Whether it’s horse racing or slot machines, poker or sporting events, gambling activities can quickly progress from a social activity into an active choice, quickly becoming a habit that takes time and serious effort to break. It’s best to take full control of the issue before you begin to notice it taking full control of you. Left unaddressed, a gambling addiction can quickly contribute to considerable financial harm, loss of friends and desperation to recoup debts.
Stopping a gambling problem can often feel like trying to slow down a train travelling 200 miles per hour. However, proven techniques can help you slowly take back control of your life from gambling issues; in time, you’ll gain the separation from gambling that you’re looking to achieve.
1. Admit that you have a problem
Sadly, so many individuals never progress past this initial step. Admitting to yourself that you have a gambling problem is brave in itself. You’re admitting to the issue, a problem that you’ve perhaps sidestepped or ignored to this point.
It also helps immensely to admit that you have a gambling problem in front of someone else that you trust. Whether it’s a friend, a beloved family member or a peer, let someone else know about the gambling issues that you’re struggling with. Not only will you find comfort and confidence in finally opening up about your issue, but you’ll also be creating an accountability partner, who can help you stay true to your resolve when you begin to distance yourself from self-destructive gambling practices.
2. Take steps to avoid gambling triggers
You know better than anyone what triggers your gambling habits. Immediately after taking steps to ensure that you receive the help you need, distance yourself from any triggers that could cause you to fall back into damaging gambling practices.
Sometimes, this means limiting your internet connection during certain times of the day, especially during times when you would otherwise be most likely to participate in online gambling. Other times, this means asking an accountability partner to check up on you during certain periods of the weekend, when you might otherwise be traveling to a casino or placing remote bets. Ultimately, you need to find ways to avoid the avenues that traditionally contributed to your gambling habits. If this means reevaluating the individuals you allow to influence your decisions, and adjusting your social group so that you spend more time with people who are going to build you up, that’s an adjustment you need to make.
3. Fill your time with productive activities
It’s not enough to remove negative influences from your life, most importantly those influences and activities that contributed to gambling habits. In addition, you’ll need to replace those gambling habits and self-destructive practices with productive activities, that help you foster self-confidence and build peace of mind.
These activities certainly don’t need to be complicated. You’re only trying to replace problematic habits with productive ones. Try taking advantage of the opportunities that gambling has taken away: go for a walk during the middle of the day. Sample a local restaurant’s menu. Spend time with old friends or neglected family members. Perhaps you could adopt a new habit, start a new television show or learn a new skill. No matter how you choose to spend your time in the wake of absent gambling habits, you’ll be taking a huge step forward in replacing degrading gambling issues with positive, new habits.
4. Persistence is key
When you’re trying to overcome a gambling addiction, it’s so important to maintain persistence. Setbacks are not final; victories do not mean struggles will not arise again. Instead, look to prioritize daily perseverance above all else. Through good days and bad, through the periods of self-confidence and self-doubt that are sure to follow, persistence is key. Stay persistent with your therapy or counseling sessions and persistent in the changes you’ve made to your daily life.
5. Don’t wait to get the support you need
Don’t make the mistake of trying to handle your gambling addiction on your own. There are so many resources at your fingertips that can help you take back the fight for your freedom. Make it a priority to source help professionally, from licensed therapists who can speak to the struggles you’re facing. Whether you receive that help through our counseling network at Pyramid Online Counseling or through another reputable counseling outlet, it’s critically important that you make your own health an immediate, lasting priority by getting the support you need as soon as possible.
If you’re ready to take the first step toward a happier, healthier you, Pyramid Online Counseling is ready to help. Browse through a network of licensed, online counselors to find the perfect fit for you. You’ll be able to connect online through a HIPAA-compliant, encrypted online counseling platform, to receive the help you need without leaving the comfort of your own home. Fill out our easy-to-use counseling form today, and you’ll be paired with the therapist best qualified to help you distance yourself from life’s challenges.