#2008
monique
Participant

Hi ReadytoWalkaway. I have just read your post and hear a strong, intelligent woman, facing an agonizing problem and difficult decision. I know you have already been thinking through these issues for a long time, but we are often advised not to do anything whilst we are still unsure of the path to choose. The right choice will often make itself clear when we are concentrating on other things. But I do note that your head is telling you clearly to protect yourself – that is definitely true in the case of the addiction of a loved one. You have already taken action in that sphere and no doubt will continue to do so. You then wonder how to respond to your ‘heart’ which says you should support your husband. I would just offer these thoughts….. I think an addiction illness is a different kind of illness (and some thinking refers to it as a ‘learned behaviour’ needing to be ‘unlearned’) from cancer or other physical diseases. Recovery in the context of addiction probably involves much more in the way of a mental and emotional ‘turning around’ or ‘choosing’, which can only be done by the addict himself. The loved one can be of support in this, but ***** to be able to draw the fine line between support and ‘enabling the addiction to continue’ and also the fine line between supporting the addict and fully looking after herself and her own recovery – yes, we family members need to enter our own recovery from the effects of the addiction on us. In this some degree of space between or separation is often actually helpful. We can sometimes feel guilty and ashamed and act on these feelings, but it is important to recognize these feelings for what they are and continue not to let them motivate us. It is very interesting that you ask ‘how long can I convince myself that I am happy?’ Our first duty is to our own well-being and ultimately that will be the best inspiration for the addicted one, if he is indeed ready to be inspired towards recovery. It may seem counter-intuitive, but it has often been proven to be the case – we cannot help if we get sucked into the addict’s mad world. As I said at the beginning of this post, you have already taken a very thoughtful and sensible approach. If you exchange more posts with people here, attend the Family and Friends live group time (if possible) and/or use the Advice Helpline, you will get ideas and support to help you stay strong and separate from the addiction. I have no experience of being the partner of a gambler, but I have an adult son who started gambling whilst a student at university and became seriously addicted. I love him very much, but have to be careful about the way we now relate. He does not live with me now, but visits from time to time. I hope this is of some use and that you will use this site in the days to come to inform yourself more and to help you practically and emotionally. With very best wishes, Monique.Keep hope alive.– 10/02/2013 09:36:46: post edited by monique.