How To Help Your Gambling-Addicted Friend

(Photo: Karramba Production/Shutterstock)
(Photo: Karramba Production/Shutterstock)

You used to think your friend enjoyed gambling in the same way you did—as an occasional night out of entertainment, with the small chance you might come out of it with a little more money. But it’s been bothering you lately—how secretive he’s being about what he’s been up to lately, how he missed that big get-together all of your crew had been planning for weeks, not to mention how he’s been letting important things like projects at work and paying bills slide. What to do if you know your pal has a gambling problem? It won’t be easy, but you can help.

Help them realize their gambling is an issue

Your friend may be so caught up that they can’t see how their gambling is affecting their life and the lives of their friends and loved ones. Gently illustrate how it’s hurting them and their circle.

Reinforce the fact that recovering from this addiction is feasible

They may feel at a loss and are continuing this downward spiral as they see no way out. Tell them how much you strongly believe that they have it in them to get out of this addiction with the help of professional treatment.

Find them professional help

Once they’ve come around to seeking help, be ready with information on expert help in the city. You can find information online about counsellors who specialize in gambling addictions.

Act as support in helping them talk to others about their problem

If their family or close friends are unaware of their gambling problem, offer to be there for them to help open up the discussion. They may feel ashamed and scared and you being there as a friend (and in the role of mediator of sorts) may be what they need to face up to their problem with those around him.

Be there for them when they feel the urge to gamble

If your friend seeks help in a group or agency, they may find a support there who is in recovery who they can confide in and call when they feel like they might gamble. After all, they may feel more at ease with someone who has gone through the same thing. But if not, you can offer to be there for them to call or see when they feel they might go gamble. What to do when you get this type of phone call from them? Paint the picture of what happens when the gamble and how it risks not only their finances, but their relationships and health. It might help to fill their time with another activity—consider a new activity you can try out together.

Karen Kwan

Karen Kwan

Karen Kwan is a freelance writer based in Toronto. Her work has appeared in Flare, Elle Canada and ElleCanada.com, Glow, Metro, Huffington Post Canada, Travelife and Travel + Escape. She also runs her blog, HealthandSwellness.com, where she writes about health, beauty, fitness and lifestyle.

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