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philiph
#1 Posted : Thursday, 4 June 2009 11:15:00 a.m.(UTC)
philiph

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Hi Everyone, boy has this site given me a wake up call. I never realised how addictive gambling really is. However the support that comes thru on this site is awesome. I didn't know who to talk to about my new found problem but I think I may get some really helpful advice here. So folks I'm putting "my story" here, maybe someone can advise me further. Here goes

I'm over 50 and my life was fairly settled as a batchelor (read grumpy old man)I have great mates and lifes pretty good. Last November I decided to rent out a spare room in my house. A woman (Sue) answered and she presented really well and I agreed for her to move in. Over the next month, much to my surprise, I found myself attracted to her and she to me. Sue was the epitome of calm, well mannered, caring lovely person, she took control of the house, de-batchelored it LOL. We became good friends and lovers I hadn't been in love for years, just casual affairs. I was getting very happy with the new state of affairs. Then the cracks started to appear, just prior to Christmas Sue came home and said she had lost her wallet with her Christmas pay in it. Whilst feeling sad for her I said "don't worry I've got enough money to see us both over Christmas" We had a fantastic Christmas together and became very close (so I thought)Then late January a debt collector came to the house looking for Sue this seemed so out of character for her so I started to think something was amiss. I confronted her about the debt collector and she admitted to having over $10k of similar debts to loan shark kinda companies however at that stage she did not tell me they were gambling debts. I have helped her with her debts e.g rung the companies and organised a weekly payment regime to clear them over the next 12 months (Sue has a good job) SO there I am thinking the crisis is all over and we can continue with our life.
Until last Sat. night that is, Sue had been out for the afternoon with her Daughter, so she said. however at about 8pm she rang me and said she had a confession to make and that I might not want her back. She then told me that she had spent her entire wages on the Pokies and that the money she owed was all down to gambling. I was dumbfounded, angry etc but I told her this is her home and she should come home, she did, full of remourse. It was a fairly emotional 24 hours. She wanted to run away said that I would hate her etc. I simply said that I would support her totally however we would have to agree on some way of overcoming this addiction. At this stage she has agreed that I will have her bankcard and oversight on her bank account. I figure if she hasn't got ready acces to her money then she can't gamble And she has agreed to seek professional help. So I was thinking that I had the problem under control however reading the posts on this site have made me realise just how addictive the pokies are, this won't be as easy as I thought. So folks am I going about this the right way, I'm trying not to be judgemental, I'm providing a calm home front and an old girlfriend of mine is being really supportive to Sue
a_caring_girl
#2 Posted : Thursday, 4 June 2009 11:15:00 a.m.(UTC)
a_caring_girl

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Hi Philiph,

Well sounds to me you are doing everything to help Sue, I would try and get some counselling for your self to, or at least go with Sue to a few sessions, cause you are right it is a long road ahead but trust me it is worth the battle, For me when I found out my husband had gambled everything away on the dreaded pokies, I to was unsure how to handle it all, for us he still has control over the money only really cause that is I know so prehistoric, but a man thing, I did not want to belittle him anymore, and I also feel it is important he learns to live a normal life an have normal responsibilities, not just stop him gambling buy him having no money if that makes sense, he needed to stop for himself. I have more of an input than I ever did money wise, we do finances together, but he still has access to the money and well 10 months on all is going well.

At times things will get tough but hang in there and if you ever need to talk just post there is always someone about here, I know I myself have gotten through all this with the help of the site I mean I have posted some crazy stuff at times but it gets it off my chest and helps me deal with it, plus it helps me understand what my husband is going through, cause honestly when I first found out I was in shock I thought how could you, cause I find pokies the most boring anti social thing you could do, I never played them other than put my $5 in when we where all out in a group then spend the rest of the night thinking that dam machine stole money, honestly I hate the things.I just think they are so boring, and my husband to me he is a smart man and I was in shock he had wasted so much on them, and the time spent at them.


For Sue she will still have urges so put some plans in place on how to deal with them, for us my husband just rings me, we chat about anything, just to pass time till the urge passes, There may be slips we where lucky here not to have any however my husband had tried many times to stop before he told me, and he slipped many a time. So if Sue does slip use it to figure out what triggered the slip, just keep your communication lines open and you will get through it.

Take Care and keep posting
philiph
#3 Posted : Thursday, 4 June 2009 11:15:00 a.m.(UTC)
philiph

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Hi Caring Girl
Thank you for the reply. I only found this site this morning and when Sue gets home from work I'm going to see if she will start posting her thoughts here. As for counselling for me, thanks for the thought however at this stage I'm only a few days into the challenge so I'm in good shape at this stage. I feel strong enough to face the battle head on. Don't know how I'll feel in a few months, if she continues to gamble. Also I think that the support I will get from this site will go a long way to keeping me focused.
One thing I'm wondering about is my taking control of Sue's bankcard, I figure that if she hasn't got ready/easy access to her money then she can't impulse gamble, however my concern is will this course of action just exaserbate (sic) her feeling of low esteem. Will she end up resenting it or me or both. She says she wants me to do it but I wonder if she really means it.
I'm a fairly decisive sort of person but this situation has me concerned that I may be mis-handling it. I really love her and will do anything I can to help her. She is normally such a lovely person and I am trying to re-inforce this with her. Apart from Sat. night when I growled at her I have since then (Sun Morn)said let's forget about the past and work now on the positives going forward. Is it right to try and get her to forget about the past?
Again thanks for your thoughts Caring Girl
circadian
#4 Posted : Thursday, 4 June 2009 11:15:00 a.m.(UTC)
circadian

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Hi Philip

You seem like a wonderful man and Sue is really very blessed to have someone like you in her life. I am a gambler, and just speaking from experience I don't think that taking her bank card will make her feel worse about herself, when you gamble away all you have, just about nothing can do that. It might actually make her realise that she is worth something to somebody. Just a word of caution, please don't be utterly destroyed if she does have a slip, keep the lines of communication open and try not to allow her access to too much money, that way a slip will not do too much damage. This is a horrible addiction and it turns us into horrible people that will tell lies. Just remember that it is the greatest relief when we can tell the truth, and once she acknowledged that this is a problem she will want to get out of it.

I wish both of you strength and courage and lots of patience. Use this forum, it is wonderful.
ostrich
#5 Posted : Thursday, 4 June 2009 11:15:00 a.m.(UTC)
ostrich

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Hi Philiph,
really important that you help her retain some self esteem BUT do it in such a way that she doesn't have control of her $$$.
The counsellor I saw (and I am the wife of a gambler not the gambler) helped me to understand and gave me some real tools to help.
She said that 3 things must be there to enable gambling

1. The urge
2. The resources (read money)
3. The opportunity

So, you cant help her with the urge, that is hers. But you can help with the others. Work out with her what you can do to take away the opportunity. Like self banning from establishments or working out when problem times are and how to fill them other ways.
The resources is the money. Take away the resources and that is a big part of helping her to fight the urges.
Yes she will probably have some resentment of you as the'barrier' to her gambling. My husband was awful to me. But once they get a grip on the addiction and can see a little clearer, that will pass.
Good luck and I wish you well on your journey.
a_caring_girl
#6 Posted : Thursday, 4 June 2009 11:15:00 a.m.(UTC)
a_caring_girl

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Hey again Philiph

Thanks for replying

I think if Sue is willing to hand you her cards then go for it, I think everyone is different, for us I know taking everything of my husband would not have worked for others that is what they need, I know for my husband it would have built resentment, cause in his eyes he would have seen it as another failure, but if Sue is willing then go for it, I know for me we made the deal of basically he got a second chance so to speak, we thought ok give it a go working the money out as a team, if this does not work then I would take over the finances, as I say he has access to money and I still have to trust him a lot, but I would notice if he was gambling again as he did not have the control to say spend $20 it would be a couple of hundred at least and the way finances are at the moment I would notice that, I personally think it is something together as a team you keep reviewing, maybe take all cards, then slowly return them, I mean I personally hated the thought of my husband having no money, I mean what if the car breaks down or even a mate needs to borrow money, or he saw something he wanted to buy I wanted him to still feel like an adult not a kid on a allowance if that makes any sense.

I think it would be great if Sue wanted to post, My husband does not post but I talk about the site all the time to him, at first I thought yeah he is just going along with me talking about it but every so often he will ask oh how is so and so going?, quite often as I repeat stories from here he nods his head, he gets what people are saying and he has then gone into some little story about himself, I know for him it has helped him realise he is not alone and his behaviour was normal for someone coping with this addiction because for a long time he hated himself.

I personally think it is better to deal with the now get over the past and build your life together, it does not mean at times I do not get annoyed at our position money wise, but I do not blame him and I do not want him blaming himself, So yes personally I think with Sue you are doing the right thing, let her know what a wonderful person she is, I mean I look at it as gambling is a part of my husband it is not all of him, something's he did where horrible but he did not deliberately do it to hurt me or anyone he knows.

Oh and do not worry about being indecisive cause this is a challenge, but I think go with your heart only you know Sue, and I tell you anything you do to support her and be there for her will be right, and I think she is one lucky women to have you, but then she must be pretty amazing to converting a life long bachelor LOL. :-)

Take Care
philiph
#7 Posted : Thursday, 4 June 2009 11:15:00 a.m.(UTC)
philiph

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Hi Caring Girl, Ostrich & Circadian,
Wow what a site, thanks heaps for the advice. The 3 of you seem to be saying pretty much the same thing.
So I'll "manage" her card/s and see how that goes. I'm pretty sure Sue does want to stop. What has absolutly blown me away today is the degree to which the addiction takes control of the gamblers life. Until this morning I niavely thought that just by controlling her finances I could get on top of the problem, from what I have read here I can see I'm in for the long haul. However I'm ready for it.... bring it on, I'll be buggered if I let it beat us. But boy oh boy will I be using you guys for ongoing advice, funny I was feeling a bit lonely this morning after reading the posts here but now after a few hours on here I'm upbeat, anybody got any monsters they want slayed LOL

Now Caring Girl & Ciradian thanks for the "wonderful guy" stuff, however let me hasten to assure you that I'm just your typical male with all his male stuff, you know, opinionated, loud, untidy round the house etc etc. Yes Caring Girl I think she is an amazing woman
Once again thanks heaps
kath
#8 Posted : Thursday, 4 June 2009 11:15:00 a.m.(UTC)
kath

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Philliph,

You have had lots of very good advice I just wanted to add my two cents.

My husband took complete control of everything for a period of time. Unlike Ostriches husband I never seen him as a barrier to my gambling. That was something I wanted to do for myself, so I never laid the blame at his feet. That is not to say I did'nt resent the impact having no access to money had on the rest of my life. I did, big time. But again not something I blamed him for. I was very angry at me, but that's something else.My point is this is something I beleive can be negotaited. My husband and I sat down and nutted out something that worked for both of us and we each felt comfortable with until such time as we both felt ready for that to change. It did, but it was a gradual process. And it worked for us. So communicate, both of you sit down put out there what you each need and find something you can both live with.
circadian
#9 Posted : Thursday, 4 June 2009 11:15:00 a.m.(UTC)
circadian

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Hi Philiph
It is really important that you understand this addiction, and great that you took the time to find out more about it, because it is a sly beast that knows how to hide itself. Just remember that it helps if you separate the addiction from the person, then you can hate the one while still loving the other. In all honesty, I wish there was someone in my life who could take over for a while, to give me time to recover without the added stress of controlling my finances. I think you can do this without too much fuss. Has Sue looked at the site yet? We hope to hear from her soon.

Take care
philiph
#10 Posted : Thursday, 4 June 2009 11:15:00 a.m.(UTC)
philiph

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Hi Folks
Hmmm, I don't think Sue was all that happy that I had posted in here, not initially anyway, although it has all come out over the last 4/5 days she (I think) still has an element of denial. I guess I have to be patient. Circadian, "it helps if you seperate the person from the addiction" Yes thanks for that it re-enforces my belief that Sue is 90% good and the 10% addiction just overtakes her from time to time. We talked last night and one of the things we are going to do is create other interests, either jointly or seperatly. Fortunatly Sue has a real talent with ebay, so I've got a business friend of mine who wants her to create a shop there, I figure to keep Sue busy with other stuff thereby cutting down on the spare time she has to play the pokies.
I'm not sure if she is going to give me her card/s hope she does, but at the end of the day I can't force to do so.
Sue says she is going to post on here tonight, she is impressed with the quality of the answers I have received over the last 24 hours.

Again everybody thanks for your input it is very very much appreciated
circadian
#11 Posted : Thursday, 4 June 2009 11:15:00 a.m.(UTC)
circadian

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Hey Phil
Good idea to find other things to do. Be patient. Nobody likes admitting the ugly side of themselves, it is degrading and humiliating, no matter if they created the situation or not. You are doing very well. Hang in there and don't give up on Sue. I felt like giving up on myself often, but this forum is a great source of strength and has pulled me through, so keep posting.
philiph
#12 Posted : Thursday, 4 June 2009 11:15:00 a.m.(UTC)
philiph

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Hi Circadian,
No, I'm not going to give up on Sue, I'm in for the long haul. Whatever it takes. Having said that I'm only just beginning to realise the amount of deception Sue has dealt me, remember I've only known her since November. And it bloody hurts, I opened up to her and have not done that before (late starter LOL) I have gone thru a roller coaster of emotions over the last 4 days, anger, frustration, betrayal, sadness. Don't know how I would have ended up however the support I have obtained from you folk has been terrific and has enabled me to work thru these emotions. Separating the person from the addiction has given me something to focus on.
I really hope Sue posts on here tonight. Sorry to be a pain in the butt re my emotions 'cause it's really Sue that needs the help. I'm really starting to get pissed off with the Government for allowing these poker machines to proliferate as they have. They must know the destruction of peoples lives it is causing. How can they allow this to continue, yes I know, revenue for the Gov'ts coffers but it's coming from the pockets of the gambling addicts, how immoral is that!
I don't see on this site any other addiction other than the pokies, no complaints about lotto, horse racing etc. What is it about poker machines that causes this fearsome addiction. I wonder if the site moderator would consider adding another section something like "Gov't Responsibility" There are enough people on here to maybe get the ball rolling and make the Gov't (State & Federal)sit up and take notice, something has to be done or it will just keep ruining peoples lives.
Sorry about the ranting, just beginning to see the injustice of it all. I want my lady back in one piece and if I have to take on the Gov't to do it then so be it
Again big thanks for the support
a_caring_girl
#13 Posted : Thursday, 4 June 2009 11:15:00 a.m.(UTC)
a_caring_girl

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Hi Philiph

Rant away you are forgiven, and trust me totally normal, my god you should read my first posts I was a mess, I was going by the user name so confused, and trust me I was, at first I was so relieved when my husband finally told me, as I had suspected for ages and I thought I was going crazy, or he was having an affair I knew something was up and when he did tell me I felt relief that it was not another woman thought cool I can deal with this, but over the next month or so it was a roller coaster, It was hard for him he did try to be honest and tell me everything in one hit but for the both of us it was exhausting so slowly over the weeks he told me more and more, OMG it was draining and I was trying so hard to keep it together for us and the kids, I remember the only place I had to my self was the shower and trust me I spent a lot of time in there just sobbing away, no one could hear and the water would wash the red eyes away, Sometimes I wish it was another women at least then I would have someone I could yell at LOL,

Cause like you I feel also much anger towards the dam pokies, It is at the point if I go to a pub I watch people playing and I just want to drag them away, I mean the things I have seen since I have found out have truly shocked me I watched one guy in a pub go to the ATM put his card in it got rejected then he grabbed another card then another all of them getting rejected finally he found some money went of and played, 10 minutes later he was there again going though the same process, now the thing that peeved me off, was the ATM was right near the bar, and this one staff member watched him do it again and again, and god it annoyed me, I thought how can you sit there and watch that, I mean they have brochures up about responsible gambling blah blah blah, and I know the staff are trained to deal with it, I mean hell they will tell you ok no more drinks for you, why can they not just say ok that enough home you go, I know why cause they know you will just drive to the next pub and they loose your money, and that is the thing it is all about the money, they stop people drinking to much cause of the dangers, but really there is just as many dangers in gambling suicide rate is so high, I am sure many car accidents happen on the way home from the pub, it is dangerous and I think the government should do way more than they do, but unfortunately I think the thing about gambling is there is such a stigma I mean people seem to openly admit they are a recovering alcoholic or a reformed smoker, and people reply with good on you so well done, where as gambling it is like your what? and Gamblers feel so much shame they do not want to talk about it, I know I am so proud of my husband and I would gladly shout it from roof tops but for him he is like do not tell anyone.

I just hope that in time the stigma is lost and more and more people stand up and say hey listen, cause together I think we can make things change, and I think it is places like this site that people will find there strength to recover and to be herd.

Ok enough ranting from me just keep posting and never worry how long it is or weather you think it is ranting cause a problem shared is a problem halved. hang in there you are doing great and I hope Sue Posts did she read the site last night?
circadian
#14 Posted : Thursday, 4 June 2009 11:15:00 a.m.(UTC)
circadian

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Hi Phil
I live in South Africa, so I am not even quite sure what the pokies are, but it does seem to be a very big problem over there. I am addicted to slotmachine gambling. There is only one casino in the city, but even that is too much, because in the last few years it has been a definite drain on the economy, productive people are spending more time and money there than what is good for anyone.

Regarding the deception... I know it hurts. But it is difficult, she couldn't very well say: "Hi Phil, I think you are hot and I want to get you know you better, and by the way I am a gambling addict" We hide it because it becomes so intensely private, and because all the time we try to keep the gambling and the person separate too.
You are not a pain in the butt about your emotions, you are going through a lot right now and it is very important that you verbalize some of it.

Just remember, your lady was not in one piece when you found her, but you are going to help her to be whole again, which makes you quite the knight in shining armour, albeit a loud, opiniated one who leaves stuff around the house :-)
a_caring_girl
#15 Posted : Thursday, 4 June 2009 11:15:00 a.m.(UTC)
a_caring_girl

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Circadian , pokies and slot machines are the same thing, for some reason we call them different things.
circadian
#16 Posted : Thursday, 4 June 2009 11:15:00 a.m.(UTC)
circadian

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Ohhh ok thanks Caring Girl. What a cute name for the bloody things!
circadian
#17 Posted : Thursday, 4 June 2009 11:15:00 a.m.(UTC)
circadian

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Hi Phil
Are you and Sue doing ok?
philiph
#18 Posted : Thursday, 4 June 2009 11:15:00 a.m.(UTC)
philiph

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Hi Circadian
Not sure, Sue still hasn't posted on here, says she will. She got paid yesterday and still hasn't given me her card. It's hard to figure. She says she wants to give up, she is with people that know about her addiction, we have offered her support but she seems reluctant to embrace it. Says she doesn't want me controlling her life, my reply "I want to give you your life back" So as I figured (thanks to this website and your good self) I'm in for the long haul. My guess is she will "slip" again so I will have to wait for that to happen, pick up the pieces and try again.

I'm not sure that she has hit rock bottom yet, it seems like she is now putting up an emotional barrier to me and Laura (the lady I mentioned in my 1st post)Laura and Sue had become great mates, similar interests and we live next door to each other. We live in a resort on the Gold Coast Australia. However since Laura became aware of the problem (and offered her unqualified support)Sue seems to have lessened the closeness of the relationship between them. However Laura also is prepared to hang in there.

Sue is away this weekend housesitting pets for a friend so it might give her some time alone to consider her future

Anyway I'm there for her she's definatly worth the effort. If you met her you would know what I mean.
Thank you for your continuing interest

Kind regards
Philip
jeannie
#19 Posted : Thursday, 4 June 2009 11:15:00 a.m.(UTC)
jeannie

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Hi Phil all the advice given so far is spot on and it must be a very difficult position that you are both in at the moment. As you have said Sue is a fantastic person 90% of the time and the other percent is the gambling Sue. I am also a gambler and pokies is my particular demon. For what it is worth Sue is eventually going to have to come to her own position to fight this and waiting for that to happen could take some time and maybe time you don't particularly have, It is great that you are supporting her. In the meantime perhaps make yourself safe, Maybe you could talk to her and say that the time she is gambling you are concerned for our financial safety, and therefore you need to put in your own safety net. Ie look after your own money and there is a saying that comes from both gamblers and non gamblers alike and that is never bale out a gambler.... I guess the major thing that needs to happen to turn our heads is that gambling becomes painful and sometimes very very painful. If it wasn't then why change? Maybe try and find out why Sue is gambling, she may not know herself yet. And yes the emotional barrier, sometimesw that is put up because you know you have a problem but to accept that is too hard. Not only do you have to accept the problem but you also have to come to terms with accepting the stigma. Often if people are alcoholics, the response is in the context of an illness its sad but hey they can't help it its an addicition, But gambling, the response usually is that you are stupid. This weekend maybe an opportunity to think this through with a plan to deal with it in mind taking into account the rollercoaster rides that will more than likely happen. A day at a time. Hang in there
a_caring_girl
#20 Posted : Thursday, 4 June 2009 11:15:00 a.m.(UTC)
a_caring_girl

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Hi Philiph,

Don't stress to much about Sue not posting perhaps she is just not ready, I know when I first found out I went into fix it mode and I was roaring and ready to go, my husband on the other hand well he was still digesting the fact he had come clean and to him he had done his bit it took him a little while to realise there was more to do.

So hang in there calmly tell Sue what you need for her to do money wise etc and then go from there, one thing I have noticed with my husband he always needs time to digest, I think Sue would be the same. I am glad your friend Laura is being so understanding.

Oh and OMG the goldcoast poor Sue is surrounded by gaming machines, I to Live in Australia, and our gambling problem is huge probably something to did with the pokies being everywhere you go.
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