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    • #7070
      Sunflower01
      참가자

      My boyfriend and I have been together for about 8 years now. We’ve been through so many highs and lows because of his gambling. I stood by him through inpatient rehab, therapies, and group meetings. I’ve tried almost everything I could have. I love him. He has some amazing qualities and is so caring. We’ve recently been seeing a therapist together and things have been good. He had a small relapse a few months ago with fantasy football but he was honest and we got passed it. Currently we are stuck in the house and bored in a way, because of the coronavirus going around in New York State. Yesterday his mom asked him what he was going to do to keep himself busy in a group forum and he got very upset and said he doesn’t like her approach when it comes to discussing his problems. I understood her worries though. Today, he told me that he wouldn’t mind playing some poker online and felt it was okay because his big issue was never with poker. I broke down right there. I’ve been upset since and he seems to feel I’m overreacting. I know this is manipulation though. I just don’t know what to do anymore and whether I am enabling him by staying with him. I’m ashamed that I keep forgiving him but I love him and can’t imagine my life without him. The whole situation just really sucks.

    • #7071
      velvet
      중재자

      Hi Sunflower

      I don’t hear someone who is enabling by being there – it seems to me, from what you have said, that you have been doing well. Please don’t feel ashamed of forgiving him – you are a generous person who loves a man with an addiction and that is just not easy.

      It takes a great deal of courage to face a gambling addiction and go through rehab, it takes a lot more courage to live the gamble-free life after rehab. It is also very easy for those who love a recovering gambler to say the wrong thing or to offer unwanted ‘advice’. It is important sometimes to show a trust that perhaps is not being entirely felt.

      I don’t ‘know’ Sunflower whether, or not, your boyfriend could play on-line poker safely although I do believe it would be very unwise for him to try. He said that he wouldn’t mind playing on-line poker, not that he had already played – maybe he needed to talk about what was going on in his head. I

      In my opinion, it would be good to suggest to him that you are concerned and that maybe he could share his thoughts with his counsellors from rehab or his local GA group. He would be welcome to pose his thoughts on this site in ‘My Journal’ or in one of our facilitated ‘gamblers only’ groups. Our Helpline is one-to-one and anonymous. His thoughts are not unusual, there is a lot of support and he will be understood. These are testing and terrible times for everybody. Gamblers, who are trying to live gamble-free, have had their escape route from reality cut off and coping will be tougher than usual.

      Keep communication open with your boyfriend Sunflower and please keep posting.

      Velvet

    • #7072
      Sunflower01
      참가자

      Thank you so much for your insight and thoughtful response. I sent the link over to him and suggested he check it out. Today we spoke with his therapist and I hate to say it, but I think his thoughts are even worse. He spoke strongly about how he feel passionate about poker and wants to play. He went on to say without it he doesn’t feel full. He has this sense of belief that because poker wasn’t his primary form of gambling when he was bad that it is okay for him to do. I agree that I don’t think he can do it safely and feel like I am losing my mind when listening to him. He is pleading with me to create terms with him and to continue managing his money and helping him make positive choices but while he is playing poker. His therapist of course advised against it as well but tries to keep an open mind with him and gave him an assignment to write down how he plans on being responsible and how he plans to play poker without being compulsive. He also asked us to talk about our relationship and next steps. The love is still there between us, but when does he stop going backwards. I’m afraid there is no future for us as I don’t know what the right decision is to do. Do I leave him? Do we move apart for a while? Do we continue working on our relationship with terms? What is the right thing to do. I feel ashamed if I stay with him. I feel like I can’t tell anyone I know. It’s just such an unfortunate thing.

    • #7073
      velvet
      중재자

      Hi Sunflower
      Nobody should ever tell you to leave or to stay – what you do has to be ‘your’ decision but decisions are best made with knowledge and that is hopefully what you are receiving here.
      I cannot tell you when he will stop appearing to go backwards. Your boyfriend’s time in rehab and his gamble-free time since are steps forward and any steps forward are good in the overall fight. Slips and relapses are not compulsory but many gamblers experience them as they try to control their addiction – slips need not necessarily be seen as negative in that they can wake the gambler up when he has become complacent but of course this is not always the case.
      My suggestion to you would be to do nothing while you are so undecided about what you want – stand still, listen to him, possibly help him manage his finances and yes – possibly see him crash. He is getting warnings but his addiction is telling him that they are wrong – he knows what he is doing.
      Laying down terms is a waste of energy while he is not listening – he could promise you the earth and mean every word but such promises disappear in a trice when his addiction demands to be fed.
      Sometimes separating is the only answer but you are the only person who can know if this is right for you and is what you want. What doesn’t work is ultimatums – if you threaten to leave then it is important that you are prepared and ready to do so. There is no right or wrong – every individual fighting this addiction is different. There is no shame if you feel you cannot continue and there is no shame if you choose to stay.
      Your boyfriend can control his addiction or I would not be writing to you, he has proved that he can live gamble-free. Complacency is the enemy of gamblers and I suspect he has become complacent.
      Keep that vital communication open and also with his therapist – sadly nobody can force him to stop gambling but he has a better chance to do so with support.
      Keep posting Sunflower. I have been in your shoes and I know that you will know what is right for you when the time comes

      Velvet

    • #7074
      Sunflower01
      참가자

      Thank you so much. I find myself having mood swings when it comes to all of this. I know that no one should tell me whether I should leave him or stay with him, but if I stay with him and create “terms” that I know can easily be broken would I be enabling his disease? His therapist asked us to write terms and a plan. And we discussed we’d continue seeing him weekly regardless, but a part of me wants to know I’m not enabling him. I don’t want to make it easy for him to feed his disease but I also love him. A part of me wonders if it would be better to let him crash and burn alone because maybe it will make him hit a rock bottom that he hasn’t, although I felt there have been moments that he has. I also don’t want to see him go through that alone. It’s just very confusing. 

    • #7075
      velvet
      중재자

      Hi Sunflower
      Enabling is giving cash to, or clearing the gambling debts of, a compulsive gambler. Driving a compulsive gambler to a casino would be enabling. Buying him travel passes or paying for his meal in a restaurant because he has gambled all his own money – in other words, freeing up his cash so that he can gamble, is enabling. It is ok to feed your boyfriend, it is ok to offer him a hug, it is good to offer him support and it is important to listen to him, without necessarily believing what he is saying.
      There is no point in leaving a gambler, or throwing him out, if the sole purpose is to bring about his crash to the bottom but if you cannot cope or, (as happens) love has flown out to the window then, in my opinion, separation is probably best. I am not opting out of answering your question but decisions on ‘your’ future must be made by ‘you’ because you are the only person who can know what it is that your really want to do.
      The shame you say you are feeling is entirely misplaced. There is no shame to be had in owning this addiction or loving a person with this addiction. Your boyfriend did not ask for, or want it, any more than you. He probably started gambling, as most people do at some time, believing it to be a harmless pleasure. For your boyfriend, however, there is nothing harmless about his gambling – for him gambling is toxic and he will never win.
      Compulsive gamblers do feel alone, they lack self-esteem and self-confidence and they usually feel entirely misunderstood. Sadly, you cannot save him, which is no reflection on your love for him – he is in fact lucky to have that love even if he doesn’t know it yet.
      I hope he will keep seeing his therapist and doing the homework he has been set. I hope he will join with others like him who do understand him and will support him during this difficult time.
      I wish you both well Sunflower
      Keep posting
      Velve

    • #7076
      Sunflower01
      참가자

      Quarantining has caused my boyfriend to display very unhealthy habits with playing poker online. His therapist and I talked about disaster control and trying to manage what he wants to do by being financially in charge and setting terms to his gambling, as he was going to no matter what I said or did. We agreed upon terms and things were okay for about a week or two. This past week has been unbearable. I feel like a ghost in my own home, as he really only cares about playing online poker on the days he’s “allowed” and on the days he doesn’t he sits on his phone and plays pool, or a video game, or chess on the computer. I feel like his thought process is so unhealthy and I’m worried about him. I also don’t know how much longer I could live like this. I’m not stupid enough to think that terms will prevent him from making poor choices when it comes to his gambling, but figured it might help the situation since it would be difficult for him to find somehow else to live right now during the quarantine. I just feel so alone and lost. I’m tired for being taken for granted.

    • #7077
      joerdj
      참가자

      Hi Sunflower,

      Just popped over from my journal section. 

      Wanted to check how things are going with you. 

      You should not feel like you are taken for granted, but that is just the nature of the beast (addiction) 

      I hope to hear from you soon. 

      Stay strong and positive ! 

    • #7078
      Sunflower01
      참가자

      Thank you for reaching out and responding to my post. Things continue to get worse. I see the online poker taking over his life again. He can’t sleep at night and has stomach issues. I explained to him that this is all because of his nerves, but he doesn’t agree. I just feel like I am going insane living with him. If times were different I think I would ask him to find another place to live, but it would be so hard for him to now. I have put 8 years into this relationship and I’d hate to see it end, but I just don’t know it staying In it at this point would be best. I keep hoping things will change but they just don’t seem to be changing. 

    • #7079
      joerdj
      참가자

      Hi sunflower,

      This is a thoug place to be.  He will only change if he is willing to change. You can not and must not try to change someone’s behaviour. He will not admit that he stomach pain is from the poker playing, but that is because he is an active addict. I’am also a compulsive gambler myself. 

      So all the actions has to come from his side and his side only. Of course you can support him but ultimately he is accountable for his own actions. 

      My best advice would be to safeguard your financial position and go in a damage control mode.

      The “allowed” gambling has to stop. As someone once said here ” gambling is like a mistress, staying close friends does not work”  but he is the only one who can stop and that can only happens if he admits to himself that a little gambling isn’t right. 

    • #7080
      Sunflower01
      참가자

      I understand when you say that it being “allowed” needs to stop. But my question is what do I do?  if I don’t set terms with him (that I know he can easily break anyway) he would do it behind my back. The other option is if not allowed, does that mean I tell him to leave if he doesn’t stop? It is confusing because we live in NY, which is a hot spot for the coronavirus right now. It is probably difficult for him to find somewhere else to live. As angry as I am with him I care a lot about him and don’t want to see him homeless. How should I approach this? 

    • #7081
      joerdj
      참가자

      Hi sunflower, 

      I think settings ultimatums only work if you are ready to follow it through, otherwise don’t do them. 

      There is not right or wrong way to go about it. For me I think he should hand over ALL his finances to you ( or someone else) and only get very small amount of cash for his expenses. Furthermore he should self excluded forever on all his accounts. Now these methods maybe you have already tried. If so there must be something that happened that he could still gamble. 

      Either way do not sacrafice your own wellbeing. Sometimes seperation is for the best, but you are the only one that can make that decision

      Kind regards. 

      If you need direct support you can always talk to the 24/7 helplines here 

    • #7082
      velvet
      중재자

      Hi Sunflower
      Gamblers escape from reality when they indulge their addiction and of course, the reality of isolation is particularly difficult.
      Did you hear the therapist say that compulsive gambling could be controlled by reduction or is this your boyfriend telling you what he wanted you to believe? When a compulsive gambler gambles his mind is excited the more he gambles and in my opinion only abstinence leads to recovery although abstinence, in itself, is not recovery. One or two days off and then a day being allowed to gamble is not disaster control – it is a recipe for disaster.
      I feel very concerned about the way you are feeling. Feeling like a ghost in your own home, feeling as though you are being taken for granted, are not healthy feelings and your health is important. Your boyfriend can only make you feel like this if you allow him to do so, Sunflower because even if you don’t feel it, you are stronger than his addiction.
      When things were ‘okay for a week or two’ how happy were you? If you were happy then maybe you could tell him that you want to feel that happiness again. Talk to him about the way it was, for both of you.
      I cannot tell you what to do Sunflower, I know that the addiction to gamble breaks some relationships. Where do you see yourself if 5 months or even 5 weeks,? Decide what it is that ‘you’ want to and take control of your life.
      How strongly do you feel that it would be better for you if your boyfriend lived away from you because even though it is very difficult at the moment, it might be worth looking for an alternative place for him? Many addicts do become homeless and the responsibility does lie with them if this happens. It is important not to threaten anything unless you are fully prepared to carry it out but if you really want a break from this behaviour then you should do what feels right for you.
      Please keep posting – hopefully by keeping sharing your thoughts, you will be able to make the decision that is right for you and if it is right for you, it will probably be right for your boyfriend, even if it is tough.
      Velvet

    • #7083
      Sunflower01
      참가자

      We have unfortunately tried almost everything. From inpatient for a month, GA, a therapist. Currently, I am in control of his finances and we see a therapist weekly. Right now we do therapy over the phone because of the situation. His therapist called the known gambling “harm reduction”. There was a time I believed it could be possible, but I do know now that I will never be happy unless he isn’t gambling. I see how it consumes his life and it breaks my heart. I just prefer the truth than a lie. I have lived through the days of not knowing where he was or what he was doing and it killed me. I know I have a lot of thinking to do and a tough decision ahead. I’m just afraid. Thank you for speaking with me and giving me your input. I greatly appreciate it. 

    • #7084
      joerdj
      참가자

      Hi Sunflower 

      Please keep positive and keep posting!

    • #7085
      Sunflower01
      참가자

      Thank you for always taking the time to respond and offer advice. I’m really just struggling right now. His therapist called what we are doing “harm reduction”, because he is going to gamble no matter what I say at this point and it is either going to be behind my back or open. I am in control of his finances so I could with hold the money from him, but if I did that he may ask for all of it back rather than only using an agreed amount. I have no beliefs that this can heal him or that this can work long term. i am struggling to deal with it at all. I plan to express this more in our therapy session tomorrow too. I am just so torn and I am not sure what i am able to follow through this with. I am scared of what could happen to him and I do still love him. I know something had to change. I just don’t know what the best thing to do is. 

    • #7086
      joerdj
      참가자

      I think the therapist wants to do harm reduction because you are at the moment bound to each other with the lockdown going on. In that sense, I can understand that maybe this is “better”.

      You have tried everything and he is lucky to have you at your side. As long as you keep your own finances and health safe.

      I wish you all the best 

    • #7087
      velvet
      중재자

      Hi Sunflower
      In one way your therapist is right, your boyfriend can gamble regardless of what you say but the method is not reducing harm – it is feeding his addiction.
      I also have no belief that this method can help him in the slightest. Unless he accepts his addiction and seeks treatment it will get worse, never better.
      Is your boyfriend saying he does want to control his gambling because it would appear he doesn’t want to do so? Some gamblers do not want to stop gambling and will not stop until they have hurt themselves enough and/or all enablement has ceased. It takes courage to control an addiction but I wouldn’t be here if it was not possible.
      Giving cash to a gambling addict, whether it is $1 or a $1,000,000 is enabling his addiction. Maybe you could ask him how he wants you to help him because at the moment, he is asking you to keep his addiction alive and growing and it is hurting you to do so.
      Please speak bluntly at you therapy session tomorrow, your boyfriend needs the right support and more importantly, as far as I am concerned, so do you. You are being brought down by his addiction and it will take you all the way down with it, if you allow it to do so.
      I hope you are keeping your own finances safe, unfortunately it is harder to keep your heart safe and I understand that.
      While your boyfriend is only prepared, in his life, to put himself first, please put yourself first, in yours Sunflower. If you lose your health and happiness then the addiction has claimed an extra life.
      Velvet

    • #7088
      joerdj
      참가자

      Hi sunflower,

      How did the counselling go if I may ask ?

    • #7089
      Sunflower01
      참가자

      Hi! 
      it went pretty well, but we both do not see eye to eye. It is clear that he is wrapped up in addictive thinking and is not willing to stop at this time but is willing to only use $100 a month towards gambling and to not access three times a week. He does have me place his money in account that he cannot access it, so it is possible, unless he borrows money from other people. He knows how strongly I feel about him stopping and continuing to seek help. His therapist said although he agrees that he should not be gambling and that he feels this is a dangerous road, that it Is good that he is being honest about how he feels and speaking openly. We plan to continue meeting with the therapist weekly and discussing everything. I also requested he keep a gambling journal so that we can look back and see how much he bet, how much he won/lost, and how he felt when doing it. The situation is by NO means ideal and I’m still very upset about it, but with the way current situations are in our world I’m not sure I’m ready to ask him to leave as long as he continue to pays he share of the bills. It’s very difficult. I feel like I’m constantly waiting for him to crash and burn. Thank you for checking in! 

    • #7090
      Sunflower01
      참가자

      Hi! I am sorry that I did not reply sooner. I just saw the comment. I never give him my own money to gamble with and my money is in accounts that he can not touch. I also have his money in an account that he does not have access too so that he can’t spend it all gambling. I give him daily allowances for his expenses and sometimes ask for reciepts as well. The money he gambles with is the $100 he keeps out of his check monthly. The $100 a month was the compromised amount when speaking to with his therapist. I spoke very openly in our meeting and he listened and said he understood but he also did not budge on wanting to continue. His therapist said its good that we are speaking openly and not lying to one another but also suggested he stop. As of now we plan to continue meeting once a week and continue living together as long as he continues paying his share of the bills. If that were to change I will not support him. This situation is not ideal at all and I am just trying to live day by day and this point and see where it takes me. I feel a sense of anxiety like I’m waiting for him to crash and burn, which unfortunately I feel is inevitable. I’m just trying to stay aware and focus on me in the mean time. 

    • #7091
      Sunflower01
      참가자

      I should also mention his friends and family are aware of his gambling problem so borrowing money would not be an easy task for him. 

    • #7092
      velvet
      중재자

      Hi Sunflower
      I agree that the situation is not ideal but you have got your eyes open and I am hoping that that is enough to save you from being dragged down.
      I am concerned that you are living in a state of anxiety which isn’t good but I believe I understand you.
      I am really hoping that you will continue posting for your own sake and that you will focus on your own life as well as supporting your boyfriend.
      Hopefully coronavirus will be reduced to something manageable soon and the world can return to some form of normality. I hope that the patience and fortitude that you are displaying at this really difficult time, will pay off for you.
      I cannot stress strongly enough how important looking after yourself is at times like this. Please don’t let your boyfriend’s addiction cause you to stop seeing friends and enjoying hobbies and interests that please you. When you emerge from the lockdown, all the care you have taken of yourself will help you re-establish your life more easily.
      If I thought for one minute that your boyfriend could not control his addiction I would not be writing to you, I know how lucky he is to have you standing by him but I also know the terrible heartache that can come from loving someone with this addiction.
      Use this forum as a journal, it will help you to look back and see how far you have come and remind you what decisions you made along the way.
      Speak soon, take care of yourself and keep safe
      Velvet

    • #7093
      Sunflower01
      참가자

      Thank you so much! I definitely will keep using this space to write and talk with supportive and helpful people like yourself. It truly does help me to write down my thoughts or troubles and receive feedback. I’m also trying to think of different ways to help my anxiety, such as working out after I’m done with my work day. I am a teacher and work from home video calling my students. Seeing my students helps as well. When This lockdown is over I will definitely go out with friends and spend more time on me. These are definitely challenging times. All I keep hoping is that with continued therapy he will see he needs to stop. I know the choice must be his though. Thank you again for all of your guidance through this. 

    • #7094
      velvet
      중재자

      Keep posting Sunflower

      You are being heard

      Velvet

    • #7095
      Sunflower01
      참가자

      After a few more unbearable weeks of pent up lies, my boyfriend finally came clean about how bad the gambling got. Although I was in control of his money, I was unaware he received his taxes and his bonus from work. He spent all of it playing poker online. He came clean about it and asked for forgiveness. He said he was ashamed and disappointed in himself and how one lie just kept turning into another. He spoke with his therapist about it yesterday too. His therapist said this could be a good thing because now he is admitting and accepting that he has a problem and that he cannot do it at all. I saw this coming too and as you know, had my fears and suspicions. I guess I am just venting because I’m torn. Do I continue this relationship as long as he continues to choose recovery or do I give up? Is this a cycle that is just going to continue to happen? There is so much uncertainty and I am just so afraid. He builds back the trust just to rip it away again. It’s exhausting. I’m tired. I love him and all I’ve been wanting was for him to choose recovery, but how can I protect myself if I choose to stay with him?

    • #7096
      velvet
      중재자

      Hi Sunflower
      Cycles go round and round but they can be broken and true recoveries do start or I wouldn’t be here. It is impossible to tell a true recovery for a long time and I know it is exhausting waiting to know if this is the true one.
      I cannot tell if your boyfriend is into a true recovery, or not, even he cannot tell you. It takes love, strength, determination and a lot of faith to carry on, it will sometimes feel impossible but I cannot tell you to give up or to carry on – the decision has to be yours because this is your life.
      I don’t understand what his therapist is supposed to have said about him ‘not being able to do it all’ but that is possibly his perception of what was said. It is possible that the taxes and his bonus came at the wrong time for him if he was really trying – early recoveries are hard and the temptations and triggers can still overwhelm but he can do it.
      You can protect yourself by sharing on this forum, by keeping a journal to remind yourself or how far you have come and by living in the centre of ‘your’ life and not on the periphery of his. Keep up with your friends, enjoy hobbies and interests that please you, never clear his debts or ‘lend’ him any money. Maybe you could ask him what you can do to support him, it is ok to let him know that you are struggling too.
      Please keep posting.
      Velvet

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