29 May 2015 at 9:40 pm #3915
I found this site while desperately searching for help for myself in coping with my husband’s CG. I found the live advice helpline and received great help from both Harry and Katie. I decided to post my story here to vent and get other perspectives.
My husband started gambling around 6 or 7 years ago. It started out innocent and he would just do it every now and then. For our wedding we needed quite a bit of money and he ended up winning $20,000! It was quite a high for him. He would still gamble, but not extensively. Fast forward to 2010. I am calling home because he’s not answering and should be home and I’m at my sisters. I feel in my spirit that something is terribly wrong! I keep calling his phone with no answer. I go home and he’s not there. I call his mom and they say they will go to his job. My mother-in-law calls me and says the cops are there and I think he has been in a terrible accident. I fall to the floor because I feel like the wind has been taken from me. He’s been arrested for attempted robbery.
He had gotten so deep in debt from gambling that he had gotten desperate! It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to deal with. He was only in jail for a weekend, but the longterm effects were so far reaching! Waiting on the court dates, not knowing if would have to spend years in jail, the finances, probation, on and on. He couldn’t get a job anywhere, so everything fell on me. Then he went into a depression.
Finally, he was able to secure low paying jobs and build his way back up. He got back in church and renewed his relationship with God, which is something he always held dear. He was attending two GA meetings per week. We start to very slowly get back on track and things are looking up. He even started his own business and was thriving.
In 2013 my Dad died in January, my Step-dad in August and then my husband fell 15-20 feet from a scaffold doing work at a church and shattered both ankles, tibia and fibula. The bones had come out of both ankles. He was in the hospital for three weeks, spent several days in the ICU and had to have three surgeries. When he got home he had to be non-ambulatory for 23 hours per day. It was a struggle because we are both independent contractors and he had no disability, so everything was on me. Luckily we had just been approved for health insurance two days before he got into the accident. He was really down and out, but still managed to keep his gambling under control. He was determined to get back to his business.
We had been trying for a baby for several months and then in May of last year received the exciting news that we were pregnant. We had our baby in January of this year. He was still doing well, but I starting noticing that he was being secretive and his mood and personality was different. When I would walk in the room and he was on his phone he would immediately click off and put it down or angle it and try to hide it so I couldn’t see what he was doing. I confronted him several times, but he swore nothing was going on. He then came to me one day after I saw he was on a betting site and told him that I didn’t want him gambling after all of the hurt. He told me that it was a free site and no money was being spent. Then he asked if he could have a $100 and once he lost that he wouldn’t do it again. I stupidly agreed because I thought after all of these years he was okay. Boy was I wrong!
I go to check the account last week and that’s when it all hit the fan! He couldn’t account for money that was being spent and he fessed up. He told me that he had borrowed $6000 from his mom, was $3300 in debt to load companies and he even taken the title to his car. Omg!!! How did we end up here again?! Needless to say I was livid! Here it is we have a mound of medical bills among other things stacked up and you’re throwing away money! Fifteen years we’ve spent together and we’re no further along, in fact we’re further back than we were when started!
Now we have a newborn baby involved! I cried until I had a headache and am still crying day and night. I don’t think I have any tears left!
He immediately relinquished everything to me, because he swears he doesn’t want to lose us. He gave me the bank card, the mailbox key and all of his money will be coming into the account with my name only. I pay all of the bills already, but will be taking care of everything else money related as well. He says he’s made up his mind that he’s done.
We went to a GA meeting on Tuesday. He says he’s going to go to Tuesday and Thursday meetings and get back into church. He plans to put more time and energy into his business.
I just don’t know what to do! I spoke to my Aunt and sister. I didn’t talk to my mom, because she too is a CG. She has gotten better, but my relationship with her is not really solid. My Aunt advised me to pray about the situation and not be hasty. My sister who is very protective and has seen the hurt for all of these years said that maybe separation might help him to see the error of his ways.
I wanted to talk to people who have experience with CG’s. I’m at such a crossroads. If I leave my daughter is without her father daily, the finances are more strained, I’m lonely and scared. If I stay I’m still scared, hurt, I feel like I look weak and stupid! I feel so dumb that I’m not even in a place financially to take care of myself and my daughter, especially amongst a family full of independent women!
He says that if I want him to leave he will leave and still have all of his checks come to the account so that we will be taken care of.
I know that he has a good heart and is a good man, but I don’t understand what is happening. I told Harry that he told me that he gets triggered when he feels like he can’t provide. So he gets stressed and feels the need to gamble so that things are taken care of.
I don’t even know what to say anymore, my mind is jumbled and I don’t even have clear thoughts. I feel like I’m floating outside of myself in a nightmare that I can never wake up from!
I’m resentful, because I feel like I should have more, my daughter deserves more! I feel like he is stealing beautiful memories of my baby that I will never get back when I look back at this time in my life! I feel like I’ve thrown my life away. While I watch people around me thrive I feel like I’m drowning. I’m just so tired of suffering! I don’t mean to sound so pitiful, I just don’t know how else to express myself.
Sorry for the small novel, I just wanted to get out as much as I could. If you read this thank you so much!
29 May 2015 at 11:03 pm #3916
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, youll find the times for these if you click on the Group times box on our Home page. Now that you have introduced yourself youll find that many of the people you meet here have already read your initial introduction and theyll welcome you in like an old friend 🙂
If youre 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 isnt connected with GMA, please dont identify them either directly or indirectly just in case they decide to use the site themselves.
Youll find a lot of advice on this site, some of which youll follow, some you wont…but thats ok because only you fully understand your
situation and whats best for you and the people you love. So, take the support you need and leave the advice you dont because it all comes from a caring, nurturing place 🙂
We look forward to hearing all about you!
The Gambling Therapy Team
PS: Let me just remind you to take a look at our
29 May 2015 at 11:25 pm #3917
The above is our official welcome but I just wanted to tell you that I had read your post and I appreciate how hard it must have been to write it.
I hope you will stick with this forum and learn as much as you can about your husband’s addiction because knowledge will give you power over it and help you to make informed decisions. Nobody should ever suggest that you leave or stay. It is my belief that given a short time here you will know what it is that you want to do and more importantly what the right thing for you to do is.
You don’t sound weak or stupid to me – you sound like a woman who is struggling to maintain her family in the face of a terrible addiction. In this forum living with that addiction is understood.
I would have liked to write you a more detailed reply but unfortunately I am away for the weekend. I will post to you again soon
30 May 2015 at 12:33 am #3918worriedmamaParticipant
As Velvet said nobody will tell you whether you should stay or leave. There is no hurry for you to come to a decision. You are in crisis mode right now as you have been living this way for a while . I think that when we live with a compulsive gambler we lose our perspective on life. Our lives have been about lies, deception, secrets and pure chaos. It’s exhausting!!
Now is the time to get some knowledge on this horrible addiction. Unburden and share with people on this forum and perhaps try to find a Gam-Anon group. We can’t control the gambler in our life but we can control ourselves. Then you can deal with your situation from a position of strength and knowledge and not panic!!
Honestly good on you for writing it all down … that is a huge step!
There is not a person here who will judge you. You need support right now. Please keep writing!!
30 May 2015 at 1:35 am #3919
I definitely plan to stick with this forum. As I feel it is the only place of understanding I really have at this time. Thank you for responding and I look forward to more input from you.
30 May 2015 at 1:37 am #3920
There is a Gam-Anon group I can attend and I will look into attending the meetings for that as well. Thank you for the support! I really need all that I can get right now!
1 June 2015 at 6:23 pm #3921
The gradual dawning of your husband’s addiction is very familiar. I believe that all CGs start off innocently doing what so many others do without any harm, they can have no idea that addiction is waiting for them and it is not until they are in deep that those around them sense that all is not well. By then of course the CG has adopted a cycle of behaviour that feeds the addiction – they use lies and deceit to cover their actions in the hope that they can carry on as they been doing since their first loss – after all the big win must be on the way.
Non–CGs struggle with understanding the lack of logic and reason that comes with an addiction that losses money as a matter of course and much time and energy is wasted trying to make sense of the senseless. Compulsive gambling has nothing to do with money as non-CGs see it, money is only a means to an end – it is the actual ‘gamble’ that causes the damage and ruins the mind of the CG, not the loss of money. A CG will talk of ‘winning’ but there is no euphoria in the so-called win because it only excites the addicted brain, giving the CG the means to gamble more – until all is finally lost.
It is sad that the arrival of a baby does not stop a CG gambling but often speeds up the addiction as the CG struggles to cope with the responsibility of another life while feeling unable to control their own. I suspect you already feel you have 2 babies to care for and nobody to care about you and I am afraid that will continue until true change occurs.
I would not be writing to you now if I didn’t ‘know’ that the addiction to gamble can be controlled; your husband can change and live a very full and wonderful life – however a change is necessary and without it, his addiction will get worse.
I do not doubt that your husband is a good man; unfortunately he is a man with a terrible addiction and for a while anyway your future will be difficult. Don’t let his addiction steal ‘your’ beautiful memories of your daughter, if you allow that to happen the addiction will have gained another victim and I want you to deny it that victory.
I am not going to overload you – I know only too well the feeling of floating outside of yourself and a seeming inability to grasp what is going on. I am going to bring up my thread for you entitled ‘The F&F Cycle’ so that you can see that you are understood.
I have a group tomorrow evening 20.00-21.00 hours UK time – if you would like to join me, you would be very welcome. We communicate in real time and nothing that is said in the group appears on the forum.
Your husband should have been to GA by now and I would be interested in what, if anything, he told you. Many CGs do not want to talk about their early confrontations with their addiction but some do – I cannot tell you what to do but I believe that listening is more important at this time than questioning, however it will be his actions and behaviour that have greater meaning than any words.
There is so much more to say that will support you but I will leave it there for now
2 June 2015 at 12:57 am #3922
Thank you so much Velvet! I will plan to join the group tomorrow.
He told me that he was sorry and said that he hoped that one day I could forgive him. He said that he knows that words don’t mean anything and that he has to show me. He wrote me a letter and created a vision board on what his plans are for the future. He says that he is changing his focus. He will be attending two meetings per week, going to brotherhood at church on Monday’s and getting more involved with his business.
He’s been working everyday. He is at church now. He gives me receipts to what he purchases and let’s me know where he is. He says he knows or will take time to gain trust , but is willing to put in the work. He says he wants his family.
I’m also confused on how to treat him. I feel if like I’m cold-hearted there’s more distance and hurt, but then I’m protecting myself. If I talk to him and I’m nice I feel like he’s going to take advantage of me.
2 June 2015 at 2:28 pm #3923
He is saying the right things and hopefully the right actions will follow.
‘If’ you want to be nice to him then I think you should be so. I fully understand why you are keeping your distance – it is second nature when you are expecting more hurt on top of all the previous pain BUT – from the point of view of a person wanting to change, if the non-CG remains cold and distant there is a natural tendency, I think, to feel ‘what’s the point?’
A method that many of have used successfully to help us cope, although not recognised by professionals, is to imagine when you speak to your husband that his addiction is a monster spitting bile in the corner of the room. As long as you don’t threaten it, the monster will stay in the corner although it is always watching. The monster that controls your husband is the master of threats and manipulation but never forget that however much that monster wants to control you, it can only do it – if you allow it.
When you are nice to your husband, the monster has nothing to bare its teeth for but when you threaten it with demands, it will come between you and that’s when you find yourself in the middle of arguments that you didn’t ask for. The addiction to gamble will have destroyed your husband’s self-esteem and confidence, replacing them with never-ending feelings of failure – once it is between you it will seek to control by distorting your words. My CG, who controls his addiction, told me that when I was pleading, crying, shouting for him to change his life because I loved him – threatening him with dangers to him that I saw as real, telling him how good life would be if he was honest, his addiction was distorting all I said. He ‘believed’ completely that he was a worthless failure. He therefore, did not/could not, believe that I could possibly love him and so I had to be lying – lies after all are the tools of the addiction. Believing himself to be without worth, your husband’s addiction will fight back using deception, distortion and blame because it has no other coping mechanism.
In my opinion, it is better for your sanity ‘not’ to raise your hopes that this is your husband’s turning point because in doing so you will become receptive to his addiction but of course nobody can ever know, including your husband,, when a true recovery starts – I can only tell you that I know they do start. In my opinion, being kind but firm and strong is the best way forward. Stand back and listen to what he is saying – hopefully it will make it easier to stay out of an argument that has no point apart from making you feel less in control. Once you begin to try and put your side, the addiction has something to get its teeth into.
I know this all sounds quite negative but the positive side is that it removes you from the centre of the addiction giving you time and energy to look after you.
I cannot begin to tell you how important it is to look after yourself first and that by doing so, you will become stronger, you will reclaim your own life and be able to cope with this addiction. It is also the best thing you can do for your husband because he will not have deliberately hurt you and it is easier to him to change if you are not part of the wreckage from his addiction.
I hope to ‘meet’ you tonight. I cannot tell you what to do – because all decisions you make have to be ‘yours’ but I will answer your questions honestly.
You are at the beginning of a really difficult learning curve but you can do it and so can your husband. The more support you can give each other the better.
2 June 2015 at 7:49 pm #3924
Thank you so much Velvet! This advice helps me tremendously! I won’t be able to join the chat because we’re going to have a meeting with his mother. We did have a really good in depth conversation last night. He told me that he’s done because he can’t handle the consequences of what he will lose(his family and possibly his life). He said that he knows where his focus has to be and what his triggers are. So I know that only time will tell.
2 June 2015 at 11:30 pm #3925worriedmamaParticipant
It sounds like you are both making some forward progress! As Velvet mentioned try to remain firm and strong. It’s not a matter of punishing your gambler but being realistic how difficult this addiction can be to control.
My gambler (who is my son) has gambled since he was 19 and is now 26. It has been a roller coaster for our entire family. For the first 6 years he insisted on trying to “beat” this addiction on his own with sheer will power. He would manage short amounts of abstinence but never could have any long term success. He finally realized this addiction was something he was absolutely powerless over and started with a GA program a year ago. I started my own recovery in Gam Anon and on this forum about 1 1/2 years ago.
I tell you this so that you know its not always a direct, quick recovery. You need to make you the center or your recovery and hopefully your husband will follow in his.
As with Velvet I don’t mean for it to sound negative as I couldn’t be happier now with where both my son and myself are… its just that I had hoped as a mom I knew what was wrong and if I could just say the right thing or embarrass him enough we could fix this and go on with our lives! That did not happen and I remained frustrated and angry trying to change my son and not myself!
Take Care Janel… you guys are both moving in the right direction.
2 June 2015 at 11:49 pm #3926
Thank you worriedmama! Thank you for your advice! I am definitely doing my best to work on me and get help for myself so that I can be the best mom I can be for my daughter. It is certainly not easy and each day is so different. I know that we have a very ‘long row to hoe’ as my mom would say. I can already tell that this site is going to help me tremendously and that it will be a continual part of my life. Thank you so much!
5 June 2015 at 5:55 am #3927AnonymousGuest
Am so sorry that you have to endure this, its so so hard Prayer does help but be wise its sad but you cant belive them and yes they mean well but i have learned that they lie like theres no tommorrow, my husband is a cg and yes it feels as the are Stealing from us from them selfs and onces they relize that they say sorry but it takes action and lots of support it cant be done alone no how .I hear your pain and with all my heart i wish that you werent going though this . This is a great site i have kids as well and it s hard to make it though the day dealing with is hard and God is needed all the time . get you close friend or family and learn about this addiction its doesnt make it go away but it has helped me understand and keeps me from breaking more down and makes me know that its not me its him he is sick .I hope that i can help but KNOW that you are NOT ALONE!!!
17 June 2015 at 3:39 pm #3928
How are you getting on hoeing your row?
Once you are on the F&F radar you are not forgotten so please update if you are still reading.
12 July 2015 at 9:02 am #3929
Thank you Tania! I definitely have my guard up, which I absolutely hate! We are just taking it one day at a time.
Velvet, we are working on it. He is going to the meetings and getting back active in church. He still continues to give me receipts for what he spends and I have the only account.
I don’t know what to believe anymore! I feel so lost and like I don’t know who I am anymore! I hate constantly having my walls up! I lost my 19.5 year old Poodle on Tuesday and that just added to everything! I feel so down on life right now!
I want to be this optimistic person that says everything is going to be great, because I know words are powerful, but I feel like I just don’t have anything left!
I feel like so many things have happened and I keep being strong, being strong, being strong and I’m just tired! I don’t know what to do!
12 July 2015 at 12:44 pm #3930
Words are indeed powerful but they only go so far, they cannot, in themselves, change things.
What does count and what changes everything is actions that are positive and honest.
I cannot begin to tell you how much the loss of your lovely dog impacted on me – it is something that every dog owner dreads but has inevitably to face. I am wondering if this loss is the trigger for you feeling so lacking in optimism at the moment, or if your husband’s behaviour is still not ‘quite’ as you would hope it would be.
On this forum Janel and in the group we can be honest because there is no judgement. What is happening with your husband that is causing you to feel so insecure? It doesn’t matter how small the niggle is, if a niggle exists then say it and hopefully we can make sense of it. Life in the early stages of recovery is tough. All those who love CGs ever want in the active gambling years is for the addiction to be controlled so that life can be good again but I’m sorry to say it isn’t that easy – F&F struggle with trust and many CGs want trust too quickly. Do you worry that you will say or do something wrong that could upset the delicate balance in your lives? Are you worried about something he has said not ringing true? Is he walking or air or is he depressed, moody, distant, difficult to talk to? Does he tell you what he talked about at his meetings?
Sometimes I think F&F can feel left out in early recovery. You have done all the worrying and you have struggled when there was nobody to talk to in all the years his addiction was destroying your confidence. Who is there for you now, who is picking you up and encouraging you? Taking control of an addiction requires selfishness and CGs do struggle with understanding those who love them.
You need a gentle recovery as much as your husband. Look after yourself, don’t be afraid to say ‘no’ to things you are unhappy about and don’t be afraid to come here and open your heart. You will learn to love yourself again – it just takes time..
Perhaps we will ‘meet’ one Tuesday in real time – it would be a pleasure.
13 July 2015 at 12:21 am #3931
He does indeed seem as though he is trying. We do seem more distant, but I think that is probably more me with my guard up. He tries to get close, but I just feel weird about it.
He does tell me what they talked about at both his GA and church meetings. I try to continuously ask him if he feels down or if he’s being triggered and he says no. He maintains that he knows what he has to lose and he’s no longer willing to risk that. He doesn’t get upset when we talk about it or if I get angry and lash out. I think I’m just so scared at the thought of trying all of this once again only for it to turn out to be a failure!
So. many times I’ve gotten my hopes up high and had positive thoughts only to be let down time and time again!
I have talked to my sister, but we really hadn’t talked about it much since it happened. I don’t really feel I have anyone I can confide in who really be understanding and helpful.
I hope so as well!
Thank you so much!
13 July 2015 at 12:20 pm #3932
I think I understand the weirdness you are feeling when your husband tries to get close – his face is the same face that blatantly lied to you for so long, everything about him looks the same, so is he really a changed man real or is he just bidding his time until you relax when he will show himself in his true colours. It is completely understandable that you you cannot trust him yet and if he is in a true recovery he should not expect you to do so. You could always suggest that he talks to his GA group about the fact that his wife is struggling with trust and getting close – he will hopefully get the support he needs to understand your concerns.
A man who has faced his demons and changed his life cannot prove he has done so without a long time elapsing in which he stays gamble-free and behaves with respect. However what he can show is a change of behaviour, a lightness which comes as the result of laying a heavy burden down. The differences at the beginning might be barely perceptible but they will be there.
I didn’t believe that my CG could possibly change so I experienced many doubts – the bad times had completely outweighed the good. I had stayed quiet in the past and been kicked so many times that I thought I would never get up again and yet here I was staying quiet, just in case this time it really was different. 9 years ago, however, it was different but one of the main differences was me. With the knowledge I had gained about the addiction had come a deep conviction that I would never live with the addiction to gamble affecting me again. I know this is only words but for me they remain at the forefront of my mind.
This is why looking after ourselves is so very important. I believe that ‘our’ recovery is paramount to the success of our lives with or without the CG. ‘Turning the other cheek’ does not help you or your husband with his addiction or your early recoveries, I think that forgiveness and trust cannot and indeed should not be automatic. Your husband will always be a CG and that is a tough thing to accept – however he can control his addiction and live a wonderful life and strangely enough it can be more wonderful for having the addiction.
Putting myself first was a reversal of what I had always believed was right but it meant that I could cope and I also think it meant I gave off different vibes – I was ‘new’ just as he was ‘new’. He had to learn to trust me possibly more than I had to learn to trust him.
If he has truly changed Janel, you will know, I promise you that – but whether you can love him or not – only you can tell.
At the moment your fears are very real, you are still far too raw. At this time in my recovery I was on this site and it helped me just to keep reading and posting. I think a journal is great for watching your progress. This is a great place to put your fears, however small they are – being anonymous doesn’t make us less real.
I will finish with the words another member wrote a long time ago
• 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.
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