Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 16 total)
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  • #3511
    nomore 56
    Participant

    Every now and then I come across a post from someone who is in recovery from the hell of being a F&F of a cg and has consequently separated from the gambler. I have to agree with everyone who says that they had run as fast and as far as possible had they known what was in store for them with a loved one who is a cg. My journey was long and very painful and after a brief period of calm the addiction has once again caught up with me and laughs in my face, shouting “I got you good in the end, didn’t I”. No, my hb does not gamble again. He has been gamble free for exactly 5 years and is working his personal recovery each and every day. During the last year I even had a little bit of cautious hope that things would finally get better and that I would have the chance to find some peace of mind and contentment. My glass is never half full even, it is almost empty but we thought we had found a way to beat the odds and be able to do what we wished for most. To move away from this area to be with the few friends and family we have left. And for me to have a place of my own so that I would not be scared of the future anymore. In April my dad turned 80 and my daughter and I were able to fly home and spend his bday with him. Now he is dying of cancer and my parents are a mess and so are their affairs. I can’t be of any help and my sister is sick and can’t do much. Right after I got the news my hb was diagnosed with lung cancer. The Drs were not concerned and told him that sx would take care of it. When doing the routine tests in preparation for the procedure they found a dilated aorta and now he needs a very risky sx for that first. We still don’t know what will happen and when. There is a good chance that will end up alone. And I mean alone. My family and friends are overseas, his family is dysfunctional and other than my daughter, there is nobody. And on top of it, my worst fears will come true because of the financial situation. Fight of flight should have never been an issue, FLIGHT was the only sane decision that I failed to make. Because of his gambling, my future is as dark as it can be. Of course we are hoping that things will go ok, who wouldn’t. But I have reached my limit now. It has simply been too much. So if I had to make a choice again right now, I would run. Fast and far. No matter what the consequences would have been. Anything better than this. No relationship is worth being beaten to pulp by this brutal addiction. Just my opinion though because had I taken flight, my situation would be so much better now.

    #3512
    vera
    Participant

    I just read a post you wrote in 2014, No more.
    I always benefit from posts you write on others’ threads but I must have missed or forgotten this thread.
    How IS your husband now. Did he have treatment for the conditions you mentioned? Did you manage to get back to where you wanted to live and how is your daughter keeping?
    Just interested!
    Best regards!

    #3513
    nomore 56
    Participant

    First I want to say that I appreciate all your comments on the F&F thread. Nobody but a cg can really give eye opening insight on the whole addiction concept.
    My hb was successfully treated for the lung cancer. His other conditions are monitored but cannot be improved. SX is not possible for the aneurysm due to his COPD. His is walking a tight rope every day and all we can do is hope that it is not getting worse.
    He is still gamble free after 6 1/2 years and tells me that he could not possibly imagine ever going back to the dark side. We do not live together and never will but are good friends now.
    Nothing has changed. I still live at the same place and there seems to be no realistic hope to ever be able to get the hell out of here. Just not happening. Not easy to deal with as depression and anxiety are on an all-time high level.
    My daughter is doing very well, thank god for that. She is busy with her job, bf, apartment and her little dog. Just got certified for scuba diving as she volunteers at the Seattle Aquarium and studies now to get a BA in fish&wildlife science. I ‘m very proud of her, as you can imagine 🙂
    I still believe btw that Flight is the better option for someone involved romantically with a “hard core” cg.
    Kudos to you for doing well and trying to support so many others!

    #3514
    vera
    Participant

    Good to hear from you nomore and well done to your husband for 6 1/2 G free years. Sounds as if the stress wouldn’t help his already fragile health. I hope he keeps well and “cuts his cloth to size”.
    None of us are getting any younger and I know gambling aged me beyond my years. I look at my husband sometimes and wonder if my gambling turned him into the old man I see before my eyes. No point in torturing ourselves, though. Some questions will never be answered. I’m sorry to hear that you are affected by depression and anxiety . Do you have any help for that? I think I suffered from anxiety all my life but managed to mask it in different ways. Gambling was a great cover up, but of course the debt I created by gambling caused enormous stress. CGs never win and that pertains to more than money. I go to GA now; I’m not long home from a meeting. I’m the only woman in that group. I’m in awe of the amount of emotional sharing from the large group of men. They seem to be a great support to each other. Once again I feel like the odd one out, but that has been the story of my life. I’m currently carrying out a project I have been putting off for years. Clearing out the attic! I wrote a bit about it on my thread. It actually has the makings of a novel, if I had the energy to write all my emotions. I feel as if I’m deleting half of my life -the half I didn’t leave in slot machines!
    Glad to hear your daughter is doing well. Every mother’s wish is for her children to stay on the right road. Sadly, many go astray.
    Do you ever attend the Support Groups on GT?
    Maybe we will get to meet up there sometime in the future.
    Take care, nomore.
    One day at a time is the motto. I try to remember that when I press the Fast Forward or Delete button!
    God bless!

    #3515
    nomore 56
    Participant

    My hb’s gambling has certainly changed me. My trust in people -never great to begin with- has completely vanished. I show signs of PTSD due to a lot of very ugly and scary events that stretched out over many years. Nightmares, being thrown back in an instant into situations long past, the whole list of symptoms of trauma, all there.
    Funny though, just like you, I have dealt with depression and anxiety since I can remember, always been my normal. The kind I deal with now is slightly different. Depression is mostly reactive and the anxiety is based on lifetime experiences. I tried therapy and meds, nothing has helped. Because no therapist or pill can change the facts. They can’t bring back my family and friends, they can’t get me out of this hated place or undo the past that is haunting me in many ways. Not so much emotional but rather situation wise.
    You mentioned that you feel like the odd one out in your meetings and that is why I quit going to GamAnon. I could not relate to them and vice versa. All my life I felt like I was living on the wrong planet. I can’t wrap my mind around how others feel or think.
    For many years now I have not lived but just existed. Most of the time I will not allow myself to go to certain places in my head because the pain is unbearable. So I shut that off as much as I can. It all leaves me tired and exhausted.
    Cleaning out my garage could be therapeutic but then you have not seen my garage. Wouldn’t know where to start, really. 🙂
    Yes, I have changed. The wounds are not bleeding anymore but the scars are there for good.
    Good luck with everything!

    #3516
    vera
    Participant

    It seems your husband’s gambling has had a profound effect on your life at every level, nomore. Now that you are “good friends” maybe it would be of help to both of you to talk about this together and reach a point where you can forgive him and allow him to forgive himself. I know “forgiveness” has become a buzz word and is seen as some kind of a magic therapy but I also know that unforgiveness causes a lot of those scars that you say are there for good.
    Counting my blessings and being content with what I have prevents me from chasing what I do not or may never have.
    Scars can fade and sometimes improve with exposure to light!
    ‘Bet your garage is not half as messy as my attic! Once you get started you might be surprised at how cathartic that project will be.

    #3517
    nomore 56
    Participant

    I don’t understand what forgiveness means. That is one of the emotional concepts my brain will not process. I feel with my brain so to speak and if something is not logical, I don’t get it. In the very beginning I accepted that my hb has addiction. I supported him as good as I could and eventually we moved on. What I cannot accept is his relapse. He was gamble free for 11 years and the first trip to a casino was a conscious decision. He agrees with me on that one.
    I could not ever forgive some of the things he has done. He took everything away from me that I cherished. All the while knowing what it meant to me. He was very well aware what was important to me in my life and took it anyway. When he went to prison for a year he left me to deal with the destruction by myself. To this very day I have no idea how I got through all that. I was humiliated, ridiculed and judged. For what HE did. The whole story is book material, trust me. Then he came back from prison, continued gambling and expected me to welcome back. And it all started all over again. Because of our situation (felony, age, health etc.) we were never able to undo even part of the damage. There was no picking up the pieces, moving on and rebuilding. What is there for good is that everything is gone.
    We became friends because we had to. It works, we get along ok and since none of us has any family or friends we are our only support system in many ways.
    But at the end of the day I just wish I had chosen Flight. Because the Fight did me no good.
    Have a great weekend!

    #3518
    vera
    Participant

    My view (the Christian view) on forgiveness, nomore, is that it is beyond the capacity of a mere human to forgive ourselves or others. That power comes from a Higher Source. Personally, I need to pray for the ability to forgive. Then it becomes an act of the Will, which requires ongoing effort until the hurts and scars begin to fade, gradually. It doesn’t happen in a flash. Sometimes the hurt will never leave .

    #3519
    nomore 56
    Participant

    Vera, I don’t have faith of any kind, don’t believe in a higher power or praying. I respect you greatly for having these tools to help with your recovery. A lot of people have problems to understand that any kind of emotional concepts are alien to me. I believe only in what I can see or touch, always has been this way. It is one of the reasons I often feel like an alien on the wrong planet. Yes, I do have some emotional scars but most of them have to do with other things I have lost. The most important one being my home. As pathetic as it sounds, that is the biggest scar of them all. It was the one thing that gave me some sense of security, safety and the knowledge that I was finally not dependent on others anymore. The fact that my hb took away my xmas ornaments, that I lost my beloved car and my home hurt me more than everything else. I know it sounds terrible but it is the ugly truth.
    He knows about my pain and accepts it because he knows about my issues. I am more desperate than angry. Forgiveness, whatever it is, how it is done, what it is supposed to do will not help. It will not bring back anything. Will not make me like my life any better. I deal in facts only and we often talk about it. My hb is ok with the life he is living now, thankful for what he was able to accomplish and recovery is the most important thing for him. I’m glad for him but at the end of the day I’m still lost and broken.
    Thank you so much for taking an interest.

    #3520
    vera
    Participant

    Accepting reality is not easy, nomore.
    I completely understand how you feel about losing your home, your car and other material possessions. As a CG, I have experienced many losses, and knowing I caused them makes it all the more difficult to accept. Throwing my eyes towards heaven often brought it’s own loss. God will not be mocked!
    I guess when you lose your home and your security you also lose trust in other people and even in yourself. Without hope for a better future, life can become empty and the tangible possessions which give us a certain type of independence appear suddenly very fragile.
    I am learning each day to drop my attachments and I find myself clinging less to material things and to people who I thought were the source of happiness in my life. Even my own children. It’s a strange type of detachment. I find it difficult to comprehend sometimes.
    Money and material possessions provide comfort and security of course but in an ever changing world there are very few certainties.
    Gambling sure taught me ways of coping when Life’s rug was pulled swiftly from under my feet. which it was, many times.
    I hope and pray you will find ways to cope with your husband’s gambling legacy. Knowing your daughter is secure and successful will bring huge consolation.
    Keep posting.

    #3521
    nomore 56
    Participant

    Just saw your post, Vera. I am not and never have been able to relate to people on an emotional level. And I mean never, as in not even as a small child barely aware of her own existence. Not my parents, certainly not my sister, nobody I can think of. I feel with my brain. I do not like any kind of emotional closeness being put on me by others either. That includes my romantic relationships. They were never about what one would call love. Hard to explain. Security, safety, stability, routine, predictability, that were always my most important needs. I have heard more than once that I might have a touch of Asperberger’s syndrome. If I do or not is of no concern to my anymore. It all goes back to not being able to truly and really feel and connect. People are not important to me, other than the minimum of contact one needs to make it through life. For someone like me, material possessions, and I don’t mean being filthy rich, are very important. Doesn’t have to have much value, just the things I cherish for some reason mean so much that it hurts so bad to lose them that the pain becomes almost physical.
    When people tell me that home is where the heart is, I have to disagree. My heart is where the home is. Can’t explain it any better, sorry.
    I am very proud that I was able to raise my daughter to be the person she is under the circumstances, that’s for sure. Funny though, my mom, my daughter and I are pretty similar when it comes to emotions and being close to people. Not only because one raised the other, sometimes it’s funny and very amazing how we think and act alike.
    Well, there goes another week of nothing, lol.
    I think you are doing a great job.

    #3522
    vera
    Participant

    You sound very like my husband, nomore!
    He just doesn’t “get it” when it comes to emotions! He is a hard worker. Always sees things on a practical level and never ever expresses feelings good or bad.
    I often wondered if that drove me to gambling? An emotional void!

    #3523
    nomore 56
    Participant

    It is very hard living in an emotional void, your own or someone else’s. I do feel some emotions, anger, sadness, desperation, are some of them. I just don’t know what real empathy, compassion etc. are, just in theory I understand what it should be. If that makes sense.
    Do you really think that something DROVE you to gambling? Has your hb always been this way? Do you think that he, in general, is a trigger for you?
    From what I have learned, I firmly believe that every addiction treatment needs to take a holistic approach. Gambling is just one facet of what might be going on with a person. My hb completed a 120-days inpatient program and they dug really deep into his past and what happened over a lifetime. It was painful but a huge revelation. Gambling was his escape and provided a rush at the same time. The roots were laid in his childhood. He often told me that I made him gamble because of this and that. Come to find out that I just symbolized and reminded him of what happened to him when growing up. Not only did he start his recovery, he is a changed man in many other ways as well.
    I think recovery is even harder to maintain when you feel the void around you day in and day out. JMHO though.

    #3524
    vera
    Participant

    Yes, nomore, my husband was always “like that”. He seems to be unable to express emotions . His reactions are and always were inappropriate, as I understand “normal” emotional reactions to be . I know there is a wide range of expressions and some people, especially men, never cry -or at least they are expected not to cry in many cultures. I would think fear and denial played a big part in my husband’s life but of course if I ever broach the subject of thinking or feeling he becomes very uncomfortable and accuses me of trying to “be smart” , “set him up” or of “controlling him”. He displays his feelings in practical terms, of deflects from issues, and never asks how I feel or what I’m thinking. If I try to express myself he takes it personally and becomes either very petty , saying “you’re always criticizing me” or even boarder line paranoid, where he would explode and walk out refusing to discuss the issue. This would be for very minor things such as discussions regarding the children growing up, plans for family events, holidays, whatever. These occasions always ended in tears or in some sort of spoiled fun . His mood was never appropriate. And I would never know when he was going to “flip”. I think it could be described as “incongruity of affect” in psychiatric terms . For example, when I went for gambling counselling the counsellor wanted to see the two of use together. Or see him alone. The wonderful gambling Industry offered six free sessions. (Big WOW !”Free”!) This threatened him deeply. He began to say “it’s all a plan to drive you back to gambling”. The irony was, they didn’t need any plan because on the way home from my own sessions, I was going to the casino regularly. How weird is that!
    Of course I never really blamed him for my gambling. He enabled me all the time. He provided reasons (which I chose to justify) He either ignored me when I begged him to help me to stop or he would comply with an alternative arrangement eg go for a meal or to the cinema instead of gambling, but by golly, would I suffer ! In short, I think for some deep rooted reason, it suited him better when I was gambling and that gave me an ideal opportunity to indulge my addiction. I would have loved him to “go into therapy” because I know he has past issues that were never dealt with but he would never have agreed. I was the source of all his grief. I was always the person he blamed when things went wrong . If it hadn’t been for me, our family would have had no problems!
    Maybe he was right!
    I do know that loneliness and rejection are common traits in CGs. I saw lots and lots of middle aged women treating “their” slot machines like “toy boys”, stroking them, coaxing them, talking to them, whispering sweet nothings and all the while, feeding them their last dime! If that’s not sublimation or displacement, what is it?
    Yes, living in an emotional void can be lonely.

    #3525
    nomore 56
    Participant

    That sounds really sad Vera. Your hb sounds like a very unhappy man. A lot of men refuse to deal with their issues, my hb did too. Until he changed his life around, he acted a lot like your’s. Always avoiding any kind of communication he felt was uncomfortable for him. Never talking about what bothered him until it became too much and he blew up. Slamming doors and leaving was how he solved the issue. Everyone had to be happy at all times, nothing could be difficult or worth a serious discussion. He always felt criticized. When I made a comment about anything, he would felt attacked. Or apologized. Not easy. He was also socially very awkward. I knew a little bit about his childhood but how terrible it really was, I had no clue. It all came out after he completed treatment and we started to talk about all the stuff that happened.
    No, I don’t think that your family would be perfect if not for you causing all the problems. It is seldom a one sided issue. I completed all the necessary courses for substance abuse counseling and worked for a while in an outpatient treatment agency. Addiction and recovery don’t just apply to the addict. It is just as much a family issue. When the addict makes changes, the family often does not because they don’t think they are part of the problem. For many it is easier to deal with the addict than with the person in recovery because all of a sudden everything is different while they don’t see the need to change also. So they want back what they are familiar with. My teachers always told us that a person has a much better chance of maintaining recovery when he/she does not return immediately to the old environment after treatment.
    I believe that most people try to fill a void in their life with anything that helps with the pain. Wether it is an addiction, having an affair, shopping, whatever shrinks the gaping hole is welcome. Everyone deals with it in a different way. I was never much bothered by my own personal void and my inability to connect emotionally with people as long as they just left me alone. Instead I treasured certain material things and most of all my animals. With the exception of my daughter of course. Logically the void got bigger over time due to all the losses. I had to let 4 pets go in the course of a year and that hurt me more than anything my hb ever did.
    I’m sorry you have to go through all this now and think it’s great that you still have the strength to not give in and gamble. That’s something, isn’t it?

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