15 April 2014 at 2:22 pm #3313
I married someone, that is a CG. He is a substance abuse counselor, and has 19 years of sobriety from alcohol and meth. Things got out of control last summer. We usually go on road trips and play billards competively. We went to a big tournament that was in a casino a year ago this month. I saw him go to the cashier booth and pull out his card. I did not think anything of it, because the year before when we were at this annual tournament, we did not go to the casinos. A few weeks later, he wanted to go for a ride on his motorcyle, I did not think anything of it, till it was midnight. When I finally got a hold of him, he admitted he was at the casino. Soon, I was going with him, he only used his money at the time. Then he hit a $9,000.00 jackpot. I thought that was it, no it was not. Then his mom passed away suddenly in the middle of the summer. We went every night, and now he was asking me to spot him money. He has tried to quit, made promises, made game plans, and a “commitment” that this will be a good year. I have panic attacks when it is payday, or if he gets cash in hand. This past pay period, he bullied yet again to get money out of my account. I had just paid the rent. That is when I started texting my sister, and now my parents know. They helped me out, but he does not know, yet. I have $100.00 in my account till next pay period, and I drive to work 30 miles away from my house, and my utilities are about to be shut off. He has made excuses as why he cannot get professional help, and he has told me he plans on going to a meeting someday. However, I cannot wait anymore, and what is sad is he knows what he needs to do to get help. He has been extremely depressed since Friday, and has slept a lot. I am mustering the courage to tell him it is time to go because I cannot support him financially and pay the bills. I feel sorry for him, and I wish he would do what he needs to do, but I am learning very slowly…that my sanity and happiness is important, and not to keep in a relationship that is toxic. But, my courage is building to tell him, however, it is hard when he has been so depressed.15 April 2014 at 3:46 pm #3314
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 Team
PS: Let me just remind you to take a look at our15 April 2014 at 4:49 pm #3315
It is very hard when a person with an addiction has experience in counselling because they think they know everything but seem unable to apply that knowledge to their own life. Your husband has faced his alcoholism and that took great courage but it appears that he feels he hasn’t got enough courage to go through the pain of withdrawal again from another debilitating addiction – possibly even with all his experience he doesn’t know how to start.
You don’t say if you were married to him when he was an active alcoholic so I don’t know if you are aware of the things you can do to help yourself. I don’t want to treat you as someone who lacks knowledge if you have already been through this.
Your sanity and happiness is indeed very important – I would never suggest to anyone that they leave or stay in a toxic relationship but in my opinion when there is indecision it is best to stand still and share with those who understand until the right decision becomes clear.
I am glad that you have a sister and parents to support you but it is important that they do not financially enable your husband by paying his gambling debts – I do realise how difficult this is in a marriage when the spouse struggles because of the addiction of the CG (compulsive gambler). I cannot tell you what to do because all decisions must be yours but if it was me I would put money in an account where he could not get his hands on it – in what way does he bully you to get money?
The addiction to gamble is not about money although it always seems like that to the loved one who is struggling to make sense of the senseless and is feeling the loss of financial stability. The addiction is all about the ‘gamble’ which distorts the CG brain and drastically alters their reality to fit their personal perception. It is this distortion that turns the gently man into a bully and it is this distortion for which he needs the right support. You cannot save your husband, you cannot stop him gambling but you can do many things to help yourself and in doing so help him. Your husband didn’t ask for or want this addiction – he didn’t know when he first gambled that addiction was waiting for him.
I wouldn’t be writing on here if I didn’t know that the addiction to gamble can be controlled. We have terrific support for your husband on this site – CG groups, the helpline and the ‘My Journal’ forum where he will be understood without judgement.
You have made a brave move towards your future by writing your first post – the first post is always the hardest and you have done well to write it.
I have a Friends and Family only group tonight, nothing said in that group appears on the forum. It is 22.00-23.00 hours UK time – if I have done my homework properly that will be 5pm your time. I would love to ‘meet’ you in that group where we can communicate in real time and you can ask any questions and get an immediate response.
You imply in your post you have made your decision about your future but your post title implies you are unsure. Whichever your feelings are and whatever your outcome is there will never be any judgement here – only understanding.
Velvet15 April 2014 at 8:24 pm #3316
Thank you Velvet,
He was in recovery for many years from alcohol before I met him. So, I did not experience that addiction. Yes, I agree being in a profession where you help others with their addiction and struggling with this is more difficult. His fear is that he will lose his license if he sought out professional help, but I think it is an excuse right now. I see him physically struggle with the addiction to gamble when we stay home. I myself am in recovery from alcohol, and understand the physical and mental part of addiction. I am also a counselor of mental health and substance abuse, and it is so frustrating to be on this end of it. I have been feeling alone in this till I let my family know about it this past weekend, but I felt like I needed to seek out people who have been there. I also understand that he did not seek this out, and that his addiction was just waiting for this opportunity. We do not have a Gamblers Anonymous group where we live, and the closet one is an hours drive away. Which, helps with the excuse to not go to one, may be next week(what he always says). I have even suggested we get back to going to AA meetings, just to get back in the habit. However, when we are not really working on our program, we are easily to point out others’ short comings and not getting what we need out of the meetings. I am still undecided, and I have been seeking out what is best for me. I am not wanting to make a quick decision, till I feel that I found the right answer for me. I realize it is up to him to make that decision, and he does admit to the problem, he just has not made the next step to actively participate in the recovery of his problem. Here where we live he can ban himself from casinos and has the paperwork to fill out, just has not done so due to this billards tournament he is in with his teamates in a few weeks. I know it is just another excuse. I have stopped taking my check book with me, and now all my credit cards. We do not have joining accounts, and his account is so over drawn he cannot get out anything to even pay off things. He verbally manipulates me to get money out of my account in the past, and that is why I stopped taking anything that he could talk me out of. My parents and sister did not give me money, and I have told them to help out just send a prepaid gas card or a gift card from the grocery. Anyway, thank you for your response, I have my boys this week and pick them up from daycare at 5. But I do look forward to geting on the chats soon.
I will keep you updated.
Gidge15 April 2014 at 11:02 pm #3317
Hi Gidge, you will find plenty of emotional support on this site to help you start your own recovery re. your hb’s gambling. I would like to address the more practical side of the addiction issue. It is so hard to make any decisions when being caught up in this mess and dragged down the slippery slope of gambling addiction. You said that you don’t have joined accounts, which is great to begin with. Make sure YOU pay all the necessary bills if your income is enough. Hide your check book, all your cards, whatever can be used to get money. Take his name off your cards and vice versa. Sign up for a credit monitoring service so you will be alerted should your hb make any moves behind your back. You can do this for both of you with his SSN. Get a PO box where he has no access. Don’t give him any money except small amounts for gas, food, etc. He has to give you each and every receipt, no matter how much it is. Try not to engage in arguments about his gambling, the addiction is making all kind of white noise to stay alive. It will rage at you, get angry and mean. It is not your hb talking, try to remember that. No matter what your family sends, cards, checks, cash, he cannot get a hold of anything of it. Check your credit report, his and yours. If you live in a state with community property, you will be responsible for any debt, even if you don’t know it exists. If he wants to go to the tournament, he will have to find a way to finance it himself. Don’t go with him to anything that has to do with gambling, no matter what it is. I’m not sure but don’t think that he gets into trouble for attending GA meetings or seeing a counselor. That would be very weird since he is in recovery from substance abuse. Doesn’t make any sense to me. Check if your state has a council on problem gambling. They have great resources online for groups, counselors, etc. For both, the cg and the family. The most important thing I learned during my 20+ yrs with my gambling hb is to not believe anything. Always check if it is the truth. No matter how. Don’t buy into the “keeping it secret/private” issue. Everyone your hb could get money from needs to know and be alerted. It is so much easier to keep a clear head when the finances are protected and you don’t have to worry about bills being paid and food on the table. The sooner he sees himself facing the consequences of his doing the sooner he might understand that there is no way out, other than forward into another kind of recovery! I wish you luck and stay strong!!!!!!15 April 2014 at 11:16 pm #3318
Admitting he has a problem is a big step in the right direction and I do understand his fear of losing his license if he is found out.
I am a great believer in those who have experienced addiction becoming counsellors but I do think it ‘can’ lead to a lack of support when problems like this arise so maybe it is an excuse not to seek professional help but maybe it isn’t’.
This site offers judgement free support with the added bonus of anonymity and I have had the pleasure to ‘see’ many CGs control their addictions as a result of being here. Would your husband consider joining one of our CG groups I will do a better check tomorrow but I have had a quick look and we have a Peer CG Support Group between 1pm and 2pm Chicago time on Fridays where the facilitator is a CG living in control of his addiction – your husband would be really welcome. Our help-line is open between 4am and 12 noon Chicago time – I wouldn’t for a minute suggest 4am but maybe the later morning times would be of interest –it is often manned by a CG living in control of his addiction.
I am glad that telling your family has helped you feel less alone – I hope that knowing that I understand, having stood in your shoes will support you too.
You recognise that unless you are really working on your programmes you won’t get what you need out of your meetings. We don’t work the 12 steps on this site but both CGs I have mentioned have done so and one I am aware still does I worked the 12 steps in Gamanon so the understanding is here for you even if we have a different approach.
You obviously understand enablement – money to a CG is the same as a drink to an alcoholic. Your family have done well in the way they are supporting you.
Are his billiard’s team mates aware that he has a gambling addiction? He doesn’t have to wait till after the tournament to start his gamble-free life even if he hasn’t self-banned.
With the support that you are offering, your husband’s admission of the problem and his knowledge it seems to me that he could do with being given a direction in which to move whereby he doesn’t lose his license which obviously gives him some self-esteem although I suspect it is low. His confidence in himself I would imagine is poor – he ‘knows’ more than most what he is doing to himself.
I hope to be able to talk to you in real time soon but in the meantime all our facilities are open for you and your husband – the helpline is there for you too.. In my opinion the sooner he takes his leap of faith the better for him and for you – taking one day at a time makes the impossible achievable.
I think you are doing really well.
Velvet16 April 2014 at 2:18 pm #3319
Two of his team mates know about his addiction. One of them understands because he goes to the casinos, but he only brings a little, leaves his check book and credit cards in a safe at his house. The other team mate does not understand why he just does not just quit. My husband does not know that I told them, but I knew they needed to know what was going on and why my husband has been acting different. Plus, I knew that the friend that gambles would understand some what.
Just have been exhausted the last couple of days thinking of my options and what I need to do. We both do not say anything, and just trying to pretend that things are okay when they are not. I am afraid to say anything to him, but he needs to know that financially things are not good. He somewhat knows, but chooses to ignore the situtation. Just feels like I have been living a nightmare the last 12 months and I just want to wake up.16 April 2014 at 11:45 pm #3320
It is so much easier to avoid the elephant in the room rather than confront it when the elephant is an active, manipulative addiction. However I agree with you that he should know the extent of the financial damage his poor behaviour has brought to your home.
If it was me I would leave the paperwork evidence where he couldn’t fail to see it rather than trying to talk him about it. I would also leave details of support groups for him.
It is my belief that it is good for a CG to know when their loved one is seeking help, showing that they are taking it seriously. I am sure you are aware of the 20 questions – gamblers anonymous also have the 20 questions and they can be found in our Resources at the top of this page. Click on ‘Gambling Help’ in Category, in Location click on ‘World’ and in search by keyboard click on ’20 questions’. Maybe if you printed this off it would show him that you were actively working on supporting him.
Well done telling his friends that he has a problem – you are doing everything right for him.
Living with this addiction is exhausting – the unnecessary lies can give you sleepless nights and that doesn’t help anybody. Please try and make time for yourself every day when his addiction does not fill your head. Looking after ‘you’ will always be the best thing you can do for him and you.
I have another F&F only group again tomorrow (Thursday) at 4pm Chicago time although I understand that you are looking after your boys this week – how old are they?
Keep posting – you will wake up from the nightmare.
Velvet16 April 2014 at 11:57 pm #3321
Hi Gidge, I remember what it was like with the elephant in the room. Afraid to say something to avoid the hurt and the angry outbursts. Steaming inside, scared and alone. Your hb might know how bad the finances are but he will not think about for one second when it comes to gamble away what little he has. Reality doesn’t exist anymore and can be explained away and ignore. The worse it gets the bigger the need to forget everything and chasing the one big win needed to make everything right. And it will come for sure, sooner or later. The only thing you can do is to take care of yourself right now. Protect the money as good as you can, at least from now on. A lot of people do not understand that a cg cannot just quit on the spur of a moment. It is hard to since there is no substance involved. I still have trouble to understand the delusional state my hb was in for so long and that even a prison sentence he got for embezzlement did not do the trick. I just want to share with you what I told him when I had reached my point of no return. I told him that I will refuse to be dragged into that mess even for one more day. That I would not give him a single penny anymore and that he had to make a choice. Either get into treatment and work on his recovery or get away from me. That I was tired of the lies and the promises, all of which were just created to noodle more money out of me. That i was sorry it got to that point but that I was just so tired and worn out that no matter what he decided, I would not continue to live this nightmare. I felt really peaceful and calm inside even though I was financially dependent on him. I just couldn’t do it anymore. This issue with his license is a good excuse for him to not do anything, to not seek help, to not tell anyone. But at the end of the day what good does his license do him when he starts missing work or doesn’t to a good job anymore because he is occupied with his gambling? Cgs are sooo good playing with our minds and manipulating the hell out of us. Be strong and treat YOURSELF kindly!17 April 2014 at 2:08 am #3322
Thank you Velvet and nomore56.
It has been so long that I have taken care of myself. Need to remember what I used to do. 🙂
My boys are 11 and 7 from a previous marriage. They are the biggest factors in me seriously thinking of leaving. I don’t have any more chances for him. If I have to my dad said I could move in with him, till I get myself caught up and find a new place. School is almost out, so if this happens soon, things will be okay for a few months. So, I have options to go to…
I just go from being angry, scared, resentful, sad, hopeless, helpless, and worthless. I just stayed in my office most of the day, and did not make an effort to see who I needed to see where I worked, and just read the different topics on this website.
As for hb, he continues to be really depressed, and not saying much. One of his strategies was to remodel his mom’s old place to keep him busy and out of trouble. He did talk about that this evening to get started. At least if we seperate, I know he has a place to live, and not too far from his work. BTW, he does not own a car, he lost his motorcycle a few months ago bc of his gambling. I think that his bank is no longer allowing him to overdraft his account at the ATM in the casinos. I do hope that he decides to get help, and I do hope that he gets serious about his recovery, but my boys are important to me, and I am important to me too.
I understand addiction is selfish and wants the addicts’ full attention. I was there with that with alcohol. Drowning the shame and guilt night after night, waking up in the morning and not liking the person that I saw in the mirror. Yet, continuing it the next day…
Again, thank you for your support and me rambling on like this.17 April 2014 at 2:27 am #3323
Ugh….he is so depressed….just asked him if had any suicidal plans…he told me not today….he won’t look at me…he just has a big dark cloud over him…17 April 2014 at 7:40 pm #3324
Hi Gidge, your plan sounds good. A plan B offers some kind of comfort just in case push comes to shove. It sounds like reality is somehow sinking in for him. No transportation, sources for money drying up and a separation on the horizon. I am very happy for you and your kids that you put them first. Some of us forget about the children being lost in the shuffle of addiction. I was thinking that you should not worry about where he lives. Easier said than done. But he is the one who has to make choices now and you have enough to think about. The addiction is very good at threatening, both verbally and quietly (the dark cloud). I can’t count the times my hb indirectly threatened to harm himself. So that I felt sorry for him, worried about him and finally gave in. Doubting myself that I might be too harsh with him. You know that addicts are manipulators and it goes 10fold for cgs. So all in all I think you are on the right track, you go girl!!!!!17 April 2014 at 7:54 pm #3325
Thank you….I did talk to his sister this morning about what is going on. She has been in recovery of alcohol, and is very active in her program. So, now his side of the family knows the dark secret. She is very supportive on getting help in recovery, and doing the right thing.18 April 2014 at 10:24 pm #3326
Well done telling his sister – I know how hard it is to tell others – it is good that his secret is being blown in the areas where people care.
You don’t have to answer this but if you had made a group this week I would have asked you if you still love your husband. Love means different things to different people I know but reading between the lives of your posts I believe that you want to save your marriage while preparing to accept that it cannot go on in its present form.
I live by a simple adage now and that is that ‘I will never live with the addiction again’. To me that is not turning my back on the person who owns the addiction but is standing shoulder to shoulder with them. I have been in recovery from living with the addiction to gamble for 8 years – I knew 8 years ago that I couldn’t do it anymore and that knowledge gave me the strength to change the one person I could change – and that was me.
The addiction is probably causing your husband’s depression not the other way around. My suggestion would be to tell him that you will support him while he seeks help.
Velvet22 April 2014 at 8:50 pm #3327jenny46Participant
I used to believe that the best counsellors were the people who had ‘come through’ the other side and those who could speak from experience, those who really knew, I guess is what i’m saying.
Now as I get a little older I don’t know that I am still such a believer in that theory. Someone who has fully dealt with their issues is one thing ( if an addiction is life long, can it ever be fully dealt with) but a counsellor with an active addiction should really know that they should not be meddling in the minds of another, license or not.
I see two people brought to the helping profesions through their own needs to gain a better life for themselves, a life free from the constraints of addiction, fully aware of the dark places it is possible to go, but seemingly unable to act upon this knowledge.
I think ( and I apologise in advance for my next comments to any counsellor reading ) that they are the worlds best at swapping in to ‘counselling mode’ in defence of their own behavior – it is easy to become the expert and umm and arrr in all the right places without applying the same depth of knowledge and empathy and to apply knowledge to practice in their own lives – these to me are wonky people !!
I guess what i’m saying is physicians can’t heal themselves.
You have done tremendously well in your own recovery and I imagine that you will have had to have been selfish or put yourself first in order to achieve that, you obviously know that this is dragging you down, you recognise the impact that it could have upon you and your children but you love someone else with an addiction.
I would hate to see you go down as he comes back up and this is only my oppinion, when two people are together with similar issues, one holds up the other, as they go up we come down and so it goes on, both of us feeling that we have saved the other, both of us feeling that they too have saved us. Neither realises or practices, should I say that the only person we can ‘save’ is us.
I would urge you to be totally selfish for you at what is a very difficult time, knowledge is great, understanding – fantastic !! gut feelings and acting on them is hard,very hard
I wish you every success in your recovery
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