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!