I had been married for 24 years during which time I had built, brick by brick, a wall round myself. I built this wall initially with small bricks made from doubt, suspicion and irritation. As time progressed the bricks I used got bigger and bigger. Some were made from lies, some from fear and some from jealousy. As I completed my wall I used my biggest bricks made from debt, self loathing, insecurity, pain, hurt and anger.

My wall protected me from reality and as I could not see over my wall I could not see what was happening to my life. No one could get through my wall I thought I was safe

Six year ago I discovered that my wife was a compulsive gambler and my wall came crashing down.

Probably for the first time since I got married I was forced to deal with the reality that my life was a sham. My wife had become a stranger, I had lost all my friends, I had debts I could not repay. I was not a husband or father, but a person whose only purpose in life was to enable my wife to gamble.

I did not know what to do or where to turn. Then I found Gam-Anon.

Like many others I came to my first meeting not knowing what to expect. My wife had phoned the GA help line who had mentioned Gam-Anon and been to her first GA meeting earlier that week. I thought I should go along to her next meeting to give her a bit of support.

I walked into a room full of strangers dragging my bricks behind me. From the minute I began to tell my story I knew I was in the right place. No one judged me and I could start to find me again.

Gam-Anon made me realise that my wall may have fallen down but the bricks I used to build it were still lying all around me.

But for the first time I had choices. I could either used my bricks to rebuild my wall or I could use the new bricks that Gam-Anon were giving me to rebuild my life and my marriage.

The first brick I was given was hope. I decided to used this brick and one day at a time, brick by brick, I began, not to build a new wall, but a path I could follow to serenity.

I have been in the fellowship for 6 years and have been steadily moving along my path.
The path has not been straight. Sometimes I would walk along my path, sometimes I would run but some part of the path were so steep I did not think I could climb them.

When I was unsure of my route or came to a crossroads and did not know which way to turn, I knew that I could ask my Gam-Anon room who would help me choose the right path.

I have continued to build my path, but the bricks I now use are happiness, contentment, self worth, confidence, love and serenity.

I also know that I will never need to walk my path alone. I will always have my Gam-Anon friends with me and I know they will pick me up if I stumble or fall on my path.

I can only thank my higher power for putting me on the path to my first meeting.

Without Gam-Anon and GA. I would not have rebuilt my marriage, fallen in love again and found the strength to try to atone for the damage I did while building my wall.

Words alone are not sufficient to thank my room for the bricks they have given me to build my path and for new friendships I have made that will last a lifetime.

Dave, Dundee Gam-Anon

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