Hi BB, nobody could say it better than Velvet. You will find a lot of support on this site and I think when you read the initial posts of the other f&fs you will find that our stories are very similar. The addiction is pretty consistent in appearance and how it establishes and manifests itself. Even if the people are different in every way. I noticed that you said that you “chose” to believe your hb. That is great insight on your part already! I’m sure you knew that something about his “I have to pay back money I owe from the past” wasn’t true. I’ve heard the most complicated and irrational explanations for the constant need for money myself over the years, some of them quite fantastic and dare I say idiotic?? Since I also live in the US I would like to mention a couple things you can do to protect your finances. If you’re sure you have all his cards, take his name of all of your accounts, joint or other and every one of your credit cards as well. Pull BOTH of your credit reports, he doesn’t have to know about this btw. Sign up for a credit monitoring service. They are not too expensive and will notify you if your hb applies for a cc or a loan. Make sure that YOU pay all the bills. You asked about the issue of controlling the money. Ideally he should only have cash for day-to-day expenses like gas and lunch and such. Without you having to ask he should give you the receipts right away. Its sounds harsh but it is what ***** to be done for him to really honestly work on his recovery. It’s great that he agreed to seek help. Do you think he is really doing so because he has realized that he ***** help or is he doing it because you want him to?
As for your children, they are old enough for the truth. They might not know about the gambling but they certainly know that something is very wrong. The topic of addictions is addressed in school and at least in WA state it now includes cg as well as substance abuse. My daughter was 14 when her father was put in prison for embezzling and it came as a complete shock. I had tried to protect her and that was a wrong decision. If the kids know there is also less danger of being forced to take sides or reject your hb without knowing what is really going on. Just my opinion though.
Do you have any support for yourself, like friends or family you can safely confide in? Addiction isolates, not only the addict but even more so the family members. You might want to find a GamAnon group for yourself. While I was an active group member we also had teenage children of cgs there because addiction is a family disease and it takes an combined effort to attack the beast. I hope your hb is ready to work on step one since he sure has lost control at this point. Wishing you and your family the best….