When Someone You Love Is Addicted
edited: Saturday, September 30, 2006
By Blondie Clayton
Rated "G" by the Author.
Posted: Saturday, September 30, 2006
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What you need to know about addictions and where to turn for help
The ringing phone woke Robert and Virginia (not their real names) out of a deep sleep. “Who could that be? Could something have happened to one of our mothers, the children, grandchildren? Who? That would warrant such an early morning call.”
The phone rang again and fell silent, as if someone had misdialed, or wasn’t sure of the number they called. This time it didn’t stop; it was persistent.
“Hello” said the voice on the other end of the line. It was a female.
“Mr. Robert”, she said.
Virginia heard him mumble: “What is this old bitty doing out at 4:00 in the morning?”
“The casino again,” he said.
“Why would she not want to get help?” Thought Virginia; “It is ruining her financially and placing her children in a position to mete out tough love”.
This habit, hidden under the cloak of “Just relaxing; I just like playing,” had become a monster to this family. Gambling had stolen Ramona’s (not her real name) livelihood; drained off not only her spouse's retirement benefits, but hers. Her bills were always behind. The equity in their home was soon sucked out. A Reverse Mortgage plan came just in time to save the home of 40 years; otherwise, it would have been lost to foreclosure. Ramona’s adult children could no longer afford to pay their parents mortgage and theirs.
The children of her womb struggled with respect for a woman they had loved and admired, wondering how to love her through this behavior. At times she verbally assaulted them because they would not feed into her lies and deception by providing money to fix what she gambled away.
Ramona always had financial dramas going on: “Someone stole my check book; I had some money and now it is gone, stolen right out of my purse.”
Where will it stop? She couldn’t be trusted even as a member of the church; if money was involved, it would disappear and Ramona could not account for it.
You could have a family member named Ramona, whom you love but are at a lost to cope with this gambling sickness. Mama Ramona who once was respected and admired has become a thief and a liar. You are confused, perhaps still in denial about what you see. You may even feel ashamed, or are just plain tired of trying to cover up what is happening.
That person needs help and so do you.
Recognize the signs: financial lack could be evidence of a deeper problem. Listen to the conversations: complaints about bad checks; others stealing from them. Their negative response when you refuse to feed their habit, give them money to replace money they should have but don’t. Beware! Of tearful manipulation and lies to gain your sympathy, to make you give up the money. Are they always complaining about how broke they are? Don’t fall for it! Even if they curse you out and demean you. It's not you they are angry with. It’s because you did not buy into their manipulation.
It is difficult to be objective when you are so close to that husband, daughter, son, wife, mother, uncle, father, etc. Feeling sorry for that person is a normal reaction, but it will not help them. Limit your financial help, or you too will be in the poor house. Whatever you give will never be enough.
Stop participating. Recognize that you are dealing with a sickness and not the person. Whatever that person was to you, they are not that any longer. The disease has taken them over. You cannot help them as long as you try to see them the way they were.
Get help for you! Contact local gambling support groups through www.yellowpages.aol.com; www.Chancetochange.org; www.youthinformation.com. Read the government’s problem gambling prevention plan at www.hjelpelinjen.no.
The turning point comes when the gambler stops lying and face the fact that they have a problem, then they can receive help. Unfortunately, that wakeup call may not come for years. Don’t give up!
An ex-drug addict once shared of being a functional addict and how she told her pushers that God was going to deliver her. She kept confessing it over and over. You guessed it! She is no longer a drug addict. The Power of Words has been proven. Perhaps that story might help you to stay the course for your loved one, instead of calling doom down upon them.
Until the gambler decides they have had enough and want help, here are some prayerful words that have worked for others, perhaps they will work for you while you wait to see your loved one transformed:
“God, maker of the heavens and the earth, ____________(insert name) is sick with gambling habits that have destroyed his/her logic. I feel powerless to change the course of his/her life. I seek you, asking you to intervene in___________(insert name),habit; grant him/her mercy, and forgive him/her for where they got out of balance with whom they are. Restore, God, as only you can because every story I have heard showed that when your people were powerless, when man had no answers, you stepped in and showed your power supreme. Look down upon___________(insert name) and deliver him/her from this entanglement. Father, be glorified in __________(insert name) life forever.
Don’t just say the words but meditate on them. Expect there will be times when it looks like your loved one is turning around, don’t stop praying. A time will come when you know that you know that person has been delivered.
Our father can use any method he chooses to restore your loved one. It’s okay. Be encouraged, all is never lost.