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I read your post a while back and it’s been on my mind and I have been wanting to reply but ‘life’ has been getting in the way. However I am here now and I hope you are still reading as there is so much in your post I can relate to.

My partner also went on a residental program eight years ago although in those days it was a much longer one. We split up during the program as I really felt he was not engaging with it and still gambling. He carried on writing for a while and I watched his progress from a far. We are now back together and he is strong in his recovery and I have seen a really change in him although I am grateful for the time we had apart to focus on our own recoveries.

Being with a CG is demanding, however sympathetic to the persons condition they are not easy to be around, they lie, they cheat, they have ups and downs, hopes are raised and then dashed, it is a traumatic experience. I think when they go in for treatment it is a big sigh of relief and I know that my focus was all on getting that treatment and I had not thought beyond that much more than ‘then everything will be alright’. However treatment is just the start. Treatment gives them a bag of tools to use, it is up to them to use them and that does not always come straight away. If I compare it to say a person being given a bag of carpenters tools, that does not make him a carpenter, he has to practice using them, he has to understand how to use them and he has to above all want to use them.

To take the analagy futher for person out of treatment everyone is looking at him saying you are a carpenter now, fix this, make that and that is daunting, he may get it wrong, what if he can’t mend it or breaks it completely? He just needs time and space to practice as the weight of expectation can way heavily but at the same time he wants to prove he can do it and he wants people to believe in him. Having past mistakes pointed out to him will only knock his confidence and remind him of his current lack of skills in using those tools. Of course not everyone makes it to be skilled at using the tools, some give up before they start, some find it too hard, some try for a while and get frustrated and stop seemly trying for a while but they are there any time they wish to open the bag and eventually that bag of tools may become as much an everyday part of life as bread and water to them, they will use those tools without even thinking about them.

The point is leaving the security of a residential setting and going back into the world is challanging, they may need space, they made need time, this may mean we need to back away a little or even a lot while they work it out. It is not a time for discusion about the past, that may come with time but at the moment it is about taking eaach day as it comes. It is about focusing on your own recovery from the trauma and heartache you have endured. I would strongly recomend you either get a counsellor or join a support group where you can air all the feelings you are having and concentrate on you. He will not be there for you at present, he has to focus on his own recovery and that will take time.

There is of course always the possibility that the treatment will not work, that he will not use the bag of tools, he will close the bag and never go into it again but this is even more reason to concentrate on yourself, doing what you enjoy, finding people you can trust to talk things out with, all these things will make you strong enough to move forward with your own life regardless of what happens with his recovery, you will be better equipted to deal with the ups and downs and to see things as they are.

No it is not acceptable to be disrespected or to feel you are being belittled but if you can work through the problems of the past and participate in your own recovery you will be able to see these things more clearly for what they are and whether they are a scared man trying to assert himself in a way he never has before and getting it wrong or a man who underneath the gambling is not for you.

If your partner is or does go into true recovery then at some point there will be open communication about the past, its part of recovery but this is not the time for it and I know thats hard to hear, you were the wronged one weren’t you? The thing is it is such a delicate time, many gamblers have used the addiction to cover their feelings and cope with emotional stress for many years and these new feelings are hard to cope with and on top of that often urges, temptation and other peopes expectation can make it ffeel like an impossible task and they may think whats the point?

Seeing less of your partner and perhaps having time set aside to make new happier memories may help you move forward, I would suggest you shelve your questions for now and find a release elsewhere for you to express your feelings about the past, quality not quantity is the key when spending time together. There are no certainties, you may grow together or you may grow apart but as long as you are both growing you will both be ok together or apart. You have no control over his recovery, neither are you responsible for it but you can concentrate on your own and I know from my own experiences that is the best gift I have ever given myself and I now have my own set of survival tools that mean I can cope with anything life throws at me.

I hope some of this makes sense and please do come back with any questions, I am sure as well you will have other responses from different perspectives, take care of yourself, Lily x