Gam­bler can’t stop check­ing his phone Dear An­nie

Sherbrooke Record - - CLASSIFIED -

MON­DAY, DE­CEM­BER 3, 2018

Dear An­nie: I have not seen this prob­lem dis­cussed in your column and would re­ally like your ad­vice on this sit­u­a­tion, as it’s dam­aged a 50-year friend­ship. My buddy Roger has be­come ad­dicted to gambling. He bets on ev­ery sport and is con­sumed with fol­low­ing his bets on his cell­phone. He is al­ways look­ing down at his phone at any so­cial gath­er­ing. Roger even had his phone in his face while his son was giv­ing a heart­warm­ing speech dur­ing his other son’s wed­ding. Ev­ery­one was stand­ing, but Roger was seated with his phone in his hand, with the screen light shin­ing in his face. Roger al­ways ap­pears to be lost in his thoughts and un­aware of any­thing else around him. It is in­sult­ing. A mu­tual friend sug­gest an in­ter­ven­tion years ago to try to help Roger. I wor­ried that it could drive a wedge be­tween us. The friend passed away, and noth­ing was said.

The fi­nal blow was this past week­end. A band we used to love came to town. It was Roger and his wife’s 40th an­niver­sary, and my wife and I treated them to tick­ets to the show. Roger left his seat just as the show started and spent the whole show out­side the au­di­to­rium. I know he went to the lobby to check his bets on his phone.

His rude­ness has ex­isted for years, and it’s hard to be around him. Our wives are friends, and I don’t want this to af­fect their re­la­tion­ship. Roger’s wife looks the other way, know­ing it keeps peace in their home. I fear that Roger will even­tu­ally lose ev­ery­thing, and I be­lieve that his gambling ad­dic­tion is too se­ri­ous for just a friend to be able to help. I’m at a loss as to what to do. He was my best friend, but now he’s a stranger. — Gambling a Friend­ship

Dear Gambling a Friend­ship: Ad­dic­tion is an all-con­sum­ing beast, and I’m sorry to hear about what it’s do­ing to your friend. Sadly, he’s not alone. The North Amer­i­can Foun­da­tion for Gambling Ad­dic­tion es­ti­mates that about 10 mil­lion peo­ple in the United States have gambling prob­lems. And ac­cord­ing to the Florida Coun­cil on Com­pul­sive Gambling, com­pul­sion tends to de­velop more quickly in peo­ple who are do­ing con­tin­ual forms of gambling, such as on­line bet­ting.

Be­fore call­ing it quits, it’s worth sit­ting Roger down for a heart-to-heart and ex­press­ing your con­cerns. He most likely won’t re­act well — so pre­pare your­self for that. But it just might plant a seed some­where in the back of his mind telling him that he needs help. Whether or not that seed grows is up to him, but it’s worth try­ing to plant it. If he re­fuses to get help and you feel un­healthy around him, you’re not ob­li­gated to keep spend­ing time with him. Your wife might en­cour­age his wife to check out sup­port groups for the loved ones of gambling ad­dicts, such as Gam-anon (https://www.gam-anon.org). In fact, you might ben­e­fit from at­tend­ing some meet­ings of such a group, as well.

“Ask Me Any­thing: A Year of Ad­vice From Dear An­nie” is out now! An­nie Lane’s de­but book — fea­tur­ing fa­vorite col­umns on love, friend­ship, fam­ily and eti­quette — is avail­able as a pa­per­back and e-book. Visit http://www.cre­ator­spub­lish­ing.com for more in­for­ma­tion.

Send your ques­tions for An­nie Lane to dear­an­[email protected]­ators.com.

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