While the urge to gamble may be tempting, there are steps you can take to ensure you stay on the path to recovery.
Here’s how to overcome gambling addiction:
If you are reading this and seeking help for your gambling problem, then you have already overcome the biggest and most important step in overcoming a gambling addiction – admitting you have a problem.
This is a great start because you cannot begin to understand how to overcome gambling addiction until you recognize you have a problem. You may have found it hard to stop gambling on your own. You have likely tried many ways to keep you from gambling, but they have all failed.
You may have found that your gambling activities are interfering with your professional or personal life. You may be experiencing financial woes or breaks in relationships.
Whatever has gotten you to this point has helped you recognize you have an addiction. Be proud of yourself because many people fail to recognize they have a problem, preventing them from recovery.
Once you are able to identify you have a problem, you can begin to understand how to overcome gambling addiction and set yourself on the path to recovery.
Seek Help from a Therapist Specializing in Gambling Addiction
Overcoming any addiction is difficult, sometimes impossible, to do on your own. When battling gambling addiction, you need all the support you can get. A licensed therapist specializing in addiction will be able to provide the most effective gambling addiction treatment using a variety of exercises and therapy methods.
If you have a family, you may want to consider exploring family therapy to ensure everyone is on the same page and recovering with you. Like many addictions, a gambling problem will impact your family and may result in additional issues that may not be apparent.
It doesn’t make you weaker if you seek help. In fact, it makes you stronger. Those who try to overcome addiction on their own struggle because the brain wants to feel that high gambling offers, when winning, of course.
The brain will do whatever it can to make you gamble. Your thoughts will obsess over gambling, your body will ache, you will feel depressed and anxious, and eventually you will give in to the desires to gamble.
This happens to everyone trying to quit any addiction. You are not alone. You do not need to be alone in your search to abstain from a gambling addiction.
A therapist has tools and techniques to help you abstain from your cravings and lead you into recovery.
Join A Support Group
There are many others going through the same thing you are right now. Some are struggling with their addiction and others have been in recovery for a long time. It is important that you spend time with people who are in all phases of their addiction so you can see you are not alone, and you can see that recovery is possible.
Eventually, you will be the one who has been in recovery a long time and you will be helping those who are new to the support group. You will meet role models, people who can give you the support you need, so that you can do the same for others.
Have a Money Plan
When addicts of any kind get money, the temptation to satisfy cravings appears. Money is a huge trigger, especially for gamblers. Just having a few dollars can create urges to try and turn those few dollars into big winnings.
When your paycheck comes it is important you have a preventative plan of action in place. Work with your spouse or friend or someone who will never enable you, to continue your addiction. Ask that person to oversee your finances until you have been at least one year free of your gambling addiction.
During that year you won’t have to worry about money being a trigger for you and you can focus on recovery. Your place of work can be a positive factor in your recovery. If you don’t currently have a job, get one.
Get a Good Job
Working is a great distraction. It can keep you from obsessing about gambling. Find a job that requires a lot of work, with little time to sit around and think. You want to stay busy on the job, working overtime hours if you can.
The more you work, the less free time you have to think about the possibility to gamble. You will also be able to feel the physical rewards of hard work, giving you better sleep at night. Be honest with your employer and ask for their help in keeping you busy.
Work can be a positive activity to replace the negative activity of gambling. You will also need to find positive replacement activities in your down time too.
Replace Gambling with a Positive Activity
Getting over an addiction to gambling doesn’t mean you have to sit in your room and hide out from the temptations of the world. There are thousands of positive activities you can enjoy instead of gambling.
While you may not have a desire to engage in new activities at first, over time you will begin to look forward to new activities. Make a bucket list of activities you would like to try. Don’t wait until you have an urge to gamble to try these activities.
Be preventative, schedule the activities in advance, with the intention of overcoming an urge before it happens. The more active you are, the more capable you will be to overcome an urge to gamble.
Making yourself accountable to others is a great step to helping you overcome gambling addiction. Make plans, schedule meetings, attend support groups, go out to dinner with friends, and volunteer in the community.
Agree to become involved. Have others expect your presence or your help. Because you are a good person, you will not want to let those people or organizations down. You will become accountable to them.
When you have the urge to gamble remember you have made a promise to someone else, you will find it difficult to choose gambling once you have started your recovery.
Whether you or someone close to you has a problem with gambling, it is important to understand how to overcome gambling addiction sooner than later.
There is a lot of help, from support groups to individual and family therapy, to teach you how to be successful.
You can start overcoming your gambling addiction today. Reach out for help and start to make the right changes. You can have a great life again. The choice is yours!
Photo by Chris Liverani