Before I realized I had a gambling problem, I found myself in the midst of chaos. I needed and wanted help, and I knew the only way would be to go through treatment. In order to get past the demons and to be able to help the people I had hurt, I needed to help myself first.
It was difficult to have the first conversation, because it meant I had to change. Gambling pulls you inward. You want to be in that cocoon again and not be bothered. But I knew I wanted to be a better person.
My family knew nothing of my gambling addiction and my husband was blindsided when I checked myself into treatment after incurring legal trouble. It was horrible having to tell him, but he realized gambling addiction was a disease and he stood by me. It is a difficult conversation to have when a loved one has any form of addiction. You want them to not be hurting and not to hurt themselves, either. My family and I have had many difficult conversations.
In sharing my story, hopefully I can teach someone else. If you’re concerned about someone, speak up and say, “I love you. We need to do this because I love you. My love is unconditional and I am not going to let you hurt yourself anymore. Let’s find a place where we can get hope and help together.”