Several factors help identify a person who is addicted to gambling. Among these are the constant urge to gamble even after a big loss, borrowing money to pay off losses, and lying to family and friends about how deeply involved one is in gambling. The situation may be a little different for someone on a winning spree, but money and lying will still be involved. Likewise, the urge to continuously gamble will still be there.
A person who cannot control the urge to gamble will soon find himself in deep financial trouble. Eventually, this will lead to problems in other areas of life: depression, the feeling of failure, and loneliness being just a few. In some cases, a gambling addict may even have run-ins with the law, as he tries to pay off his debts illegally (loan sharks, drug dealings, and the like).
Gambling is not a bad thing, per se. Everyone deserves to enjoy a little now and then. But, yes, the keyword here is "little." Too much of something is bad, so gamble a little and don't let it get into your system. Know your limits, too. If you feel like the urge to gamble is starting to eat you, stop. Step away from the casino. Go home and be with your family and friends.
Take the First Step to Recovery
The first step to succeeding in your goal is to accept that you have a gambling problem. It won't be an easy road to follow, but there are things you can do to make the process a little easier. What follows are several suggestions for getting rid of the gambling urge.
After you have acknowledged your gambling problem, the next best thing to do is to plan your next step. Start by making a list of the money you owe and the people you need to pay off. Likewise, make a list of all the assets in your possession, as well as those you lost in the middle of your gambling spree. This will be difficult to do, but it is something that will help you move on.
Go out and find professional help. You can approach a psychologist, a financial consultant, or even a lawyer. You can join a group of recovering gambling addicts. A psychologist can provide a listening ear for you; while a lawyer and financial consultant can help you sort out your financial problems. Ask for recommendations from friends who have been on the path you are now treading.
Draw up a plan of action. This should include details like how you can pay off your debts, how you can get back the money you lost, and what you need to do to get back on track. Be sure to stick to your plan.
While all these may sound quite simple, they can be a challenge for someone caught in an awkward situation. But if the determination is there, everything else will follow.
Complete the Recovery Cycle
Once you are done with the first phase, get down to fulfilling the hardest part of the cycle – stopping the urge to gamble. Here are some ideas and tips that might help you:
Plan your days and draw up a regular schedule. Use that untouched planner and make a list of your daily activities. Schedule meet ups with family and friends. Get involved in community activities. Make sure your days aren't empty or lonely, so you won't be tempted to step into the casino.
Set new goals and do something you haven't done before. So if you've always loved the idea of surfing, learn how to do it now. Find time to do something different. Paint a picture or renovate a portion of your house. Go on an unplanned trip with your family. Join a choir or musical play. Get into sports. Workout at the gym.
When you became addicted to gambling, you gave up and forgot a part of your life. Take back what you lost. Go back to an old hobby. If you used to spend your weekends trail biking, take up that hobby again and get back a part of yourself that you once lost.
Beat stress not by going to the casino but by doing something that will calm your mind. You can take yoga or meditation classes.
Finally, condition your mind by telling yourself that too much gambling can ruin your life. You can lose everything if you do not know how to control yourself. Throughout your journey, it is important to get the support of family and friends. And, of course, your determination is essential, too.