When it comes to helping your partner manage their gambling addiction, all you can do is be there for them. When it comes to such a complicated, sensitive issue such as this, there are no easy answers or one size fits all strategies. While your partner must take charge of and responsibility of their own actions, their journey to recovery can be supported and comforted with the help of a loving and understanding partner.
Gambling addiction is a disorder that affects over 6 million Americans and goes beyond the 'risky behaviors' of the occasional bet or lotto ticket. An addiction includes an uncontrollable urge to gamble despite any potential financial, emotional, and physical consequences. Addiction manifests itself in different ways, but more often than not is characterized as behaviors that take away from what someone has instead of adding to it. There is no single cause of addiction, as some may develop from a genetic predisposition or certain traumatic life events; this means that being there for your partner on their journey is even more important.
It's important to remember that simply being there for them does not have to mean becoming a source of financial assistance. Oftentimes, when faced with an extreme problem such as an addiction, loved ones may feel the need to step in and provide help. It’s natural to want to help, but your partner needs to take the responsibility of their own recovery and that includes financially. What they really need from you is support, not money.
Firstly, try to better understand the addiction. Research is important, so seek out experts, talk to people who have gone through the same situation, and find support groups. Read up on the science behind addiction and how people who have overcome it found success. Understanding an addiction also means knowing what to watch for and when to seek help. You cannot fully understand the obsession unless you have experienced it firsthand, but knowledge is still beneficial, helping you feel less helpless and giving you hope that your partner can be restored to their former self.
Secondly, practice self-care. Supporting someone can be emotionally draining and debilitating for not just your partner, but for yourself as well. Part of healthy self-care is also knowing your own limits, like when saying ‘no’ and making sure you take care of yourself first. Participate in activities that give you peace of mind and help reconnect with your sense of purpose in live.
Finally, know when you need more than emotional support. If your partner’s behavior is especially pressing and difficult to handle, look into professional counselors, psychologists, and social workers who specialize in addiction and mental health. They can provide valuable resources that bring in unbiased perspectives and suggestions unvarnished by personal bias or emotions.
Taking care of a partner struggling with a gambling addiction is not only disheartening, but draining. It is important to remember that your partner is suffering too, and although they should take responsibility of their own behaviour, they still need emotional and moral backing of a loving partner. It's no doubt an difficult and uphill journey, but it is one that will reap long-term rewards.