Let’s face it, there are plenty of stories about how gambling can take over your life. Scary stories that say that if you exhibit signs of addiction you are stuck with the title. I say “no” to the branding. Yes, I get it – it’s not easy, but it is possible to go in the opposite direction – to make a 180.
Now, I will preface this whole post with the disclaimer that I have no background in psychotherapy or counseling. However, I have my own personal experience to provide, and a sense of hope for change to offer. Because really, in my “not so professional opinion”, that’s all you need in order to take a step in a good direction. It’s that inkling of hope that gives you the motivation to make change. Then there’s a needed repetition of hope that keeps us on track.
It all begins with a change in thinking, and a remapping of priorities. There are so many impacts gambling can have, not just financial. You have to think of the residual effects of gambling. Gambling is such a selfish act – one which (in description/definition) forces the gambler into isolation. You literally cut off everything, and everyone. There is no sense of responsibility or checks and balances. Just the gambler and the craving for more. Once you successfully eliminate the isolation, change can begin.
The “cringe factor”
The only goal in the 180 is to find out what about gambling makes you cringe. Personally, I really had to stop hiding from my finances, and the evidence of the choices I had made. It would literally make me cringe when I would think of the amount of money I had invested in nothing! Not just thinking about it, but to actually look at the bank statements and add it all up – to take a close look at the impact of my actions.
The “cringe factor” may be entirely different for you. As an example used in a prior post, “Healing through the senses“, it could be the visualization of your family/children standing behind you as you gamble their college fund away.
Or, the blatant truth that “the house always wins” – they are taking advantage of your addiction and doing everything in their power to keep you hooked.
Whatever it is, you have to find the one thing/thought that gives a sickening feeling in your gut. It must send you walking in the opposite direction in life.
Remember, change begins with realization. Once you realize gambling is a problem in your life, then you can make a decision to change.