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Dear Adele

I never doubted you would ask a few questions, I would probably have done the same. I know that people who have been in counselling often want to dissemble their thoughts quietly and not physically share them for a time, if ever. I can only ‘suggest’ ways of doing things – I cannot tell you what to do.

One of the biggest lessons I have learned was that CGs have to learn to trust us. The non-CG believes, I think, that everything hinges on whether they can trust a CG in early recovery or not but how does a CG know they can trust a non-CG? Having run rings round a non-CG loved one for so long the CG will have heard the responses, arguments, theories so many times about how we think their addiction affects them, what it does to us and what they should do to find happiness – after all what could be simpler than ‘ just don’t bet?’ You are now aware about so many things that you were not aware about before, you know addiction is not simple and you are therefore forming new thoughts and opinions – you will have changed.

Your husband’s mind will be full of ‘his’ thoughts and ‘his’ hopes. For him to understand that ‘you’ have changed is, in my opinion, one thought too many. Both CG and non-CG have old behaviours and neither knows when a true change takes place.

Your husband has talked about the possibility of his counsellor winging it and he is not sure if she is going to help him or not. Two thoughts – a good counsellor would not reveal a plan of campaign; your husband will be the one to put the work in on his recovery, she can’t do it for him. She can only help him if he genuinely wants to change and this is something that nobody can know at this stage.

Your therapy experience is a different matter. You are seeing the same counsellor and I would have thought this must lead to a conflict of interest. For instance the rehab my CG went was not interested in my thoughts or experience – they were there for him and I would/could have clouded/screwed the issues.

You are terrifically aware and I suspect, from what you have said your counsellor is not as clued up as you. I hope she will be pouring over CG books and discussing gambling addiction with other counsellors at this very moment. She will have a lot of other experience to draw from and if she puts it together with the new concept of gambling addition she, hopefully, will be more rounded.

She has asked you questions and I hope you will give them some thought. What seems an irrelevant question often opens a door of thought as yet unexplored. Your husband possibly has not said what questions she asked him and more importantly how he dissembled his replies.

If the counsellor is acting as a go-between then in my opinion, she might help with your marriage but addiction is something else completely.

Gamanon members are generally not allowed into GA meetings unless they are specified as being mixed for a reason, such as a pinning. The reasoning behind the separation is so that there is a freedom to tell the truth, probably for the first time, with those who really understand what they are saying and without fear of retribution from those who have been affected by their addition. I know I would not have been able to sit with my CG when he first went to GA or when he went into rehab without putting in the most almighty oar that would have pushed him overboard. CGs understand CGs. Non-CGs understand non-CGs. We talk differently, we want different things, and we believe different things. It is my belief CGs and non-CGs need to find their recovery separately.

I see us walking on different roads but parallel, sometimes close, sometimes miles apart. I see us walking towards the same goal but achieving it in different ways. I believe that, eventually, because we have walked on different paths, with different pot-holes, different cross-roads, different views, we finish with a different story to tell. At the end, if all goes well, journeys can be shared, the new concepts learned along the way can be explored and relationships can go on, or not, with a greater understanding.

I am going to stop there because I have a strong feeling that I am going to get a strong reply. There are tons of topics in your post and I want to know that I am going in the right direction even if it means my ears being blistered. I so wish we could sit and talk, there is so much to say.

Well done on putting your reflections down so succinctly. I didn’t skip to the bottom but I haven’t addressed a tenth of what you have said. You are doing terrifically.