SORRY FOR THE LONG POST!
I need advice, as I am at a loss. One of my best friends has recently (within the last year) developed a seriously horrible gambling addiction. She's blown through the money her dad left her, through her moderate paychecks, has even taken out not only payday loans, but loans against her 401. She usually takes those loans out to pay bills she's behind on, but can't control herself and she goes straight to the casino (video lottery). She suffers from depression and anxiety also, and is on medication that, more often than not, is not working and has to be adjusted. She also sometimes goes to her therapist. She has only recently confided in me about this addiction, as she is utterly ashamed of it, because she always lectured her mother, who is also a gambling addict, but not as severely.
She got behind on her car payments, so she decided to sell her new car (Payments were $300), to get a more affordable vehicle in the $8000 range. Her credit was so bad, her $8000 car loan payments are $300 anyway! She didn't know that would happen, but she'd already sold her newer car and "couldn't go without a car". I pointed out that she could've gotten an even cheaper beater just to get around or took a taxi or walked to work (a mile away, small town), but she said "No, I need a car to survive". I'm thinking "you need food and rent money to survive". She is a smoker, and eats fast food or frozen dinners.
Almost once a week she calls in to work or shows up late or wants to leave early (we worked for same company until very recently) because of her depression. FMLA covers her to keep her job, but the loss of income (as she's out of paid time off) only puts her in more of a bind. She's come to be to help her budget and have control of her finances to ensure she gets her life in order and I have budgeted everything out...until last night when she came over and said that she wrote $280 in bad checks to gamble.
I've already loaned her $200 at the beginning of this month when I set up a budget and bill payment plan for her, and now she pleaded and cried and begged for another $300 to cover those checks before they go through and that she'll never do this again, this is it, this is the worst she's ever felt. I was so angry and said "No" repeatedly, but had finally given in with a quickly scribbled written contract of a repayment plan for the $500 she will now owe me. I've told her about a Gamblers Anonymous group that meets 2x a week and she said she'll go. She said she promises to quit smoking within a month and that she'll find a 2nd job. I just feel sick about the whole thing. I have my own problems, and I'm more than happy to help my friends and family, but it's so frustrating dealing with an addict. I've never had to really help one before. Please, any tips, suggestions, advice on how to help her is much appreciated. I'm out of my depth here with gambling.
#gambling #friendship #addiction #paydayloans #debt #depression #anxiety