Hi Emma
I think you have done marvellously condensing, what must have been 9 ‘very trying years’, into this first thread. I would imagine you were quite worn out after writing it – the first post is always the hardest. I hope it helps when I say you are in the right place and everything you have written is understood.
You have done so well over those 9 years that for now I’m not going to dwell on what has gone before. The important thing for you at the moment is to look after yourself while your husband works on his addiction in the excellent GMA programme. This is not just an important time for your husband, this is a very important time for you too, a time to recharge your batteries, to learn about his addiction and hopefully to learn how to support him and yourself, when he has completed his programme.
My CG did the GMA programme a few years ago so I understand the difficulty in covering up an absence, while also feeling extremely nervous yourself. If it was me I wouldn’t tell young children about the GMA programme because I think it is hard enough to understand as an adult. In my view it is impossible to know what it is like to live with the addiction to gamble, unless you have done so, which makes sharing your feelings with those around you very difficult and possibly means your thoughts are whizzing round at a terrific rate of knots with nowhere to go – I hope sharing here will help and give you the ability to be more serene and able to keep the spirits of your children high.
I know the time a CG is in GMA seems to stretch endlessly away but it does soon pass and is a drop in the ocean compared to a lifetime. Your husband is doing what is right for him but it is a very selfish time, you can’t talk to him, you don’t know what he is doing, it can be very frustrating. By looking after yourself, seeing family and old friends, picking up hobbies and generally doing the things you have stopped doing because of his addiction you will be doing what is right for you and ultimately is the very best thing you can do for him. It is a time to regain self-esteem and confidence which have been shattered so that when he comes home you are as ‘new’ to him as he will be to you.
There will be more time for us to post to each other while your husband is away so please ask any questions you may have. It would be great to ‘meet’ you in the Friends and Family group on Tuesday evenings between 8 and 9pm where we communicate in real time – nothing said in the group appears on the forum.
I would not be writing to you now if I didn’t know that the addiction to gamble can be controlled and fantastic lives lived, as a result.
Stay positive; enjoy this peaceful break from addiction.