Chemical Use Assessment/History and Treatment Recommendations

ChemicalUse Assessment/History and Treatment Recommendations



ChemicalUse Assessment/History and Treatment Recommendations

Jenniferis 45 years old and was interviewed on March 7, 2016. She wasassessed because she is addicted to gambling but wishes to stop. Theentire information was gathered from her during the interview.


Thelady started off by going to horse races and betting small amounts onhorses ten years ago. She had no other occupation other than stayingat home to take care of the home, her husband and her children. Thiscould have made her feel idle and of little worth to her husband. Itis also possible that at some point, staying at home could havebecome boring to her. For that reason, she decided to go intogambling so that she could surprise him with a huge sum of money. Shewas optimistic that she could win a big sum and give her husband anice surprise. This possibly drove her deeper into gambling. Added tothe fact that her husband is only a plumber and might be earninglittle. Betting on horses with friends might have introduced her to away of making her money and to enjoy her time. Even though she didnot lose control with betting on horses, it introduced her to thedesire to win money. Later on, she started purchasing lotterytickets, spending around $22 every week, which is still her weeklyexpenditure.

Jenniferbegan playing slot machines six years ago. As she was waiting for afriend in a coffee shop, she observed how a man operating on anopening machine won a special prize. Since then, she began to spendthe change from the coffee price on slot machines. This got her moreand more addicted, and she spent more time playing on the machines.Consequently, she began to ignore her friends, preferring to bealone. This could help her stay hidden and feel at ease. She startedplaying slot machines in her hometown but later decided to travel toa nearby town and play in the track and casino. She did not wantneighbors and people who recognized her to see her.


Jenniferis currently addicted to gambling. She plays the lottery, spendingabout $22 per week. She also plays the slot machines. Every week, shegoes to the track and casino in the next town thrice. At every game,she only gives up after losing all the money she has saved for fare.She is currently faced with family issues with her husband andchildren and would like to break loose from the addiction. This isthe reason she has contacted the therapist for help. She said she isready to do whatever it takes, as long as she can quit gambling.According to her, this is because she cannot cope with the situationsshe finds herself in and feels she cannot control it by herself.

Indicatorsof Use/Abuse/Dependency

Thelady is seen as dependent on gambling because of certain indicators.She is unable to stop gambling by herself. Every day she wakes uphoping to stop the habit, but, she often ends up going back. Duringthe games, she does not stop gambling until she has lost all. Sheeven has to stoop as low as stealing money from her daughters. Whenasked to account for her spending by her son, she is unable to do so.Even though she is aware that she once lost a lot of money togambling, and has become so much in debt she cannot settle, she stillcontinues with gambling. Even though she knows her husband willdivorce her if he discovers her habit, she still continues. Otherindicators include her withdrawal from her friends, constant lies andexcuses and her shame and depression.

Attitudeand Behavior

Jenniferis despaired and ashamed. She thinks that everyone disbelieves her.She also feels she can only be free by being alone. She lies to bothher family and friends about her constant trips to the next town.When she feels emotionally down, she drinks too much alcohol in anattempt to forget everything. Jennifer is often very nervous and hasdifficulty sleeping. She does not like to talk at home and avoidsdoing any housework. She has let her house the run down and has alsoneglected her personal appearance. She also feels depressed andashamed since she always has to lie, yet can’t stop it.

Someof these behaviors have contributed to intensifying her addiction.Addiction is the “compulsive behavior” that imprisons the desireof humans by attachment (May, 1988).


Jenniferavoids her friends because she does not want them to see her. She hasalso withdrawn from the society because she wants to be free byherself. She lies to the friends she meets and makes false excusesfor her trips to the next town. It is possible to assume that she hascompletely lost touch with the society and feels alone in the world.Jennifer’s attention has been distorted and is incapable of lovingin full presence (May, 1988).


Thelady spends $22 every week on the lottery. She also plays slotmachines up to about $165 every week, spending about $54 every day.Whenever she plays, she does not stop until she has lost all themoney she has and even the ones she wins, save for the $5 she oftenkeeps for her fare back home. Jennifer has spent her entire savingson gambling and is now in debt. Her gambling habit has led to a sumof $1650 in debt from her small personal loan which she is unable tomeet. Sometimes she has to steal money from the rooms of herdaughters. Always needing more is what has driven her to spend toomuch and incur a large debt (May, 1988).


Jenniferis married to Michael. She has been married to him for 25 years, andthey have two daughters, one 23 and the other 20 years old. They alsohave a son who is 11 years old. Before becoming addicted to gambling,Jennifer loved her family. She was loved and trusted by both herdaughters, her son and her husband. However, since she becameaddicted, she stopped performing her roles as a mother and a wife.Her relationship with her husband is worsening continuously. Shefeels incapable to make love to her husband and has not done so fortwo months now. Probably, after trying many times to make love to herwithout any success, he lost interest completely. She even fears thatin case Michael, her husband, realizes that she has been gambling andis now in a huge debt but still cannot stop he would file for adivorce. Jennifer also does not like to talk in her house. Thisprobably makes her daughters and son to begin to suspect that thereis something wrong with their mother.

Jennifereven lies to her family members. She admits to them that she has aproblem, but cannot share with them the truth about it. Instead oftaking care of her house, she has let it run down. She has alsoneglected her personal appearance. Since it is not possible to talkto her, her daughters now confront her, which probably hurts her verymuch. Her husband has begun to question her about her spending, eventhough he was often not worried about money at home. This makes herfeel terrible because she has no good answer to give her husband.Even though she knows it is wrong to go through the drawers in herdaughters’ rooms, she does so sometimes so that she can get themoney for gambling.

Jenniferwants her family back, but she knows she cannot have them back aslong as she remains addicted to gambling. She wants to stop but feelsshe cannot do it alone. She has tried to stop, every night when shegoes to bed, she thinks she is not going to gamble the next day.However, the next day she finds herself going back, she can’t helpit.


Thelady has no serious legal history. She has not been involved in anyserious legal issue. She was once detained by police for beingexcessively drunk, but her husband bailed her out.


Jenniferwas once admitted for intoxication when she drunk very much in oneoccasion. She has also had mild depressions and headaches which sherelieves using painkillers. She also sometimes uses sleeping pillswhen she finds it hard to sleep.


Jenniferwas brought up in a Christian home. When she got married, Michaeltook her to his church, the Catholic Church. She was devoted tochurch activities and made friends with other women at the church.These are the same women who introduced her to betting on horse racesas a way of having a good time. After realizing she was addicted togambling, she stopped going to church and praying because shebelieves that addiction is a sin.


Jenniferlooks like someone who lives alone in her world. Her eyes are coloredfor lack of sleep, and she looks malnourished. It is important to saythat all humans were created with a desire for God (May, 1988).However, due to sin in the world, she channeled her desire to winningmoney of her own. In reacting to sin, Jennifer’s mind respondedthrough addiction (May, 1988). According to May (1988), addiction isa form of idolatry. In this case, one diverts his or her worship fromGod to the object of attachment. Addiction is a state in which onefeels compelled, obsessed or preoccupied. In this way, one’s willand desire are enslaved (May, 1988).

BecauseJennifer already feels depressed and ashamed of her addiction, herdesire also goes to chemicals like alcohol and sleeping pills.Whenever she feels depressed, she drinks very much. And whenever shecannot sleep, she takes sleeping pills. It is possible that she isalso slowly becoming dependent on (addicted to) these chemicals(Doweiko, 2015).


Jennifer’scase can easily be solved by appealing to her spirituality. Accordingto Gerald May (1988), she can be helped by detaching her desire fromgambling and the chemicals, a process of reversing that is referredto as freedom. The process is only possible through grace. The spaceswithin humans where grace might flow are filled up by the addictions.As a result of sin, humans are unable to do what is right.

Jennifershould be made to understand that, through his grace, God can forgiveher of her sins and bring her back to her family. She should bedirected to pray to God for forgiveness and instead of going to thecasinos and the other places she goes to play, she should go insteadto church and join even the choir. This will ensure that she remainscommitted and does not feel bored anymore. The detachment of herdesire will happen slowly through learning process (May, 1988).

Sheshould also be made to understand that she may become addicted toalcohol and the sleeping pills. With continued use, she may developtolerance and, later on, begin to want more and more. Before sherealizes it, she will already be addicted to them. She should,therefore, be advised to stop drinking and using these drugs beforeit is too late (Doweiko, 2015).

Itshould be explained to Jennifer that God designed family love so thatit could keep everyone happy. She should be advised to share herproblem with her husband and her children. They will be veryinstrumental in helping her to recover. This will give her some senseof accountability. When she feels accountable to her family, she willbe able to overcome the urge when it comes (Doweiko, 2015).


Throughgrace, Jennifer, who is addicted to gambling and also drinks alcohol,can be healed. She just needs to learn about God’s grace and howGod can forgive him and help him. She also needs to find an activityin the church as a means of keeping herself busy whenever she is leftalone and has nothing to do at home. These will help her detach fromher desire for gambling and gain freedom.


Doweiko,H. E. (2015). Concepts of chemical dependency (9th). Stamford, CT:Cengage Learning. ISBN: 9781285455136

May,G. G. (1988). Addiction &amp Grace: Love and Spirituality in thehealing of addictions. New York, NY: HarperCollins. ISBN:9780061122439