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Learning to handle things differently

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    I have been living with my partner for 8 years and have always known that he had a problem with gambling as well as a whole host of other things.  For the majority of that time the gambling and problems were to a certain extent controlled thanks to help and support from GA.  However GA hasn’t helped to get to the route of the problems – why my partner felt the need to gamble in order to escape the problems he has.  For at least the first 6 years we buried the problems and pretended they were under control – occasionally something would happen and it would all bubble to the surface and things would get messy, but we were always able to sort them out and carry on. 
    Then 18months ago, a long lost sister got in touch and all the problems (from childhood) exploded like a pressure cooker and created a monster.  Suddenly my partner started stealing off me which he had never done before and eventually all my savings were gone and I was faced with a £2k overdraft.  We tried to keep going with GA but it made no difference, tried CBT through the dr and counselling through an addiction centre.  Eventually he stole my debit card and ran away.  I then discovered that he had booked himself into GH in Kent where he has been for the last 3 mths.  Whilst my general impression of the house is not positive, the therapy that he received has been from people who really understand how an addiction works and seems to have enabled him to see why he does it and what he is running away from.  Although 3 mths has by no means been enough.
    During the 3 mths apart I went through the biggest range of emotions I could imagine – I had to move house on my own because I couldn’t afford to keep the one we were in, deal with his daughters emotions about it who is 10 but doesn’t live with us and go through my own emotional journey.  I have learned too many things to go into in this post, but wanted to share the biggest thing.  I know without a shadow of a doubt after all this time that no matter what I do it makes absolutely no difference to his behaviour and has no impact on how he feels.  I cannot control what he does and that the only thing I can control is how I choose to react to the things that happen in my life.
    I used to get angry, aggressive, upset, threaten to leave, actually left and then came back, create a whole set of rules and not one single one of them made any difference to him, but started to make me ill and upset me even more.  I have decided to let him come and live with me to see how things go, but on a completely different basis.  I am free of the burden of thinking that I am the one who has to make him change and deal with things different – once I accepted that it was entirely his responsibility it has made me feel much more free of the stress and able to live the life that I want to live.
    things are far from perfect – he is currently on bail for fraud which was committed while he was in GH and today told me something else stupid that he has done.  While I am disappointed I didn’t get upset or angry.  I listened to what he had to say and then calmly told him that he was responsible for his own choices and that I was not going to let his behaviour upset me anymore and the best thing is I really meant it!
    One day at a time – although I am not as stressed now about what tomorrow might bring.

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