Hi Cathy
I said the Serenity Prayer last night following my group and I thought about you all those miles away.
It is hard to remember our thoughts as we look back but I definitely did believe that the problem in my home was my fault entirely and that I was a rubbish human being. I too used to bite the bullet and try and broach the problem surrounding the home but of course the manipulative power of the addiction was something we didn’t have to tools to handle. A few confusing sentences and I was ready to believe anything again and so on and so on.
This makes it hard to trust when recovery does actually kick in – and I found comfort in the words an old member wrote many years ago
• Forgiveness isn’t condoning the behaviour.

• Forgiveness isn’t forgetting what happened.

• Forgiveness isn’t restoring trust.

• Forgiveness isn’t synonymous with reconciliation.

• Forgiveness doesn’t mean doing the other person a favour.

• Forgiveness isn’t easy.
I have had to scoot across to Vera’s thread to find out what her reference to a GF meant and I’m glad I did.
I have known CGs whose early steps to recovery have included a new relationship because it was a supposed step towards ‘normality’ – unfortunately I have seen and heard of too many who have struggled and failed. Recovery has to be selfish, the CG has to put him/her first and often there can be no room for the responsibility and caring of another – certainly not a new relationship where the GF requires a lot of care and understanding.
With a long time healthy recovery the CG will have freed up more space inside his/her mind giving space to consider and enjoy things that the non-CG takes for granted. Personally I think it is a blessing when GFs and BFs don’t figure in the life of a recovering CG too early. GFs want attention and understanding, both of which a CG can ill afford to give as it removes the focus from the recovery.
One of the biggest problems for CGs at the beginning of a gamble-free life is the void – what to do when the urge to gamble arises – a girl-friend or boyfriend could be felt to be an answer but I would argue it is only the answer when the void has been filled with things the CG has forgotten about or put on one side because of the addiction. Unless the CG has become more rounded, in my opinion, they can hardly be ready to add to a relationship as an equal.
Your family, in the main, seems to have reached the happier state of acceptance which is great. I believe that ups and downs must invariably continue for a time and chaos can erupt but you have the tools to cope now. Nothing can change what has gone before, we are altered by the experience but in my opinion once the coping mechanisms are in place and the addiction is accepted for what it is, then families can move on to great things.
Is it possible to talk about your son’s feelings of worthlessness? I think the elephant in the room is one of the biggest causes of our lack of communication but unfortunately if it is left to fester it only gets bigger. I stand guilty myself of having an elephant in the room with another person, not my CG, so I do understand – maybe we need to find a way to resolve this.
As Always