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A question for fellow addicts  


Would learning about how addiction works on a psychological level increase the chances of an addict overcoming their addiction?

Posted : 18th November 2020 7:05 pm


Yes it certainly helps is the short answer. 

If you give your mind a chance to learn during a proper recovery, there is a lot to learn about. Facing who you really are to the depths of your soul is one of them.

Keep using the forum and keep talking it through.

Best wishes from everyone on the forum

Posted : 19th November 2020 12:05 am

Joydivider is right. The only thing I would add is you have to put blocks in place whilst you learn. Gamstop, for example. Then you can focus on understanding and moving on; which you can.

all the best.

Posted : 19th November 2020 12:22 am

Hi whicee,

That's a great question and a very important one to address if someone wants to live a life full of contentment and serenity.

When I look back at my many years of struggle with addiction/desires it amazes me how long I was fighting with the symptoms of the problem but not the problem.

I also believe that before I really started working on the real problem I knew that there was an issue with me that was driving my addiction but my high ego that was needed to help me live with my very low self worth stopped me from accepting it.

I was unable to come truly face to face with my whole being with all my past experiences and take stock. For so many years I only saw the gambling as the problem and tried to fix it with restrictions. 

I like to think of the way humans work we are similar to cars, we have our own dashboard that instructs us when something needs attention by giving us emotion/physical pain. Unfortunately we live in society where we take the bulbs out (avoid the feeling or fix the feeling temporarily at a long-term cost).

My belief is that emotional regulation is at the root of the problem. It took me a long time to realise how my lack of emotional development was driving my behaviours and also causing unhealthy relationships with myself and others.

We are very complex with our unique individuality and need to seek the help with professionals who really know what they are doing. 

Addicts love to help others but unfortunately their honesty with other members based on their own journey can cause further emotional pain and push people back into relapse. A qualified psychologist has the experience to understand people on a deeper level than the addiction and won't cause further damage that happens so often.


Kind regards 



Posted : 19th November 2020 6:30 am

@whicee I don't believe knowing how addiction works on a psychological level makes any difference to a compulsive gambler trying to stop. Does knowing about drug levels and release of certain chemicals make a difference? Not for me. In fact when ever people talk about it all I think is so what? If you could take a tablet to balance out the drug imbalance that wouldn't change you as a person.

If I followed the ga guidelines, the only requirement is a desire to stop, and I don't think there is anything psychology about a higher power, in fact it's spiritual.

What has helped though is understanding a bit more about myself and why I used gambling as my crutch in order to not relapse this time, not why I was addicted. By working a 12 step program I have been able to face life, not escape from it. 


Posted : 19th November 2020 8:52 am

I would disagree there Chris but we could find some common ground to agree on. Im sure we are not that far apart with this

Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and behaviour. We have a lot to learn about the brain but I feel its important to try and work out why we reached for the drug of gambling

I think there is a lot to be learnt in why we reached for the drug of gambling and why we chose that form of escape.

All we are really is a brain and its chemical network. Who we are is learned behaviour as neuron paths form...some of it is genetics as that DNA code carries a lot of information that shape us from conception

When we understand the power of the mind and its chemicals to completely override who we are or who we think we are. The mind is a higher power because we dont fully understand it and it can control me for its own ends.

Do we actually know who we are? I think im getting a better idea of who I am and Im more comfortable with it.

What I was never comfortable with is this system we live in...shovelled off to school and being forced to interact and make life changing decisions from a very early age ready for work marriage taxes death. Its no wonder our brains overload and we seek escape from what can seem a harsh reality. We are shown wealth beyond out dreams and its no wonder people give gambling a go

All these are questions that we should think about once a recovery is established.

Im saying do the essentials of recovery to stop and then it is a good idea to learn why we think we are vunerable to this. Only if ready..Im not forcing people to get the textbooks out or go to a psychologist

I do consider gambling as the equivalent of substance abuse because the substance is in the act and the chemicals it sets up.

Its not wishy washy, mumbo jumbo to consider the psychology of it all

Whatever works for someone to experience a full recovery is fine by me.

Best wishes to everyone on the forum

This post was modified 6 days ago by Joydivider
Posted : 19th November 2020 11:29 am

@joydivider You can disagree with my opinion, that's fine, but having been under a pyschologist when I was a lot younger, I found the whole purpose of looking for that needle in a haystack pointless, as if I could pinpoint the moment I became a gambler and then discard it.

As I said I prefer to use the GA guidelines, and I quote from the Ga orange book of questions and answers;

"Is knowing why we gambled important?"

"Not as a rule. Of the many GA members who
have had extended psychiatric treatment, none
have found a knowledge of why they gambled to
be of value insofar as stopping gambling."

My own trademarked saying is that with my gambling, a hobby became a habit became a problem. The fact that my habit developed at a very early age just meant that my problem gambling developed at an earlier age than a lot of other people. I didn't go looking for gambling as a means of escape, but as my addiction developed, I now know that I used it as my escape. 

As I also said, knowing why I gamble isn't important to helping me stop it, but knowing who I am in a bit more detail has helped me to keep to my recovery. By recovery I also don't just mean staying off a bet, I mean a proper recovery, a look at myself, a willingness to be honest with myself and my flaws, my defects, and work on changing those. That and my GA work has, hand in hand, enabled me to change my character and my behaviours so that I don't need to escape from life now, I deal with it.

It in no way means I also know best or am in any way "fixed". I am never going to lose this addiction, but I can work on myself every day to be the best version of me that I can be. I accept that I could gamble again but I work very hard not to. That's probably more important to me than knowing why I started.



Posted : 19th November 2020 1:55 pm

I have not read any empirical evidence to provide factual evidence but based on the experience of one person (me) I would say yes, definitely.  It really helped when I gave up smoking some 20 years ago and has been one of the key pillars in helping me to stop gambling.  I don’t think it is the only thing, or indeed the only approach to controlling an addiction but it can’t hurt.

Posted : 19th November 2020 9:43 pm
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