It is always good when you eventually find the place that is right for you and I am glad that you have found us. I am also incredibly glad that Kathryn spotted your post because she offers support from a different perspective and is an inspiration on our site.
You and your family ‘are’ enough Nite. The fact that you ask that says to me that your self-confidence and self-esteem are pretty low but this addiction is not your fault in any way. It is also not your husband’s fault. As some time he gambled as others do and he would have had no idea that addiction was the heavy penalty that he would pay.
I think Kathryn has summed up so much of how the addiction works. If I say the same but in a different way it is because we have both lived with it – the same addiction but in different halves. My CG told me he was angry and I didn’t understand, I couldn’t see where anger fitted in to the unhappiness that surrounded him – I was also totally unaware that he had an addiction to gamble for 25 years.
My CG went into rehab for 9 months. I don’t know what he talked about in rehab but he changed his life. With the change came the ability to explain to me, much as Kathryn has done for you, the feelings of a CG. It is my belief that we can never understand what it is like to be a CG but we can gain as much knowledge as possible to help us cope. Apparently for the first three months in rehab he blamed me – it was good that there was no contact between us or I would have been spitting feathers to hear him do so – although ‘I’ was blaming me, I would have been shouting that he did not have that right.
Which bring me on to the important part of what I want to say – I was blaming me. I was a pathetic blob, a victim of his addiction and out of control of my life but nobody is to blame for this addiction. Once we accept that we can retake control of our lives.
Your husband is controlled by an addiction but you are not which makes you stronger than he is. His addiction makes him angry because he is trying to take responsibility for something that is powerful, corrosive and destructive, that thrives on lies and manipulation – as Kathryn says it is not a walk in the park.
While your husband fights his demons it is important that you find your self-worth. Each day try and do something that his addiction has stopped you doing – while he is yelling perhaps you could go and have a manicure or paint a picture – something you used to like doing but stopped because his addiction filled your mind 24 hours a day. Don’t waste your energy yelling back and getting involved in a row – his addiction will distort your words and it will be his addiction that yells back. His addiction will be fighting to control him and if it can cause an argument then it has won and it is important that the addiction does not win with you because ‘you’ matter.
If I didn’t know that his addiction can be controlled and the person who emerges can be ‘better’ for owning the addiction and having the courage to control it, I wouldn’t be writing on here.
Do things with your children – let him hear you all laugh and try to include him but don’t be distressed by his shouting. Let him leave the room if he wishes – that is common and in my opinion, is better not to ask him to stay. Allow him to watch you getting on with your life so that he can lean on you and learn to trust you. Imagine his addiction in the corner of the room waiting for you to attack it so that it can leap between you – confuse it by being happy, change your hair-style, have a massage – let it know that you are not going to allow it to take you down. Surprise your husband by being happy.
Are you children aware that their father has an addiction? If they are older perhaps you can explain to them so that they can feel understanding towards him. The addiction to gamble is divisive in families and believe it is better that those who are old enough to be affected know what the CG is struggling with.
Please don’t let it kill you to see him so unhappy – I don’t want to be writing to someone who isn’t around anyone – such a waste! He can change. A large part of recovery is taking responsibility for the addictive behaviour and guilt is quite overwhelming. If you husband sees his family as wreckage of that behaviour his guilt will be greater but if his family are healthy and living their lives his guilt will be easier. Guilt is not necessary when you realise he didn’t want his addiction – my CG said he could live with regret but not guilt. Guilt causes anger.
How is your husband seeking his recovery? I have never heard of a CG who can go it alone and if he is trying to do this I think it is good to leave recovery literature ***** around to let him know that you are seeking recovery too and want to support him. We have a terrific helpline, CG only groups, ‘My Journal forum’ where he will be welcome and understood by others in a way that you and I cannot understand. There is also GA and dedicated addiction counsellors. It is very hard for a CG to accept that they can never gamble responsibly again but other CGs help with that kind of understanding. If my CG writes on this site i don’t read what he has written – his continued recovery is all that matters. if your husband wants to use this site then maybe you could offer him the same privacy.
My CG said that in early recovery he was ‘bouncing off the walls’ – quite a few years on now he is a fine person, living a happy and good life. Don’t kill yourself Nite – pick yourself up, do something just for ‘you’ today and then tell me what you did. We want the CG to change but we have to make the effort too in a way we would not have expected.
Keep posting and perhaps join our F&F groups, ***** in the top right hand box – you will be very welcome. Nothing said in the groups appears on the forum – you will be among those who understand.
Well done on starting your thread – I look forward to hearing you walking forward into ‘your’ recovery. I recommend the journey.