Hi Vera,

Your kind thoughts and especially your prayers for me are very much appreciated.

The counseling session started with filling out lots of paper work. Then we spent about an hour with the therapist. She has her doctorate and is trained and experienced in addiction counseling in general, but not specifically in gambling addiction. She also does PTSD, couples and kids counseling. In fact, I was impressed that she received a special medal from the Army for her work with the soldiers the movie Black Hawk Down was based on.

This first session was lots of Q&A: All the basics – age, where we were born, siblings, etc. – then more personal things – questions about drug and alcohol use, abuse, temperament, thoughts of suicide, and physical, mental or emotional issues. She did ask my husband about what kind of gambler he was, and how much we thought he had gambled since it became a problem – his estimate was half what mine was. When she asked what he wanted to get out of counseling, his answer was to get our marriage back on track and maybe even better than before. Interesting ….

It was awkward for both of us – I became a little emotional, he was mostly stoic as is his way. He is never one to show emotion. But he is trying to be very open to this, and genuinely seems to want to make a change. I think his mind is still muddled though … he can’t seem to think clearly or think things through – at least in my perception. Of course I can’t remember past the end of my nose most of the time either, so what do I know?

Towards the end she asked that we hold hands and gaze into each other’s eyes … eeesh. My husband (bless his heart) took my hands and began staring at me, but it freaked me out a little (lol), and I told her I was not ready for anything like that just yet.

She asked that we give her at least 3 sessions (she must have sensed my skepticism), and almost as an afterthought (I asked if there was something we could work on until the next session), she asked us to write down the things that first attracted us to the other … said it would be important for us to reconnect. I thought this was lame until I started doing it … She also asked my husband to write down what things made him want to gamble (I think, I can’t remember for sure now – this was right after the gazing thing).

Anyway, we have an awful lot to work on – his compulsive gambling, our indifferent marriage, individual issues … We are both therapy virgins, but we are both open to this (possibly him more than me to my surprise), and hoping for some solutions.

We go back on Friday, scheduled 3 appointments for next week, and 2 the week after trying to get as many in as possible before he goes back to work next month.

Vera, I wish we had gone to marriage counseling a long time ago. Our marriage has been troubled over the years but never anything like what yours sounds like. I’m so sorry that your relationship with your husband is so combative and non-supportive. I hope it isn’t always like that and the two of you share some good times together too. You deserve to be happy Vera – you really do.

Thanks for reading and caring.