Angus Reid's struggles go beyond gambling

By Chad Klassen
March 1, 2016 - 12:35pm Updated: March 2, 2016 - 12:37pm

KAMLOOPS — If you read his resume on the surface, Angus Reid is a 13-year CFL veteran, a three-time league All-Star, and and two-time Grey Cup champion with the B.C. Lions. 

But dig a little deeper and the 39-year-old has had his struggle in football and beyond. 

It's been a common thread throughout his life. At 13 years old, he was on his death bed after his appendix burst, spending two months in the hospital. 

"I had a moment where I knew now I didn't want to fight anymore, I was just tired," Reid relived. "I'm tired of it, and I leaned over to my mom and just wanted to say, 'I love you, I'm going to die tonight. I don't want to do this anymore.'"

But he survived it with the help of his mom. On Tuesday, speaking in front of the Kamloops Chamber of Commerce, Reid emphasized reaching out for help in times of need. 

"Sometimes you've got to lean on someone else to pull you through because it's too hard on your own," Reid said. "I was 13, I couldn't do it, and I was too strong to say I needed help, so I was just going to quit."

It's an attitude he's taken with him ever since. In university, he had a similar experience, with a gastrointestinal illness that forced him to sit out three seasons at simon fraser. 

But underneath all the struggles, there was one thing that pushed him forward: the dream of playing pro football. 

"It's basically about having balance and focus in life. You have to have something you care about. I call it a dream, and you've got to be willing to ask for help along the way and many people don't do that, and it gets them in trouble."

It got reid into trouble in 2007, when a serious gambling addiction took hold of his life. 

"We'd go to the casino after practice. Guys would go for a half hour, have a burger, unwind, have a good time, it was fun. But what happened to me was, once life started getting bad on one side, I would go with my buddies, they would leave and then I would turn around and go back in because I didn't want to deal with my life. I fell in the trap of being a hyper-competitive, extremely stubborn, with the delusional belief I could win, alone in a casino."

He lost about $50,000 and wound up in his parents' basement, hitting rock bottom. But Reid has bounced back. Nearly three years after retiring, he's turned his life around, now in commercial insurance and the father of a five-month-old.

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