10 November 2016 at 4:09 am #5119
I am in a relationship with a CG. He has been “aware” of this issue for quite some time, maybe about 10 years, however only recently (last two years or so) began seeking assistance through counselling, and now GA in order to abstain.
We have been in a relationship for 5 years, an began living together full-time in March of this year. In or about June, our relationship had hit what I thought was a rocky patch. We were fighting about absolutely everything, and even the most smallest of fights would turn into a question of whether we should continue together.
Eventually – my CG admitted that he had been gambling again, and decided to come clean about his debt. Being somewhat familiar with the illness, and having attended a few gamanon meetings, I knew to appreciate that he had come clean (for the first time to me) my immediate reaction was to come up with a solution for him. We borrowed money from family to cover the amounts that had crazy interest, and I developed a budget which included repayment of the rest (to be paid by him, solely).
It was at this point that I gave him an ultimatum about attending GA, and he willingly complied, and has been attending twice weekly since.
A few days ago, he came to me again, and revealed he had slipped up. I didn’t know how to react, I got up and left.
The next night after attending a meeting and feeling ready to discuss, I confronted him about it and let him know how i felt. He very dismissive, as if I was the one who had done something wrong. His immediate reaction was that we should cut ties and I should move on. This, of course infuriated me, as I was reaching out to him looking for a reason to keep faith and stick around, and was met with the exact opposite. Again, I left.
For the last 3 days he has barely spoken to me. I try to engage and am met with one word answers. I have never seen him like this and I don’t know what to do. In the past, his mother has bailed him out of situations, or developed solutions for him, just as I did recently. This time, both me and his mother made it clear that we would not be doing that, and that he needs to figure this out, and if we can then help we will. I don’t know if that was the right course of action. I fear he is depressed and I don’t know how to deal. He won’t talk to me, barely gives me the time of day. I am worried, I am devastated, I feel lost and confused. I just don’t know what to do.
Any insight anyone can offer would be so very much appreciated. I just want my amazing boyfriend back, and Im afraid he is too far gone.10 November 2016 at 9:44 am #5120DuncKeymaster
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!
The Gambling Therapy Team10 November 2016 at 11:12 pm #5121
I’m sorry I haven’t had time to write to you today as you have done so well starting your thread. I hope tomorrow afternoon to be able to give you the full response your post deserves.
Controlling the addiction to gamble is so hard but your CG has done well admitting to you that he has slipped up – a slip need not be a negative thing – working through a slip can make a CG stronger for the future. I understand your reaction but I also understand his.
You are hurt and disappointed, you possibly believed that by going to GA he was on the final stretch towards controlling his addiction and you feel he has let you down. I imagine your CG thought that he was on the way to recovery too too and I would imagine he is very disappointed with himself. Your understandable reaction was to walk away and his appears to be to say that you have not understood so he will fight his battle alone.
I hope you will stick with this forum for a while because there is a lot to say. Both your reactions were understandable. I really would like more time to express myself better but in the meantime it is more important to listen than to judge when a CG has started the fight to control a terrible addiction.
If you get the chance maybe you could ask him to help you understand. When you speak to him try and not ask questions or tell him what it is that you want but enjoy talking about what he wants to talk about. He is possibly feeling very lost and frightened.
Early recovery is a very difficult time for CGs and F&F. Trust is in short supply on both sides but it can be rebuilt. I would not be writing to you now if I did not know that the compulsion to gamble could not be controlled so I hope hearing that helps.
Just as you are worried and devastated, he probably is too. I will write more tomorrow but look after yourself and think and talk about anything but gambling, see friends, enjoy hobbies. I don’t have a crystal ball so I cannot know what your outcome will be but if you are willing to stand by him and not enable him financially, then you will be giving him the finest support.
Velvet11 November 2016 at 11:38 pm #5122
Abstention is not a cure – taking control of an addiction is to change ones life and it is not easy. Many CGs who believe that abstinence alone is enough will often slip. Pathological gamblers must continue to use money and while they stop gambling with it, uncertainty and risk continue to be part of their lives. They have to learn to manage their lives and handle money, not just abstain from gambling. When a CG takes a leap of faith and determines to live in control of his/her addiction they need the right support so it is good that your CG has returned to GA after his slip,
You cannot save your CG, only he can do that. Ultimatums seldom work; if your CG has not got his heart and mind set on change then no ultimatum will make any difference, however, I am glad to hear that he appeared to want to go to GA.
The addiction to gamble makes people depressed, it is an addiction of failure and constant failure makes life hard. The usual way for an active CG to feel better is to gamble but your CG is trying to stop using gambling as an escape. Because he slipped he probably felt disappointed and worthless but he still did the right thing and returned to GA where he is among those who understand him – and that is good.
There is a big difference, in my opinion, between the way F&F cope with the active CG and way they cope with the CG who wants to take control of his/her life. There might still be some lies for a while, there will still be worry, there will still be doubt but if a CG says, ‘I want to be a better person’ then I believe it is better to support by listening without advising and imposing rules. Allow GA to be the guide and support the CG. Let him tell you about his meeting and be interested – but also try and understand if he wants to be quiet about what transpired because he will be digging deep into himself and may not be ready to share.
Keep posting Lambeau, the more knowledge you have of the addiction the better you will cope. Maybe if he is 100 years old he might be too far gone but I believe a CG can change his or her life at any age or I wouldn’t be here.
Velvet12 November 2016 at 5:25 am #5123
Thank you so much for taking the time to respond. Your post has really put this into perspective.
I will definitely follow your advice and keep your words in mind moving forward. It is difficult to see things from his perspective, and very easy to be overcome with emotions when in the midst of it all.
I am extremely grateful and will definitely be continuing on this forum.28 November 2016 at 5:10 pm #5124
Obviously different people have different reactions to the addiction to gamble but I do know that many CGs have a problem with intimacy. Many members and F&F I have talked to have spooken about the lack of intimacy since the addiction to gamble took hold. Imagine your CG’s head is full of sand and there is room for anything else – it is often like that with addiction – there is no space for everyday normal thoughts and activities. It is why CGs require the right treatment to control their addition, they have to learn to tip some of the sand (addiction) out, leaving room for decent, normal, honest thought – including showing love and intimacy.
Many F&F become concerned about the amount of porn that appears in the CG life which is often introduced because the CG is concerned about their lack of libido – such a lack is often felt to be just another form of failure instead of being part of the addictive thinking.
Your CG has recognised that he has an addiction and he is trying, or has tried, to control it – this can result in tremendous feelings of guilt which can affect intimacy. When he controls his addiction, hopefully he will learn to control his feelings of guilt too and worries about his sexual prowess will disappear.
I don’t think you are making excuses for your worry but I do believe that careful discussion is needed.
I am hoping you will pop into the group tomorrow because this is easier to discuss privately.
Velvet20 November 2017 at 5:15 am #5125
It has been a while since I have posted. My gambler and I have since separated, and have been apart for about 8 months.
I am struggling to let go, and I dont mean of the relationship, I mean I dont know how to stop worrying about him, and how to stop being affected when I hear he is still gambling.
To give a bit of context, we broke up after over 5 years of being together. The first 3 or so years, while i was aware of the addiction, I did not appreciate what addiction actually was and as such, a lot of things went unnoticed and unaddressed. In the latter half of the relationship I began to make a concerted effort to educate myself on addictions, and understanding how to deal with someone with an addiction. I ended up spending the last couple of years of our relationship totally focused on him, his gambling, and how to obtain, and protect our future together. The relationship ended in or about March of this year – after two slip ups, and a pretty significant loss, our relationship reached a point is disrepair, my lack of trust turned into me wanting control, and he wanted freedom to work his “program” (and my program I dont necessarily mean GA – he just wanted the ability to do what he wanted, as he wanted, without my input or direction whether it be through GA, counselling, or otherwise).
Anyways, all that said, I spent the last few years of my life intensely in love with gambler, and I dont know how to break that tie.
Today i found out he was gambling again – my gut told me he was already from a few months back (we still keep in touch and I had a feeling when I last saw him). I confronted him, and advised his family of what i had learned. I am totally devastated and cannot stop thinking about it. I dont know what to do, and I’m hoping for maybe some advice from someone in a similar situation
Beau20 November 2017 at 12:33 pm #5126
A CG can (and often is) educated, charming, lovable and friendly but living with an active CG puts such enormous pressures on F&F that sometime it is impossible to continue the relationship. There are many instances of people who cannot walk away completely, they can cease to function in a normal relationship but there is a tenuous thread that cannot be 100% ignored such as children, parents (and often siblings) of CGs.
‘You’ are the only key that can stop your life being devastated by the addiction of another. What are you doing to improve your life? Are you seeing friends, have you taken up hobbies or interests? Are you allowing yourself the freedom to enjoy being you? What was the purpose in confronting him with your belief that he was still gambling and why advise his family of what you have learned when you know such input has changed nothing before?
Maybe keeping in touch is not the right thing for either of you. When my CG son and I were estranged there was no ‘keeping in touch’. I didn’t know till much later, when he had taken control of his life, just how far he had spiralled down but I know I would have tried to save him if I had known. In effect what I would have done was given him the belief that the door was slightly ajar, that one day I would let him in again and save him. Fortunately I didn’t know and when he eventually fell into the black abyss the only person who could save him, was himself.
It is tough to stand back and allow a loved one to fall but he has to save himself and nothing you can do or say will save him. The only person you can save is you Beau; learn to love yourself and give yourself a chance to live in the centre of your life and not on the periphery of his.
I wish you well
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