24 October 2016 at 4:17 am #5068
Hi everyone! My boyfriend of 5 years is a gambling addict. He has been gambling since he was young, maybe 15 years old. It started off with him playing dice with his lunch money and it later turned into him betting on sports often and casinos sometimes. He has lost a great deal of money and is in a lot of dept with bookies, friends, family, and myself. Before I realized how bad his addiction was I admit that I enabled him by giving him money when he was in a jam. Everytime I would think this is it I have to leave him and then I never would. I love him and I care for him so much, it’s hard to picture my life without him. Recently my boyfriend has admitted he needed help and admitted his addiction. He went to a 21 day rehab. Since he has returned I am having a hard time seeing any actual changes in his behavior. He has not gone to a meeting and is home most of the day playing chess on his computer. It is frustrating. He left his job before going away to rehab because he owed many of his co workers money and was afraid a bookie might find him at his place of work. Those fears are still there, however his boss has told him he can return to his job. I am trying to be patient and let him work through this but I feel helpless. I don’t know what to do and I don’t know how to help him.24 October 2016 at 11:59 am #5069
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.
Feel free to use the friends and family group, you’ll find the times for these if you click on the “Group times” box on our Home page. Now that you have introduced yourself you’ll find that many of the people you meet here have already read your initial introduction and they’ll welcome you in like an old friend 🙂
If you’re the friend or family member of someone who is either in, or has been through, the GMA residential programme please take extra care to make sure that nothing you say in groups, or on our forums, inadvertently identifies that person. Even if your loved one isn’t connected with GMA, please don’t identify them either directly or indirectly just in case they decide to use the site themselves.
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 🙂
We look forward to hearing all about you!
Take care24 October 2016 at 10:24 pm #5070
The way your boyfriend started gambling is the way that many compulsive gamblers got hooked, he played for fun with friends but unlike his friends he couldn’t walk away and that is addiction.
I know that many CGs who go through rehab are quieter when they come home. What did you expect him to be like and in what way is he showing that he hasn’t changed?
Many CGs who go through the GMA programme do not go to meeting afterwards as it is a more holistic approach to the gambling addiction and sometimes that is enough but I don’t know of a 21 day rehab so I cannot comment.
If your boyfriend has faced his demons he may have to dig very deep and he may not want to talk about it, he may be processing what he has learned and deciding what he wants to do with his life.
My experience post-rehab was certainly not one I could have expected. My CG had to learn to trust me rather than the other way round. You say that there are still fears but are these your fears or his?
It might be that you have to let him work his way through this and maybe it is better if you just listen when he speaks and don’t question him. The greatest help you can give your boyfriend is for you to look after yourself because if he is shouldering responsibility for the mess he has made in his life it is better for him if you are not part of the wreckage.
If you suspect he is gambling then that is very different but I don’t hear that suggestion in your post. If you do suspect it, you must be very sure because if he is not and he really is trying to control a terrible addiction he needs support.
I will leave this post here and await your reply so that I can understand better what it is that is concerning you.
Velvet25 October 2016 at 2:35 am #5071
Hi! Thank you for your feedback. I guess when he went away I expected him to come back and be more loving and involved in GA meetings. Part of why I expected this is because his mother attends GA support group meetings and she says they say it is the only way for him to get better. I have not gone because I would like to believe that the power is really in him. I do believe he would greatly benefit from meetings though and it scares me when he secludes himself and doesn’t ask for help. I think a part of me also holds so bad feelings towards the money he owes me ( but I do know that that was my fault for giving him and enabling him) also, before going away he stole from me and pawned my laptop and jewelry. I want to put everything in the past and move on together but I keep hanging onto the fear that he is going to begin gambling again. I appreciate and have a little bit of a better understanding of why he may be acting the way he is after your post though. It is very possible that he just needs time to reflect alone. He is beginning work again Wednesday and will start having an income again. I asked him if he would let me be a part of helping him manage his money. He has agreed! I hope he doesn’t argue with me in the future about it. What do you believe is my best course of action in helping his recovery and supporting him? Thank you so much for your feedback!25 October 2016 at 11:53 am #5072
Last night was difficult. My boyfriend stayed up almost all of the night because he could not sleep. He has been playing chess on his computer and seems to play it for most of the day. Do you think anything is wrong with him playing chess? His schedule is off right now from not working but I hate when he stays up until 5:30 in the morning. It worries me.25 October 2016 at 12:14 pm #5073
The bad feeling about your losses will disappear in time I hope because there is little point in regretting something over which you had no control. What’s gone is probably gone forever and the only thing to do is to learn from it for the future..
He might do well with meetings but I know CGs who do not need them, and do well in other ways – his mother is not correct in thinking it is the only way for him. Maybe you could tell him that you seek support here and that there is a wealth of experience on this site with CG groups and a CG forum – the beauty about this is the anonymity. If you did decide to tell him you can always have your thread made invisible and/or change your user name if it is one he would recognise. the Helpline will help you with this. The F & F groups are obviously completely private and CGs are not allowed access and you will always be welcome.
Whatever you decide to do, I would suggest caution and no rush. A CG who leaves rehab is more like a seed, brought on and nurtured into a small plant, in safe surroundings but it takes time to blossom when the real world presses in.
Imagine a person who is always late and then one day they make the supreme effort and arrive on time – if everybody passes comments like ‘did you wet the bed or something?’ the person could easily think ‘why did I bother?’ and revert to being late which didn’t get any comments. This is an extremely mild way of putting how it feels for a CG who is trying to change their life – they have made all the effort to start a new life but those around them have not changed one iota. It is hard trying to strike a balance which is why I think that listening is more important than anything else.
You did well asking him if he would like help to manage his finances and his agreement is good but again be careful not to rush at this by mentioning it too often and too quickly. Give him to think and forget worrying about what will happen in the future if he argues. When you know he is paid perhaps you could then suggest he starts the ball rolling and allows you to put his money into an account in your name but which you know is his money for food, etc. (no need to mention gambling!) There is also no need to start mentioning it 2 or 3 days ahead of when he gets paid because it suggests you are anxious and mistrusting.
Once again I have to say that the finest way that you can help him is that you look after yourself, that you do things for yourself that make you happy because there is nothing worse than a person constantly watching you to see if you are happy or gambling or spending too long playing chess.
Keep posting, I can hear you are listening and I wish you and your boyfriend well. We do have an excellent Helpline on this site which is there for you and your boyfriend if he wants to know more. Between 9am and 5pm he will probably speak to a CG who lives in control of his addition and will understand him and support him. Once again though take your time with all the information you get here.
Velvet26 October 2016 at 1:14 am #5074
I can’t thank you enough for your feedback. I can tell this forum is going to be very positive for me. I find comfort in knowing that my boyfriend not attending meetings and some of his actions are actually not as alarming as I thought. I am beginning to understand him better. I also realize I must be careful and give him enough space to blossom and grow while also being supportive. He is returning to work tomorrow and has spoken with a few of the people there that he owes money to. So far so good, many people have been positive with him and are happy to know that he is ok and are not bitter. I hope he continues to get positive responses from people. I am proud of him. My fingers are crossed and I am trying to be as supportive as I can be. One question.
My boyfriend gambled a lot on sports. He loves sports and would like to continue watching them. He said that I have nothing to worry about and that he doesn’t see watching sports as a trigger of his. Is this possible? It does scare me but I don’t want to constantly questions his actions.26 October 2016 at 1:36 pm #5075
Your boyfriend has done well getting positive responses to the people he owes money to and I am pleased to hear he is returning to work.
Testing his gambling addiction by watching the sport he gambled on ‘could’ mean that he has not been fully accepted his addiction. If I was in your situation I would tell my CG that I wanted to be relaxed and not worry about him watching sport but because it was the trigger for his problem I am concerned – would he therefore consider putting his thoughts about what he is doing to either the rehab he has been in, or to the Helpline here to set your mind at rest. In other words, would he help you understand? I asked my CG to help me when he left rehab because I didn’t know what I should or should not be doing or saying to support him and I wanted to get it right. Like you, my CG told me not to worry but following my request he did give me pointers which made it easier for me to relax and gradually, in time I ceased to worry.
I have requested further support on this question and I will let you know more when I have it tot hand.
Velvet27 October 2016 at 12:37 am #5076
Thanks! I appreciate your feedback and research. I will ask him and see what he says. In the past he has mostly said that he doesn’t consider it a trigger and that he just enjoys sports. I just don’t see how it could not be a trigger when he would constantly bet on games. It just scares me and makes me feel uncomfortable and he is aware of my feelings and continues to tell me I really have nothing to worry about.31 October 2016 at 10:32 am #5077
I was just closing my computer when I saw you had started another thread. I don’t have time tonight to reply to it but I will reply tomorrow using this thread. Please stick to the one thread because if you have more than one going people can’t find you and your posts can be missed.
I will quickly say that his reaction to the circuit being blown was not acceptable but ‘could’ still relate to him trying to adapt to life in control of his addiction.
Is he in any contact at all with the rehab he was in?
Well done in not reacting but angrily which would probably have made matters worse but please look after yourself – this behaviour is horrible.
Velvet31 October 2016 at 11:07 am #5078
Well I got muddled between the threads last night and had to move my reply from one to the other this morning, so I hope we can stick with this one.
It is very common that CGs do not share because they do not think that F&F can understand them. I don’t fully understand the addiction to gamble but I have studied it enough to know that knowledge given to F&F helps them cope and when F&F cope better they can do the right thing for their loved ones. In shutting you out, your boyfriend is denying you the ability to understand anything and that is not helping you – or him. Possibly if you had a crystal ball you would be able to relax but as you are being kept in the dark it means you are still very much on edge.
The point that is often missed is that most CGs do not and cannot understand F&F and therein lies the problem. He thinks you don’t understand so he won’t share with you. You would be able to cope better if he let you in because you can understand when things are explained.
Communication is so important in recovery and your boyfriend is not communicating.
When he is calm maybe you could ask him what brought his anger on so quickly and was there anything that could have been done to prevent it. Unfortunately I suspect he may well tell you that it was you that was to blame which again makes reasonable conversation hard. If he does say that you are to blame then maybe you could suggest that he puts the situation that occurred to the Helpline here, or to his rehab and ask them what they would have done in the same situation.
I can only make suggestions Nm, I cannot tell you what to do or that everything will be alright if you do (a) or (b) but if my CG had behaved as yours did I think I would have held up my hands up and said ‘whoa – this is the reason I want you to talk to me because I don’t understand what is going on here and this is hurting me’.
Do you have family that you can share this problem with?
Velvet1 November 2016 at 1:10 am #5079
Thank you for your advice and feedback. I appreciate your suggestions. I definitely need to have a conversation with my boyfriend and explain that he actions and lack of communication are hurting me. I try and remain calm when talking with him but sometimes it is hard. I will post and let you know how it goes when I speak to him. Thank you again this sight is really helping me.2 November 2016 at 3:11 pm #5080
Sometimes it is downright impossible to keep calm but the thing that would keep me from flying off the handle is that it is that which the addiction wants me to do.
However, admitting that something is causing you pain is not you getting angry, it is a fact and it is unnecessary. If admitting that someone has hurt you ends up with them determining to find fault with you, regardless of the truth, then it is a waste of time arguing because the only way to win is not to play the game. Walk away; do something that pleases you, talk to a friend or family member about anything but gambling, write a post here, but most importantly take care of yourself.
Velvet17 November 2016 at 5:40 am #5081
My boyfriend said he was working over time last night. I was skeptical but there was r much I could. It began to get later and he said he’d be a little later than expected. I thought this was odd but he was keeping in touch so I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt because once again there wasn’t much I could do. I eventually fell asleep because I was exhausted and still recovering from being sick. I woke up at 12:30am and he was still not home no phone call or anything. Now I am very suspicious and don’t know what to believe. After many times calling he called back and said he fell asleep in the office. A few minutes later still no answer as to whether he got into the car or not. I don’t know if I believe him and I don’t know if I can live like this in fear. It’s not good for me or him. I don’t know if it’s me over reacting or if it’s valid and maybe he’s gambling again. I really don’t know what to do.17 November 2016 at 5:00 pm #5082
I can’t tell you what to do but it seems to me that you want to hear that your boyfriend is not gambling which suggests to me that you already knew the answer but wished that you didn’t.
I don’t believe you should live in fear and I really wish I could say that I found your boyfriend’s behaviour acceptable but I don’t.
Keep posting – maybe write what your boyfriend says when he surfaces but remember to listen to and watch his behaviour. Only you can make informed decisions about your life – but sharing your thoughts and gaining knowledge of the addiction will make difficult decisions easier.
I am sorry you didn’t pop into the F&F group this week; it is so good to talk in real time. Our Helpline is there for you as well, it is one-to-one and private. Use our support NM, you are understood here.
Thinking about you and wishing you well
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