I Have Gambling and Mental Issues

by Mat
(San Diego)

I gambled away my money and my life. When I feel depressed for not having money, I would end up in a casino. Sometimes I won big, however, most of the time I lost.

I have been doing it for the past 7 years. I am in debt, so I wanted to get out of it, and in my mind gambling would help me do it. I just need one good luck to win a million or two, then all my problems would be solved.

I always hear stories about how other people have won big. It never happened to me. My husband hates me for gambling; that is why I can not tell him how lonely I feel.

We have been married for 27 years. He is well liked by his friends and co-workers, but to me he is not a person I can depend on. He would do anything to help out others but not his family. I consider him selfish and self-centered. He has the need to show off, but he would denied that.

We have separate bank accounts. He pays his bills and I pay mine. I started to gamble just to get a few hundred dollars. Because the more I gambled the more debts I have, so gambling with bigger and larger amounts became my thing. I borrowed from loans and credits to support my habit.

Recently I was making a good return so I kept on gambling with the hope that I could finally be free of debt. A few days ago I ran out of luck and lost all my winnings and more. I got so mad at myself. If I could select a button that said "live" or "die" I would have chosen to die.

I would love to have my pre-gambling life back. Even though I didn't have much money, at the least I was not in high debt. I am searching for help from both my employee
assistance program and my medical plan. I am also going back to GA meetings, but it would be woman GA.

I just hope they do understand my feelings better as an addict, a lonely wife, and a mom. My husband is a good man but does not care about me. He would do his own thing that makes him feel good so he can brag about how good he is. He would be gone for a couple days on a hike and leave me home with my dog. Without my dog I would have gone insane.

I wanted to have more money so I can get out on my own. Being married and lonely is not what I want. It is not sex that I need. I need someone to hug and hold me without sex. I want to be closer to where my daughter is. At the least it should be within an hour or two drive; not 2 days drive.

I am also thinking about quitting my job and cashing out my 401K to pay off my debts. The only thing that's holding me back is my daughter. She needs medical insurance from my work. So I am in search of a new job on top of dealing with my gambling and mental issues.

I am good at my work skill, but a bad mom for gambling our money away. I met a gambler who told me he was in the same situation, and had lost all of his money, and is in debt. Now he makes a lot of money; enough to pay off his credit cards, his cars, and now he's working on paying off his house. Good luck to him.

I am jealous, but I would not try it again. I just want to get my life and finances back in order. Just enough for a happier life. Just enough to love me, and just good enough to be a mother to my daughter.

Comments for I Have Gambling and Mental Issues

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Jun 02, 2015
Some More Perspective NEW
by: Mark

Thank you for sharing your story. Catherine Lyon has shared some wonderful advice from first-hand experience. I wanted to share some experience from the husband’s perspective that may help as you think things through. You say that he doesn’t like you, and infer that he even hates you, and doesn’t support you. Obviously, I don’t know you, your husband, or the dynamic between you two. Maybe he physically or emotionally abuses you; I don’t know. If I assume that he’s not abusing you, I may be able to provide some insight as to what he’s going through.

Consider that he truly loves you, otherwise he wouldn’t stay with you. Consider that he cares deeply for you, but either doesn’t understand addiction, and/or doesn’t know what to do to help you. Many people who are close to addicts, often feel that it’s a will power issue, and that you’re gambling is hurting him, and if you love him you wouldn’t gamble. He may not understand that whatever is driving your addiction likely has nothing to do with him.

Does he seem distant by spending little time with you and more time with his friends or at work? This may not be an indication that he doesn’t love or care for you. Rather, he’s protecting himself emotionally from the hurt he’s feeling, which requires that he isolate himself from you, in favor of spending time with people that make him feel good. He may not know how to share his feelings with you, and doesn’t know how he can drive you to get the necessary help.

Having separate bank accounts is him being prudent. If you’re a willing participant, it may also make sense for him to control your money as well. Although cutting yourself off from money doesn’t stop or address your gambling problem, it can help lessen the financial burden your gambling is placing on the family. Something to think about.

Thinking that "one big win" will cure your problems is very common thinking. Eventually you will win big; that’s pretty much a guarantee. However, what’s also a guarantee is that you will lose that, and even more. Even if you attend GA and don’t gamble for a period of time, unless you get therapy (inpatient or outpatient), you will ultimately relapse, and each relapse will be worse than before. That’s the progressive nature of addiction.

Also, suicide is actually greater amongst gambling addicts that any other addiction. Please take this seriously and seek out help. If you need help/support finding the right resources, please consider reaching out to your husband. If you can’t have that conversation in person, write him an email. Send him to this and other websites to learn about addiction, and how it works. He can’t make you get better; you need to do that on your own. He can, however, help support the process, whether it’s driving you to meetings, taking care of your daughter, helping to support a payment plan for debt that you have, researching your medical plan, available facilities, etc. And if nothing else, just understanding your addiction, and being there to encourage you, hold your hand, or give you a supportive hug.

Therapy will help you uncover your triggers. Were you abused as a child, and have blocked that out completely, or have not addressed it? Is there something else that happened to you in your adult life in the form of abuse? Therapy will help you deal with the underlying causes, and take you a long way towards managing your addiction. Please seek help, and create the appropriate support system. And, of course, please report back here as to your progress!

Jun 02, 2015
You're Not Alone
by: Author, Catherine Lyon

Hello Mat of San Diego,

Even though I just made 8 1/2 years in recovery from addicted compulsive gambling, reading your story and experiences helps me. I understand and can feel the pain in your words.

I to shared my story here a ways back, and I want you to know that you are not alone. With now 1% of our population being 'problem gamblers,' it doesn't surprise me of the numbers continuing to rise of those who become addicted.

I don't have children, but I was a hard working wife, and I can not tell you how much pain I put him through with my addiction. But, we did weather the storm after my years of gambling, living with mental illness as well, and some disorders were a direct effect of my gambling.

So now I am a Dual Diagnosed woman, which makes reaching long-term recovery even more difficult. But guess what? I did it! And so can you. It has also taken me almost the amount of time to get my finances back in order. But I did it. And so can you. It will take patience, time, and hard work.

But that hard work in early recovery is what helps you get there. And please,. . . SUICIDE IS NOT AN OPTION. Trust me, I know, I tried twice. And there is a reason why I'm still here. It's to help you, and others have HOPE. And to know you can recover.

HOW? Good question. Learn the "CYCLE" of the addiction. Learning and breaking down the cycle helps you become aware of how you're feeling before you go gamble. Get a phone list and USE IT BEFORE you go gamble. And lastly? Do anything you can get yourself into something besides GA meetings.

I'm not downing on GA, or a 12-step program, but I did all I could to recover. I went to in-patient and out-patient treatment. Therapy, working with an addiction specialist for a whole on the cycle of gambling addiction, and I learned the skills and tools to use to not have to choose to gamble. And it truly is working it "One day at a time". . . If you don't?, you get to overwhelmed. You can read about my addiction and recovery in my current book out titled:
Addicted To Dimes, Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat.

It is my memoir of all I went through with my addiction, mental health, and a childhood sex and abuse survivor. My next book coming out soon is going to help others reach the One Year Mark from addicted gambling. Just know there are many out here, including myself that wish you all the success in the world in getting your life back from Compulsive Addicted Gambling.

Please check out a wonderful and supportive web site where you can find really good support while you recover called:
Safe Harbor. http://www.sfcghub.com

God Bless,
Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author & Recovery Advocate

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