"My Husband is a Compulsive Gambler"

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His Turn, continued

"I started to get anxious about money around the time Sean was born. I felt tremendous pressure to give my children a better life than I'd had. I also lost touch with my old friends since my hours were so different from everyone else's. When I worked the 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. shift, I fell into the habit of stopping off at the dog track on the way home.

"At first it was a lark, something to do. I felt less lonely at the track. I would catch the last two or three races. The first couple of times I won decent money -- two nights in a row, I came home with more than five thousand dollars in my pocket. The next night, I gambled it all away.

"That became a pattern. Winning, losing, winning, losing. All the time I was betting, I was trying to pay off the bills, too. When I was short, I'd get cash advances on my credit card to use at the track. Or I'd borrow from my mother, even daughter once or twice. I didn't want Kim to know. I was secretive and defensive, and when she confronted me or asked about money, I'd clam up or lash out at her. And I adamantly denied that I was gambling.

"As time went on, I got deeper and deeper in debt. Of course, I lied through my teeth and told her I'd never do it again, but all I was waiting for was another chance at the track.

"I did attend one Gambler's Anonymous meeting, but I didn't stay until the end. I thought the program was ridiculous. 'I'm not as sick as these people,' I told myself. When Kim laid down the law and kicked me out, I was indignant at first. But I knew she was right. I started going to GA after work in the evening and vowed to stick with it -- and I have. But I can't make Kim believe that I've changed for good. She keeps throwing my past mistakes back in my face. She blames me for everything. When she does, I can't help getting mad. I'm afraid it might be too late to save our marriage, but I want to try."

Continued on page 5:  The Counselor's Turn


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