He’s intelligent and owns a house outright but might be homeless and broke in the near future

I’ve known Steve (not his real name) for over 20 years. We’ve had some great times together, but his life has taken a turn for the worst. I have no idea what I can do to help him. He seems intent on destroying his life.

If you met Steve you’d think he was just another guy. You likely wouldn’t think anything was wrong. But lurking beneath the surface, all is very far from well.

A fairly normal but slightly odd guy

He’s always been a bit odd in some ways, but he’s a very likable and fairly social person. I’ve been to gigs with him, on holiday, and used to see him a few times a week when we first knew each other.

Over the years I noticed some odd things that I didn’t think much of at the time. Looking back I’m wondering if these had anything to do with his current problems. One thing I found odd was that he still lived with his parents well into his 30s. He’s also an only child.

I think his mother did too much for him and he ended up not being able to look after himself very well. Nothing too odd though.

Another thing that seemed odd compared to our mutual friends was that he never had any interest in things like buying a house or driving a car. He didn’t even want to rent a nice house. He was happy living in bedsits.

There is nothing particularly odd if you take each of these things individually, but taken together they seem to set a pattern.

I moved away about 10 years ago but still visited a few times a year. After that, I moved further away and we now only talk via email. We do that at least weekly, and often daily.

Alcoholism

A few years ago he admitted that he was an alcoholic. He got into some bad situations and then was a time that I thought he might die. But he eventually sought help and managed to give up alcohol completely. As far as I know, he hasn’t drank for a few years. I think he’s done very well to do that but hasn’t given himself enough credit.

Death of Parents

But it’s since then that he seems to have got into a destructive way of thinking. He was completely broke and back living at home in his 40s. Both his parents died within a couple of years of each other. I think this hit him quite hard.

As he is an only child he inherited the house and around £40,000 cash. He didn’t have a job but said he’d get one soon. He thought the money would last him 4–5 years so he wasn’t in a hurry to get a job. Fast forwards one year and all the money was gone.

Downsizing to a smaller house

He then sold the house and bought a cheaper one in a less desirable area. That gave him around £20,000 cash. It was gone within months. He didn’t tell me about selling the house until he’s already sold it. He said I’d try to talk him out of it if he’d told me beforehand. He knows me too well.

No job

He still says he’ll get a job but he’s waiting for the right one. I am sure that will never come. I think it’s been around 5 years since he last had a job. It will be increasingly difficult to get one with such a big gap in his employment record.

Planning to sell his house and rent instead

And this is where it gets really serious. He’s now talking about selling his house and renting instead. I doubt his house is worth more than £100,000. Based on his past spending that will be gone in 2 years. As well as his regular spending he’ll also need to pay rent.

He talks as if the money will last him the next 10 years or more. There’s no hope of that.

I fear for what will happen to him if he sells the house. He’ll be broke and homeless. If I question him about this he says he’ll just get a job. If I suggest he just keeps the house and gets a job now he just makes excuses.

I’ve no idea what’s going on in his mind. On some levels, he seems pretty normal, but he’s making these insane decisions that won’t lead anywhere good.

Anxiety

He’s also mentioned that he’s had a lot of anxiety lately but I’m not sure if that’s connected to all of this.

I’ve tried to help, as have many of his other friends. I’ve talked with some of those that leave near him and see him more regularly and they agree that he just seems determined to slowly destroy his life.

He’s a pretty intelligent guy, which is what makes this seem so bizarre.

If anyone has any ideas for how to help him, please let me know. I can’t think of anything else I can do other than watch him slide into destitution. Perhaps he’ll surprise us all and get a job. It’s not looking that way though.