Help for Spouses of Sexual Addiction

Help for the Family of
Problem Gamblers:

How could they do this?

If it is any consolation, he have have been wondering this same thing.  There is a cycle or vortex of addiction.  It slowly moves a person downward into is spiral.  You have heard of how to cook a frog to death.  Put them in a beaker of water, and ever so slowly increase the temperature so that it is not noticeable.  The frog will never jump out, because of it insensitivity to the temperature change.  This is what happens to the addict.  If the frog or the addict were plunged into something hot, feeling the full effect of what it was doing to you, the children or himself, he would never do this.

Now it all makes sense, but it doesn't make sense
Dealing with the confusion of it all

You may have felt more confused and in the dark about finances and time spent away from the family. 

They might have been grumpy, angry and distant.  Little did you realize that this could have occurred after a spending $1000 at the casino.  It seemed so innocent at first.  What you didn't realize was that after the big win it wasn't over.  Winning that big is a drug.  It affects the brain and people will do all kinds of things to win again.  You can win if you aren't at the casino.  So many compulsive gamblers will spend a lot of time there.  They suffer health conditions of heart and gastro-intestinal issues because of the chronic stress and the obsession to not leave their seat. 

Do they ignore major issues?

Do they numb himself with other substances, like alcohol, drugs, pot, or work?

Do they have black and white thinking, which is characteristic of addiction in general?

Do they have trouble with intimacy, that is being their true self without feelings of rejection?

Do they suffer from lower self esteem, but over compensate with bragging and grandiosity?

Do they have a hard time letting go of something?  Like loosing an argument or other losses?

Did they have a childhood where their parents were rigid, black and white and low on the affection scale?

Do they have trouble sharing his feelings, except anger?

Do they blamed you for the problems in the relationship and take very little responsibility?

It is not about you, but it affects you.
How to break free from feeling responsible.

It is so tempting think that there is something you did or didn't do to cause this.  We feel very powerless when we find that our spouse has spent so much money on gambling.  Instead of admitting that we are powerless over our husband or wife's problem with gambling, we tend to take responsibility.  Victims of trauma from stabbing, gunshots and rape, rather than seeing themselves as powerless, tend to find someway they could have prevented this.  This is common.  Vulnerability is not a pleasant emotion to face and rather than feel it and experience it, we would rather feel that we were in control of the situation.  So, how does that happen?  We make ourselves responsible in some way.  Here are some things to consider which we get from the Al-anon program:

The Four C's

"We didn't cause it."
"We can't control it."
"We can't cure it."
"But we can contribute to is."


to be continued...

What do I do now?
Steps toward healing and recovery for you.

To be continued.

Process the feeling.
Deciding what to do.
Restoration if possible.

Treatment Considerations?
What you should know about how treatment should go


These are just a few considerations for therapy.

  • Consider someone who is well-trained.  There are Certified Problem Gambling Counselors who are trained specifically for working with problem gamblers.

  • Consider a task oriented therapy.  There are certain tasks that will improve the success of treatment.  Some include, attending 12 step meetings, such as GA.   Writing Steps 1, and Step 4 and making amends are important.  Understanding triggers, a financial inventory and understand family of origin issues around money are important. 

  • Consider that therapist that has a balance between comfort and challenge. Most addicts/coaddicts in recovery need both.  They need someone to challenge them when they are complacent, in denial and going to make a huge mistake.  They also need nurturing when they feel so down and hopeless that they can't go on.

 There is hope for recovery.  Continue to read a learn about addiction and take the steps necessary for recovery and you will make progress.  The "failures" we hear about can be boiled down to not working a program.  If one works a program they will get get.  Co-addicts need a program of recovery as well.  This is often overlooked.  Finding your own journey in healing will help not only you, but also indirectly help the addict and your family.

A video about getting better boundaries between you and the addict