Gambling addiction is a huge problem that can ruin your life and even the lives of people you care about. Recognizing that you have a gambling problem and quitting before it’s too late is not an easy thing to do. But with the right guidance, it is definitely possible and achievable.
In this article, we’ll share 9 helpful tips that will help you combat your gambling addiction and keep it under control. The tips you’ll learn more about here include:
- Accept That You Have a Real Problem
- Try to Understand Why You Gamble in the First Place
- Learn to Relieve Unpleasant Feelings in a Better Way
- Seek Support from Your Loved Ones
- Join a Support Group
- Seek Help for Underlying Issues
- Distract Yourself When You Feel the Urge
- Delete Your Online Casino Accounts
- Accept the Consequences of Your Gambling
If you’re determined to do something about your gambling habit that’s getting out of control, keep reading to find out how to do it.
Accept That You Have a Real Problem
The first thing you need to do before you can start dealing with your gambling addiction is to accept that you have a problem. Most people start gambling for fun, looking for a way to pass the time and earn some money on the side. In the beginning, they believe they are mentally stronger than other people and that they will be able to control their urges.
Once bad habits get out of hand, it is hard to accept that you no longer have control over the situation and your actions. Most people start making excuses, saying they do it for fun, that they’ll get everything back, and that they don’t actually have a problem.
Accepting that gambling addiction is an issue is the first and the most important step in quitting before it’s too late. It will allow you to move on to the next step on this list.
Try to Understand Why You Gamble in the First Place
Now that you have accepted that you have a gambling problem you have to deal with, you should try to get to the root of it. Gambling addictions, like all other addictions, stem from some underlying problems we try to get away from by playing casino games and engaging in other types of destructive behaviors.
If you’re unable to come to a conclusion on your own, it is always a good idea to talk to a therapist who will guide you through the entire process and help you understand yourself better. This is an important step because it will allow you to curb your predisposition to form addictions and get rid of your existing ones more easily.
Learn to Relieve Unpleasant Feelings in a Better Way
Gambling, smoking, drinking, playing video games excessively, etc. are all negative things we use to relieve unpleasant feelings we feel deep down. They work for a short period of time, but they quickly become unpleasant and destructive.
If you want to stop gambling before it’s too late, you have to replace a negative coping mechanism with a positive one. In this case, your gambling addiction needs to be replaced by a better and healthier one.
For example, you can start running or exercising, join a local board game community, read books, or learn a craft.
Seek Support from Your Loved Ones
One thing that is common for most people who struggle with gambling addiction is that they try to hide it from their family and friends. As a result, they manage to protect their public image, but as a consequence, they are left alone to battle something stronger than themselves, which is a recipe for failure.
If you notice you have a gambling problem, do not be afraid to seek support from your loved ones. If you are serious about solving your problem, they will certainly be happy to help you.
Consider telling them how you feel and have a person or several persons you can call or visit whenever you feel a strong urge to start wagering.
Join a Support Group
In case you do not have a strong and reliable social circle, you can always join a support group. Even if you have lots of family members and friends who are willing to help you out, joining a support group of like-minded people is always a good idea. Chances are that your family and friends will not be able to understand what you are going through because they haven’t been in your position.
On the other hand, a support group that consists of ex-gamblers will know exactly what you are going through and how to help you get through it. If there are no support communities in your area, you can also join online groups and forums.
Start Journaling About Your Addiction
Keeping a journal is a powerful, yet underestimated tool that anyone can utilize to stay in control of their gambling urges.
If you have never kept a journal before, a good way to approach it is to write about why you think you started gambling in the first place. If you have no one to talk to about this, writing these things down will give you a sense of relief and offer a better understanding of yourself.
Every time you feel the urge to gamble, take a piece of paper and write down the answers to these four questions:
- Why do I feel the need to gamble right now?
- Why did I decide to stop gambling?
- How will I feel afterward if I succumb and start wagering?
- How will I feel afterward if I resist the urge and walk away?
Answering these questions will help you remember why you wanted to stop gambling and how gambling used to make you feel. As time goes by, we usually forget the negative things and only remember the positive ones.
Distract Yourself When You Feel the Urge to Gamble
Quitting a gambling addiction, or any other addiction for that matter, is not a linear process. Unfortunately, most people are not able to wake up one day, say “Enough!” and never look back. From time to time, you are likely to feel the urge to start gambling again, probably “just one more time”.
When this happens, it is important to distract yourself by doing something else. It is advisable to do something that will make you feel good afterward and that will keep you away from temptations.
For example, you can visit a friend, go for a walk, go for a bike ride, do some chores around the house, call a loved one, or even something as simple as taking a shower.
Delete Your Online Casino Accounts
Online casinos are a great way to have fun. They are convenient and serve as a source of entertainment 24/7. However, for someone who struggles with a gambling addiction, online casinos are the biggest temptation out there.
Therefore, one thing you need to do is delete your online casino accounts. That way, if you feel the urge to gamble again, you will have to go through the lengthy process of registering, which might put you off.
If that is not possible for some reason, you should then self-exclude yourself from casinos, so you will not be able to deposit and play for a certain period of time.
Some casinos do not allow this. In that case, a good idea is to share your passwords with a friend or family member and ask them to change them for you. That way, you will no longer have access to wagering.
Accept the Consequences of Your Gambling
Last but not least, you should accept the consequences of your gambling addiction. Many people keep wagering even after they realize they have a problem because they have lost thousands of dollars and they want to win some of it back before quitting.
Don’t do this. Accept that you have made costly mistakes and move on. Hopefully, in the future, you will be able to look back and use that experience as an opportunity to learn something about yourself and use it to your advantage.
To conclude, gambling can be a fun hobby if you can control your urges and impulses. However, if you can’t, you might end up with a gambling addiction that can seriously ruin your physical and mental health and destroy relationships with your family and friends.
Follow our tips to stop gambling and remember that there is no shame in accepting that you have a problem you need to address.
Have you ever struggled with gambling addiction? Do you know someone who has? Do you have any tips or steps that have helped you quit gambling or keep it under control? Feel free to share your experience with us in the Comment section below!