The Prodigal Son

Truman was 30 years old when he called our center for help. He returned to HK after studying abroad. He worked as a salesman with monthly income of $15k yet he had $540k debts that he could hardly manage their minimum pay and maintain basic living.

Truman was indebted due to football gambling, which he enjoyed the excitement a lot and became addicted to it. He tried to quit many times but relapsed. He was frustrated.

Gambling not only cost Truman money, but also hurt his relationship with family. Although families lived in the same apartment, they act as strangers. Truman was deeply guilty toward families. During interview, he repeatedly expressed that families had cared and loved him all along. They supported him to study overseas and held high expectations on him. He felt sorry for letting them down. Truman was premorbidly a confident young man with strong family support. However, this man sitting in front of me looked so down, lonely and helpless. I can’t help to shudder at the thought of gambling. Fortunately, Truman was willing to seek help and learn the destructions brought by gambling. He realized that he needed collaboration with a counselor in order to abstain from gambling.

Truman worried losing job for debts, as well as potential disturbance from loan collectors which would threaten and disappoint families. He then spent all his salaries on repaying debts. However, he kept credit betting in hope of covering all the debts. Sadly, the more he wished to repay debts by betting, the more debts accumulated. Truman realized this vicious cycle during the treatment, which was an important step to making change. As he became willing to commit to treatment regularly, he also sorted out ways to manage the debts by individual voluntary arrangement (IVA).

At first Truman tried to keep it from families despite knowing his limited capabilities in managing debts. Months later, I called and learnt that he had disclosed his situation to his sister, whom supported him emotionally and financially. Truman felt relieved and gained courage to work hard for living. He also reported abstinence from gambling for almost 3 months. After the call, I believed that Truman did not let families down. Everybody makes mistakes. Most important thing is we learn from our mistakes.