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    My husband of 10 years says he finally gets the GA program. He is going to 90 meetings in 90 days and has a committed sponsor.

    I do see changes in him, but it is so hard to support him 100% again. Giving him all my love, trust and support. Putting myself after him and his recovery is so hard.

    We have two boys (4 yo and 6 yo). They have seen so much, they know too much.

    It’s so hard again.



    Thanks for starting a thread in the Gambling Therapy friends and family forum. This forum will provide you with warmth and understanding from your peers.

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    You’ll find a lot of advice on this site, some of which you’ll follow, some you won’t…but that’s ok because only you fully understand your situation and what’s best for you and the people you love. So, take the support you need and leave the advice you don’t because it all comes from a caring, nurturing place 🙂

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    Hi Kat

    It would be great to say to you -yes, I believe your husband has got it but sadly, to date, I do not own a crystal ball.

    It takes time to know if a recovery is a true one or not. I waited, just like you, for my life to implode when the CG in my life changed his life over 13 years ago, (after 25 years of active gambling). .  His success means that I can say to you that the addiction to gamble can be controlled and wonderful lives played out as a result.

    I think the biggest signal for hope, for you, is when your husband’s behaviour changes and only you can know when that is. Is he available when you phone him, is he more attentive to your needs, does he lie about the simplest things? In other words, – what is he doing that is different this time?

    Does you husband tell you what happens at his meetings, have you ever attended a GA meeting? I was amazed when I eventually plucked up the courage to go into a GA meeting – I heard so many other people expressing the same concerns, fears, failures, as my CG – I felt less alone. I also attended Gam-Anon which gave me my sanity back and helped me to move on with my life.

    Many gamblers do not talk about their meetings or their struggle to control their addiction for fear that they may fail – but your husband telling you how he feels is not as important as the actual changes in his behaviour.

    I walked the extra mile a long time ago – I had so many doubts and fears but I watched and I waited – so I know how hard this is. If your husband has turned the corner then it is great if you can support him. He should know how hard it is for you but I doubt that he will – his focus will be on his recovery. In my opinion, trust takes a long to time to rebuild and should not be hurried. There will probably be a few doubts along the way. I remember telling my CG after a very long time that I forgave him – he said that he would never have asked me for forgiveness but for me the time eventually felt right.

    When and if doubts arise, I suggest that you ask your husband to talk to his sponsor about ‘your’ concerns – his sponsor should be able to help him realise that occasional doubts are to be expected. I asked my CG to help me to get things right – this worked well for us in that it showed my willingness to learn and more importantly, I think, to listen. Keeping communication open is so important.

    Keep posting, I would love to hear how you are doing.

    I will leave you with one of my favourite quotes :- You may never know what results come from your actions but if you do nothing, there will be no results – Mahatma Gandhi

    I wish you, your children and your husband all the joy that can come when the addiction to gamble is defeated.



    Thanks Velvet. It’s nice to know we aren’t alone when it is so lonely.

    I see the changes, only small but they are there.

    We had a big fight last week because I habe not been able to forgive him for his last 2 slips. I have seen a psychologist to help me get past it and this angered him greatly.

    He feels it is something I should just be able to do…. since i have never had this reaction before (been together 16 years) and he was a CG when we met.

    The gambling is only part of the reason why its so had being with a CG. I found it has totally changed his personality and he has actually got mental health issues. Anxiety, hypermamiia, anger management, paranoid ,

    I feel that he needs to see a psychologist as well as GA. For him, GA Can help with his addiction but only a psych Can help with mental health.

    He has definitely calmer down and i think the chemicals in his brain are evening out after the massive highs of his gambling.

    He is 15 days without gambling. And so far has attended a meeting everyday.


    Hi Kat
    It is hard for a compulsive gambler, who really wants to control his addiction and believes he is at last doing everything right, when he feels that those around him can’t just forgive and forget – but superhuman we are not and I would imagine you have experienced years of pain before this possible recovery.
    Some years ago, another member put the following on her thread. I hope it helps.
    • Forgiveness isn’t condoning the behaviour.

    • Forgiveness isn’t forgetting what happened.

    • Forgiveness isn’t restoring trust.

    • Forgiveness isn’t synonymous with reconciliation.

    • Forgiveness doesn’t mean doing the other person a favour.

    • Forgiveness isn’t easy.

    It is possible that your husband’s anger towards you is designed to deflect his anger from himself. If he is accepting his addiction and beginning to take responsibility for years of poor behaviour, then guilt may be weighing heavily on him and guilt makes healing harder.
    I won’t pretend that any of this is easy Kat – I think in many ways it is worse than actually living with the addiction when it was active!
    I’m not sure your husband needs to see a psychologist – controlling the addiction takes time but the things you describe all sound like they are part of his addiction – I can certainly relate to having seen paranoia, anger and anxiety. Perhaps in time, if he wants more support, he might feel he would like to talk to someone other than his sponsor and this would, in my opinion, be the time to find a dedicated addiction counsellor.
    15 days is still a drop in the ocean compared to years of addiction – your husband will almost certainly be impatient which is normal with a CG – unfortunately only time and constant awareness of his behaviour will give him the gamble-free life he seems to want. However, gamblers usually feel a void when they seek to control their addiction, which is one of the hardest things they have to contend with and which, if left untreated, can result in a slip or relapse. Maybe you could talk about things that he would like to do with his gamble-free life, what hobbies he would like to take up, what things he would like to do with you what things you would like to do with him, such as going out for a meal or taking the children to a park/ leisure centre/sea-side/wildlife park. If recovery is all about talking about the past it is hard to look forward to the future. The past is what you both make of it, you can use it to hurt yourselves or others, or you can use it to make you strong.

    I understand your feelings and your reaction, but your husband’s lack of understanding is common to many CGs. Maybe you could ask him to put his concern about your reactions to his sponsor. His sponsor has probably been gamble-free for some time and should know the problems that family members have. Your husband will probably accept it better from another CG.

    It seems that I am telling you to do all the understanding and I am sure you are fed-up being the one who has to do all the understanding. Anger is natural and very understandable but I suggest that you try and avoid fights, which are a waste of breath and energy. The addiction to gamble erodes logic and reason which means your husband will probably be struggling with understanding many of the things that you take for granted. The only coping mechanism he has known for years is probably to demoralise and blame the person closest to him. Walk away if you can and go and do something that you enjoy but maybe tell him that you will talk later when the anger, for both of you, has abated. Keeping the door open to calm communication does more good, for both of you, than all the fights.
    Keep posting – while there are changes, even if they are small, there is hope. You are doing well in a difficult situation.


    Hi Velvet.

    I wanted to say congratulations to you and your husband and achieving what you have together. Well done.

    And Tha k you for sharing your experience a d knowledge. It means a lot to the people you respond to on this forum.

    I certainly appreciate it.


    Today I felt proud of what my recovering CG has achieved in the last 16 days. It’s the first time I have felt anything towards him after his last gamble. Otherwise it’s the usual feelings of resentment, withdrawal, avoidance, not hatred but disliking him.

    In the past after a slip, I always feel so numb and then go into this robot state for few days or weeks until I feel back to normal …. just getting on with life after his gambling slip.

    This time, I had a small mental crisis after hislast gamble bust and it made me realise I am not handling the gambling slips as well as I used to. So have chosen to handle it differently this time.

    I haven’t swept my feelings under the rug. Haven’t put aside my anger to be the support he needs. Instead this time, I let the feelings in. All of them. It hurt me. I felt all these negative feelings that in precious years I would push away and ignore.

    It has made my recovery from his gambling harder. But hopefully he can see how much it affects me. Affects me as a mother. Affects his kids.

    I don’t hate him. I love him, that’s why I am staying. But I still feel anger, betrayal, towards him.

    My plan is to do fun things together as a family of 4 as much as possible. I don’t want to go on dates with him, but want to get over my resentment.

    And taking Velvets advice, we need to fill his days with things exciting to fill that void. My CG has spoken of trying to replace the feel good brain chemicals he gets from making a bet with “normal” things in his life.

    Can this really be the start of our new life together? I have hope but I also have so much baggage that I don’t know if it’s possible. Please let this be his last gamble, 16 days is a drop in the ocean but just maybe he will keep it up.

    I certainly didn’t have this hope 15 days ago and never thought I would again..


    So he has committed to going to 90 meetings in 90 days.

    At first I thought it was impossible. We both have jobs, 2 young kids, there’s no way I can do everything whilst he goes off tina meeting every night.

    But we are in the 3 rd week and it has become routine. The kids say goodbye and he goes off to his meeting. They have adjusted. I have adjusted.

    At first I felt trapped and alone at home. But have changed my mind set. I realised I’m glad he is not out gambling. And I wouldn’t want to swap places with him.

    So Let’s see if we get to 90


    Hi Kat
    Your words, ‘so I have chosen to handle it differently this time’ could have come from the mouth of any addiction counsellor – when all else fails it is definitely time to try something different – this is also true for gamblers.

    All the shouting, pleading, crying, threatening came to nothing, so this time you are looking at your concerns in a different light. You are not saying ‘what did I do wrong’, or ‘you need to stop gambling’, which was a waste of energy because you did nothing wrong and you couldn’t make your husband stop gambling – but you are looking at your own behaviour and realising how it affected you detrimentally.

    The anger, betrayal and resentment will gradually diminish, if you allow it; try not to let it be dependent on your husband’s recovery. You are important, your health is important – the healthier and happier you are the easier it is for your husband to face his own demons and the easier it is for you to move forward with your own life.
    Your husband is saying many of the right things now – the fact that he wants to replace the feel-good feelings he got. from making a bet. with ‘normal’ things is very encouraging.

    I have a concern that he and maybe you, are placing a lot on a 90-day goal. I appreciate that 90 days is an easier thought to cope with than a ‘life-time’ – but 90 days must not be the be-all and end-all. When 90 days has passed and it is felt that a goal has been reached, it is easy for complacency to set it.
    I wouldn’t suggest that your husband should be told not think in terms of a 90-day ambition which is possibly an idea from his GA meetings but maybe ‘you’ could start thinking in terms of ‘one day at a time’ because every single gamble-free day is a step towards freedom from his addiction.

    I love your planning and I hope to hear how life improves for you.

    I write about ‘my CG’ in general terms because it has often been said in this forum that one CG/F&F relationship is worse, or better, than another but this is not so – forum members come from different walks in life but we all live with, or have lived with, the same addiction. For each of us, the more knowledge we gain, the more we learn to cope with ourselves and our loved one. My CG is in fact my son but my support for all family relationships is the same.

    I think it is good for all of us who have lived with the addiction to gamble that we understand that we too collect baggage along the way. We can save ourselves, however, we do not need to go to GA ; we do not need to affirm every day that we will not do the thing that we thought was important to our happiness; we do not need to re-evaluate the minutiae of our lives.

    We have logic and we have reason Kat; we can survive and survive well. Your baggage can be dumped, you don’t need it, there will be no need to examine it. I never do ‘what if’s or ‘if onlys’, I use the past for reference only, I never dwell there. I would have achieved my recovery, (whether or not my CG achieved his), after I started learning about his addiction and realising that there was nothing I could have done that would have made any difference and that I was allowing myself to be controlled by his addiction. Your recovery is different to your husband’s but in my view it is equally important.

    Young children will adapt. Their father is doing everything in his power to live a better life and that takes courage and determination. I look forward to hearing that just for today he is gamble-free.

    I might not get the chance to write again before I go on holiday but I will be back in two weeks and keen to see how you are doing. You will be in my thoughts.



    I always end up reading your posts a few times to let it sink in. 


    Well he is definitely a recovering addict. I can see his old nice personality sometimes peeking through the person he has become. At the moment it is only glimpses of the person he once was – thoughtful, caring, nurturing. I would have to say its 2% of the time I see a person I could stay with and be happily married too. The other 98% of the time he is a person I would avoid being around except we are married.
    Living with a person doing the 12 step recovery is very hard. I’m still not first and i learnt today through my own reading of 12 steps is that I will never be 1st. His recovery will always be top priority and I have to be ok with that in my life.


    I read these steps almost 15 years ago when i first met my CG. they didn’t really make make such back then, even now I feel I don’t understand all of them.

    Here is step 1

    1. We admitted we were powerless over gambling – that our lives had become unmanageable

    Probably the most important. It has take n so many slips, busts, bets, for him to really truly admit this. Hopefully this time he really does believe it. The way he is talking makes me think he does believe he is absolutely powerless about it


    So he hasn’t gambled in 27 days. He has also been to 27 meetings. Man this is hard. The hardest thing I have ever done.

    Most of the time I feel like a single.parent. rushing around trying to get everything done after work and picking up the boys from school.

    My CG expects me to be waiting up after his meetings. I’m so exhausted, I just want time to myself. But I can’t yet.

    He has said that after 90 days, he will attend 3 or 4 meetings a week. Life was hard before and life was hard during gambling and life will be hard with a non gambler.

    I think i need to ***** my blessings. Change my attitude.

    It’s hard.


    Hi Kat
    It is hard to c o u n t your blessings when you live with a compulsive gambler but I am sure that when you look around there are a lot of good things in your life that maybe have been neglected while addiction has been consuming your thoughts.
    When he is at his meeting maybe you could arrange some better ‘me’ time for yourself knowing that his problem is not ‘in your face’ for an hour or two. I am sorry that you feel that he ‘expects’ you to wait up for him but I think it is good that he welcomes your presence when he does come home – I know a gambler’s mind buzzes when they have been to meetings whether they talk about what happened or not. It is good if he does want to share with you and in my opinion, if he does, then it is a good time to listen and maybe ask gentle questions based on what he says. It isn’t easy for a gambler to face his demons and realise how bad his behaviour has been.
    I think you will feel like a single parent for some time yet. Your husband will not have faced his responsibilities when he was actively gambling but healing does take time – it is gradual and exhausting but ultimately it is a walk back to life.
    When I stood where you are now, I remember thinking that it was easy for him; he was being listened to and understood; he was off-loading and feeling better – but I wasn’t. I fully appreciate, therefore. how exhausted you are and how much you would welcome better support for yourself but I can only say that this is the nature of the beast. The addiction is selfish and the fight to take control of the addiction must be selfish too while he is fighting to re-take control of his chaotic mind.
    I do not expect you to c o u n t your blessings as you would have done once but I do hope that you will be able to look around and enjoy the good things in your life so that you are healthy and happy and able to cope while your husband hopefully gets on with his recovery. A healthy happy ‘you’ will be better poised to take on whatever the future holds regardless of the outcome of this experience – this can be a learning curve for the one who loves a CG too.
    Please keep posting
    I wish you and your husband well


    A meeting everyday is now our new normal. The kids have stopped asking where he goes every night and have learnt to accept he leaves or doesn’t come home to go to a meeting. And so have I we’re in our own little routine and at half way of the 90 days / 90 meetings.

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