Becoming Heroic Together
One of the most common ways we know that the villain of a story is truly villainous is when they directly threaten, not just the hero, but also the friends, family and/or entire world of the said hero. When this dramatic twist occurs in a book or movie we, as the audience, recognize that the hero is facing a truly despicable, truly dangerous foe, and we say:
“This is a Villain that doesn’t play fair!”
I myself have long thought the hero-villain metaphor to be very applicable to the experience of addiction and the pathology of problem gambling.
But as I have met, listened to and learned the stories of many, many clients–my metaphor has changed slightly.
When I began my work at the QCFE I mainly thought of the problem gambler as the potentially overcoming hero. In my imagined plot the gambler was the protagonist who needed to overcome the villain of problem gambling in order to save themselves and their world of family and friends from destruction. At that time, I had learned that each gambler affects not only themselves but the world around them. As a well-known PG statistic explains:
“Each individual problem gambler significantly affects 8-10 people around them.”
What was not clear at that time was how often the afflicted is saved by the family, friends and professionals around them. Three years later I still think of the recovering gambler as the hero, overcoming the “villain” hidden in himself, but I also consider those that assist to be the heroes of recovery.
A large part of this new understanding arose from the fact that I receive just as many calls, texts or emails from family members, friends and spouses, as from the gambler themselves. And almost as often as we admit those with a gambling problem into treatment, we receive requests to please help their family and friends.
These individuals call, text or email with various stories…
Sometimes it is a single individual requesting help, sometimes it is a single individual calling on behalf of an entire family that is concerned and actively involved. Sometimes they want to learn, sometimes they already know.
But whatever their story they are all seeking to help the hero become the hero, so that the world might live, as the best stories say, happily ever after.
You can be the hero in someone’s life.
If someone you know is struggling with a gambling problem, please reach out.
We’re Here to Help.
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