Friday, January 11, 2008

Who to tell and when?

There is so much to consider....consequences, shame, embarrassment..

Almost no one knew I had a gambling problem..well…surely some people had figured it out on their own…but…I had told almost no one…..I confided in only one close friend.

When I finally ‘told’ my husband…I did it in writing…I was so afraid..and ashamed…I couldn’t actually speak what I’d done.

But…I didn’t tell him until my back was against the wall…we were living paycheck to paycheck and every credit card that we had was maxed out….on April 15, 2002, I was supposed to write a check to the I.R.S. and didn’t have the funds to do it..and I had no way to get them.

I had to tell.

Well…THAT is a story for another day…but…I can remember him asking me once “I wish you’d told me sooner…didn’t you know you had a problem at ten thousand dollars? Or twenty? Why didn’t you tell me at fifty??”

There are many reasons why I didn’t…reasons he will never understand…and it would have been better had I told him sooner…but… I didn’t.

But…there were so many other people to consider…

Do I tell…

My boss/co-workers?
Other relatives?
The world at large???

And even….when we tell (spouses, for instance)..we do not always tell EVERYTHING.

When I attended my first g.a. meeting…LONG before my husband knew anything…I was strongly encouraged to tell him.

I have seen many many people ‘in recovery’ strongly encourage OTHERS to let go of the secret.

And…keeping secrets is so painful.
And….i have seen many many people who were afraid to tell…fearing the worst..only later to say, as I did…I should have told him/her sooner.

It sort of bothers me, though…that people can make such a blanket statement….that we ‘should tell’ that it will be the ‘best thing’….

Those people that told me that…they didn’t know me….maybe my husband would have beaten me…or shot me?? What do they know about my life?

I believe that no one can tell us who to tell and when…only we know our own lives.


Often..we THINK we KNOW things….and we are wrong.

As for myself…I KNEW that my husband would leave…or at the very least, would never forgive me.

I was wrong.

In the beginning, I asked him not to tell anyone else…I was embarrassed. He shared it only with a few people…his brother…a close friend…he was going through hell too….he needed to dump..who could blame him?

But…after I started feeling better…DOING better…I slowly began to tell other people in my life.

My inlaws…a few close friends.

It helped me on many levels.

People need to know that I no longer gamble and why -so that they do not encourage me to do it AND..because…more than likely they knew that I needed help before I did….and people who care about me…would be happy to know that I was getting the help I needed.

As time goes on…I have shared this with more and more people in my life....from very close acquaintances.

I have never discussed it with my children. They are teenagers…and I know my kids….there is literature all around the house..I am sure they are aware on some level…and there will come a time when we sit down to discuss it all…but that time is not here just yet.

At this point..the only reason that I would not divulge this to EVERYONE is to protect my husband and children….I have hurt them enough…but as time goes on…things will change…I will change…and they will too…I imagine I will feel more and more compelled to tell the world…that…we can be free.

For me...whether or not I should tell...USED to revolve around:

Do they need to know?
Would it help me if I told them?

and NOW...the question is simply..

Will it hurt someone if I do tell?....and if it worth it?


You see, a person of my acquaintance used to divide people into three categories: those who would prefer to have nothing to hide than have to lie, those who would rather lie than have nothing to hide, and finally those who love both lies and secrets. -- Albert Camus

No comments: