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Hi Silver
The addiction to gamble divides families because it feeds on lies and secrecy, so family and friends are only telling you to leave him because they are thinking of you – but unfortunately unless people have lived with the addiction to gamble, their opinions can be very narrow and not supportive so personally I think it is best to tell others as a statement rather than asking for opinions. You can gather information here so that you can make your own informed decisions with that knowledge but it is always good to get on the ground support as well – just for you.
In my opinion it is more important to ‘listen’ to a CG than it is to bang on about an addiction that the CG ‘knows’ you do not understand. CGs use the ignorance of those around them to keep their behaviour secret. What ‘you’ can see with logic and reason is the damage his addiction is causing, whereas his answer to the damage is illogically to gamble again.
Imagine his addiction is a beast in the corner of the room listening to all you say and looking for an excuse to get your boyfriend to disbelieve you and to gamble. When you a talking about seeing your friends, enjoying a hobby, going out for a meal his addiction will be confused – it can find nothing to bite its teeth into. When you try and talk about his triggers or how much damage his gambling is doing, his addiction beast will kick into action and destroy your words by changing reality to fit his personal perception.
Your suggestion to give him a thrill to match his gambling didn’t sound stupid although I am sorry to say that it is not likely to succeed. The best thing you can do for him is to live well yourself so that he can see that you are enjoying life without gambling and that there are other things in life that bring happiness. Looking after yourself really does make a difference. Your boyfriend is controlled by his addiction but you are not – you are free to make choices and choosing to see friends, have hobbies, eat well, see family are things that you can do (and should do) on your own – if necessary.
It is a sad fact that you cannot save your boyfriend – only he can do that. The only person you can save is ‘you’. Understanding that is tough – it took me far too long to get this through my head so I am not, cannot/will not judge what you do.
Please tell me why you believe he will not try GA. The usual reasons are fear of being recognised or the belief that ‘he’ is not as bad as others. A young man, whose addiction has not hurt him enough, will believe that ‘he’ is different, that ‘he’ is in control and that he will be able to stop on his own in time – but unfortunately the reality is that unless the addiction is treated it gets worse – never better. This site would of course welcome him. We have a terrific Helpline, which is one-to-one, anonymous and private; it is manned most weekdays by a CG who controls his addiction. We have CGs groups, some of which are run by another CG who is also in control of his addiction. We have dedicated counsellors and facilitators who are trained to support in the right way. Our facilities are anonymous so recognition is not a problem. If you don’t want you boyfriend to see what you are posting then you can use the non-CG groups – I have an F&F only group on a Tuesday between 20.00 and 21.00 hours UK time – you would be most welcome, nothing said in the group appears on the forums. We can also make this thread invisible if you so wish. The Helpline is there for you too. Never forget though that ‘you’ are an important part of the relationship and that support for you is vital for your mental health – I hope you will weight that up if you decide to no longer use the forum.
I am concerned that you feel you have low self-esteem – I think you were terrific writing your first post – your boyfriend is lucky to have you on his side. Unfortunately the addiction to gamble destroys self-esteem and confidence, not only in the CG but those around them. Your boyfriend will not deliberately hurt you but his addiction will take you down with it, if you allow it. For that reason I do hope you will keep posting so that you can gain the strength to cope. It would be great if you were to comment on the first topic in our Friends and Family topic forum. It is often difficult to know what enablement is when dealing with the addiction to gamble. Knowing what ‘is’ and what’ is not’ enablement does help.
I wouldn’t be writing to you if I didn’t know that the addiction to gamble can be controlled and the most wonderful lives lived as a result so I hope that knowledge helps.
I will leave it there for now Silver but please post again. What you write helps me to give you the support that ‘you’ need. If you are strong then you are better placed to support your boyfriend.