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Author: ThyPeace Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 6776  
Subject: Re: Gambling addiction. Date: 7/30/2008 12:16 AM
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I agree with those who say it's the addiction that's the problem, and not the money.

Addiction is a deadly disease.

Addiction is not about actions. It's about a persistent distorted reality. A horribly distorted reality, at that -- one that is so painful that the only solution the addict has been able to find is [insert substance or action here].

The persistent distorted reality starts with the perception of the self and works its way outward to encompass literally everything else. Spouse, family, neighbors, house, home, children, friends, animals.

Sometimes it's called the "hole in the soul," and that is quite true. In her, there is something eating away at the place where you keep your sense of your truest self. It's like looking in the mirror and always seeing something ugly. Except you carry the image with you all the time and it never goes away except when you lose yourself in the addictive acting out.

There's help. There's treatment. Your wife (err, "his" wife) may not be willing to face that horrific ugliness she sees in herself. It isn't easy.

You do need to protect yourself from further harm. And make no mistake. You will be harmed. This is a cancer and your wife (err, "his" wife) is only the carrier. This cancer, though, will eat more than just her insides. It'll eat everything you love, including her, and she will fight you every step of the way. You can't save her. You can, however, love her enough to refuse to allow her to compound the godawful experience she's having by allowing it to include harm to you.

And you can love her enough to try to get her to treatment, understanding that you may lose that battle. Still, I'm guessing you married her in sickness and in health. This is a sickness call, combined with a poorer call. So protect yourself, and then do what you can to help her. The balance of those two is always difficult.

Here's a good place to start.
http://www.gamblersanonymous.org/

Meetings are always free. Some meetings will focus on the spouses, friends, and family of addicts. Go to them. You may not immediately see the level of support you can get, but go until you start to understand it.

Oh, and understand that addiction therapy is usually not marriage-friendly. That means you'll have to fight for your spouse AND your marriage and your finances and all that other stuff. Become an advocate for yourself and for everyone getting healthy. It's not easy stuff.
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