5 May 2013 at 3:02 pm #1778juju00Participant
I married my high school sweetheart. After high school, he joined the military and I went to college. But we couldn’t handle the separation and decided to get married. Since day one of our marriage, we struggled with our financials. He hid many things about money from me and omitted things. He couldn’t save a dime and foggily explained his spending. I didn’t suspect gambling until he took out over $1000 during a deployment and my sister suggested that wasn’t normal. I was concerned, because his father is a problem gambler. But he managed to tell an elaborate story about how he needed it to buy new gear during a flood and he owed someone money because they went on a special trip he was forced to go on, even though we had no money. I gave him the benefit of the doubt, although not easily forgiving him right away, but I never trusted him again. I already didn’t before that because he lied or omitted details about money from me since day one of our marriage, but I thought it was fixable.
When I actually saw gambling become a problem, it was the third time he came home with a big win. He came home with wins the first two times late after work, but I didn’t think too much of it because they were months apart. I did warn him not to go behind my back and consider the money we have in our account, because we were becoming more and more broke. That third time, we were supposed to go to a birthday party but he didn’t come home until 5 hours after he got off work. I got drunk at the party and afterwards we fought. I cried and expressed my concern about his problem gambling, he denied he had a problem, apologized and he said he wouldn’t go again. The fourth time I caught him, I came home from night class and he wouldn’t answer his phone nor did he leave a note explaining where he was. At first I made excuses for him, like he’s still at work or with his friends. But by 11 o’clock, I had a feeling he was doing something he wasn’t supposed to as my husband–cheating on me or gambling. Turns out he was gambling. That night I had a breakdown, throwing things and crying hysterically because I was convinced he didn’t love me, he was spiting me, and because he fell asleep on me while I was telling all of this to him (which made me furious, because I was feeling so hurt). Somehow, we worked it out enough to sleep in the same bed that night, but it would not be the last time, unfortunately.
Just a week after my breakdown, I caught him at the slots when he was supposed to be cutting his hair. He was gone for over 5 hours. When I saw him at the slots, I was furious, but so angry to the point of giving up. He had the guiltiest look on his face. I could see the remorse in his eyes, but took this act as a confirmation that he truly didn’t care about, respect, or love me. I was certain I was going to leave him that day. When he finally got home, about 20 minutes after I left the casino, he immediately got on his knees in front of me and begged me not to leave him, forgive him, and believe that he will change. I was so angry I did not say a thing until he was done. I got up, grabbed the few belongings he did not buy me and said to him with tears rolling down my cheeks, “if you want money so bad, you can sell everything here. You can have it all. I don’t care about any of it. I just want to be around people that truly love me, my family. They would never hurt or lie to me.” He offered to buy my ticket home, too, but I just locked myself in the bedroom and cried. I thought about how I would explain the divorce to my family and his, where I would go to school, and how I would even get a ticket to go to my parent’s home. But we already bought tickets to visit our hometown, and we were leaving in a few weeks.
Later that night, I told him that I had an idea. If he was truly going to change, he would have the next few weeks to show me how much he meant it. I told him that if I saw he was putting real, genuine effort into changing and getting help, maybe I would return with him after our trip home. If not, I would stay with my family. I decided to give him another chance, but I was skeptical. I gave him all the responsibility to change, because I was fed up and did not have the energy to fight for him. Of course I would support his efforts, but I was not willing to get involved unless he asked.
The next 3 weeks, he went to counseling sessions for his problem gambling. We even saw a marriage counselor. When we returned home, we discussed our problems with my parents–he didn’t want to share it with his. We were repairing our marriage. I decided to return home with him, but under conditions. I told him if he ever went to the slots again, I wouldn’t be able to deal with it, and it would be over. My parents also said that to him. The reason being is that I knew I would not be able to love him again if he did it just one more time. I just couldn’t do it. And he also had to work on his honesty and communication with money.
When we returned, things got better. However, there was an incident with my check card. Someone took it and withdrew $60 in $20 increments every 5 minutes, something he does when he gambles. But my card wasn’t stolen. It was put right back in my wallet without me even knowing it was ever gone. I suspected my husband, because he is the only person with access to it and knows the pin. My next suspect was his brother, also a compulsive gambler but he is not ready for help. I did not think he knew my pin, so I truly thought it was my husband. This had never happened before, so I was very confused and actually angry. I told my husband if he did it, to be honest. I would give him a free pass if he did do it. But he denied it, and I warned him that if it was him, and I found out the truth later on, things would be worse for him than now. He assured me it wasn’t him, so I asked if he thinks it was his brother, and he kept saying I don’t know. I still think it’s him. When I looked into his eyes, I could see the guilt, the same kind of guilt when I caught him at the slot machine that last time. But I had no choice but to let it go. I filed a report with the bank and asked for ATM photos, but they have not replied. I did get my money back though, although no report, and just rationalized that maybe it was a bank error . . . a very specific and highly, highly unlikely bank error.
A few weeks later, I also found many slot machine games on his phone, something that I did not like and asked him to delete. He even played it with his brother. I told him it made me suspicious of his recovery and for him to ask his counselor if it would be a good idea if he disagreed with me. He deleted them.
Today, he is deployed to somewhere else for a few weeks. He hasn’t contacted me on a regular basis and before he left, he took out $700 for planned activities they were going to do on the weekends and he bought me an iPad for my birthday. I was, and am, concerned and suspicious about it because we simply don’t have that kind of money. I monitor our money constantly. I don’t have access to one account of his, which may be the only way he could have saved that money. But even so, where did the money come from? Unless he has already paid off his loan, then he has no money he’s taken out for saving, beside that big lump sum of $700 and a few hundred bucks from “selling cards”. His story could be believable, but yet again, somewhat elaborate. I didn’t want to ruin the gift, but had to ask him if he got the money from gambling wins. He denied it and promised me he has not gambled.
But I don’t truly believe him. He has stopped going to meetings, ever since we came back home, and although he doesn’t work late anymore, he does have a new workout regime and “sell cards” often. I followed him once or twice, but didn’t see his car at the slots, so I returned home.
Today, I just feel like I’m going nuts. Although I was beginning to trust him again, my instincts are sending me red flags. The iPad, the $700, the not contacting me often while he is deployed . . . I am worried he is slipping. It is driving me nuts because we are thousands of miles away. I just feel depressed, too, because I can’t know for sure and I just don’t want to get hurt again! When he returns, I’ll be visiting my family, so he will be alone. And his brother, also a problem gambler, is back in town. They are very close, so I know he can be an easy influence. I just don’t trust my husband, and am feeling guilty and horrible about it. I am also feeling depressed and horrible about myself. Not only has this whole situation, and basically the rest of my marriage, really dragged me down and destroyed my self-esteem, my husband continues to neglect me and avoid when I want to discuss my depression or concerns about his parents, compulsive gamblers, using us for money.
I also don’t have any friends to talk to, or even support groups for people like us over here. I only talk to my family about it, but they are thousands of miles away, too. and i feel like they are tired of hearing these things from me. my husband also is tired of me honestly expressing my worries or sadness. he always tells me to move on, that he is changing, why don’t i just get over it and acknowledge his change. That is why I am so thankful that I found this website. I am still obviously hurt from what happened. His compulsive gambling is not the only problem in our marriage, but the cherry on top of our marital problem Sundae. I feel so drained and emotionally exhausted, I just can’t find the will anymore, especially with my suspicions and fears, to stay positive.6 May 2013 at 1:29 pm #1779bettieParticipant
You will find your post moved to the family and friend forum. There you will meet the Lovely Velvet-and a number of other partners that share your situtation.
I am a compulsive gambler. Much like a **** addict we will do most anything to get our "fix". In the throws of "being in action" we can be very convincing ***rs. We have praticed that skill for years. We even *** to ourselves-"This is it, I’ll never do it again",etc. The sad part is we mean it when we say it-that is until the urge strikes again and we find ourselves back in front of a slot machine swearing that yet again this will be tha last time.
I think you will find that his love for you is very seperate for his **** for gambling. It’s like a mistress in reality. I often described "my machine" as an abusiver lover who took all I had and left me wanting and kicked me to the curb until I could find the next "gift" ( cash) to give him.
I wish you the best Juju. I hope by reading here in the forums you will see that you are not alone, and that there is hope for a better life.
bettie6 May 2013 at 7:40 pm #1780adeleParticipant
Dear JuJu – bless your heart –
I wish I had sage words of advice for you. But I am only a week older than you to this site, so I dare not. But I know how grateful I was for the first responses to my thread, so I wanted to at least let you know you are not alone.
Like Bettie said, your post, or "thread", is here in the Journey Forum right now. But your story will eventually (and probably quickly) be moved to the Friends and Family Forum where you will make friends with people like me who can relate to your pain and despair because we have a compulsive gambler (cg) in our lives too. And we have the very good fortune to have Velvet in our F&F Forum. You have come to the right place.
Although I am much older than you, my story is very similar. I completely understand constantly monitoring money, doubting your husband’s love, the lies about money issues, the strategy of ultimatums, the hope you cautiously feel when he goes for a bit of help, and those little $20 cash withdrawals one right after the other. And I especially understand that feeling of going nuts.
I encourage you to thoroughly familiarize yourself with this site and it’s resources – and continue to post. For me, in less than a week I have learned SO MUCH, which is the key JuJu – knowledge of the disease.
Hang in there … help is on the way!
"… should I give up or should I just keep trying to run after you when there's nothing there?" Adele6 May 2013 at 9:42 pm #1781velvetModerator
I was just closing down for the night when I saw an F&F member, Chasing Pavements – Adele, in ‘My Journal’ and I followed her across. I’m glad I did because you are now in the Friends and Family section and you are very welcome.
I’m glad you were welcomed by Adele and Bettie. Bettie like so many others on here are willing to help non-CGs (compulsive gamblers) because they are living in control of their addiction. She and others like her make this site special – we are a total community who care.
It is late for me here Juju but I will write more to you – I just wanted to say hi.
Your post contains many things that need answering and I won’t try and answer it all when I am tired,as you deserve more than that.
At the moment, you don’t know whether to trust or not. In my opinion, based on all you have written you would be unwise to trust.
Your parents probably cannot understand – unless a person has lived with the addiction I am not sure they can fully understand. In this forum you are understood however and every word you have said in this post makes sense to me.
Your husband’s addiction is not your fault – nothing you have done has caused this to happen. You have been trying to make sense of something that is senseless. The addiction makes fools of us all – compulsive gambler and those who love them alike. We can only change our ‘own’ behaviour however – we cannot make a CG stop gambling.
Adele is right – knowledge of the addiction to gamble will help you cope. With understanding I believe you can rebuild your self-esteem and confidence.
You said your husband fell asleep when you were telling him how you felt. A CG can feign sleep to protect the addiction but his addiction was probably awake and listening. I will write to you soon and hopefully give you coping mechanisms to help you feel in control of your life.
I hope you know now that you are among those who understand you and will not judge.
Your first post was brilliant. I suspect it took a lot out of you to write it but at the same time I would imagine it was therapeutic. Well done for getting it down so well.
We have a Friends and Family group at 20.00 hours UK time today – you will be welcome. We communicate in real time and nothing said in the group appears on the forum. I hope to write to you again before then however.
Velvet7 May 2013 at 5:18 pm #1782adeleParticipant
Hi JuJu –
I haven’t seen you post since you started your thread last week. I hope it’s because you are doing lots of reading on this site.
If not, I hope you at least feel better having put your pain and fears down in words. I think that helped me. I was a chicken and didn’t post my lengthy story for several days – lol – but I’m glad I did. Seeing the crazy reality of my life right there in front of me in black and white was kind of an eye opener for me. Was it for you?
I am still too new to this recovery process to offer anything but encouragement to you, and some days I’m not even capable of that. Today is a decent day so far tho.
I am struggling to find coping skills for specific issues, and for dealing with my husband’s addiction in general – as I am sure you are also. I await the posts to my thread that will bring clarity to my chaos like a teenage girl waits for that pimply faced boy to call. (I can still remember that feeling lol.)
So just in case you were feeling the same way, I thought I would let you know I care, I’m thinking about you, and I truly understand what you are going thru – as do many others here … Different people, different places, different circumstances — but the SAME BEAST!
I hope you will post again soon.
"… should I give up or should I just keep trying to run after you when there’s nothing there?" Adele
— 5/7/2013 5:20:19 PM: post edited by chasing pavements.– 5/7/2013 5:25:48 PM: post edited by chasing pavements.8 May 2013 at 2:49 pm #1783velvetModerator
I said I would write but I have not had time to do so ear***r and I apologise.
I am not a be***ver that we should always trust a gut instinct but when it comes to the addiction to gamble it is probably better for your health and safety not to trust when you see the red flags f***** as you have.
I understood only too well your conflict with you IPad present – you wanted to be***ve it was ok but your fears could not be allayed. Unfortunately if his addiction is still active you would have been right to not trust but his addiction would have been pleased to see your confusion.
You may have seen the following on other threads but because it has been so useful to so many as a coping mechanism, although it is not recognized professionally, I do repeat it for you because you are trying so hard to make sense of the senseless and I know it is not possible.
Imagine your husband’s addiction as a slavering beast in the corner of the room. As long as you keep your cool and don’t threaten that addiction it stays quiet, although forever watchful.
Your husband is controlled by that addiction but you are not. When you threaten that addiction, it comes between you and controls the conversation. How often have you found yourself in the middle of an argument and not know how you got there? The addiction wanted that row. It is the master of threats and manipulation and you are not. Once it is between you, you will only hear the addiction speak and because it only knows ***s and deceit, it will seek to make you feel blame and demoralize you. When you speak the addiction distorts your words and your husband cannot comprehend your meaning.
My CG explained it to me by saying that when I told him (for instance) that if he didn’t *** but lived honestly he would be happy, his addiction was distorting his mind convincing him that I was ***** because he truly be***ved that he was unlovable, worthless and a failure – he was lost and fought back because he didn’t have any other coping mechanism. The addiction is all about failure for the CG which has no love for the addict or those who love them. However much your husband convinces you that he is in control – he is not.
Did it help to write your first post which was so brilliant? Another massive coping mechanism that I used was to write a secret journal. I took all the pain and put it in writing – never to be read by anyone. I used to take things that had hurt me and type furiously with spelling mistakes, capital letters, underlining and strong swearing with words I never use out loud . My fingers learned to move like wild-fire and when I had finished each session I would feel drained but there was also a feeling of release, as that particular pain was no longer whizzing round my brain causing me to lose my ability to cope. I never re-read what I had written but printed the pages off and I kept them in a secret file. I didn’t feel the need to re-read them because somewhere other than my mind my pain was held for me.
I have also heard about people writing things that hurt them and then burning them but I didn’t want to destroy what I had done – it was like an external hard-drive for my mind – a place to hold my pain.
I did eventually destroy them when my CG changed his life but even then I destroyed them over a long period, one page at a time. Nothing about this addiction comes quickly or easily.
It is my be***f and hope that you will gain strength by sharing on these pages. I don’t know what your outcome will be – over the years our members have travelled on every road and arrived at many different destinations but none of those outcomes are ever judged, we have to make of our lives what we will. I be***ve that with knowledge though we can make informed decisions.
I will close now but I hope this will help you understand that you cannot make your husband feel your pain but what you can do is to look after the person who matters most and that is ‘you’. As a victim of this addiction we are powerless but once we realise that we are in control of our lives we can move mountains.
Please write again soon – now you are on our radar, we do care.
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