Dou­ble trou­ble from gam­bling ad­dic­tion

The Washington Post Sunday - - ONLOVE -

Dear Amy My wife and I got into big trou­ble be­cause of our gam­bling. We had to file for bank­ruptcy due to credit card debt. We got a divorce over it all. I was left to pay back $13,000 and went to gam­blers’ re­hab.

We ended up get­ting re­mar­ried with the un­der­stand­ing that we both go to re­hab. She quit gam­bling for a while, but is now gam­bling again.

I told her I would give her no more money to gam­ble, so she is now work­ing full time to sup­port her habit. She stays out all night on her gam­bling binges, 12 to 18 hours at a stretch. If I say any­thing, she says I am try­ing to con­trol her.

I am afraid she will start run­ning up gam­bling debts again. She says it’s none of my busi­ness.

Am I wrong to say she shouldn’t stay out all night? Don’t I have a right to know if she is bor­row­ing to gam­ble again?

For­mer Gam­bler

Your wife will con­tinue to gam­ble un­til she can stop. She will stay up all night, spend all her money — and yours — and plunge back into debt to feed her ad­dic­tion.

You can’t make her stop gam­bling. You can only try to pro­tect your­self from the rav­ages of her gam­bling, in­tro­duce her to the ac­tual con­se­quences of her ad­dic­tion and try to urge her into re­hab.

You should see a lawyer and get in touch with your spon­sor from re­hab. Tell them that your wife has re­lapsed and ask what you need to do to pro­tect your­self from her ad­dic­tion. You should also at­tend reg­u­lar sup­port meet­ings to stay in re­cov­ery.

Un­for­tu­nately, you may need to divorce your wife again.

Dear Amy

I have an ad­di­tional sug­ges­tion for “Wish­ing for a Mir­a­cle,” who desperately wants her mother to change from self­ish to kind.

Dur­ing a moment of peace and quiet, she should make a list of her mom’s good points (she ac­tu­ally does have some). Then be­fore any vis­its or phone calls, med­i­tate on this list.

I am more than 50 years old. My mother was ver­bally abu­sive and used a great deal of phys­i­cal pun­ish­ment. The worst can still come out of her, even from 2,000 miles away. Some fam­ily mem­bers don’t speak to her.

I have made a de­ci­sion to stay in her life if only to be there for an old woman in her fi­nal years. I have no ex­pec­ta­tions of her. As dif­fi­cult as she is, I am who I am be­cause of and in spite of her. She and my dad worked hard and sac­ri­ficed much to raise us.

I have for­given my mother but set the bound­aries you sug­gested in your re­sponse.

I be­lieve I have the best re­la­tion­ship that is pos­si­ble with my mother. And that’s good enough.

Breath­ing Deeply

This is ex­ceed­ingly wise, and I thank you for shar­ing your thoughts with the rest of us. Write to Amy Dick­in­son at askamy@tribune.com or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michi­gan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

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