21 April 2020 at 4:04 pm #7085
Thank you for always taking the time to respond and offer advice. I’m really just struggling right now. His therapist called what we are doing “harm reduction”, because he is going to gamble no matter what I say at this point and it is either going to be behind my back or open. I am in control of his finances so I could with hold the money from him, but if I did that he may ask for all of it back rather than only using an agreed amount. I have no beliefs that this can heal him or that this can work long term. i am struggling to deal with it at all. I plan to express this more in our therapy session tomorrow too. I am just so torn and I am not sure what i am able to follow through this with. I am scared of what could happen to him and I do still love him. I know something had to change. I just don’t know what the best thing to do is.21 April 2020 at 4:19 pm #7086joerdjParticipant
I think the therapist wants to do harm reduction because you are at the moment bound to each other with the lockdown going on. In that sense, I can understand that maybe this is “better”.
You have tried everything and he is lucky to have you at your side. As long as you keep your own finances and health safe.
I wish you all the best21 April 2020 at 5:21 pm #7087
In one way your therapist is right, your boyfriend can gamble regardless of what you say but the method is not reducing harm – it is feeding his addiction.
I also have no belief that this method can help him in the slightest. Unless he accepts his addiction and seeks treatment it will get worse, never better.
Is your boyfriend saying he does want to control his gambling because it would appear he doesn’t want to do so? Some gamblers do not want to stop gambling and will not stop until they have hurt themselves enough and/or all enablement has ceased. It takes courage to control an addiction but I wouldn’t be here if it was not possible.
Giving cash to a gambling addict, whether it is $1 or a $1,000,000 is enabling his addiction. Maybe you could ask him how he wants you to help him because at the moment, he is asking you to keep his addiction alive and growing and it is hurting you to do so.
Please speak bluntly at you therapy session tomorrow, your boyfriend needs the right support and more importantly, as far as I am concerned, so do you. You are being brought down by his addiction and it will take you all the way down with it, if you allow it to do so.
I hope you are keeping your own finances safe, unfortunately it is harder to keep your heart safe and I understand that.
While your boyfriend is only prepared, in his life, to put himself first, please put yourself first, in yours Sunflower. If you lose your health and happiness then the addiction has claimed an extra life.
Velvet23 April 2020 at 10:49 am #7088joerdjParticipant
How did the counselling go if I may ask ?23 April 2020 at 8:09 pm #7089
it went pretty well, but we both do not see eye to eye. It is clear that he is wrapped up in addictive thinking and is not willing to stop at this time but is willing to only use $100 a month towards gambling and to not access three times a week. He does have me place his money in account that he cannot access it, so it is possible, unless he borrows money from other people. He knows how strongly I feel about him stopping and continuing to seek help. His therapist said although he agrees that he should not be gambling and that he feels this is a dangerous road, that it Is good that he is being honest about how he feels and speaking openly. We plan to continue meeting with the therapist weekly and discussing everything. I also requested he keep a gambling journal so that we can look back and see how much he bet, how much he won/lost, and how he felt when doing it. The situation is by NO means ideal and I’m still very upset about it, but with the way current situations are in our world I’m not sure I’m ready to ask him to leave as long as he continue to pays he share of the bills. It’s very difficult. I feel like I’m constantly waiting for him to crash and burn. Thank you for checking in!23 April 2020 at 8:17 pm #7090
Hi! I am sorry that I did not reply sooner. I just saw the comment. I never give him my own money to gamble with and my money is in accounts that he can not touch. I also have his money in an account that he does not have access too so that he can’t spend it all gambling. I give him daily allowances for his expenses and sometimes ask for reciepts as well. The money he gambles with is the $100 he keeps out of his check monthly. The $100 a month was the compromised amount when speaking to with his therapist. I spoke very openly in our meeting and he listened and said he understood but he also did not budge on wanting to continue. His therapist said its good that we are speaking openly and not lying to one another but also suggested he stop. As of now we plan to continue meeting once a week and continue living together as long as he continues paying his share of the bills. If that were to change I will not support him. This situation is not ideal at all and I am just trying to live day by day and this point and see where it takes me. I feel a sense of anxiety like I’m waiting for him to crash and burn, which unfortunately I feel is inevitable. I’m just trying to stay aware and focus on me in the mean time.23 April 2020 at 10:29 pm #7091
I should also mention his friends and family are aware of his gambling problem so borrowing money would not be an easy task for him.23 April 2020 at 10:52 pm #7092
I agree that the situation is not ideal but you have got your eyes open and I am hoping that that is enough to save you from being dragged down.
I am concerned that you are living in a state of anxiety which isn’t good but I believe I understand you.
I am really hoping that you will continue posting for your own sake and that you will focus on your own life as well as supporting your boyfriend.
Hopefully coronavirus will be reduced to something manageable soon and the world can return to some form of normality. I hope that the patience and fortitude that you are displaying at this really difficult time, will pay off for you.
I cannot stress strongly enough how important looking after yourself is at times like this. Please don’t let your boyfriend’s addiction cause you to stop seeing friends and enjoying hobbies and interests that please you. When you emerge from the lockdown, all the care you have taken of yourself will help you re-establish your life more easily.
If I thought for one minute that your boyfriend could not control his addiction I would not be writing to you, I know how lucky he is to have you standing by him but I also know the terrible heartache that can come from loving someone with this addiction.
Use this forum as a journal, it will help you to look back and see how far you have come and remind you what decisions you made along the way.
Speak soon, take care of yourself and keep safe
Velvet24 April 2020 at 1:51 am #7093
Thank you so much! I definitely will keep using this space to write and talk with supportive and helpful people like yourself. It truly does help me to write down my thoughts or troubles and receive feedback. I’m also trying to think of different ways to help my anxiety, such as working out after I’m done with my work day. I am a teacher and work from home video calling my students. Seeing my students helps as well. When This lockdown is over I will definitely go out with friends and spend more time on me. These are definitely challenging times. All I keep hoping is that with continued therapy he will see he needs to stop. I know the choice must be his though. Thank you again for all of your guidance through this.24 April 2020 at 7:39 pm #7094
Keep posting Sunflower
You are being heard
Velvet14 May 2020 at 8:33 pm #7095
After a few more unbearable weeks of pent up lies, my boyfriend finally came clean about how bad the gambling got. Although I was in control of his money, I was unaware he received his taxes and his bonus from work. He spent all of it playing poker online. He came clean about it and asked for forgiveness. He said he was ashamed and disappointed in himself and how one lie just kept turning into another. He spoke with his therapist about it yesterday too. His therapist said this could be a good thing because now he is admitting and accepting that he has a problem and that he cannot do it at all. I saw this coming too and as you know, had my fears and suspicions. I guess I am just venting because I’m torn. Do I continue this relationship as long as he continues to choose recovery or do I give up? Is this a cycle that is just going to continue to happen? There is so much uncertainty and I am just so afraid. He builds back the trust just to rip it away again. It’s exhausting. I’m tired. I love him and all I’ve been wanting was for him to choose recovery, but how can I protect myself if I choose to stay with him?21 May 2020 at 10:50 pm #7096
Cycles go round and round but they can be broken and true recoveries do start or I wouldn’t be here. It is impossible to tell a true recovery for a long time and I know it is exhausting waiting to know if this is the true one.
I cannot tell if your boyfriend is into a true recovery, or not, even he cannot tell you. It takes love, strength, determination and a lot of faith to carry on, it will sometimes feel impossible but I cannot tell you to give up or to carry on – the decision has to be yours because this is your life.
I don’t understand what his therapist is supposed to have said about him ‘not being able to do it all’ but that is possibly his perception of what was said. It is possible that the taxes and his bonus came at the wrong time for him if he was really trying – early recoveries are hard and the temptations and triggers can still overwhelm but he can do it.
You can protect yourself by sharing on this forum, by keeping a journal to remind yourself or how far you have come and by living in the centre of ‘your’ life and not on the periphery of his. Keep up with your friends, enjoy hobbies and interests that please you, never clear his debts or ‘lend’ him any money. Maybe you could ask him what you can do to support him, it is ok to let him know that you are struggling too.
Please keep posting.
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