I have been close friends over 4 years now with a man who has a gambling problem. Initially I knew he liked to gamble for fun, but it’s been about 2 yrs that I’ve known how serious it’s been for several years. He will come to my house or call me afterwards, and I’m not sure I’m handling it in the best way. He tells me each time that he’s hit rock bottom and thinks he needs help, but within a day or two he says he’s in control of it and can do it on his own. I remind him every time that he can’t. He has family that bails him out financially, and his girlfriend repeatedly threatens to kick him out, and has briefly, but also gambles with him the majority of the time. I’ve watched his life become more out of control, and I’m quite concerned over his physical & mental health.
When he comes to me, I’ve talked as well as I can about addiction, that he needs outside help, remind him of his good qualities, assure him he’s not a bad person, and give him a list of resources available in our area. I’ve also shared my own struggles with addiction & have offered to go with him to an appointment or group. I’m starting to sound like a broken record, though.
Today he called after ditching work to gamble, and was argumentative with me. He said he’d handle it himself, and I said "yeah, cuz’ that’s been working so well for you". He hung up on me & ended up calling back within a few minutes. He’s told me many times that I’m brutally honest, yet he keeps coming back for more. I know I can’t make him get help or change his thinking, but I feel I may be missing a crucial point here. I’m curious how others have handled being in this position, and open to suggestions on how I might handle it better. Recently, being helpful and being enabling has become a fuzzy line for me. I guess in all honestly if I was helping, wouldn’t it have helped by now!?
Thanks for listening!