10 August 2013 at 6:02 pm #1434blubluParticipant
Hi, i’m new. been reading the posts. my husband (married over 20yrs) gets in cycles of running up big debts (last lot over £50k!!!). it’s getting worse. The amounts don’t make sense, material things don’t account for the figures. It is not drugs. I "feel" he has a problem gambling. He plays lottery, sometimes tries to get me to do lines with him, but it’s the things he says," if I win this week i’m gona buy you a nice house, i’ll buy so & so a car, i’d get A B C for ….", hard to express in print but its the things he says about winning. He thinks if he won "I ‘d sort everything out". He even tries to get our eldest into buying lottery & me. He has bet on horses ( family trait).
I realise now It is a cycle. he takes out credit cards in secret, secret loans (£15k last time), runs up overdrafts, takes out secret bank accounts with overdrafts etc etc. he never, ever tells me what he’s done, I always hear via a 3rd party – debt collector, someone calls at the house, bailiffs etc. The figures & the time scales have got bigger & faster, very scary – I never know when "it will hit" next. I now realise how much denial I must have been in ( struggling but can’t put my head in the sand any more).
He had a problem with slot machines before I was engaged to him & was often broke mid week – borrowing off his sister who charged him interest ( if only i’d known I was seeing enabling back then!!). He likes a drink, turned into a problem drinker, (drinking every night at 1 point but has cut right back, partly because he hasn’t got £ to drink daily because debts,but also agreed to curb it after hitting me while drunk.) He will hide cans to try & cover how much he’s had. I realise there is more than 1 thing going on.
I realised last yr that I have enabled this cycle ( I cringe every time he says, "You saved me", I borrowed £ off my parents again & we’re re paying them ),until last yr i’d never heard of enabling.
He admitted to lying about my mental health in order to cover up things he’d done, making out I was low & that’s why I couldn’t remember agreeing to things ie overdraft(I couldn’t remember because I had NOT agreed to anything). It frightened me, I thought I was going mad. But it made me realise the lengths he’d go to in hiding whatever it is he does.
I NEVER see any statements, he burns them. I found 1 statement with the last lot of debt which showed a online transaction for lottery, nothing else. I’ve told him I would support him if it’s gambling, go to a support group with him. but he denies it, but my gut tells me he’s lying, it’s the language he uses & the day dreams of what he’ll buy/do. He lies through his teeth, it really hurts me.
The last lot of debt was so bad there was no £ for food – I mean NONE. It was terrifying, still gives me panic attacks thinking of it. my Dad sent me £. I can’t go through that again. I’m in the "promises" stage ( again), but now I’ve lifted my head from denial they don’t mean anything, they’re worthless. I’ve heard every single 1 before. I feel so scared because we should have my parents repaid in the next 2-3 mths, he’s so excited…. but i’m not,the safest time for me is when we’re in debt & he’s got no credit & little cash. This time is ALWAYS the last time…..
I found CODA – thank God! Thought long & hard before putting a boundary in – had to be sure I will carry it through. If he does it again I’ve told him I won’t borrow any more £ for him. If he hits me again it’s over. i’m scared he’ll test me but I mean it. I’m scared, feel very vulnerable,i’m disabled – he’s my carer.
11 August 2013 at 12:35 pm #1435velvetModerator
I can relate to every word you have written – even down to your processes of thought. The lack of material things don’t make sense, the lack of money doesn’t make sense, the destruction of statements doesn’t make sense, trying to make you think that you are not mentally right doesn’t make sense UNTIL you come to the understanding that a terrible addiction to gambling could be at the core of your problems. I sincerely hope that it will give you some re***f to ‘know’ that there is a ‘reason’ why you have had this struggle although now, of course, you are left with working out what you are going to do about it. Re***f goes out of the window but I hope in it’s place will come knowledge and understanding that will help you cope and give you power over that which has been hurting you.
I hope your parents do get repaid although repaying debts is never high on the priorities with a CG (compulsive gambler). Money is a means to an end – to make the gamble possible because the gamble is all that matters. There is no point in trying to make sense of the insensible and although I cannot tell you what to do I think that accepting you cannot understand what it is like to have this addiction will help. The people who understand ‘you’ are those who have experienced what you are going through. If you have a local Gamanon group I hope perhaps you could join it although I am not sure if your husband has to drive you, as he is your carer, which will make physically seeking help more difficult. Maybe if would be good if he knew you wanted support even if he says he doesn’t need it.
At the top of this page click on to ‘Resources’ and in ‘Location’ scroll down to ‘world’. Click ‘Gambling help’ and then ‘Search’. Scroll down to ‘Gamblers anonymous – Twenty Questions’. Most compulsive gamblers will answer yes to at least seven of these questions. In my opinion most members who have lived with the compulsion to gamble will also be able to answer yes to at leave seven of those questions which hopefully will help you ‘know’ what you are of are not dealing with. Maybe you could print them off and tick the ones you ‘know’ relate to your husband’s behaviour – perhaps he is unaware that he has a known addiction but that there is support for him.
Unfortunately GT is not funded to cover the UK and although I could not reject you I have to redirect you to gamcare.co.uk for your future support. In the meantime I will give you as much as I can in this post.
From what you have said you have read the ‘F&F cycle’ thread that I have on the site. I will drag it up for you again anyway.
I am also sorry that a lot of what I am giving you is copied from other posts I have done previously but sadly because it is Sunday I have other commitments – I just want to make this post as comprehensive as I can.
Although it is not recognized professionally the following is a coping method that many of us have used at the beginning of our recovery to help us cope.
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 or argument. 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 only teaches failure for the CG, it 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.
If he strikes you Blu then he is not displaying ‘normal’ CG behaviour. CGs normally get enablement by charm and striking is never charming. There is a group called WA who deal with violent behaviour towards women – please get in touch with them. You are not a punch bag – you are not an excuse for your husband’s addiction, nor are not to blame for your husband’s addiction.
I looked up CODA and there many different groups but I think you are talking about the 12 step co-dependency programme. It is hard not to give ultimatums hoping they will change someone but they don’t work with the addiction to gamble – unless you mean it 100% and carry it through.
I sincerely hope you can talk to your parents about the situation you are in although I know the addiction to gamble divides fami***s as it feeds on ***s and secrecy. Unfortunately unless people have lived with the addiction to gamble, their opinions can be very narrow and not supportive, so personally I think it is best to tell others as a statement rather than asking for opinions. It I best, I think, to gather all the information you can and then make your own informed decision but it is good to do it with support.
There is a terrific rehab in the UK called Gordon house and there are details below this forum about it in GMA residential treatment. I wouldn’t be writing on here if I didn’t know that this addiction can be controlled but it is possible that your husband is unaware and afraid of trying to control his demons. Once again though this does not mean he has any right to hit you, blame you or pull you down.
You said in your first paragraph that if was hard to express in print the things he was saying about winning. You could have written me a book about it and I would have understood everything.
I hope I have given you enough food for thought and enough support to help you realise that you need not be a slave to his addiction so let the chains fall off. Freedom and slavery are often mental states. You do not have his addiction. You do not have to be controlled by his addiction.
Have a look at our F&F Topic forum under this one. We focus on specific issues – one of which is enablement. Don’t feel guilty – guilt will hold you back. I unwittingly enabled for 25 years so there is no judgement here.
I have to go but I will leave you with the Serenity Prayer that we say every Tuesday evening at 8.55pm to join with anyone in the world who wants to feel part of an understanding group. If you want to put your hand out, I will be holding it in cyber space.
There are many Serenity prayers. The first is the best known, the second is my favourite.
God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change
Courage to change the things I can
And Wisdom to know the difference.
God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change
Courage to change the thing that I can
And Wisdom to know it is me.
You will be in my thoughts on Tuesday evening. Copy your post and re-post in gamcare.co.uk. I know it took a lot for to write and you are brave having done so. I wish you well.
12 August 2013 at 8:46 am #1436DuncKeymaster
Thank you for posting on the Gambling Therapy forum. As you are a GB resident you are entitled to free online support through the Gamcare website at http://www.gamcare.org.uk/ .
You could also consider residential treatment which you can find out more about by following the below link:
As Gambling Therapy are unable to support people from Great Britain can I suggest that you now copy and paste your post into one of the Gamcare forums where you will receive responses from others in a similar situation to you from all over Great Britain.
You can also access online or face to face group support through Gamblers Anonymous:
We wish you well in your recovery.
The Gambling Therapy Team
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