Things came to a head in June 2006. My daughter was due to go to Turkey on her first foreign holiday. She had given her mum her passport application and her fee some months before. She had also given my wife all of her spending money which had all been gambled away. My wife was at rock bottom and she had no option but to be honest with me.
The next day she attended her first G.A meeting and our journey began. Seven months went by and I could not deal with the feelings of resentment, anger and paranoia. Every minute, all I could think about was where she was and what she was doing and it was starting to destroy our marriage.
The G.A meeting she attended did not have a Gam-Anon meeting but then one Saturday night in January a couple of G.A friends took us out for a meal and the subject of attending Gam-Anon was brought up and a week later I attended my first meeting in Doncaster. I walked into that meeting not really wanting to be there and expecting a room full of “old women”. I was only going because my gambler had been gamble-free for seven months and I had to do something to support her.
HOW WRONG could I have been? For the first time in years I sat in a room with people of all ages: wives, mothers, partners from all walks of life, who had all been through the same problems and feelings, and I did not feel ALONE or ASHAMED. I finally realised all the years I had spent struggling to sort my wife’s gambling problem had been pointless. I realised I could do nothing and I finally let go.
Then my journey began and I started to sort my life out, dealing with all the feelings that I had bottled up for far too long. I learned that I could only move forward by taking one day at a time and sharing week by week with the group, sorting out all the issues in my life that came up, and moving forward.
Five years on and life is good. YES my wife is still a compulsive gambler one day away from her next bet but together we are stronger and now we have a future. We still take one day at a time but Gam-Anon and G.A. have given each of us our life back and for that we are thankful but always watchful lest we go back to where we once were.