I know it takes a lot of courage to write that first post – so good for you having done so. I hope you feel you have come to a place that is right for you. Read the stories of others on this forum (Friends and Family) and you will see very quickly that you are not alone in the chaos life becomes while loving an active compulsive gambler (CG). You now have lots of people to talk to who truly understand.
You must feel like your life has spun out of control and nothing makes sense anymore. Your mind is filled with thoughts of your boyfriend’s lies and irrational behavior, and nobody understands how frustrated, frightened, angry and hurt you are. It seems you have been trying unsuccessfully to live with the emotional and financial damage your boyfriend’s gambling has caused.
The experience you had with the Life Coach sounds awful! Unfortunately not all therapists and counselors are trained specifically in compulsive gambling, some are not a good fit, and possibly some are just idiots (lol). Did you have any input in that session?
Gamblers Anonymous has a list of 20 questions that can help determine if someone has a gambling problem. You can find them – and tons of additional information – in the Resources tab at the top of this page, but here is a link directly to the’ 20 Questions’: http://www.gamblersanonymous.org/ga/content/20-questions
Maybe you could print them off and just leave it where he will see them. He might read them and realize he is not alone. And just maybe it will help him realize that you are seeking help and treating his addiction seriously even if he is not.
I did not recognize my CG husband either, and it was difficult to love him and want to be with him. My house was a disaster and my life was a mess. But things have been changing for the better with the knowledge and support I’ve gotten primarily on this site.
The first and most important thing I learned here is that we cannot make our CGs stop gambling: We cannot make them change. Trust me, I have tried EVERTHING, and my CG still gambles.
The second most important thing I learned is the only thing I can change is ME. I have taken steps against his addiction to protect myself and limit the financial damage, and I have developed coping skills that limit the emotional damage.
You have the ability to change too Chedum. You do not have to live with addiction controlling your life. Everything you need to begin your recovery you can find here on this site.
You need strength and knowledge of this addiction. With strength and knowledge you can develop better coping skills. With better coping skills you will learn to take care of yourself – financially and emotionally. And when you begin to take care of yourself you will find peace.
Although it is not recognized professionally, the following is an analogy whereby the addiction to gamble is regarded as a separate entity from our CG. Used early on, this coping method gives non-CGs something to point the finger at, something to blame and something to hate – and it allows us to continue to love and support our CG, which would otherwise seem an impossible task. In no way does this provide an excuse for or allow the CG to deny accountability for the poor choices they’ve made while active in their addiction.
You may have already read something similar in other posts, but here is my adapted version anyway:
Imagine your boyfriend’s addiction as a slavering beast in the corner of the room. As long as you keep your cool and don’t threaten the addiction it stays quiet … but it never sleeps.
Your boyfriend is controlled by that addiction – but you are not.
When you threaten the addiction with confrontation it comes between you and takes control of the conversation or argument. Suddenly you are confused, nothing makes sense, and you don’t know which way to turn.
Once riled and in control all you hear is the addiction – you no longer recognize the person speaking. This beast only knows lies and deceit and it will say and do anything to protect its stronghold, and to make you feel blame and demoralize you.
When you try to speak with logic and reason, the addiction distorts your words so that your boyfriend cannot possibly comprehend your meaning.
This addiction is the master of threats and manipulation. It enjoys your confusion and the chaos it creates around you. It thrives on confrontation.
When I first came here this concept really helped me to realize the futility in confronting and questioning my husband. It only served to further frustrate ME … he could carry on as ‘tho nothing happened!
I hope you will familiarize yourself with the Forums, and visit the live chat rooms in Group Therapy (under What’s On and When) where you can communicate with advisors and members in real time.
Keep posting on your thread – it is good therapy, and it allows us to offer you support and encouragement.