Your husband obviously has got a problem and his symptoms all point to you coming to the right place for support.
At the top of this page click on to ‘Resources’ and in ‘Location’ scroll down to ‘world’. Click ‘Gambling help’ and then ‘Search’. Scroll down to ‘Gamblers anonymous – Twenty Questions’. Most compulsive gamblers will answer yes to at least seven of these questions. In my opinion most members who have lived with the compulsion to gamble will also be able to answer yes to at leave seven of those questions which hopefully will help you ‘know’ that what you are dealing with is a recognised addiction.
I cannot tell you what to do but if it was me I would print them off and then clearly tick the questions I would answer yes to and leave them where my CG (compulsive gambler) could not fail to see them. I don’t recommend putting them into his hand because it will probably spark an argument designed to demoralise you further. I think it is good to stand back a bit and listen to what he is saying rather than trying to change him, it becomes easier not get caught up in an argument that has no point apart from making you feel less in control. Once you begin to try and put your side the addiction has something to get its teeth into.
Although it is not recognized professionally the following is a coping method that many of us have used at the beginning of our recovery to help us cope.
Imagine your husband’s addiction as a slavering beast in the corner of the room. As long as you keep your cool and don’t threaten that addiction it stays quiet, although it never sleeps.
Your husband is controlled by that addiction but you are not. When you threaten that addiction, it comes between you and controls the conversation or argument. It is the master of threats and manipulation and you are not. Once it is between you, you will only hear the addiction speak and because it only knows ***s and deceit, it will seek to make you feel blame and demoralize you. When you speak the addiction distorts your words and your husband cannot comprehend your meaning.
My CG explained it to me by saying that when I told him (for instance) that if he didn’t *** but lived honestly he would be happy, his addiction was distorting his mind convincing him that I was ***** because he truly be***ved that he was unlovable, worthless and a failure – he was lost and fought back because he didn’t have any other coping mechanism. However much your husband convinces you that he is in control – he is not.
The addiction to gamble only offers failure to those who own it. We, who do not own it, try and make sense of it but we cannot. In my opinion it is a waste of energy to try – energy that is far better spent on ourselves.
There is much to say to you but I know that too much too soon is hard to take on board – it took me months to be***ve any of it.
In view of your description of your husband’s behaviour I have brought up to the top my thread entitled ‘The F&F Cycle’ – I think, hopefully, it will show you that the ups and downs you have been living with are understood here.
You have painted a horrible picture of you standing at the bus stop in the rain waiting for him and I hope that you will get the strength not to allow this to happen again. Do you have a car?
Knowledge of this addiction helps us cope. I would not be writing on here if didn’t know that the addiction to gamble can be controlled and wonderful, positive lives lived as a result. It takes courage for a CG to admit they are addicted – your husband does not want to take responsibility for his behaviour.
You cannot make your husband stop gambling but you can help the person that matters most to him and your children and that is you. Your husband puts his addiction first and the way to cope is for you to put you first. You do matter – your husband doesn’t deliberately hurt you or want you to be wrecked by his behaviour but that won’t stop him doing it – only you can do that.
Your husband’s addiction will have been filling your head 24 hours a day and as a result it will have taken away your self-esteem and confidence. Stick with this forum, pop into groups, contact the helpline, share with those who understand and learn to regain your self-be***f – it works.
Nothing you have done is pathetic – you have been fighting an enemy you cannot see. I be***ve this site can help you see that enemy and in so doing you can learn to confuse it. Looking after you is the most important step towards that confusion.
Well done on writing this first post – I know how difficult the first one is.
Speak soon and know that as long as you want me to I will hold your hand in cyber space.