Gambling can be fun when you do it on an occasional basis. Unfortunately, it can easily turn into an addiction. It can affect your finances and other areas of your life. When you want to learn how to stop gambling, your best bet is to find reliable information on where to start. We are here to help you reach your goal.
What Are The Signs Of A Gambling Addiction?
Whether you are wondering if you are addicted, or are concerned about a loved one, you can start with the signs of a gambling addiction. Realizing a true problem exists is the first step toward seeking help.
Like most addictions, addiction to gambling is both an obsession and a compulsion. You feel the need to play, and you cannot convince yourself to stop. You spend more than you had originally planned, often throwing good money after bad knowing you are “so close” or just one hand, pull, roll or game away from “hitting it big”.
Another similarity this serious disease shares with other addictions is the fact that it is a process rather than an immediate dependence. Perhaps you started for fun, or out of curiosity. The line was crossed into addiction when that little voice telling you that maybe you shouldn’t gamble started, but by then you just couldn’t help yourself. Perhaps you gambled with money that you needed to meet your responsibilities, or neglected other responsibilities in favour of gambling.
The exact moment where people cross that line is different, but the results are often the same. Unfortunately, the house always wins in the end. The good news is, if you’re reading this it means that you are either taking those first steps towards the road to recovery or you’re a friend or family member who is ready to help your loved one begin the journey home.
Signs of a gambling addiction also include difficulty facing the facts. You may say you are only having a good time, or that it isn’t really a problem. You may have even told your family members or friends that you can quit whenever you wish, or become defensive when they confront you about the losses.
These signs show you have a problem. It is not fun, and is not merely a habit. It is a serious problem that you must address. It’s time to overcome your gambling addiction before it ruins your life and perhaps more importantly, the lives of the ones closest to you.
Gambling Addiction Stories: Don’t Wait Until You Hit Rock Bottom
Gambling addiction stories can be a nightmare. When you know what other people have experienced, it can motivate you to take steps to change. In fact, listening to the story of someone who has hit rock bottom may be just the thing you need to jumpstart your recovery.
People who become addicted often lose everything. When all their money goes to gambling, they lose their homes, possessions, and their life savings. Some individuals play with money that belongs to their family members, or incur large amounts of debt from borrowing money to feed their habit. Both situations often lead to evictions, divorce and in extreme cases can even lead to suicide.
Most of these stories are about loss, helplessness, and hopelessness. It goes far beyond having some fun at the casino or buying a lottery ticket. When you are addicted, it has taken over your life. You cannot simply stop by your own free will. You need help to overcome the addiction because in most cases the road to recovery requires a strong support network if we want to have any hope of succeeding.
Stories of addiction don’t always begin with the vice itself. They are often rooted in our childhood and can be symptoms of our past experiences. Watch this video where Henrietta Bowden-Jones gives a personal talk explaining her motivations for setting up the UK’s first and only National Problem Gambling Clinic. She shared her experiences of growing up in Milan, where drug use was so rife that she and her friends would collect blood-filled syringes from local parks as a childhood game. It was here she discovered her urge to uncover the underlying psychological vulnerabilities that lead people to addiction.
How To Quit Gambling: Tips That Can Work For You
1. Admit you have a problem.
Individuals who have never dealt with an addiction may find it hard to understand why acknowledging the problem is an important step in overcoming it. But when you are an addict, it is something you do understand. Admitting that you have the problem is often the absolute hardest part of the whole process. That’s why it is always the first step and one of the few steps that are 100 percent necessary if you want to beat the habit.
You cannot control or overcome gambling addiction with willpower. You must admit to yourself that you are indeed addicted. Instead of making you feel hopeless, it is the start of recovery.
2. Decide that you cannot do it alone.
Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of courage. This is a major misconception that keeps millions of addicts inside of their cycle of dependence. That’s why websites like howtostopgamblingnow.com exist. There are so many factors involved in addiction that no one can accomplish recovery without assistance and we want you to be able to take the first steps without worrying about judgement or rejection.
Gamblers Anonymous is one of the best resources for the gambling addict who wants to recover. Based on the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous is a 12-Step program. You will have the opportunity to meet and interact with others who have the same problems as yourself, and you can ask someone who is succeeding with recovery to be your sponsor. The organization has gone international with meetings in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and several other countries.
Besides these traditional approaches to kicking the habit, we’ve also developed several tools to help you get started on your own. One of these is our “5 Ways To Reduce Gambling Habits” worksheet that you can download for free here.
3. Talk to your loved ones about your gambling problem.
Your family members and friends may not understand your behavior. Perhaps they are angry because you have been using their money for gambling, or you have expected them to cover for you when you acted irresponsibly. But that doesn’t mean they won’t be there for you when you admit that you have a problem and that you are willing to do what it takes to overcome your addiction.
When you are prepared to take recovery seriously, your loved ones should know about it. Having someone in your corner who knows and cares about you will give you the encouragement and support you need to help you stay on the path to recovery. Be honest, and be willing to listen to their feedback. It will not necessarily be the easiest part of your journey, but it will give you the additional strength you will need to succeed.
4. Consult with your personal physician.
Your doctor should know you have a problem, and that you are ready to address it. He may advise professional counseling in addition to your 12-Step program. Ask your doctor for advice on improving your health. Studies show that it is easier to overcome addiction when you are healthy. So, your doctor may recommend changes in your diet, exercise routines, sleep habits, or other lifestyle factors.
5. Avoid temptation as much as possible.
When you are learning how to quit gambling, it is useful to avoid temptation. You can take a different route to work if there are lottery vendors on your usual route. Stay away from areas where gambling is taking place, such as card games and casinos.
This may seem obvious and overly simplified. However, keep in mind that just as an alcoholic may go years before they are strong enough to enter a bar without feeling a craving, you may need time before you can face temptation head on. In the beginning, it is best to simply avoid putting yourself in tricky situations. This should include installing software on your computer and/or mobile phone which block gambling sites as well. Be sure to have someone you trust choose the password so you aren’t tempted to “just take a quick look” at anything.
6. Take a hard look at your friends and their activities.
One of the most difficult parts of shaping your future may be facing the truth about some of your friends and acquaintances. If you’re an online gambler then this may not pertain to you as much. However, if you’re someone who frequently takes trips to casinos or sports bars with friends who also enjoy gambling, you may need to steer clear of those influences if they aren’t willing to do their part to help you reach your goals.
Ideally, you would find friends who do not gamble, and hobbies that do not involve gambling. It is easier to quit gambling when you have different interests to occupy your time. Hopefully you’ll find that your friends are willing to make an extra effort to help you. However, if it comes down to spending time with them in the midst of temptation or taking a break from seeing them for awhile, we hope you’ll choose your own health and well-being over a few hours of hanging out with friends.
7. Do not expect perfection.
Recovery is a process. It does not happen overnight. When you are learning how to stop gambling, you may make a mistake. This is perfectly normal and shouldn’t be allowed to derail the entire process. This is a lifestyle change as much as anything else and that means it is a marathon rather than a sprint.
You can overcome gambling addiction and know how to stop gambling if you do not expect immediate perfection. If you are willing to forgive yourself for your mistakes, you’ll find that you can achieve your goal and have a better life much sooner than if you are always beating yourself up. Remember, if you’ve taken our advice with numbers 2 and 3, you are not alone and you’ll always have someone to turn to in moments of weakness or even just to recenter yourself when you feel the urge creeping in.