We’ve already talked in the past about just how many people suffer from gambling addictions, and how gambling addictions can take over your life. But if you’ve realized that either you or a relative is suffering from a gambling addiction what can be done? In short how do you beat a gambling addiction?
In this article we’re going to look at some key factors in the fight against alcohol addiction and steps you can take to overcome this terrible affliction.
The first step on the road to recovery is acceptance that there is a problem to begin with. This “reality check” is essential if you are to ensure that you are properly focused on the task at hand. Too many people with an alcohol dependence refuse to accept that there is any kind of problem. They try to convince themselves and others that they could stop drinking any time they want. It’s just that they don’t want to.
This in many ways is a major giveaway that a problem is afoot. Sometimes it takes the input of a friend or family member, in the form of an intervention, to really open our eyes to the slippery slope we are travelling down.
Accepting that there is a problem is key as it primes the mind ready for actually getting over an addiction. Until this point is reached, it is far less likely that any addiction therapy will be successful simply because the individual will fail to fully buy into the treatment process.
Make a Stand
Self-discipline is rather like a muscle; the more you use it, the stronger it becomes. Over time, as gambling addictions take over, it is normal for your motivation to drop lower and lower, as you find yourself becoming ever more powerless to the appeal of gambling.
If you’re wondering how to beat a gambling addiction then a key part of this is to rediscover your “inner fire”. In essence once you’ve accepted that there is a problem you then need to look deep inside yourself to find the strength to try and overcome your addiction.
After all, while others can help, it’s you that has the problem, and you that therefore has to do much of the work. The key is making yourself a promise that you simply won’t gamble any more. Then do everything you possibly can to keep this promise to yourself.
At first you might fail. It’s unfortunate, but that’s life. The key is to get back up and try again.
Very few gambling addicts become so for no reason whatsoever. After all, unlike drugs such as alcohol or cocaine, gambling offers no physical “boost”. There are no actual drugs that enter the body for you to become addicted to, and consequently need to detox from.
Instead the addictive effects of gambling are almost entirely psychological. Understanding why you gamble and how it makes you feel is therefore important for beating gambling addictions.
Gambling addictions may develop over time as one has begun gambling for the excitement, to escape boredom, to forget about an unpleasant everyday reality or any number of additional motivators.
This this reason when it comes to beating gambling addictions it’s important to try and gain some insight into your own unique situation. Spend some time thinking through your situation, either with family or a qualified counsellor, investigating the likely causes of your addiction.
Once you have got to the route of your addiction, overcoming your addiction becomes much easier and more effective. Indeed one reason why some people struggle to overcome their addiction is that they fail to fully understand what is really going on their head to fuel the addiction so the more honest you can be with yourself the better.
The importance of remaining consciously aware of your addiction and the factors that affect it are critical. While this first attempt to gain insight about your addiction is important, another useful tool for overcoming gambling addictions can be keeping a diary or journal.
Each day take time to sit down and think objectively about the day. Pay particular attention to any situations or scenarios that have made you feel particularly tempted to gamble. What caused this feeling? Is there some way to avoid or “repair” this situation so that it does not have a negative effect on you in the future?
On the other hand, consider situations and experiences where you never even thought about gambling. What were you doing? Who were you with? What can you learn about yourself from this experience and is there any way to make use of this knowledge to push forward and beat your addiction?
Psychologists use a phrase called “displacement activity” to describe behaviour that in essence fills a gap and stops you thinking about an addiction. One example of a displacement activity is how some smokers chew gum when they’re trying to quit. The activity of chewing the gum keeps their mouth busy while the desire to smoke passes.
Every form of addiction treatment involves the use of displacement activities to some degree and finding your own unique behaviours are key. Some people might go for a run, do some press-ups, telephone a friend or all manner of other activities. The goal is that as soon as you start thinking about gambling, you deliberately engage in your chosen displacement activity until the urge to gamble eases.
When it comes to how to beat gambling addictions, many of our patients would like to think that self-discipline is all you need. In many cases though, while an essential ingredient on the road to recovery, it isn’t the whole recipe.
Generally speaking one other key aspect to factor into your recovery is professional counselling. These experts have years of experience helping people like you to get over their gambling addictions and can be a useful crutch. Nobody is suggesting that giving up gambling will be easy – plenty of people fail many times until they are ultimately successful – but having a “friend” who understands what you’re going through (plus the best ways to deal with these feelings) can be worth their weight in gold on the road to recovery.