Grieving can be a very difficult time to get through for any person. For those in recovery it will be a process that will need to be learned. When a person comes into recovery they might be grieving the loss of their addiction (i.e. not gambling anymore). As well, they certainly will experience sorrow over other more common situations such as the loss of a loved one. No matter what the circumstances are it will be important to work through these challenges to prevent a relapse.
So, let’s discuss the stages of the grieving process. We will use the diagnosis of inoperable cancer as an example of what a person might go through. The first thing a person might be thinking is that this diagnosis can’t be happening to me. The doctor must have the wrong chart and the person has difficulty wrapping their brain around the fact of such a diagnosis. Thus, the first stage of the grieving process is denial. The second stage a person might experience is the anger stage. In this instance, a person might feel very angry and wonder why this is happening to them. A person might exclaim, “why me and not the pervert under the bridge!”
Then, the person might enter the next stage of grieving in which he or she feels very sad or depressed about their cancer diagnosis. Finally, one experiences the acceptance stage. During this time the person may not be doing back flips but they realize that everyone has to die at some point. The person might tell everyone in their lives how much he or she loves them. A recent article discusses an interesting study related to the end of life process.
The example we discussed can also be applied to the disease of addiction, the loss of a home or even a job. But it is important to remember that everyone grieves differently and may not experience all the stages described above or in any particular order. In addition, some people grieve alone and some need to talk about it. While others might find writing an effective way to deal with a loss. Grief is a terrible thing to have to go through but if you choose healthy ways it will make you a stronger person. On the other hand, relapsing over life’s challenges will not prove to be beneficial in anyway.
Gambling treatment centers often take patients to twelve step meetings. There will be recovery phrases at these meetings that will be inspirational and yes, sometimes corny. But hopefully by attending meetings you will hear things that will motivate you to not gamble and feel good about yourself once again.
I once heard a Gamblers Anonymous member say the following phrase while attending a meeting with my patients; “My failures in active addiction were shouted into my ears while my accomplishments were whispered”. This is also very true for anyone early in recovery. The damage that compulsive gambling does to one’s self esteem is just devastating. A recent article discusses how easily gambling can become an addiction and ruin someone’s life.
Some phrases are simple yet so complicated at the same time. For example, “just don’t make that first bet and go to meetings”. Well, that sounds easy but there is a lot of time between the meetings and a lot of time to think about gambling. The point here is that in the beginning it is necessary to go to meetings daily. Sometimes, if someone has the time, they go to two or three meetings a day in early recovery. The other thing to note here is that if a person doesn’t gamble one day at a time he or she will get better. But if they are gambling in between meetings their mind, body and spirit will have no chance of healing.
By going on a regular basis, you will establish connections with people. One former patient attended GA meetings regularly and kept hearing one person who he greatly admired say, “If you just don’t bet, you will be okay!” He needed to hear that daily. The phrase stuck in his head throughout the day and gave him hope when he was having temptations. This is the type of connection that will help an addict live a gamble free life.
Another key phrase often said at meetings is, “in order to keep it, you have to give it away”. In other words by helping another compulsive gambler you will help yourself live without gambling. Maybe one day you will create your own catch phrase!
If you think you have a problem with gambling there are ways to get help. One way is to get professional help before things get worse. Compulsive gambling is a disease that can absolutely destroy someone’s life. Getting help is the first step to ending this destructive lifestyle. In the beginning gambling might have been an enjoyable experience. But once someone crosses the line, gambling is no longer fun.
Seeking help for a gambling addiction can be a huge relief for a person whose gambling has gotten out of control. Gamblers Anonymous can be another way to get support in trying to quit gambling. This is a good start because getting professional help may take some time to get an appointment. Admitting your struggles with loved ones can also be useful. It is important to be honest about your addiction and there are steps to take that will also alleviate your troubles. For instance, may people who suffer from this disease will have their loved ones control their finances until they can be confident to trust themselves again with money. One former patient gave his credit/debit cards to his brother for six months and received a small allowance. His brother paid his bills and before long the patient could handle things on his own.
It is important to point out that the patient was getting professional help and attended Gamblers Anonymous during the six-month period. Some people are fortunate enough to get through their troubles by getting this sort of assistance. But for many compulsive gamblers it is necessary to get inpatient treatment to address their gambling. This allows for intensive counseling. A recent article discusses compulsive gambling and how it affects a person’s life. The article also suggests other ways to combat a gambling addiction. Gambling really causes troubles for the people in their lives. So, getting help is paramount.
There are many answers to the question where can I get help for gambling addiction. It can be a scary thing to address but the alternative can be even more terrifying! Get help and start living a normal life. You will not regret it!
If you are new to recovery you might be wondering how can you be content without, drinking, drugging or gambling. Often this is the reason why people do not get help in the first place. They just cannot imagine stopping their addiction and feeling contentment. So, I am here to tell you that there is hope and there are millions in recovery who now live outstanding lives because they quit their addiction. Moreover, Attitude is Everything in Recovery!
Laugh more often! There was a real character in recovery, known for standing up in meetings, facing the crowd with a big smile on his face and saying, “I love everyone, but there’s always one son of a gun I love the least!” Everyone would laugh. Tension was relieved, newcomers felt more comfortable and the laughter created a feeling of unity. The man’s name was Wish and he was friendly and welcoming to everyone. In Wish’s eyes, it did not matter what you looked like, where you came from or what you had to say. He was always a bright light with a great sense of humor. He connected with people and that connection is what makes recovery meaningful.
There are many sayings in the recovery community and one you’ll hear often is to “have an attitude of gratitude”. Be grateful for what you have and for the opportunity to live sober and clean. Helping others, whether they are newcomers to sobriety or in your day-to-day relationships with family and neighbors will add to a more balanced and content state of being. A recent article discusses the benefits of a great attitude. Therefore, remember there is no problem that will get better or be solved by using or gambling. You have the power to change and it all starts with attitude!
People need to have good listening and communication skills in order to have healthy relationships. Moreover, it will be crucial for anyone recovering from a gambling addiction. But, many times people are set in their ways and have developed unhealthy habits when it comes to talking with family and friends. For a person to improve these skills it will take hard work and practice. So, if you are open to changing the way you communicate with people it then half the battle is won because most people do not like change! One article discusses how some relationships can end disastrously but how a person can learn from this experience. Especially, if they are willing to develop their skills.
The first tip when speaking with someone is to not talk at the same time. How many of us can relate to this? It is very simple, you cannot listen if you are talking. Next, it is important for you to make the other person feel comfortable when having a conversation. So, look at the person and give welcoming body language (i.e. don’t cross your arms) so they know you are listening to them without being threatening. Also it is important to show the person that you are interested in what they are saying. For instance, you should turn off the television or your phone. This will help the other person realize that what they are saying is important.
Another great way to demonstrate to a friend or loved one that you are listening is to show empathy. In other words try to put yourself in their shoes. You can also rephrase what they are saying and this will show understanding on your part. If you ask questions this will also show the person you are listening. Next, allow the person to say what’s on their mind. It is vital to give the person the time to express what their concerns are. This is especially important for gamblers in recovery because it is usually the case that we have violated a person’s trust at some point in the relationship. Also, don’t get angry and fly off the handle when you hear something you do not like or agree with. This will ruin a conversation quickly!
The funny thing about speaking with people we know is that we have become so comfortable with them that we often have developed terrible habits. But if you can give these tips a shot then you can break away from your normal routines. By doing this you will be on a path to developing healthier relationships. Try it and see the improvements!
Gambling is an activity that has been around for centuries. People will bet on anything – from sporting events to how much snow is going to fall to who’s going to win an Oscar. There are several “legal” ways to gamble in states which have passed the proper legislation, including lotteries, scratch tickets, casinos and the horse track. There is, however, a lot of illegal gambling also.
Some of us are aware of the harm that problem gambling can do to a person and their loved ones. Problem gamblers can easily accrue insurmountable debt. They often feel compelled to start lying about finances and how much time they’re spending away from home or otherwise occupied, which can easily build mistrust among family, friends and employers. Increased Isolation is another big part of compulsive gambling. When a person gets their first “taste” by winning big or an exciting day, are they aware of these potential problems? Most likely not. Not all recreational gamblers become addicts. But addicts do start out as recreational gamblers and then once they cross that line all hell breaks loose.
Would it make sense to just ban gambling altogether? It could save our society from a lot of grief. Just as we ban drugs for the greater good, could we not do the same with gambling? People suffer from hopelessness, despair and isolation associated with a gambling addiction and in some cases, chooses to take their own lives because of it.
According to Michael Goldman, senior employee assistance program counselor in Cook County (Illinois), it’s estimated that 18-25 percent of compulsive gamblers will attempt suicide. With an estimated two million compulsive gamblers and four-to-six million problem gamblers in the U.S., the potential for larger numbers of suicide deaths brought on by gambling is significant.
Families who have lived through the devastation a compulsive gambler can bring into their lives would certainly agree with banning gambling. Then why don’t we do it? Probably because so many companies are making money through gambling, not to mention the tax benefits. A recent article discusses one coach’s take on banning gambling. He presents a unique argument in the article stating that there are times when a person has done nothing with their life yet on a single bet can become a millionaire. He goes on to say it just doesn’t seem fair when you think about a person who works night and day just to make ends meet. Well just like baseball, gambling is a national pastime. Who in their right mind would ever think to ban people from baseball? It just wouldn’t happen, unless of course, you are Pete Rose!
Treatment programs focus on several concepts that will help you learn how to stop a gambling addiction. One of them is changing our thinking. By changing our words, we can start to change the way we think. Remember, addiction is a “thinking” disease.
Many patients wonder how they will stop gambling forever. Forever is quite a concept to wrap one’s head around. Let’s change how we think about this. Instead of not gambling forever, focus on not gambling for one day. This idea seems to make this goal much more manageable. It can be applied to other seemingly daunting tasks. For instance, if someone has a huge list of things to accomplish it can be overwhelming. By focusing on just the top three items, stress may be reduced. In other words, break down large goals into smaller, more achievable ones.
Changing our thinking can also be useful when we communicate with others. Loved ones often say to their partner “you need to” stop gambling. As a husband, I hated it when my wife told me I “needed” to do something. If she had changed her message, maybe saying it would be a “good choice” to stop gambling, then I think the idea would have been more appealing. It would have been much less of a threat in my mind.
For a person in recovery, words can make a world of difference. Many addicts view things in an” all or nothing way”. A recent article discusses the benefits of “grey” thinking and changing our language can be beneficial. For example, one might say, “I am a bad person”. It’s hard to believe that someone is bad all of the time. But it is reasonable to think that the person made “some bad decisions” and once in recovery, their decisions will be healthier and more mature.
One might think going to a meeting is going to be “awful”. Using phrases that are less black and white, such as, “I’m not sure I’ll like it, but I’m willing to go”, lessens the severity of the idea. So, let’s break negative patterns of thinking and start practicing a new way of looking at things. It certainly can make a difference in your recovery. Give it a try. You have nothing to lose!
Gambling Addiction Centers and Managing Catastrophic Events.
Some people in recovery will claim that if something catastrophic happens in their lives then they will be destined to relapse. For instance, if my wife or husband leaves me then I will definitely gamble. For others the catastrophic event might be a death in the family or getting fired from a job. One thing for sure is that if a person’s desire to remain gamble free is conditional then they will gamble eventually.
So, let’s discuss whether the catastrophic events are legitimate or just excuses. The fact of the matter is that bad things will happen in a person’s life. There is a lot of tragedy, a lot of disappointments and unexpected expenses that will undoubtedly occur. These things happen to all people. While they can be challenging, people do get through these situations without gambling. If an addict chooses to relapse over such events then they really are making excuses to use.
The point here is not to set yourself up for a relapse. Addicts could use for many other reasons too. For example, they might gamble to be social, or to reduce anxiety. They might even think they have the ability to better control their finances. A recent article discusses how a gambling relapse can destroy a person’s life and that there is help for those who have a problem and want to stop.
The key to living a gamble free life is to accept the reality that you do not have to gamble to get through the problems you may face. Experiencing these emotions can be very unpleasant but the feelings will go away. Life has its ups and downs. The tricky thing about using drugs to get through a bad situation is that it may seem to help initially. But the truth is it really is a temporary solution because when a person sobers up the person the feelings will be worse!. So develop a habit of not gambling and you will gain more strength as you successfully get through each twist that life may present to you.
Go to any casino and look around and listen; Smiling, laughing folks taking a chance at the poker tables, roulette and the slots, the buzz of excitement is in the air. Did you know that in that crowd, there may be a several players who are not enjoying themselves at all? What’s going on with them? It is not always clear, but that is the reality for millions who gamble regularly to the point of obsession and compulsion.
One former patient discussed how he would be down more than a thousand dollars and on one spin of the slot machine would be back at even money again. Most people would be ecstatic to break even from that sort of streak of bad luck. Furthermore, most people would get the hell out of there as quickly as possible! They would be relieved to have come back from disaster, but not this former high-stakes slots player…
His mindset was such that he felt because of his $500 loss the week before, he had to play until he won that back. At first, he would say to himself that he would only gamble with a few hundred dollars and then stop. Yet before long he had lost that $200 and began dipping into what he had left. He thought his luck would just HAVE to change again. But when it comes to gambling it’s all random and luck has nothing to do with it!
Unfortunately, this is how a compulsive gambler plays. In addition, imagine this former client winning back a thousand dollars, breaking even, blowing that money away too, then taking out more money from the ATM. That is exactly what happened and the thrill of winning just hours ago turned into one of the most unpleasant experiences at the casino. Now imagine this happening every time the person goes to the casino; yet they keep returning to live the nightmare time after time. This is what happens and it is inevitable and ultimately tragic. A recent article tells of one casino dealer who sees this happen quite regularly. So, if you are on the merry-go-round and stuck going round and round, get off the ride and start enjoying life again!
Soul Killer- Compulsive Gambling
Why is it that something that starts out as an enjoyable pastime or fun thing to do with your friends, ends up ruining so many lives? The answer is simple; winning is great, but gambling long-term is a sure loss. As the saying goes, the house always wins. Losing is not fun at all!
So often, a compulsive gambler is chasing lost money and before they know it, he or she has forfeited all sense of the real value of money and any true enjoyment they ever had at a casino or watching a sporting event. In addition, this type of gambling isolates people, takes all of their hard earned money, and destroys families and friendships. No wonder the human spirit of a gambler like this eventually becomes so broken.
Compulsive gambling is a very secretive disease, because unlike alcohol or drugs, there aren’t the obvious signs of abuse, such as the smell of alcohol, dramatic changes in behavior or DUIs. A person could be gambling on their phone or computer and no one would even know. Furthermore, they might say they are on an overnight business trip, but have really snuck off to a casino. There may be small signs a loved one notices, a look of irritability or stress, but these can be easily chalked up by the gambler to a long day at work. One of the saddest things about someone who has become a compulsive gambler is that although the signs might not be so obvious, the person is certainly struggling inside.
Eventually, the stress of these losses causes an internal fight for the gambler. How are they supposed to confide in another person? Typically the addict is ashamed and afraid to ask for help. Moreover, he or she might have the notion that one big win can get them out of their financial mess. But when that win never comes, the person can fall into more of a rut and their sense of well-being erodes. The feelings of depression, anxiety, hopelessness and shame set in. The cycle continues and typically gets worse over time as debt accrues. For the gambler this is a very scary place to be. Their human spirit is truly broken. A recent article discusses how gambling can cause so much unhappiness in a person’s life.
If you are unhappy because of your gambling, don’t give up hope. You can turn your life around and be free of the anxiety, stress and fear brought on by this insidious practice.