Dealing with It

The title itself might give this post away as being a bit emotional and angst ridden. But I need advice. And in the real world (as opposed to the blogger world), I can’t ask anyone without them asking all sorts of questions and prying much further than that which is actually required. Also, I’m very sorry about the length but please try and read it all the way through – I need all (and any of) the help I can get

I’m a very giving person – I give myself completely to those that mean the world to me. I do everything that is within my capability if it means I’m helping someone out. And most often than not, I usually can help out. But with this I can’t. Yesterday I felt helpless as I sat and watched my friend hurt.

My friend has a problem. An addiction. To gambling. So much so that he lost over £2K in last two days. I haven’t been friends with him long – though time is not an issue in defining great friendships. I knew he liked to have a little gamble. I mean, he even told me that he only had a certain allowance he gave himself and if he spent all of that, then that was that. Clearly it’s a lot worse than I could ever dream about.

Despite us being good friends, we’ve never had the deep and meaningful moment where our friendship has been cemented. A lot of our conversations are jestful abuse (him to me) followed by a few heated political debates to the most mind numbing and random rubbish. When he called yesterday morning, I was mentally prepared for the abuse but somehow it never came. Instead he was brutally honest with me. There was something so raw about it that I welled up. What do you say to someone who has accepted that they have a problem? Something that you know nothing about; that you can’t even begin to comprehend!

And so I gave him the best pep talk that I could. Told him that we would get through it. I found the number for Gamblers Anonymous and promised I would go to meetings if he was willing to try it. And this was all by mid day!

He called in the evening not ready to go home – do I want to chill? If you need me – I will be there. As a typical SL family, my parents are hardly likely to let me out no questions asked. But my amma has proved testament to the fact that she trusts me and supports me in everything I do (nearly!) and that she knew someone needed me and let me go.
“I don’t know what time I’ll be back amma.”
“So long as it’s not too late.”

I meet him, punch him on the arm (remember I throw a mean kickboxing punch!) and buy him dinner. We sit in the car and I see an incredibly vulnerable person – so different from the obnoxious bully I’m so familiar with. We drive around. And it gets late – I would stay all night if I could but I know he has to go home. I drive him home and we drive past his house twice. Still not ready. We sit in the car on a parallel road as I struggle to find the words that will help him feel that everything will be alright. We can’t prolong the inevitable and so he makes a move. Watching him walk to the door pains me. I have never seen him so dejected.

Silent tears fall all the way home.

I’ve confiscated his bank card in a bid that knowing he doesn’t have it means he can’t use it in the bookies but how do I help him cope with this?

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5 thoughts on “Dealing with It

  1. Frankly I have no experience helping someone out of an addiction. Maybe a few tending/mending of broken hearts. But, in his case, I think the battle is half won, as he admits that he has a problem.Most people don’t want to admit their addictions and keep on trying to justify them. What he needs right now is proper counseling and a good friend, or two. Someone who’d keep telling it’s ok, and motivating him to go for meetings and a fall back and somebody to take it out on. Coz their will be a lot of that, coming your way.Just hang in there with him. It’ll be a long process, and you might get tired and burn out. So you decide. Maybe dragging another friend into the scene might ease things too. That’s all I can think of, other than wishing you “Good Luck”. Both of you will need it. :o)

  2. Hello Mad Hatter,I am a partner of a company that writes software for casinos (small ones). In California a person can register as having gambling problems and casinos have to eject such people. (of course they can sneak/walk in and gamble but they can’t collect winnings. We are planing on integrating facial recognition features into our software so when such person walks in, alarm will sound) Hope UK has such services. Taking the bank card will not help, he can walk in to a bank and withdraw money. So professional help might be in order. Look at the problem without emotions. You can only help if you are strong. Be strong and I am sure you can. Like Chaarmax said, get another mutual friend into the mix.

  3. When dealing with something as serious as an addiction he’ll definitely need professional help. As a friend, what you can do in your capacity is to be there for him when he needs moral support.You’ve been doing fine so far. Hope everything goes well with him. BTW, off topic but perhaps it might be best to confide in a few good friends and seek advice in the ‘real’ world as well. I know it can be a pain dealing with the meaningless questions and prying, but sometimes help comes from some of the most unexpected sources.Take care.

  4. the first step to sorting things out is admitting and accepting you have a problem.. and your friend has done just that , hasn’t he?i’m not quite sure how to deal with addictions.. but why don’t you ask someone who might be able to guide you so that you can give him the most suitable advise?like, your mum or dad?i’m guessing if he follows up and attends the gamblers anonymous meetings and you keep his bank card with him, it should help…good luck! i hope everything works out!

  5. Chaarmax and Kalu: Thank you for the luck! I’ll need it. However – I don’t think it’s my place to tell someone else. I’ll ask him if anyone else knows and ultimately it’s up to him no?GF: I have told a friend of mine who doesn’t know him so hopefully that’ll help me!Spider: We can but wait and see!Thank you all for your advice!

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