel emotionally and physically drained but you have started looking after yourself by joining this forum.  It is hard to take the journey one day at a time but on this site the method has proved itself to work over and over again.   I am off on holiday for 2 weeks in a few days but I will look for you on my return.
    Keep posting Shelly.   You are doing well


    I appreciate all the advice.  I know that I need help.  I don’t feel as depressed as I did on Saturday.  My husband has admitted that he thinks he’s got gambling problem.  I still live in fear that things will not change.  I know that I can’t look into a crystal ball and know what the future holds.  I base all of this on the broken promises that I have heard over and over again.   


    Shelly, I asked that same question when I first came to this site. Before (and even after) I realized that I was dealing with a compulsive gambler, I would react very negatively to disappearing money. Who wouldn’t right? Unlike you I did not know the money was going to feed a gambling debt, I thought it was going to support a dying business. So naturally I would be mad at him for taking family funds and more often then not an argument would happen. Even after I realized the money was going to gambling I got upset. I thought since he confessed to me that he was gambling and he was going to GA that the problem (gambling) would just stop. Unfortunately for us that’s not the way it happened. I have had my ups and downs as to dealing with it. What I did first was to secure us financially. I took his name off of anything important i.e. checking, savings accounts and made sure he had access to little to no money. Right now he has to ask me to transfer money to his checking account and I only will transfer *** $15. That’s enough to cover lunch, coffee etc but not enough to allow him to take cash out of an atm. Emotionally it has been a roller coaster…I think finally I am in a good place. I pretty much ignore any behavior that is not positive. If he gambles, I just shut him out. I’ve told him repeatedly I would not be a part of the addiction drama and I am finally showing him that with actions just not words. It’s hard. Because even though you are ignoring him, the addiction still hurts you. And like you said you feel ALONE. That is the worst part for me…is the aloneness. I have two kids but they are getting older and more involved in their own social lives leaving me with more time on my hands. So I am filling the void with furniture!!! I like to restore old pieces that no one wants…this weekend I reupholstered a side chair and feel really proud of myself. Anywhoo I digress…I think Anger has to be the worst way to deal with the addiction at least it was for me. The angrier I got the more confrontational things became. It was a downward spiral. I did tell him that just because I said nothing when he would get his hands on money and gamble did not mean I was ok with it. Gambling was something I was not acknowledging. I’m not sure if any of that helps or makes sense. It didn’t for me at first either. It’s been a process to get to this point and I am proud of where I am at. I hope now that he will catch up with me….eventually.


    I can honestly say that I don’t totally understand what everyone is telling me.  Right now I don’t feel as down as I did over the weekend. I’m beginning to see a pattern though. Right now I’m in the hopeful stage.  I’m hoping that this is the time he will really change, but not really believing it.  I have heard so many broken promises over the years. 


    Hi Shelly
    If you could take it all on board so quickly Shelly I would be gobsmacked.  It is difficult not to rush someone to the end of their book without allowing them to read all the chapters on the way to make sense of the end. 
    You have been married for 31 years and there is a possibility your husband has gambled all that time and you didn’t know he had an addiction, possibly didn’t know that such an addiction existed.
    I took months to even believe the existence of this addiction and even longer to believe that it was the cause of my CG’s misery and destructive behaviour.  
    If you look at how long you have lived with your husband’s addictive behaviour, you cannot expect to get your head round it in a couple of days.
    What is important is that you don’t feel as down as you did at the weekend.   You have started on ‘your’ journey to recover the person that is you and to retake control of your life.


    Hi Shelly,
    I’m relatively new hear myself, and have been with my CG for a much less significant amount of time, but your story is all too familiar. I can tell you even after being here just a couple weeks, you have definitely come to the right place. I didn’t get it at first either and didn’t even post until after I spent days just reading and soaking this all in. I didn’t want it to be true that my significant other had an addiction and I too believed his promises and tried to share his belief that he had it under control. I rooted for him, I tried to fix him, I even went so far as to participate in the addiction with him..until I finally got real with myself and truly HAD ENOUGH.

    I, like you, was searching everywhere to find answers to the question "how do I literally deal with this issue on a day to day basis"? I wanted step by step instructions…"If he says_____ then I should say _____", "If he does ____ then I should do _____". The realization I personally came to, after reading and re-reading the advice from the wonderful people on here is that there is no right or wrong answer. At least that’s the conclusion I came to…you may come to one that’s completely different. The answer in my own life is that the addiction is cunning and baffling. Its ever changing, shape shifting, manipulating, *****, and insidious and even charming – changing on a daily basis, so my reactions really don’t matter. The best advice I’ve seen so far is the one I fought the hardest against: focus on myself. So far, finding ways to live independent of the addiction has been the most effective tool in "outsmarting" the addiction that I have seen. Just like another person said, you can choose to ignore the addiction altogether. Shut it out and do something that makes YOU happy.

    I think it confuses the addiction…at least that’s what I’ve seen so far in my own life. In fear of losing the enablement, the addiction eases up on the person, and (in my situation) the compulsion slows way down or stops completely, at least for a day or two. It’s a maddening thing to not have control over something that is so obviously detrimental to a person’s well being..having to stand by helplessly and watch them dig a hole. Wondering if your actions and words are giving him a shovel, or a hand to pull him out. The truth is…we really are helpless against it. All the Fighting and screaming and yelling and crying and pouting and begging and pleading in the world won’t change a thing..until the addict realizes they need to change and they take action to change on their own.

    Its our choice whether or not we want to stay and participate in it and its our decision whether or not our "staying" is doing more harm than good. I can only imagine what walking away from 30+ years feels like…even temporarily. Like I said, my situation has been MUCH shorter of a time..but I love this man regardless. I love him enough to let him hit rock bottom without my help and I love him enough to be there, without judgment, when he’s ready to turn it around.

    That’s just where I’m at personally, like I said, I’m new..and this is all just my personal experience. I hope you will keep coming back and sharing because whether you know it or not, you being here seeking help is helpful to others as well. Nice to "meet" you. 🙂 Tomorrow is a brand new day.


    Thank you for taking the time to write. I really appreciate the support and encouragement.  For the first time in a long time I feel hope.  My husband has admitted he’s a compulsive gambler.  I’m not feeling confident that he will completely quit gambling. I think he still thinks he has control over it.  I can see the cycle that we both go thru.  Mine is HURT–ANGER—Disappointment—then Hope.  I think his cycle is remorseful–then rationalizing his behavior.   I will keep trying to find ways to cope and heal.


    I just went back and re-read some of the advice that I have received.  To my surprise it all starting to make sense.  I


    I need some advice.  My husband agreed to call a gambling helpline.  He was going to call today, but he said he didn’t because he didn’t know what to say.  I told that I’m sure most people don’t know exactly what to say.  Should I keep encouraging him to call?

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