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Hi again Carmen sorry for not getting back to you yesterday. I spent the day with my son in A and E with suspected broken ribs after another child tried doing a slam down wrestling move on him! Thankfully just deep tissue damage.

Anyway, I hope things went ok yesterday and you perhaps got some answers although I also know getting a straight answer or having a constructive conversation with an active gambler can be a bit like herding cats!

You seem to have a really good head on your shoulders and a lot of common sense and ability to have an element of detachment which will stand you in good stead. The fact you were able to attend your class last night before your meeting with your bf was really good to see, one of the things that is so important is holding on to your own life, this addiction has the ability to consume those around it as much as those suffering from it. I read once than an average of 16 people are adversely affected indirectly by a compulsive gamblers addiction, much higher than any other addiction.

I have been thinking a lot about your relationship counseling idea, it might be a good place to start but I am doubtful it will go very far even if he agrees. The reason I feel this is because of the level of shame associated with CGing, it is very hard for them to open up often particularly to those closest to them. The addiction leads them to a place where they feel if anyone really knew them and what they got up to know one would love them, they tend to try and hang in there and believe the next big win will bail them out and make up for it all rather than seeing the problem for what it is and realising that even a big win would end up in the same place as they would gamble it all away all over again.

Having a counselor experienced in this type of addiction who they have nothing to protect or gain from makes it much easier to open up for them but again only if they are willing. The gambling is their comfort blanket, their happy place (they view it like this long after it has ceased being either happy or safe) and they protect it fearsomely. The alternative is having to unlearn all there ‘coping mechanisms’ (compulsive gambling to you or me), deal with the issues that causes it and all the problems it has caused both emotionally and practical and this can seem like an impossible task which is why they need specialist help. I suppose it is possible that relationship counseling could prove a catalyst for you bf to seek further help but I’s say its a long shot. The other thing of course is that it is his problem and not a relationship issue and so relationship counseling could give him an ‘out’ ie I only gamble because things in the relationship aren’t right, this is a common thing amongst cg’s, truth is it is impossible to have a healthy relationship with a CG as healthy relationships are based on honesty and trust and these things are not compatible with this addiction.

It is very common for a Cg to separate out his friends from his relationship, often ‘friends’ are people with the same or another addiction or those that enable also by compartmentalizing their lives it is easier to be able to keep up lies in order to support the gambling.

Most gambler are not abusers, most will manipulate in some way whether through charm or keeping their partner down or a mixer of both but this is general a product of the addiction rather than their inherent personality. Most Cg’s I have met are actually very sensitive, caring people underneath it all and I personally believe it is these very traits that make them hide in the addiction when emotions run high.

I am glad you have got a fulfilling life of your own and people around you can talk to and are supportive and that you yourself are not ashamed or afraid to talk this is the perfect situation to be in for a good outcome for you.

Please let us know how it went and keep reading and learning, knowledge is the best weapon against this addiction. Most of all keep taking care of you, Lily x