When the Chips are Down
anonymous Asks ...
I am a pathological gambler. I have lied to my family so many times to get money that no one trusts me anymore. I know they have good reasons to mistrust me but they cannot see that I have changed now and that I am really trying this time to stop gambling. What can I do to win back their trust? Nothing I say seems to convince them of anything.
Jim LaPierre Says ...
Addicts often make changes covertly instead of openly and directly communicating what the change is and how expectations might change. We are impatient people. Folks in Recovery often say to me, "I've been good for XXXX amount of time, why don't they trust me?
I then ask them how long were they untrustworthy?
Talk directly with your loved ones. Show them in your actions that you are changing. Ask them (patiently) what you could do that would help earn their trust back? We tend to fear vulnerability and so we decide what others want and we make plans without involving them. Keep It Simple and just ask what you can do to make amends and what would help them to see that you have indeed changed.
Chances are, your loved ones fear the same thing that you do - that you will return to gambling. Here's the difference - you have 100% control over whether you gamble and they have no control whatsoever. Being powerless leaves your loved ones feeling both afraid and without proof of any kind that things will be okay. Show them that you've changed and offer them chances to hold you accountable and check on your habits (new and old). They deserve reassurance and to know that you are in fact trustworthy. This is a process - trust is not easily earned and you may find that you struggle to trust yourself as well.
Keep up the great work and if there's a Gamblers Anonymous meeting anywhere near you go check it out!