Posted by: breathliftlive | 12/01/2011

Counselling for both of you

The one thing I truly believe worked for us was counselling for both of us, together. When someone has a gambling problem, the whole thing can be so secretive with the lies that are told and the secrets that are kept. The gambler has access to (whether they utilise them or not) a range of outlets for help whether it be GA, counselling on their own, rehab etc which are all fantastic. The only thing is, we still don’t know or understand what is happening. They may be feeling better or more positive about things after they seek help but we’re still in the dark.

Tim (my husband) attended GA meetings, counselling, hypnotherapy, talked with sponsors, and even attended a rehab facility for  9 months (yes, 9). All of these either did or didn’t work in their own way. Different methods work for different people. Different people respond better or worse to different things. AND they need to be ready and willing and wanting to accept the help. What was the same, however, was the fact that I (and family) were no better off, no more informed and no less alone than we were before. I still felt exactly the same, if not more isolated because I felt I was being left behind. I had dealt with all of this every minute of every day. I had been hurt, betrayed, ashamed, embarrassed, humiliated, lied to and more and I still felt that way because there was no help for me to be able to deal with it. I could only go on the tiny bits and pieces of information Tim was willing to share. I couldn’t talk to Tim about it – he was the one causing the problems! He understood his side of the story and it was too much for him to try and understand the effects of what he was doing. You know what it’s like, you both try and talk but you both feel like a victim. You desperately want the other to understand you but they want you to hear them. There is no understanding, there is just confusion and anger. It was like hitting my head against a brick wall or like I was standing in a room alone screaming at the absolute top of my lungs…. to nobody. I didn’t talk to friends or family because they didn’t understand. I wish there was a site like this one around then!!! 🙂

We were lucky enough to be accepted into a study being undertaken by the Psychology department of a major QLD university on the effects of counselling for the couple Vs the individual. We were part of the ‘couples’ study and my god, did it make a difference. I WAS FINALLY BEING HEARD! Someone with an unbiased view was LISTENING to me. I was able to SPEAK my mind to Tim but he had to listen to me this time!

It also have me a greater understanding of what Tim was experiencing. He was able to let me into this ‘world’ a little but more and I could start to see things a little clearer. It doesn’t mean I understood it all (I still don’t) and it doesn’t mean I was ready then and there to forgive and forget. It just opened my eyes a little more to see the big picture.

From then on, we were a lot more open with each other because we were both willing to listen to each other more having had a better understanding of what we each were feeling. It wasn’t smooth sailing by any stretch of the imagination but it was getting better. He had a clearer picture of what his behaviour was doing and how it was effecting people. I had a better picture of why he went and how he felt. It was a start and it was what we needed.

I hope you can seek some counselling together. If you are a family member of the gambler and they don’t have a partner, see if you can go together. If anyone, anywhere needs help finding a counsellor please let me know and I will help you find someone.

I believe in this with every ounce of my being. Again, like I said before, different things work for different people. I figure when you’ve tried everything else like we had or if you can identify with what I have written above then it’s worth a shot, right?

Give your feedback below or if you’d prefer, email me your story or comments to and I can post it here anonymously.


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