Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Me, My Partner and My Recovery

My name is Russ and I am a compulsive gambler. My last bet was April 2nd 2019. At my Gamblers Anonymous meeting recently a member shared something that I could really relate to and it ended up in an impromptu discussion between everyone there. It was regarding their partner and their opinions of recovery and I shared my experience on me and my partner when it comes to my recovery. I just want to add that this is based purely on my own personal experience and my own family dynamic. The money I lost gambling was my own, the debt I have is my own, we are in rented accommodation and have no mortgage etc. For some, their partner will be more involved in the wreckage this addiction can cause and what I am about to share will not be relevant, and that is fine, each recovery is different.

My partner is an amazing person who when I admitted my gambling problem stood by me when I was convinced she would not. The fact I entered recovery still living in the same house as her and my two kids was a massive positive step to start my recovery and that is all down to her and the type of person she is. I remember when I went to my first Gamblers Anonymous meeting she was dreading what I would think of it as she assumed (like I did) it would be really religious and that I would hate it. I remember messaging her after it saying I loved it and she was so relieved.

From that point on the only times she asks me about my recovery are when I come back from my Monday G.A. meeting or come down from my Skype meetings. “Good meeting?”, “yes”. That’s generally it and this is not a complaint by the way, I prefer it to be that way because this is my addiction. We spoke one time about relapse and she didn’t understand why someone who was clean for a long time would relapse and I was trying to explain but she wasn’t getting it. Again, that’s fine, she doesn’t have an addiction so I can see why she doesn’t understand. There is no point in me getting frustrated at her not getting it or me trying to force her into learning about it if she doesn’t want to.

I do not want to get dragged into situations at home where I am either trying to promote or lecture or teach her (or any of my family members) about my recovery. If they ask me about it I will of course talk about it and if I am struggling with something I know I can open up to them. But I have found that the people who I can relate to the most when it comes to addiction and who can relate to me the most are fellow compulsive gamblers (or fellow addicts in general).

A big part of why I feel my recovery is working well alongside my family life is I made a conscious effort to find meetings that would disrupt my family the least in regards to timings, kids etc. I go to G.A. every Monday night 9pm-10:30pm, my kids are in bed, dinner is still at a normal time and I’m not away for a whole day. My Skype meetings are an hour on a Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, again at times when my kids are in bed and dinner is out of the way. None of my meetings put extra pressure on my partner so she has no resentment towards me attending 4 meetings a week. The whole point of recovery, for me, is to get back to a normal way of thinking and living.

I mentioned to my partner before about Open Meetings and if she would be interested in attending and she was quite honest about it and said not really. They are on Saturday mornings for a start and with two kids that is extra work to get them minded. Then she would be spending 3 hours or so somewhere, quite honestly, she doesn’t need to be. Yes, she would be there to support me but she is already doing that more than I ever could have hoped for by standing by me.

I don’t really know what the point of me writing this is, maybe in case someone out there doesn’t feel like their partner or family is supporting them enough because they don’t understand addiction or think there is a cure for it. In my opinion, and I must stress this is just my opinion and what I have experienced, this is my recovery and I am the one who needs to change, not my partner. She knows that I am attending meetings weekly and is supportive of that and she can see a change in me and knows I am not gambling. That’s all I need from her because as long as I don’t go back to gambling I am going to be a better person and a happier person and so is she. By me doing the right things, not only do I benefit but my family benefits.

I’ll leave it on this point, both myself and my partner do not need to understand how recovery works we just need to realise that it does work and reap the benefits that comes with a life without gambling. As long as I am doing the right things each day I will not gamble, if I do not gamble my partner is happy and if my partner is happy then I am happy. It’s like one big beautiful circle.


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