Double trouble from gambling addiction
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?
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.
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.
This is exceedingly wise, and I thank you for sharing your thoughts with the rest of us. Write to Amy Dickinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.