This can result in physical deterioration to the addict as well as mental and emotional difficulties: cognitive impairment, difficulty concentrating, loss of memory, explosive rage, extreme mood swings, depression, psychosis, and thoughts of suicide, among others. Dealing with the effects of gambling addiction, the family suffers right along with the gambler. Many gamblers lose their home, go bankrupt, get arrested for various crimes embezzlement, fraud, theft, violence, DUIs, etc.
As a unit, the family often disintegrates. In fact, without treatment, compulsive gambling is a downward spiral that has, at its final stage, a predictable outcome for the individual: prison, commitment to a mental institution, or death. What else can the compulsive gambler say? Admitting that he or she went gambling is tantamount to admitting loss of control, an inability to set and keep boundaries, and a refusal to keep a promise. You need to pick your time for the discussion, and it needs to be when the compulsive gambler is rational, calm, and able to carry on a conversation about the situation in a normal manner.
If you are the partner or spouse who relies on the compulsive gambler to take care of the bills and other financial responsibilities in the household, you may be tempted to believe this lie. He or she has unrestricted access to the checking and savings accounts, credit cards, lines of credit and other avenues. If, on the other hand, you are the one who controls the purse strings, so to speak, and you constantly give in to the requests for money, you are enabling the compulsive gambler to continue with his or her addictive behavior.
You are complicit, codependent, and have just magnified the problem by making it easier for the compulsive gambler to continue. When someone says they have their gambling under control, they are lying not only to you but also to themselves. A person who only buys a Lotto ticket once in a while will never make this statement. And the evidence will mount to prove just how big a lie it is. Desperation sets in the longer the compulsive gambler engages in the addictive behavior.
Why is this? While the gambler may initially in the early stages of gambling behavior have some wins, the odds are literally stacked against him or her. Sooner or later, the house always wins. If he or she just keeps gambling, the luck will return. Where to get the cash? Gamblers will rob savings accounts, jockey funds back and forth, hide the passbook or bank statements, and delay the inevitable — all in the futile attempt to keep you from the truth.
Chances are this is just another lie the compulsive gambler tells you. Or someone stole his or her wallet and now the credit cards are gone. This lie is an evergreen one that almost every compulsive gambler uses on more than one occasion.
But when your partner is a compulsive gambler, you have reason to be suspicious. Trust is a fragile thing. Compulsive gamblers need to be able to continue their addictive behavior. In order to do that, they either have to have a complicit or codependent partner, or they have to convince whomever they need to in order to continue to gain access to cash. Friends will eventually see through the lies and refuse to lend any more money to the gambler.
After all, this money is rarely, if ever, repaid. They gradually avoid the gambler, refusing to take his or her calls, quickly finding an excuse to leave if approached. You obviously care for or have cared for the person. Trust is earned through action. Trust is not gained through words.
Instead of letting the lie go unchallenged, you will need to take a stand. Will you continue to put up with this addiction? What are your options? No more excuses. No more looking the other way when the signs and consequences of mounting gambling debt are all around you. To give yourself the best chance of sticking to your new path, try some of our strategies for change.
As with quitting smoking, people who stop gambling experience urges to gamble. Urges are an inevitable part of stopping gambling and a natural part of the process of regaining control. While you can restrict your exposure to gambling triggers, you will not be able to avoid them completely, which is why it is important to learn ways of managing the urges. Delaying the decision to gamble allows time for the urge to pass and for you to feel more in control of the decision.
This is different to urge surfing as the focus is on the person using distraction from the urge to gamble rather than letting it pass without distraction. Distraction takes the focus temporarily away from the urge and can give you time to rethink your decision to gamble. Remember you may find the urge returns when you stop the other activity. If this happens, perhaps try the urge surfing technique as above. Set a goal that you can achieve if you stop gambling or develop a list of reasons why you made the decision.
For example:. Once you have decided to delay the decision to gamble, shift your attention to what you might like to do. It might be something you used to do before gambling became a problem or something you've always wanted to try. Many people find engaging in sport fulfilling; this could be anything that gets you moving. From a daily walk or run to joining a gym or team sport.
Not sure about what activities you can do when dealing with an urge? Maintaining change and our healthy hobbies blog have some useful tips. The first time you experiencing an urge subside, without gambling, will be a powerful experience. People who have slowly overcome the urge to gamble say that their thinking becomes clearer and that they are more confident with each urge they conquer, setting them up to beat the next one.
It can be so exciting and difficult to resist. Think of an urge as being like a wave. Urges can start off as nothing, perhaps a gentle ripple out to sea but as they come closer to shore they get bigger and bigger, until they break. It is important to limit your access to any cash when you begin the process of surfing the urge as money makes the urges more difficult to resist. If you do experience an urge and would like assistance, you can contact an online counsellor for more information and support.
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Home Making a change Taking control. Tools for quitting. Wanting to stop Deciding to stop doing something you enjoy can be challenging, there may be times when it feels impossible but remember lots of people have quit gambling and we can help you. It is helpful to know lapses are normal and can happen at any time when you are trying to quit. The urge to gamble As with quitting smoking, people who stop gambling experience urges to gamble.
Every time you overcome an urge, you are gaining more and more control. Understand urges While you can restrict your exposure to gambling triggers, you will not be able to avoid them completely, which is why it is important to learn ways of managing the urges.
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I should have known this. Heck, the roles were reversed and I did everything in my power to help my friend with a compulsive gambling problem. I heard this advice given to a newcomer at our Gamblers Anonymous meeting about a year and a half into my recovery. I wish I had heard the same thing on my first night. The night I heard this, I was still keeping a white lie. Yes, that plan had worked so terribly for me in the past that I decided to give it another go.
Eventually, it all came out but not on my terms. I was once again exposed for my lying and it did significant damage to the trust we had begun to rebuild. I wish I had ripped the bandaid off only once and gotten everything out on the table. Hopefully, you can learn from my mistake. As I grow more comfortable, I find myself opening up to more and more people. The best thing about this has been that it makes it easier to stay clean.
Each person represents another piece of accountability. Someone that might be watching out for me. No matter how much I had lost and how low miserable gambling made me in the moment, I would eventually forget and return to try again. I go for many reasons, but mostly to share my story and to hear the stories of others. For one hour a week, I remind myself of the pain and misery gambling caused in my life.
Seeing new people come into the room—in the midst of their lowest point—is a great reminder that life is better without gambling. Additionally, Gamblers Anonymous gives me another outlet to come clean about my past. Just like with family and friends, taking off the mask of my addiction has helped me to grow and develop as a person.
Each meeting is more freeing than the last as the lies are replaced with facts and reality. In addition to GA, I also frequently check out the Problem Gambling thread on Reddit and the accompanying live chat available on the Discord server. Quitting for short stretches can be achieved without Gamblers Anonymous or becoming invovled in an online group or chat. Tools for quitting. Wanting to stop Deciding to stop doing something you enjoy can be challenging, there may be times when it feels impossible but remember lots of people have quit gambling and we can help you.
It is helpful to know lapses are normal and can happen at any time when you are trying to quit. The urge to gamble As with quitting smoking, people who stop gambling experience urges to gamble. Every time you overcome an urge, you are gaining more and more control. Understand urges While you can restrict your exposure to gambling triggers, you will not be able to avoid them completely, which is why it is important to learn ways of managing the urges.
Try the following next time you have the urge to gamble: Relax and focus on staying calm. Take some deep breaths to slow yourself down and refocus on what you can do now. Try to distract yourself with an activity to keep calm, such as a shower or a bath. Or you may read a book, cook or watch a TV show to stop thinking about gambling.
Find an activity that suits you. Say to yourself "maybe I won't go, I will see how I feel in an hour" and then go and do something else. For example: I will have more money to put towards a holiday. I will be able to hold my head up high. My family will be proud. I will be able to pay my bills.
As my savings begin to grow money will have value once again. You don't have to call someone to talk to them about experiencing an urge. You might just want to ring and talk about something completely unrelated to gambling. Surfing urges. Learning to cope with urges when they arise is a crucial component to staying quit. To stay in control, you need to learn to ride that wave into shore rather than get dumped. Each time you resist gambling and the urge subsides it loses its power. The more you resist, the stronger you can become.
If you give into the urge and gamble that urge takes control again, but you can take control of it next time. Twitter Facebook blog. Share strategies and motivation with others making change, in our peer support forums. To understand more about how gambling's affecting you, why not take our self assessment? Are you ready to get on top of your gambling? Make a change today. Find help near you, Australia wide Find services in your state.
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