25 May 2014 at 8:52 am #3379
HI, I came across this old email I wrote myself and for some reason want to share it with you. Let you in my head where I was .. and I realized I have come a long way. Hope you dont mind Im sharing. And again .. he said Id have money on thursday.. then today.. and nothing.. I still cant say I understand. Sometimes I just start feeling lost
Happy Birthday to me.. it was my 43rd birthday.. 43 already, how did that happen? I remember not being happy for days prior to my birthday because of his addiction. The sadness had still lingered from our 20th anniversary in August.. we had celebrated days prior to the actual anniversary.. we had fun on Peaks Island, Maine. Ill never forget it. We sat at the end of the pier and I listened to promises.. that I knew would be broken, but I tried to believe.. thinking again, maybe this time he is not lying. I wanted to believe as much as I did every other time thru the years. I was thinking this was our 20th anniversary.. he could not lie again.. but he did. 2 days after hearing the promises that our future held; another let down. I had just crossed the finish line of the NH 10 miler and I got the call. Not a call of congratulations but a call asking for money. The money that fed the addiction that weekend.
I knew then my heart was not willing to heal and mind not willing to forget the pain as it has in the past. However, I pushed though the tears and carried on. And yet another text at the end of my 24 hour relay asking for money to feed his need to gamble.Again. I told myself I needed to draw the line; every counselor says so. But I would question.. what is this line? A line that will protect me from me? The me that has become the enabler of this addiction. The me that has been on a roller coaster of emotions for years trying to fix the person I truly dont know anymore. The addiction had taken over years ago. He will even tell you.. Im not the person I was when we got married. Those words are scary, because I wanted him back. Where did he go? When I cried out for him, where was he ? I said I needed help, I was depressed, I reached my bottom, where was he ? I have always been there for him.. where is he?
On my birthday I decided this year was for me, for me to be me. I can no longer live each day in fear of the next gamble. I have begged and cried and begged some more. It is difficult to understand that you are powerless to the addiction. I never wanted to believe my love was powerless. Powerless over his mind that constantly craves the next gamble, no matter the consequences.It is hard to listen to him tell you that he doesnt mean to hurt you or the family.. but the addiction is so strong that he does.
Hard to believe a year ago he went to treatment. 30 days away from each other with the hope that when he returned we could put all of this behind us. I think he went without gambling for a few weeks and it started again., and has not stopped.
I was always hopeful that the new medication prescribed or the new counselor would fix it. I hoped the GA meetings would help, the plans that I put in place would fix him and us. The plans that I would make so my family could stay united. I gave it all I had. His addiction has consumed me. Consumed all of my thoughts. I worried where I left my debit card, check book, the kids money. I worried at home and at work, worried if that was him calling me for money. Hard to find out that he sold Ryans video game system for the money to gamble. I had tried to keep Ryan away from this addiction. I wanted him to keep his dad on a pedastal. Mitchell I had to let in .. I did not want to. I wanted to keep Mitchell hidden from reality but I took the advice of the counselors and let him in. I used him as a pawn for Craig.. like in a chess game.. I used my son to beg my husband to stop gambling, to want it enough. The truth of my love and Mitchells love not being
powerful enough hurt so much. I am understanding that this addiction is not any different than an addiction to drugs or alcohol. It is a mental illness. SO hard to say those words. The diagnosis of bipolor, compulsive gambling, addictive personality disorder, depression are all hard to absorb. But I supported him. I would fill the prescriptions and the pill box. I would make sure pills were taken every day. I would .. I would.. I would.. not him. I would sit in the doctors appointments .. hopefully over the years that this would just stop.
Hard to believe was started as a fun spin of a slot machine led us here. Led me to sitting at a roulette table on my birthday weekend watching my husband gamble on me and everything we had. I had told him that everything good ends with a bad.
I have had the worst 3 months trying to stand up to his addiction. I have been knocked down. The day he decided to stop all the plans we had in place, stopped me in my tracks.My line was drawn and I have moved it so many times, but this time i cannot. I oddly have a sense of relief. I feel guilty feeling a since of pressure release. I left my pocketbook on the kitchen table last night. I left my checkbook in my pocket book, I did not hide it back in the closet.
Well this is my release for now.. I needed to clear my head.. its hard to attempt to tell anyone about this, its difficulty to understand living with an addiction. Its hard to accept that he has decided to continue to feed his addiction the last 6 weeks .. its hard and it hurts. Hurts more than words can say.. being powerless sucks.
I ended my 20 year marriage 6 months ago.. still need validation that I did the right thing ..26 May 2014 at 11:34 am #3380san250Participant
Wow your thread is so powerful to read, very clear and a great source of information in how this horrible addiction can effect those that live with a cg. Well done for writing it and sharing it.
I can imagine after the release, a period of grieving for your marriage, be gentle with yourself. If a cg can not help themselves they will not change. No one ever knows what the future holds and it’s only after a period of time we can look back and see how everything had to happen for us to reach our new destination.
The only validation you need, needs to come from yourself, again be gentle with yourself. There is nothing like peace of mind and taking back your own power and never letting another person take that power away from you again. I would respectfully suggest looking at yourself to find what you can do to attract a different type of person. If you do nothing you will attract the same type of partner.
Thank you so much for sharing. Best wishes San x26 May 2014 at 12:49 pm #3381twilight16Participant
Hello and welcome to GT, I agree with Sans the only validation should only come from you , however, I do understand it feels good to hear from others say you did the right thing and YOU DID. YOU ABSOLUTELY DID THE RIGHT THING.
Now you are must start your recovery, this is very important in moving on with your life, getting stronger and healing your heart and spirit. What you and others have endured with a cg in denial is and was hell, there is no other comparisons and it will take time for you to heal from the madness and cruelness of this addiction. It knows no mercy and will continue to take what it can from those who love them. Reading when you wrote about finishing the race, really tugged at my heart. AS my father would do the same thing, yet this was when I passed an important exam for my job. It was like it went through one ear and out, only wanting money.
The support you will receive here will help you get on track and also help you deal with your ex or husband, because unfortunately he will be back. He will knock on your door, demanding what his addiction is shouting to him, he will say he is homeless , that he loves you , he will say anything to make you feel guilty,to make you feel like you are the bad person, don’t listen, if anything he has to prove himself, and I’d say this take time (years) just be prepared and keep in mind if you give in, all the work you have placed against this addiction will not be as effective.
You, and I am including myself, are in this situation because we allowed it, we enabled and we were afraid of truly standing up to this addiction. We allowed the term, husband and father, stop us from saying enough is enough.
When an addict doesn’t seek help and continues to be destructive than how can we support this behavior? Yet, many of us do, or have, for the wrong reasons. We cannot wish an addiction away.
My father is a cg, I lived with this addiction at a young age, when my parents divorced when I was 18, I unknowingly and unwillingly became his enabler until I was in my late 30’s. This addiction has no shame as it targeted me, however, the good news is that I stopped it from attaching itself to my daughters, my father’s granddaughters. It will never hurt another soul, yet it still lives with my father, it is his headache and no one else’s.
Though the boards seem slow, go back and read posts, there is so much to learn from reading other’s posts.
XXTwilight27 May 2014 at 11:08 pm #3382
I am so pleased to see you have started your own thread – you did get a couple of replies when you posted on Ell’s thread but possibly you didn’t see them. It is good to know that you now have a place all of your own on this site.
You write that it is hard to attempt to tell others how difficult it is to live with someone with the addiction to gamble – I think it is almost impossible, which is why you are here and why you are understood.
I understand the relief coupled with guilt when the addiction leaves the home but I do urge you to leave guilt behind as it will slow the recovery you deserve. Recovery does hurt and it is hard but I hope you will be empowered by realising that by retaking control of your life, you have led the way and shown your husband that you will not be a victim of his addiction.
The knowledge that the heart will not heal the pain as it used to do is horrible – the decision you took to break away was not taken lightly. It is so easy to say ‘draw the line’ but when, where and how is impossible for another to determine. I believe it to be so for a CG (compulsive gambler) as well – crossing the line, letting go of the past and controlling the addiction to gamble takes great determination and courage and it seems to me your husband is not ready to take that leap of faith yet.
I would love to communicate with you in real time; the Tuesday group is at 10pm New York time. Nothing said in the group appears on the forum – you would be very welcome.
Given time you will find the validation that you need – recovery is not easy but it is the road to peace.
Velvet28 May 2014 at 2:45 pm #3383jenny46Participant
I would also echo what everyone else has said about validation coming from within you.
Although reading your story was sad and you didn’t get the ending you would have like, I was relieved when reading it that you chose the ending that you did or a new beginning whichever way you look at it.
The alternative, possibly looking at another 20 years of the same …….. doesn’t bear thinking about.
If any validation is required read back on your post from time to time as a stark reminder to how life could have continued, there is no greater validation than the words you have written which so clearly capture what you have been through and if you hadn’t been so brave as to walk away – the life you would be still leading now.
It is hard to explain to others and many people don’t get it , I hope they never find themselves in the position where they have to find out.
Jenny29 May 2014 at 5:35 am #3384
I want to thank everyone that has responding to my story .. and my need for validation. I cant thank you enough. I have read what you each have written me many times over the last few days.. I read them and feel stronger.
Its crazy that I still seek validation even after having to sign contempt of court paperwork today because I haven’t received any child support .
And Saturday he tried to get money from me, my son, my sister and my mom. He went to a casino instead of my sons basketball tournament.. said he couldn’t get to my son because he gambled all his money away and had no money for gas. My son was 4 hours away from home… he chose to go gambling instead.. and please tell me why do I carry guilt for trying to be happy? How is it that he has no line .. I had to draw the line.. why not him? How is it that he has no consequences… losing his family wasn’t enough to make him stop this addiction.. it hurts so much .29 May 2014 at 12:02 pm #3385
I believe you are struggling because you are no longer living in the shadow of your husband’s addiction but you know he is, however, there should be no guilt because you are not responsible for, nor the cause of, his inability to see the line.
Your husband’s head is full of addiction which leaves no room for good, honest, true thought. He has been living in his cocoon of addiction for so long that his lies have become the only truth he knows; he doesn’t want to listen yet, or face the demons that possess him and sadly no amount of trying to make him see, will open his blinkered eyes.
There is a line for your husband, just as I believe there is a line for all of us but his addiction has tenacity and he doesn’t want to break free and cross that line yet but if/when he did decide to try, your happiness ‘will’ matter, whatever happens between now then and however long it takes. You have chosen the freedom to become the person you want to be and raise your children without addiction hurting all your lives – carry on with that and don’t look back. No ‘what if’s’ or ‘if onlys’ – they only slow your progress.
Rock bottom is a state of mind – the line is invisible. Your husband will be afraid of the consequences of his behaviour preferring to believe in what he thinks is the easier course – that his addiction will look after him. It is only when the CG is in control of his/her addiction that consequences are faced and I think we can only scratch the edge of understanding how difficult and frightening it must be to face such wreckage, not just of their own lives but the lives of all those who love them and who care about them.
My CG lost his family and everything else he owned but still it was not enough to stop his addiction and he spiralled into depths of which I have no knowledge. Why he eventually changed I have no idea but when he did, I too had changed – I had begun to grow into the person who can write like this to you now. It would be wrong to surmise if, or when, your husband will change but I do know that whatever the future holds for both of you – your happiness is something to embrace and never to feel guilty about – for both your sakes.
Keep posting and please pop into a group and say hi in real time. You are doing well – probably better than you realise but it does take time.
Velvet30 May 2014 at 11:31 am #3386twilight16Participant
Rock bottom was what I was praying for, hoping my dad would finally see the light of the addiction controlling his life. When I knew he was living in the car, not working, just living on a little pension he would see the light, but no. I felt he would certainly see how his situation was the result of gambling, but again he didn’t. If anything gambled more and demanded more from others and me, always wanting money, now looking back he knew he had nothing to lose. It is truly sad when it gets to this point, not just for the cg, but the family members. I had many nights feeling sick to my stomach, afraid for him but still I did not give in. I knew my father if I did he would think all was well again and the vicious cycle would start again.
Tougher times are still ahead for you but remember whatever your cg pulls you can handle it, just remember your reaction is what is most important. Action is really the only thing that moves a cg, not screaming or threatening or crying, these actions only show the addiction that it has control over you.
There is nothing you can say to him that will move him to stop, only following through, as you did yesterday filing contempt papers. Don’t give the addiction room to do anymore damage.
You will be fine, keep running to keep your sanity and you are on this road to recovery for you and your children.
Twilight1 June 2014 at 3:11 am #3387nomore 56Participant
Hi Sjb, let me start by saying that there is nothing for you to feel guilty about. You have evidently tried for a long time to keep the family together and it didn’t work. It was his choice, not yours. Your choice was to take care of yourself and your kids and bring some peace and quiet to your life. His choice was and still is to keep his addiction alive and well, no matter what. I think that we often doubt if we really did try enough, long enough, hard enough and why do we look for happiness when the cg is living in misery? You see, this guilt is what the addiction uses as a tool to keep going. Do you think your hb would have attended the game if he had money for gas? I don’t. There comes the guilt. Your son missed his father at the game and only because you wouldn’t fork over some money. As for the consequences, everyone is different in that department. My hb spent a year in prison for a crime he committed to finance his gambling. In the process, he lost his family, meaning not only myself and our daughter but also his daughter from his first marriage and his extended family. And his civil rights, and his career, his retirement, our house, the cars. You name it, it was gone. Was it enough? No, he relapsed right away and his justification was that now there was no reason to work on his recovery. What the heck, everything was gone, his life was destroyed so he might as well kept on gambling. Just like you I was stunned and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It went on for another 5 1/2 years until he reached his personal rock bottom and completed a longterm inpatient treatment. But not because I made him, not for us, for himself. And it worked. I listened to the daily mantra of nobody cares, who cares, nobody loves me, you are all out to get me, I have no reason to quit gambling, etc., etc. for the whole 5 1/2 years and just wish I would have had the chance to do what you did, chose freedom. I think you did great and your kids will thank you, if not now than when they are older and look back at the insanity that was life with a cg. I wish you all the best, stay strong and hopefully nobody in your family will cave in and throw good money after bad. 🙂5 June 2014 at 7:17 am #3388
I am so thankful I have found this support. I read the post you all have written to get me thru the day. I try to focus on me and my kids.. and trying to tell myself being happy is ok. I still find myself getting gut wrenching pains when I think ,, has this really happened to me. How did addiction to gambling do this? I find it hard to talk to friends/family.. they don’t understand. They ask me why didn’t he just stop, did I try enough, did he try therapy.. oh my god I want to scream.. I did it all.. I just didn’t tell anyone.. and now they all want to judge, criticize, offer advice.. I get so angry.
I look at pictures of our family.. and see how hard I tried and just still get so upset that addiction was so powerful.
I have found some happiness with an old friend. I went to dinner with him. Funny,, he has been divorced for over a year because his wife was addicted to pain medication.. so we have shared stories. We laugh, cry and support each other. Developing a friendship.. but then I find myself feeling guily .. what is wrong with me!! I stop myself from happiness. I think about why did he gamble.. why wasn’t I enough.. why did he do this to my kids… why why why.
Maybe Im just tired today. Thankful I have this support page to write on.
Thanks for listening
Sheryl5 June 2014 at 7:51 am #3389san250Participant
You are entitled to happiness!! The addiction was not thinking of you and your happiness when in full swing. I am glad you have someone you can share your experiences with and who is not judging you and comes from a similar place … it will help. I truly believe everyone we meet comes into our lives for a reason … the good and the not so good! Take any support that comes your way. Hoping you feel a little stronger after some sleep. Best wishes San x5 June 2014 at 12:19 pm #3390jenny46Participant
I am pleased that you have found a support in someone who knows what it is like to love and live with a person with an addiction.
If that support brings you relief and some happiness then long may it continue.
The comments that you have received from the others you mention are from those who have not walked in your shoes or had the misfortune to have the unwelcome intrusion of this addiction in their life. They are comments born out of ignorance, lack of knowledge and experience and not worth taking much notice of.
You will have asked all of these questions like many of us, of ourselves, thousands of times before coming to the decisions that you have. You will have judged yourself enough and I suspect you are still judging yourself now.
If he was rolling around the streets completely off his head on drugs or alcohol behaving in a socially unacceptable way, if he had an addiction such as that everyone would be able to clearly see it and I should think they would all be saying what’s she doing with him, walk away etc etc. This addiction and its characteristics are so well hidden and invisible it seems to be viewed by some as not so damaging !! because they cannot see it.
The very fact that you are being asked ‘ have you tried enough ‘ etc or whatever BS it was that you were asked shows the lack of knowledge.
You have done enough, you have done more than enough, you have probably done too much. He is the owner of the addiction, you are not. It was within his capacity to change it wasn’t within yours. For whatever reason he was not ready to change – he didn’t do enough !
Its not easy to walk away, I’ve done it myself, its hard and these feelings don’t go away over night or by themselves. Keep focusing on you, your children and on going forwards.
I’m not going to say don’t look back as I know you will, I catch myself frequently doing just that but now more so to remind myself of a place that I will never revisit or to draw on all that I’ve learned to apply it elsewhere.
The pain gets less with time, but it also takes work to carry on putting one foot in front of the other. Just as a CG has to work and be commited to their own recovery then so do we, it doesn’t happen on its own.
You are doing well and you have nothing to question yourself about. It takes a strong person to walk away and accept that you also have the right to make a better life.
Life is a series of choices, he made his and you’ve made yours
I wish you peace as you grow in your recovery
Jenny8 June 2014 at 3:37 am #3391LuParticipant
Reading your post was like reading about myself. I feel like I need validation despite knowing that I have done the right thing for myself, our children and my husband by separating from him.
I separated from my husband 3 months ago in the hope that he would admit and realise the impact that his gambling has had. I never thought I would leave and still can’t believe I did. The day I left I had never seen him so angry and it scared me, perhaps that was what prompted me to separate (and him clearing out half his pay when he promised the day before he would not touch it). His mood swings were becoming worse and despite him admitting he has a ‘sporadic’ gambling problem and seeing a gambling counsellor in my heart I knew it was/is more than a sporadic problem.
Sadly he still does not admit he has an addiction and he won’t admit that he is entirely responsible for my leaving. His behaviour and way he speaks to me (text messages and emails)is horrible, you would think I did something wrong, he blames me and is extremely defensive. The hardest thing for me to deal with is the seemingly moments of clarity where he is apologetic . I know that if he was truly apologetic and wanted to be back with me that he would not continue to send me cruel text messages and emails that he continues to do after his apologetic ones. I know he must admit that he has a gambling addiction before I could ever contemplate a future for us and importantly he must demonstrate to me he wants me back by his behaviour not by his apologetic words in his moments of self pity. It is so frustrating for me because I love him SO much and I can’t do anymore than what I have done.
I know I must be strong but it is so so so hard. I am trying to take one day at a time. It is nice to know that I am not the only person feeling like I do and hopefully hearing how I feel may help you know you are not alone.8 June 2014 at 5:18 pm #3392
Please start your own thread as it is impossible to support you on another member’s thread and you will miss the individual support that ‘you’ deserve. It is great to read other threads but by starting your own, you will receive knowledge of the addiction and give others the chance to support you. Scroll to the bottom of the F&F page, click on ‘New Topic’ and follow the instructions.
You are right to believe that control of the addiction can only begin to come about with acceptance but also with acceptance must come action. I don’t know how far you have got with your reading but I suggest clicking on ‘Resources’ at the top of this page, then click on Gamblers Anonymous International Directory, click on the link and then on ’20 questions’ and maybe print them off. There is no guarantee that your husband will respond well to seeing these questions but sometimes CGs (compulsive gamblers) are not aware that they have a recognised addiction or that there is help for them.
I understand why you are telling him to blame you if he wants to do so – but please be aware that you know that you are not to blame.
I hope you do start you own thread and that we may ‘talk’ in real time soon.
Velvet18 June 2014 at 4:07 am #3393jamesnParticipant
Thank you for writing your story. You inspired me. My wife is a CG and I too tried to fix her for 10 years because I thought with love we can overcome anything. I also gave up. I started the legal separation process earlier this week. I hope to have the courage to finalize the divorce.
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