Want to DO something about your out-of-control gambling? Read on.....
*** INTRODUCTION & 2 QUICK HINTS ***
You may be reading this post because you've lost too much money (possibly after yet another heartbreaking gambling binge) and/or are in other related trouble, the situation becoming unsustainable. Therefore you might be desperate for help. If so, please keep calm, take stock and considering talking to someone, maybe a trusted friend or loved one. You may also consider Gamcare (0808 8020 133) or the Samaritans (116 123) depending on how you're feeling.
Bearing in mind, as we know to our cost, that using our willpower to stop is usually simply not enough, here are two quick hints that suggest practical measures you can consider putting into place right away.
Quick Hint No. 1 ---> Do you need to ban yourself from gambling? Here are five positive things you can do straightaway. Why not *** the nettle right now and exclude yourself from:
Quick Hint No.2 ---> Need a near-failsafe way to stop? In addition to excluding yourself from as many gambling operators as possible (see the paragraph above), why not hand over full financial control to a trusted friend or loved one - no "ifs or buts". Without the means, you can't gamble. They'll respect you for it, because it proves your intent. How long for? For life, probably. But what a better life you'll lead!
*** AND NOW ... THE BIG WELCOME! ***
Hi there. Have you had ENOUGH of this devastating problem gambling habit? Yes? Good. So let’s do something about it, eh 😉
My name is 'Mixer' and I'm a regular here on the Gamcare forums.
If you are new here, or even a regular visitor, you might find the following interesting, written through the eyes of a (recovering) compulsive gambler who, like you, is determined to stop gambling. Here I look into why we gamble and what we can do about it - for ourselves primarily, but I also consider the impact on our loved ones - let's never forget about them.
Now, I say it as it is. But it's probably what you want (need) to hear and possibly reflects what you're thinking anyway.
There's an old saying: "We are where we are". In other words, regardless how we got here, we start again from here, we start again from now.
We need to put our regret and self-pity aside for a moment and take some time to think things through and understand why we can't continue like this. This is why you're here, reading this.
Firstly, though, here's a video to watch. It's about someone who was hooked into this addiction, like me, like you. I thoroughly recommend you listen to his story ---> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7AN3VLLlkdI%C2%A 0"> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7AN3VLLlkdI
Now, there's a fair bit to read. Why not make yourself a 'cuppa' before you start. If you only want to read some bits or now, then simply click on the blue link to jump to the section you're interested in, and click your browser 'back button' to return here.
*** Contents ***
Before we try to resolve your problem, we need to understand what brought you to this point in the first place. We need to question:
We then take a deeper look, firstly looking into practical steps you can take, here and now. We also take a look at other impacts of your gambling. All this will help you get into a good 'mindset' for the task ahead as you consider:
Let's start by looking at why you might have started.
We have to stop gambling. Now. Right Away. And we can! Here are four things to help 'break the gambling cycle', steps that will vastly improve our chances of being gambling-free. We need to embrace the four "As" - Acceptance, Awareness, Action and Attitude:
We really mustn't gamble ever again, because starting up again can easily get us into as much trouble as before. Relapsing can be extremely damaging. In fact, getting 'addicted' to the self-loathing, self-pity of relapsing, often linked to underlying lifestyle issues, is a vicious cycle we must snap out of. However, if you do relapse, the most important thing to do is get 'back in the saddle' as soon as possible, going gambling-free, always one day at a time. Please also bear in mind the following:
Gambling is a very lonely habit actually, even in a social setting. Look how solitary most people are in a bookies, bingo, pub or casino, for example. And losing the money is just part of it. Some people think life outside gambling is boring, but that's partly because we close the curtains to other things when we gamble, we fail to see fantastic other options life has to offer.
Is life really about that Saturday afternoon football bet fix? Is it a must that the fruit machine is pumped with all your money every time you have a pint? Does a quiet spell at home really mean that we have to spend all our cash on a some soulless online cartoon gambling game (bingo and slots)?
The answer to all three questions is "no" by the way - we just can't see it right now, that's how 'fogged' our minds have become. To illustrate, let's look at each of the above sample scenarios in turn.
And consider this. Gambling sessions can be very expensive and remarkably short in duration. Let's say you've just spent your monthly salary in a day. What would you rather be for the rest of the month - bored and skint, or bored with cash in your pocket, and lots of lovely options?
Remember, a whole long, drawn-out month being skint really isn't much fun at all. Just think about what you, and your loved ones, could be doing. Keeping fit, eating better, going out, there's so much more! So, as gambling 'sessions' tend to be quite short, is there really that great a void to fill...?
Let's not forget about our loved ones who get caught up with all this. Our gambling affects them, too, and they don't like it much (to put it mildly). They want to see us back to our 'normal selves', back to the vibrant people we really are. Not the frankly unpleasant and neurotic characters we have become, all wrapped up with gambling, and the lies/self-loathing/selfish attitudes that come with it.
We're wasting money that could have benefitted your loved ones, too. We're very good at punishing ourselves. Why punish them too?
We often don't fully consider how devestating gambling can be for our partners, family and friends, because we become so 'wrapped up' with ourselves we become desensitised and numb to it all. Enough!
Take a look at some of the diaries here to see the view from their perspective; it's sobering at best, absolutely heartbreaking at worst. Let's not hide from the impacts of what we've been doing.
It seems odd, but quite often willpower isn't enough on its own, because it can be misused to sneakily start up again! That's why we also need to seek support and put in place solid blocks to help us. If nothing changes, nothing changes.
How about gambling operators? We can blame them all we want; the truth is they're going nowhere. The truth is we have to take personal responsibility.
Sometimes, we find it very hard to get over the fact we've lost so much money. That's an understandable reaction; you may have lost substantial sums and possibly be in severe debt.
The only way to move on is firstly to accept that chasing your losses, trying to recoup the losses, is the worst thing to do. You'll just get into worse trouble because, remember, we can't stop. If we do happen to win it all back, and this is unlikely, we will still gamble and lose it all over again, and then more.
That's just the way it is and we have to accept this brutal truth. If we can't accept the money has gone forever, it will eat away at us and we can't move on. It's time to stop beating ourselves up and time to start to repair the damage.
If you have debts but are having problems managing them, then take a look at this page from https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/loans/debt-help-pla n">MoneySavingExpert - a bit of planning prioritising and 'juggling' your obligations could save you significant interest charges. If you are in serious debt, then seriously consider getting in touch with https://www.stepchange.org /">Stepchange, a debt specialist charity.
Stepchange roll up all of your debts into manageable repayments and stop further interest. They will set everything up. Yes, it will affect your credit rating but in time you can improve this by paying off the debts.
You'll have peace of mind knowing creditors will stop 'banging on the door'; and your debts will be cleared in a few short years. It'll be worth it but require discipline and a true resolve to stop gambling. But you know this.
Let's really 'give our all' to stop this. Hey - it's not easy, but we can do it. We have a choice; to live life as it should be lived, or untold misery. Let's choose life!
Where next? Here's a good place to start; a page of key information from Gamcare.
And do seriously consider joining the Gamcare Forums! You'll meet lots of friendly people who have been impacted by this devastating condition. Recovering addicts, those trying to stop, loved ones who have been affected, success stories, suggestions and much, much more. It's a lively community and it may really, really help you. So:
Thank you for reading this. You got this far - it shows you're serious, it's shows intent.
Why not give Gamcare a call? 0808 8020 133 is the number and there will be a friendly voice on the other end. You're also welcome to post a comment or ask a question anytime on this thread.
May I wish you all the very best. Let's do something about this - You can do it!
With my very best wishes,
(one of many recovering gamblers who have joined Gamcare happy to help our fellow Gamcare buddies as they strive to go gambling free, too!)
If something needed fixing in my house, I used to wish that I could call Bob the Builder. Or better still, Wendy....
re gambling, Deano summarised the basics in a post which unfortunately got cut when he left. Four pieces of advice: (1) to go to and stick with GA; (2) to go to counselling; (3) to use blocks to keep the time-money-location triangle broken at all times; and (4) to come clean and be honest with loved ones. All to be done in full, no lip service, no half measures, no loopholes.
Not so easy, yet what could possibly be simpler?
It's a frustrating thing - you stop gambling and all that seems to happen is that you think about it all the time. That's common and my advice is, at this early stage, if gambling thoughts come into your head, then simply let them! It's harder keeping them out.
The difference is, though, don't follow those thoughts through. Feel good and releived that you've 'seen the light' and today, you're not going to gamble. Repeat: "Just for today, I'm not going to gamble", every day. Put blocks in place to make sure you can't gamble, even if you wanted to. Here's where to start. In time, this 'cold turkey' phase will diminish.
I fully understand how difficult it is to rationalise and get over the losses. I've lost well over £250k in my lifetime. But I have to accept it's gone, and so must you. We must learn from it and move on. Let's not let it 'eat us'; frankly, what's the point? There's nothing we can do - except stop doing it. Look, instead, at what we have - a future, options, and a better life. The past is gone. Look back, yes; but don't stare, don't mope.
In these early stages, why not visit Gamcare daily. Get your 'fix' here, amongst people like you trying to stop, many of whom are finding it difficult. Consider an alternative use of your time, although, ironically, losing money doesn't take that long, does it! That's the funny thing; it doesn't take long to lose.
Keep reading the forums, keep writing and do consider couselling, Dima - it's free through Gamcare. Break the pattern, break the cycle. If nothing changes, then, nothing changes. Time for a change. Stop doing this to yourself. Give yourself a break; you, and the people you care about, deserve much better 🙂
Good luck to you. Keep in touch!
Sometimes we need to bear in mind that some of those people who do win have an edge that we don't have, Dima - so we win even less. The best thing is to admit to ourselves - gambling isn't for us, because we can't win and it makes us miserable! So let's call it a day and knock it on the head. Acceptance: I think it's quite a relief to reach it, actually... 🙂
Heart & soul as always Mixer 🙂
Just one tiny niggle with your book choice...Maybe you could recommend a few instead? I have read on here about people swearing by the one you currently have a link to but I believe many of the recommendations are from serial relapsers & having tried & failed to get through it myself, I don’t think it has any bones. I’ve just picked up Russell Brand’s ‘Recovery’ which has been highly spoken about by people with many years of just that between them...It’s 12 Step literature for want of a better phrase but I think it would be something that many people relate to.
Thank you, ODATT, for a lovely post. I fully take your point; Allen Carr's book suits some, but not others, and without hesitation will add your book, too.
People have differing views to Russell Brand, one of life's 'Marmite' people (but that shows character, if nothing else!) but, indisputably, he has picked himself up from the depths and into a success.
I will edit my main post above accordingly and include his book.
Thank you for the feedback ODAAT; and you, too Stephen (Abstainer); it's really appreciated.
I am not sure where I am meant to put my post, I have been struggling with gambling for a few years, I feel like I’m drowning and I can no longer cope, I tell my self enough is enough but always end up gambling agin and wasting money that I can’t afford to. I feel physically sick and so disappointed with myself if it wasn’t for my children I wouldn’t be here. I just don’t know what to do.
Hi there Kel,
I'm really sorry to read you're feeling this way. It sounds like, though, you want to do something about it - you've written a post.
I would give Gamcare a call in the first instance to help clarify your thoughts. This is a time for calm, and to take stock.
First steps, but good steps.
Good luck, you're welcome to reply anytime.
(P.S. TM1985 - thank you for your kind comments)