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Please help me figure out how to help someone

My childhood friend of 40 years is in bad, bad shape. He is 48 but looks a decade older; he is a rugged, strong guy who is very physically capable but I think because he appears older he is probably being discriminated against because of age.

He is a skilled "old school" mechanic (heavy equipment and diesel), but doesn't have any certifications. He is not and cannot be computer literate in any way. He is dyslexic and ashamed, as well. For the last decade I have encouraged him to go for more certifications or a CDL-A license, etc. but anything that involves reading or studying or learning, he is intimidated and overwhelmed beyond belief.

He's been out of work for the last year and has been desperately trying to stay afloat since then. Now he is down to $1.68 in his bank account, and his pride won't let him ask family or friends for money. He lives in a house his mother owns (she doesn't live there)so doesn't have to pay rent. I have been paying his electric and phone, and helping him buy groceries for the last six months. I can see in his face how hard it is for him to accept these small things.

He spends day after day after day looking for jobs. He will clean chimneys, shovel snow off roofs, plow snow, do landscaping, handyman work, anything he can find from day to day. I helped him get a landscaping/handyman business going last year, and he had loads of clients coming in! But a few weeks into it, he just bailed. He could not handle the organization side of things and made a big mess.

He takes aluminum cans and other metal to a place he can get money for it, he has sold just about everything he has over the last year. Old junk cars, boat, equipment, things he found at flea markets, etc. He would have a perpetual yard sale all summer long (we are in New England) just to make a few bucks.

He tries to make a dollar stretch as far as he can. He doesnt splurge on ANYTHING because the money isn't there. He has two kids (teens) with his ex and pays her no support because there is no money. But he is a good father and helps out in any ways he can, and his family helps with extras for the kids, even college funds.

My point is, and I'm sorry this is long, I am worried for my friend. He has no insurance, not a pot to piss in, and is becoming more depressed and anxiety ridden by the day. He tries not to let it show, but today he finally broke down and told me how desperate things have become.

I plan to take off work next Friday to go to the unemployment office with him (for anything they have), and to Lowe's and Home Depot (for warehouse or loading jobs, he cannot cashier), the hospitals (for security or janitorial type jobs), and finally to a couple of staffing agencies that hire blue collar guys.

I am starting to feel he may think of killing himself if he doesn't find work. He's an alcoholic to boot, already diagnosed with hepatitis of the liver, but can't do anything about it. He made me swear to not tell his mother or any family members that he is so broke and won't even have money for propane in another week. I don't know what to do.

by Anonymousreply 3401/27/2013

Why do ANYTHING? Is he your project? YOU HAVE DONE PLENTY. How much MORE do you think YOU are responsible for your friend? It's HIS life, not yours. And even if he kills himself, it is not your fault.

by Anonymousreply 101/26/2013

He sounds like he might be eligable for ssi. Not tying to be insulting here but there might be a learning disability. He doesn't sound lazy just not book smart. He is someone who clearly needs a someone to work FOR. Have you tried talking to his family? He may not want that but they need to know.Iit's great that you've tried to help him but there is only so much you can do. It's his problem.

by Anonymousreply 201/26/2013

He won't like it probably but help him sign up for SNAP, unless you can afford to feed him. Don't pawn him off on someone else as mentioned either he seems like he is willing to work. He's a lot like my grandfathers, they were manual laborers only, no education, and both were illiterate. Not bad people just a different circumstance to be raised in.

by Anonymousreply 301/26/2013

OP, you have been advising him for a decade to get a certification, etc - and he has not done so because "he's too intimidated and overwhelmed". So for at least the last 10 years he has refused to even TRY to help himself.

Both you and his family are enabling him, and he is manipulating you. And if he is implying that he will commit suicide if you all don't continue to help him, that is beyond contempt.

You need to stop enabling him and let him take responsibility for his own life.


by Anonymousreply 401/26/2013

Is he hot? Can he do Daddy-Boy porn?

by Anonymousreply 501/26/2013

R3, that guy is 48 years old, he's not an illiterate old grandpa. Commmunity college is a great place to gain basic education skills and improve your chances of finding a job. So that's no excuse.

by Anonymousreply 601/26/2013

The "oh by the way he's an alcoholic" at the end is not a little tag-on, it's kind of central to this sad story.

by Anonymousreply 701/26/2013

Actually, R5, he is very good looking in a daddy-bear way (thick snow white hair, bright blue eyes, great smile, good body) and has a pretty thick, long cock. Yes, I once had a huge crush on him, but he is as as straight as they come.

Anyhow, I did wonder if there was any kind of porn thing he could do because of his cock size, but I don't even know how I would approach him or what there is he could even do. Though he might possibly be game, I know he wouldn't do anything where had to be with another guy.

SSI is a thought, thank you for that suggestion upthread. Honestly, he is not manipulative, he just wasted his life and he knows is, and he definitely has a learning disability. Being sick doesn't help.

He's not my 'project', I just care about him a lot, he's like a brother to me.

by Anonymousreply 801/26/2013

[quote] I helped him get a landscaping / handyman business going last year, and he had loads of clients coming in! But a few weeks into it, he just bailed. He could not handle the organization side of things and made a big mess.

If he's THAT good at what he does, and business is indeed "booming," then why not just hire someone for $15/hr. to take calls, book appointments, and schedule things for him.

It's not rocket science.

Sounds like he could have a good business going, but he just needs to hire someone to manage it for him.

Yes, he'll have to pay someone as a receptionist or office manager, but at least he's still making money and not having to worry about the business side of the business.

by Anonymousreply 901/26/2013

Ding-ding-ding, R7.

by Anonymousreply 1001/26/2013

Right, R7. You have it, I just didn't want it to be the main focus here. His alcoholism is what has destroyed his life, and numerous attempts have been made by himself, family, and friends to help him. He has tried himself and is willing, always. But he fails over and over. He will never be able to stop drinking.

I just need to help him find SOME kind of fucking job. Something he can get a little money coming in on so he doesn't feel so bad about himself.

by Anonymousreply 1101/26/2013

[quote]The "oh by the way he's an alcoholic" at the end is not a little tag-on, it's kind of central to this sad story.


Not saying it isn't rough out there job-wise, but this goes beyond that.

You're not a person who can truly help him at this point, OP.

If he affects you so much, talk to a therapist or someone in Al-anon NOW, and get your eyes opened. Don't delay.

by Anonymousreply 1201/26/2013

OP, you ALREADY helped him to start a business - what more does he want? What more do YOU want? If you want to help him, then do the organizational stuff for him.

"He will never be able to stop drinking." - This sounds like a total excuse (from both of you). If he wants to turn his life around badly enough, HE WILL STOP.

by Anonymousreply 1301/26/2013

OP, a job is a nice IDEA, but it will not help him if he's not willing to address his whole person. And it sounds like he isn't. That will leave you (and him) feeling horrible again.

by Anonymousreply 1401/26/2013

What's wrong with R9 's suggestion? There are lots of older women living alone who need handy men to do fix it projects in their home. Just hire someone to handle the business aspect, and your friend can handle the labor. Put up an ad at a community college, lots of people who are getting an associate degree in business or accounting would be happy to take a job like that to start out.

by Anonymousreply 1501/26/2013

Typical Liberal Pet Science Project.

Ever heard of Darwinism, asshole?

by Anonymousreply 1601/26/2013

Op, you sound like a good friend. Your friend's situation certainly does sound dire. I truly hope it improves. Could someone help him list his handyman services on Craig's List? I'm sure he'd get some work that way.

by Anonymousreply 1701/26/2013

OP He would be eligible for Vocational Rehabilitation Services which are provided for free for people with disabilities. In New York State, the agency is called VESID, but may have a different name in different states.

A Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor would be assigned to help him find employment that was suitable and appropriate for his skills, interests, abilities. In order to achieve that they would connect him with-and fund-any healthcare (rehab) needs, educational services (perhaps to address his dyslexia), provide accommodations for him-they might have helped him find an accountant/receptionist to keep his landscaping business open and they can pay for tools, equipment, supplies, etc.

I would recommend doing a Google search for "Vocational Rehabilitation" and your state to find the closest center. They are usually located in the state office buildings that are in every major city in every state.

In the meantime, applying for SSI, SNAP (used to be called Food Stamps), HEAP (Home Energy Assistance Program) and Medicaid should be his first steps-and something you could, and would probably have to help him with due to his dyslexia-the offices for these services are located in county office buildings.

You should also do a search for the "Client Assistance Program" in your state, the CAP Program is available to everyone free of charge and they advocate for people receiving or interested in receiving Vocational Rehab Services. It's a good idea to have a CAP Advocate involved in the process from the beginning. They can also refer him to free advocacy services to help him get the other benefits I mentioned above.

I was a CAP Advocate until, ironically, I became disabled myself. It's been ten years but I'm sure things work pretty much the same. The key is Advocacy. Everyone in the country is eligible to advocacy services through their local Independent Living Center-though most are unaware that they even exist.

You're a great person for helping him, but if some of that help can be done by county, state and federal agencies-let them do what they can and pay for what they can-this will free you up to help him keep all the paperwork, appointments, etc. organized and help pay for things not covered or with transportation.

But, he would have to be in an alcohol rehab program (a 12-step program might be enough) if his drinking presents an obvious and, currently disabling, problem. Otherwise, he would be better off requesting services because of his dyslexia.

I wish I could leave my name and a way to contact me. I used to do that, but some people on here are jerks and write nasty, disgusting posts under my name. I have nothing against porn-especially bear porn-but, the thought of someone being forced to do that to survive sickens and disturbs me greatly. I will check back, if you have any questions I'd be happy to try to advise you or him.

There's a lot of concrete steps he can take to get back on his feet, they require dealing with his dyslexia and perhaps his drinking (neither are anything to be ashamed of-just disabilities to be overcome), but he can turn his life around and be a success...and he certainly doesn't have to resort to porn or anything exploitative.

Please let me know how you make out. If you get really stuck in the system, maybe I'll just go ahead and post my contact info-it's more important to me that I help another human being than worry about idiots who cynically mock me for actually having had the balls to put my name on what I wrote. I'll probably join anyway, just so I can stop unauthorized use of my name.

Anyway, you're doing the right thing by helping him out and by seeking out advice. Don't let some of the more bitter posters discourage you.

by Anonymousreply 1801/26/2013

He needs to apply now for SSI, in fact you can do it for him online. I would do it NOW since the Senate looks like it might flip to R in the next round and it takes a long long time to get it.

In the meantime help him get food stamps. You can apply for him online as well.

by Anonymousreply 1901/26/2013

It takes years to get SSI.

by Anonymousreply 2001/26/2013

I think you should give up your whole life and dedicate it to helping your friend. You certainly have not done ENOUGH yet.

Ever hear of rolling a dung ball up a hill?

by Anonymousreply 2101/26/2013

Personally, I don't think having Dsylexia can qualify for SSI.

Under their terms, it has to be "medically determinable physical or mental impairment or combination of impairments that causes marked and severe functional limitations, and that can be expected to cause death or that has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months."

Having dsylexia is a disability but is it severe disability? It is a reading disorder, which can be alleviated somewhat with interventions. Having a severe disability like epilepsy that causes grand mal seizures is severe.

Plus, who diagnosed your friend with dsylexia, a doctor? If so, then his doctor needs to say it is severe.

More over, your friend needs to be a good record keeper to go up against Soc. Sec. Admin.

He has a tough nut to crack with dsylexia. It might be wise to hire an attorney, in which I hear do not charge, unless they win the case. I heard they get their money once SSI pays back the client.

by Anonymousreply 2201/27/2013


by Anonymousreply 2301/27/2013

[quote] He is not and cannot be computer literate in any way. He is dyslexic and ashamed, as well.

Why can't he become computer literate? I have a blind friend who is computer literate.

by Anonymousreply 2401/27/2013

I agree with R9.

OP, grab the smartest of his two kids, and tell him or her to take calls (or texts) for the landscaping business and give the guy a printed agenda of addresses/jobs/fees to be collected every morning.

Also there are always warehouse jobs (light lifting) for anyone who's sober. They pay shitty wages, just over minimum, but he can make a little money do that.

But do keep pushing him to get his certifications. Could one of the kids drop him off at night school for some moral support?

PS You're a sweetheart for helping this guy.

by Anonymousreply 2501/27/2013

Somebody who is "straight as they come" somehow garners little sympathy from me. Straight, white men have all sorts of advantages that I needn't enumerate here to many who are gay men and women of whatever sexual orientation. Straight men make it their business to make gay men uncomfortable so turnabout is fair play. Tell him to start selling his heinie down at the park, maybe it'll give him an idea of how the other half lives. Maybe someone needs to take a sturdy paddle to his ass every time he reaches for the booze bottle. I wonder, if the situation were reversed how far he would put himself out to help someone who is homosexual. Alcoholics supposedly need to "reach the bottom" before they realize they need help, you can't do it for them. One's estimation of this guy is not to waste time on him until he gets his shit together; some people will fail and even end up homeless--there is only so much that can be done until someone like him starts to help himself then hopefully repay others who tried to help him before.

by Anonymousreply 2601/27/2013

Hey OP,

Has he considered renting one of his bedrooms out? If he takes in a lodger, he'll be bringing in enough for electric and phone and some groceries.

by Anonymousreply 2701/27/2013

OP, I'm surprised at the pro-Darwinism responses on this thread. You're being a terrific friend, not an enabler. A learning disability is not a small thing that can be fixed in just a day, even if you have been trying to help your friend for a while now, and adding alcoholism to the mix just worsens the situation.

I have no concrete advice, as I'm not from America, but I hope you don't give up on your friend before something positive happens for him.

by Anonymousreply 2801/27/2013

PS--If he's so broke, where's the money coming from for the booze for his alcohol habit? Does he smoke too?

by Anonymousreply 2901/27/2013

OP, you're a wonderful friend for helping him out the way you have been. Unfortunately, you can't live his life and make all the right decisions for him, as tempting as it may seem. This might not end well, and you shouldn't blame yourself for his inability to overcome his struggles. Get to Al-Anon ASAP to make sure you have a clear idea of what you're dealing with, and to get the support that YOU need.

by Anonymousreply 3001/27/2013

Everything but the blood hounds snapping at her rear end.

by Anonymousreply 3101/27/2013

WTF does that have to do with anything R33?

Thank you for some of the really great responses here. I'll post more later. I tried talking to him last night and he sounded very messed up (not drunk) and said "I took a bunch of pills, I just don't feel good." I asked what did you take? He said 8 Sudafed. That his heart felt like it was coming out of his chest. He wants to die.

I called his son (I am a couple of states over) and he went to stay with him for the night. Waiting to check in with him here in a bit. This is so sad.

by Anonymousreply 3401/27/2013
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