Addiction to anything can never be beneficial, however good it is. Addictions destroy lives, families, and happiness. Take gambling for example. People lose money, property, and anything else they possess in the face of gambling. Gambling seems to provide easy money while it is a trap. While it begins with greed, it escalates to pleasure and relief real quick. It is well-known that on the way to finding relief, we often get derailed to ignorance. People succumb to addictions because it helps them ignore the responsibilities and the troubles they are facing. They believe they are incompetent to face them and these addictions reinforce their false belief. Nonetheless, addiction is not a permanent problem if you are willing to do away with it. And, here is a friendly guide to show you exactly how.
Ask yourself if you want to stop gambling or is it just family or loved ones forcing you, or blackmailing you, or anything else except your own will. If the urge to stop does not belong in your inside, there are chances you will get frustrated more often. Needless to mention, you might not even succeed in your attempts. If there is a voice inside you that desperately wants you to stop, be sure you will be there in no time. Remember, genuinely plays a role more important than willpower at times. Let us get started then!
This should be the most basic step of recovering from gambling addiction. If you are trying to overcome, you need to know if there are triggers that might instigate the urge to go back. It can be seeing a casino on your way, hearing about the latest happenings of the casinos you used to visit, or anything else. Once you know what these triggers are, try to remove them completely if possible. If not, minimize them as much as you can.
Put it in writing
Putting something down in writing lets your brain know that this is real and not just another one of your thoughts. It helps you act on it. Things that are written appeal a lot more to our conscience than the things just in our heads. Besides, putting it down in writing also forms a sort of commitment. Paste it where you can look at it frequently, like your desk, near your bed, your refrigerator, or anywhere else.
Find other coping mechanisms
Whether you realized it or not, gambling became your way of dealing with stress and unfamiliar situations over time. It is important to look for other coping mechanisms that are not related to gambling at all. Try out different things like cycling, going for a walk in nature, drawing, reading, any sport, or anything that crosses your mind when faced with challenging times. Select all those that suit your needs and keep you from resorting to gambling again.
There is no ‘last time’
People trying to overcome addictions often find themselves saying “just this once, promise”. You are smart enough to know what happens here. There is no last time. Prepare yourself to not fall into the ‘last time’ trap. You are not superhuman; we all know that very well. You might not be able to resist from day 1. What matters here is that you constantly make efforts and do not fall for this temptation.
What exactly do you think when you think about yourself post gambling addiction? Be specific about why you want to get over it. This helps you keep determined when times get hard. Short-term goals help you stay motivated. Try to put a finger on the date when you want to see yourself completely over gambling. However, be realistic while you do this. Do not set a date just next week, or even next month. Give your mind and body enough time to prepare them and act accordingly. Do not set a date too far either so that you relax and not take your goal seriously.
Keep a journal
Just like putting it down in writing helps, keeping a journal will help too. Record your gambling routine on a daily or weekly basis. Note the number of times you were able to resist the urge and the number of times you could not. Do not forget to mention what exactly empowered you to stay strong and what made you succumb to the urge the most. Match it to your goals. It will let you know if you need to work better. On the other hand, it will work as a motivation when you see you have been doing well.
When parents want their kids to obey them, they tempt them with things they want the most, like toys or eating out at their favorite restaurant. Similarly, assign each of your goals with suitable rewards. You could treat yourself by buying that outfit you have been eyeing for so long, or visiting your favorite park, or anything at all that you look forward to. Besides, you deserve to be rewarded when you reach your goals, no matter small or big.
Change your circle
You might confuse it with peer pressure, but you will find they are different if you look closely. People might not force you to go gamble with them, but being in their company while they gamble or are making plans about when they are visiting the casino next can take a toll on your willpower. Keep an eye over who you hang out with. Sometimes, it might get difficult since they might be your colleagues or business partners. In such cases, practice refusing politely.
Know how to say ‘no’
One of the most important things to note is for you to know how to handle situations where you are being pressured to accompany your casino buddies. It is not uncommon when we see friends using the excuse “it won’t do any harm if you gamble just this once”. And usually, people do not know what to say or do in such situations. As aforementioned, there is no last time, it is an illusion. You should practice how to refuse when any such thing happens. It might not always be friends, but your business partners where a small mistake can cost you a lot. Be aware of what you say but make sure you do.
Psychological Methods for treating addiction
You can choose to seek professional help for getting over your gambling addiction. There are therapies available that are used extensively to help people overcome. Therapies are also important for being able to fight withdrawal symptoms. Psychological methods will not only focus on getting you to stop, but they will also allow you to go beyond. Therapies like CBT and some others try to figure out the reason behind the addiction and the therapists employ techniques to work on those deeper roots. Some of them to look forward to could be:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
- Relapse Prevention Therapy
- Multidimensional Family Therapy
- 12- step program
- Join Support Groups or self-help groups
- Social Support (supportive friends and family)
Do not be too harsh, just keep going!
We understand you want to get over as soon as possible, but this does not mean you get hard on yourself beyond necessary. Forgive yourself if you do fall sometimes. You have to understand that this is just the beginning. No rule says you cannot win if you fall on the way. Do not feel hopeless and trust yourself. However, this is not to say that you do not try and console yourself by saying this is just the beginning. Recovery is not an overnight occurrence. You have to be patient and keep putting in the effort. Gambling puts at stake your possessions, threatens your financial independence, takes a toll on your professional as well as personal life, and strips you off of the joys of life. You can conquer gambling with support and determination. Take control of your life and reach the heights it has been stopping you from ever since!