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    Christmas is approaching once again and I have put a few thoughts together that I hope will resonate with you and support you through the festive season.

    It is my belief that most, if not all, active CGs do not enjoy Christmas.   CGs in early recovery often find this period worrying as the only memories they have of past Christmas’ are befuddled by gambling and are therefore unhappy memories.    Expectations of good behaviour are too high for the CG.  Expectations for getting everything perfect are too high for Friends and Family. 

    Christmas is a time when it has become the practice for presents to be given in abundance and the active CG, if he has any money left, will not want to part with it because it is all important for the winning gamble that will change his life and make doubters sit up and take notice. 

    It is a time when the CG is asked to append his name to the Christmas cards that he has not bought, to send to people he believes think him worthless.      

    It is a time when the joy that the CG is told they should feel is meaningless to him.

    It is a time when the whole world seems to be full of love but the CG is lost in his own despair.

    With no money to spare for presents and a fear of sitting with the family, where he feels left out, the CG tells lies to escape, to cover up for the feeling of failure that is the natural bi-product of his addiction .

    It becomes a vicious circle played out every year with each successive year adding to the whole sorry state of affairs.  All the memories of other Christmas’ come flooding back and the impossible situations arise more seriously as the years pass.

    The best action for a CG is to cause a row and get out before great Aunt Mabel comes round and tells you that you are a disgrace, or before Uncle Paul gets the chance to refuse to come because you stole Auntie Polly’s credit card 2 years ago and he can see through you if nobody else can!

    If this forum is anything to go by the non-CG puts everyone else first and wants to protect everyone, from anything untoward, usually at their own expense.  They are desperately running around trying to please everybody like creatures possessed and hoping to make everything so perfect so that nobody notices the CG, ‘if’ he has turned up, glowering away in the corner.  

    The only thing the non-CG wants is for everybody to gather round the table, put past memories aside and have a wonderful day together. 

    The non-CG pleads ‘please make an effort – just for one day, just for me, just for your sister Mary, just for your cousin Jack’, just for my mother who is having a hip replaced in January but the CG only hears that he is useless and everybody would be better off without him.

    Stress is at an all-time high, the F&F smile is fixed, and the teeth are gritted but even though the eyes are watering nobody notices because everyone else is too busy doing their own thing.

    Somebody will eventually mention Auntie Polly’s credit card.  Somebody will mention how tired Mary looks with pointed glares at the CG.  Somebody will mention the lottery and get the cards out for a nice game of brag!!

    There will of course be those wonderful creatures – the in-laws, siblings and friends who are all in denial.  Kissing and cuddling and telling everybody what a success CG is making of his job and how much the children love him and hasn’t he peeled the carrots well!   The non-CG leaves the room and tries to control the tears.

    If the CG manages to stay for part of the day his departure will be felt with pain by the loved one, whilst the ones in denial splutter through foggy, alcoholic vapours ‘oh let him go he deserves it’.  Apart from Aunt Mabel who hiccoughs ‘good riddance’ loudly.

    How the memories of Christmas’ past come back to haunt.  How many people say they do not like Christmas before it even arrives?  How many of you are thinking about last Christmas and what happened when …..?  How many of you are hoping this Christmas will be better but not really believing it?  How many of you are putting off decisions till after Christmas for the sake of other people?

    I am grinding no axe with this.  I am hoping that perhaps we can give each other words of comfort and support and ways to get round the inevitable stand-off.

    Knowing, as we do now, that the addiction to gamble is not something out loved one asked for or wanted it would probably be better not to force issues such as ‘you will be there for Mollie and Peter’?   It is probably better to say that Mollie and Peter would like you there and so would I but make no big deal as the door closes behind him on his way out, that is ‘if’ he has turned up at all. 

    How do you deal with Uncle Fred who thinks you need protecting and says ‘if you won’t say anything then by gum I will?’

    Should you get on and just do the dinner, the cards etc and expect no help?

    This is just me having a wonder; it is not to point a finger or judge.   It is to do with this Christmas and New Year and Birthdays and Anniversaries and all the other times when it is expected that families should conform to a happy, carefree time.  I think it is better for us to know that not everybody can feel the joy which is broadcast from every media outlet than to hope for the perfect time and be disappointed.  The addiction to gamble guarantees feelings of failure and misery by feeding on the commercial hype that surrounds our modern day Christmas.   By looking after yourself you will give all your loved ones a happier Christmas than if you allow the addiction of your loved one to bring you down.

    I know we cannot guarantee each other a wonderful Christmas but it would be nice if we could make a difference for our own sakes, for our CGs and for rest of our families who are probably totally in the dark.

    This post is an invitation to share and benefit from each other. 



    These words made me feel so bad. I’ve only shared one Christmas with my partner but the bit about the presents hit home. He only had money to buy me tokens which I loved and treasure cos they came from him. I on the other hand bought him lots including an expensive shirt. Now I feel ashamed and can see why he was embarrassed. Thank you Velvet lesson no one learned here. What I thought I did for the right was totally wrong.


    I had to smile and nod my head alot reading this! My cg, has only once bought presents for family in his life, I suspect now, after a win, so we were lucky that year! I, though, have bought them for him to give to people! We no longer expect presents from him. I remember my cg being ‘lectured’ about his life from successful relatives and his nearest and dearest being astounded by the rubbish and bullshit coming of his mouth. I remember running around trying to make it ‘all work’, keeping everything running smoothly. As well as my cg disappearing off to friends with money from his christmas cards, we also had my ex to deal with and his antics. So as we head off to this christmas, I will ‘plan’ to head off the addiction and be more relaxed in the knowledge I have gained from this site. The relatives who asked questions and came from an ‘ego state’ are no longer in our lives and will be no where to be seen this year. I will do my bit and ‘look after myself’ and my needs, and if it means taking time out, I will. My children are young adults and can entertain themselves if need be. Wishing everyone a good christmas and remembering its only 24 hours! Take care and keep smiling. San

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