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Finding a Positive Outlook

13th January 2017

Ahead of so-called ‘Blue Monday’ we ran a chatroom for anyone struggling to make positive behaviour changes or control their urges to gamble.

This time of year can be tough all by itself, the post-Christmas slump and bleak weather making it difficult to find motivation. Compound that with a compulsion to gamble, more than likely mixed in with debt or relationship difficulties, and then you run smack into what is supposed to be the most depressing day of the year.

Well it doesn’t all have to be a downer. Our Chatroom today focussed on the positives, with either practical or emotional tips to help you take back control and make a difference for 2017.

The first thing to acknowledge is that it can be much harder to fight an addiction or compulsion all by yourself. Reach out to as many people as possible for help and support, including our Frontline Advisers and Counsellors, and you’re more likely to succeed.

It can be tough to talk to your friends and family members about what you’re going through, and you may even feel in the short term that it seems to have made the problem worse. But your chances of making a long-term change for the better will increase if you have their support, and if they find support and understanding too.

It can also help to talk to others going through similar experiences – try the GamCare Forum or Chatrooms, or you could look for a local support group. GamCare also offers group counselling sessions both face-to-face and online.

Recovery is a learning curve – you may have to deal with uncomfortable truths, and you may have to adjust to situations you never thought you would. But recovery can be a positive experience too, if you learn to focus on valuing yourself again and setting goals, both in the short- and long-term.

Celebrating small successes is incredibly important, especially when you’re taking your first steps towards recovery. Having money, for instance when you’ve just been paid, can become a burden and can turn your thoughts towards betting again. Try to either hand over control of cash to someone you trust, or place money in an account which limits instant access.

You can also try putting money into a savings account and setting a goal for it. Visuals can help with this, keeping it mind. Keep a picture of what it is you want nearby for a reference. Over time, your relationship to money may become more positive, instead of being a cause for anxiety, and you won’t be tempted to throw it away.

Also keep in mind that what works for other people may not necessarily work for you, and that’s ok. If you find something that keeps you on track, ignore the doubters! Our counselling services also work with you as an individual, never assuming that you fit in a box. We’ll meet you wherever you are in your journey.

That includes helping you in whichever way you are comfortable, either face-to-face, online, in a group or individually. Talk to a HelpLine Adviser to find what could work best for you.

Urges will come and go as part of the process you’re going through, and if gambling feels like an escape from other problems, that’s quite common. Just remember, gambling isn’t an answer to financial worries or any others. Learning what motivates your gambling behaviour is really important if you’re going to move past it.

Learn more about changing your behaviour here, and remember – the National Gambling HelpLine is available on Freephone 0808 8020 133 or via web chat on our NetLine if you need to talk.