Get practical support with your gambling problem Forum Friends and Family Been there…Done that….I’m a recovering enabler!!!

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  • #1923
    nnfrc
    Participant

    Hi! While this feels a little strange, spilling out my information on a website….reading other posts has made me feel a little "at home".  Most of it sounds so familiar to one degree or another.
    My husband is the gambler in our household.  He has done it in various forms for all of his life.  His mother ran a blackjack table at community functions…that is how they earned an income.  His entire family continues to gamble regularly….the idea of saving money is a foreign concept.  He states that gambling (mostly keno machines at this point) is a source of relaxation, or rather a way of becoming disconnected from reality. 
    Throughout our relationship (20 years), he has ran up 10’s of thousands of dollars in credit card debt/loan debt for the direct purpose of gambling.  In 2006, we were in the process of losing our house to foreclosure due to the gambling.  I was having our 3rd child, and we had to move.  This was the lowest point in our life…..should have been one of the most exciting!  Since then….we (and by that, I mostly me "I") have cleaned up all of our debt and now live on a cash-only basis. 
    He has on two occasions since then obtained loans through local banks/lending institutions without my knowledge/approval.  Each time, I have found out by recieving mail, etc. and he still tries to lie about it.  With each lottery ticket bought or $5 put in a machine, I feel like I am being retraumatized….going back to losing our house and security. He says he understands this, but does not seem to want to change his behavior.  He has gone to 12-step (said it just made him want to gamble more) and to individual counseling (said it cost too much….GO FIGURE!)
    All of the finances are in my name, with the exception of an account that we have saved all of our change for a vacation fund….totaling about $400 (I wonder if maybe I was "testing" him by putting his name on it).  Sure enough, this last month I discovered that he had withdrawn $350 from it.  He claims it was for random expenses….I know better after all of these years.  My biggest frustration is that he is now stealing from my children’s change fund!  He doesn’t see it as stealing and has gotten defensive about it.  One of my biggest questions right now is:  When, if at all, do we speak to the children about Daddy’s gambling? They are 10, 8, and 6 years old.  We have continually talked about going on a vacation together, however, this is at least the 3rd time he has wiped out the fund!  He claims his gambling is not serious because our bills are paid and we are housed, fed, etc.  I disagree!    I am really not surpised by this, however, I am equally mad and saddened that this is what I have come to expect. 
    I am sure I will be posting more as time goes on, but any feedback would be welcome. 

    #1924
    velvet
    Moderator

     
    Hi nnfc
    I have loved and hated too and I can’t explain how it works. I think when a question keeps returning with no answer it is best to put it on a back-burner until you are ready – and you will be. 
    Self-deprecation is common and used by CGs as an effective form of manipulation.   It is important, in my opinion, not to feel pity or join in with such a conversation..  
    I think if it was me, maybe I would say something like ‘if that is how you feel there is little point in talking about it’ and walk away the reason being because there is little point in talking about it.   He is right – he can’t be trusted, he is wrong – he can change, he is wrong – he is not a bad person.
    Stuck on the wall beside me is the quote ‘I have often regretted my speech, never my silence’. Some people have found it helps and maybe it is the ‘something different’ you could try.   I would imagine you tried to make him feel better when he was seeking pity but if you did you could not succeed.   He could hear the words but not the meaning because his addiction was between you.
    You don’t have to explain the difference between a CG throwing the family’s money away when there is surplus and throwing it away when there is debt. The addiction to gamble unfortunately gets worse unless it is treated and it is the behaviour that goes with it that is unacceptable too. 
    Have you spoken to any of your children about their father’s gambling?
    I am sorry it has been a time since I spoke to you – the forum is busy these days and there are not enough hours in the days sometimes.    You are on our radar though and you would be welcome in a Friends and Family group at any time – nothing said in the group appears on the forum.
    Hoping to hear
    Velvet
     

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