The author of this blog is a recovering compulsive gambler that has been off gambling for 25 years. Want your own recovery? Simple – read this, learn from it and do it.
You can read his story in full, but here are some key things that he has learned from his gambling experiences.
Gambling Recovery 101
- The only way to win is not to play.The first bet leads to the second, the second to third… and before you know it you are in deep (again). EVERY SINGLE TIME.
- You are never ‘cured’. I may have done a reasonable job of rewiring my brain for now, but the old underlying patterns will still be there if I wake them. If I was to have just one bet today, I have no doubt whatsoever that my accounts and anything else I can get my hands on would be empty tomorrow. I’ve personally seen people do this after 10 years abstinence, very sad. For extra insurance my wife is instructed by me to leave and take the children if I gamble, no matter what I say.
- You have to either be a gambler or a non-gambler. Black & white, no grey area, no half measures or negotiation. Those that try to control or regulate their gambling never do so for very long. Anything that throws us off emotional centre will send us retreating back into our isolation where we can self-medicate our pain.
- Gambling addiction is progressive in its nature. That means we constantly need more & more of it to get the same buzz (specifically more adrenaline & dopamine). So if you keep at it you can expect the roller coaster to get a LOT scarier as the bets get bigger and the debts get bigger. The stress becomes unbearable.. which makes you crave temporary escape even more. And don’t even think about getting yourself checked out by a doctor – the physical effects of gambling are extreme & life limiting, due to the overload on your brain and the stress on your heart. I should know – I’ve just had a heart operation.
- You need to help others in order to help yourself. Otherwise you are just another temporary version of your selfish self, thinking & talking about yourself again. Help others find recovery through simple support & encouragement and you will definitely help yourself. Sometimes you end up giving advice to others that is meant for yourself.
More addiction recovery observations
- Recovery is temporary. Yes you are determined, but you cannot promise yourself that you will be off gambling tomorrow. So control what you can right now – your time & your money – just for today.
- Busy your time, fill it with people, and give control of your money to someone else. Yes I know how that sounds, but ignore any part of this and you will definitely fail as YOU are the weakest link. Of course you think you are the exception (because you’re a gambler) but time & time again you have proved you are not, haven’t you.
- Be grateful for what you’ve got. You may think you’re down, but you are not yet as low as you could go. You may not have much money or food anymore, but you still have what’s left of your sanity and your character before all this.
- Ahead of you lies a criminal record, prison and maybe even suicide. So get help now.
- GA is full of people just like you who have come through your exact same situation and out the other side. So go to GA, learn what they did, and do the same.
There are solutions to the nightmare you find yourself in.
But they require honesty, not more lies.
Just do it. Surrender, put your hands up, and just do it.
Get help. Not tomorrow, today. RIGHT NOW.