This week the Daily Mail reported that a 68 year old Roman Catholic Nun had pleaded guilty to two counts of grand larceny – she had stolen nearly $130,000 from two parishes to fund her gambling addiction. Whilst the Daily Mail made light of the situation, using phrases such as “it would take more than an Our Father and a Hail Mary to make up for her trespasses”, for me, it just served as an example to all those people out there who think they can’t possibly be an addict because they are well educated, or come from a good home, or are a highly trained professional. Addiction can affect anyone.
The sad story about the depths to which the Nun from New York sank demonstrates a perfect example of someone who is older than the imagined typical addict, someone who is in a trusted position, and someone whose religion is against gambling. Yet despite all of these factors that do not make her the stereotypical example of an addict, she has been affected by addiction to the point where it has ruined her life. She faces up to six months in jail when she is sentenced, she is also disgraced and probably too ashamed to return to her vocation. Unfortunately for her, because of the irony surrounding a nun having a gambling addiction, her situation has now been broadcast internationally and so it is unlikely she will be able to escape the stigma in the way that others who remain anonymous can.
Therefore, I would urge anyone who has read the story to take heed of its message; addiction can affect anyone any time, from the nun suffering from gambling addiction to the nurse suffering from alcohol addiction. There is no shame in seeking help, trying to pretend everything is ok when it’s not is likely to result in the problem spiralling out of control as it sadly appears to have done in this case.