7 Steps to Overcome Problem Gambling
Problem gambling isn’t something to be taken lightly. Even the most mentally strong individuals are prone to falling victims to it – but everyone is capable of overcoming it, even if they require a bit of help or a big push to get started.
There are many steps to be followed in your quest to overcome problem gambling once and for all. There is a long road ahead, but each step that you take will lead you towards a better mental state.
A long journey must start somewhere. Overcoming problem gambling isn’t easy, but you can do it – and we’re going to tell you how to start.
1. Acknowledge that You Have a Problem
The first step of overcoming an addiction is accepting that you have it. The good news is that, if you’re here, then it’s likely that you’re halfway through the first step already.
You may already be showing signs of problem gambling, and you haven’t noticed. Some of them are:
- Feeling like what you’ve been wagering isn’t enough.
- Constant need to gamble, no matter where you are.
- Reaching out to other people to ask for gambling money.
- Not being able to stay away from gambling activities.
Once you acknowledge that you have a difficulty, it is recommended that you get gambling help from a mental health professional. Some people manage to overcome gambling addiction on their own, but it’s too serious a matter to take any unnecessary risks.
2. Reach Out to Friends and Family
Coming to your loved ones with a problem isn’t easy, but they’re likely going to show you the support you need. It may prove to be invaluable when embarking on such a difficult journey!
Friends and family can help you keep your head centered and your goals clear will you fight to overcome your gambling problem. Even if you’re getting help from a mental health professional, knowing that you have a loved one to rely on will play a crucial role in your journey. It will keep you from any setbacks that you’ll otherwise be exposed to.
3. Avoid Activities that Trigger Your Cravings
Everyone that has a gambling problem also has factors that contribute to it directly. To overcome your problem, you must first understand it.
There are certain activities and behaviors that are more likely to make you feel like you want to gamble. These activities, also called triggers, need to be detected and avoided at all costs.
- Walking or driving around certain locations like land-based casinos or sports betting houses
- Being around people that enjoy gambling
- Drinking or consuming other substances that alter your state of mind and lower your inhibitions
Keep a log of everything that triggers your craving to gamble. That’s the best way to detect, and ultimately avoid, your triggers.
4. Stay Clear of Casinos and Gambling Locations
Following on the last point, it’s important that you stay clear of any location or establishment that’s related to gambling. Land-based casinos and gambling houses should be avoided, even if you need to take a different path to get to work just to avoid them.
Casinos, be it online or land-based, serve as a constant reminder of your gambling problem to the brain. Avoid them at all costs to avoid making your journey more difficult.
5. Forget What You Think You Know About Gambling
Gambling addicts seem to think that they’re in control of many factors that affect gambling behavior. In reality, most of these beliefs are nothing but a way for the brain to give itself a false sense of control. When you gamble, you’re never in control of what’s happening.
Casino games have outcomes determined by chance, probabilities, and RNGs. You cannot influence slot machines. It’s also important to understand that events that occur at random have no meaning at all. There aren’t any lucky numbers. Forget about any superstitions that you believe in. They do more harm than good.
6. Make a List of Benefits of Quitting
The past is the past. The future is what you need to look forward to. The best way to do this is by making a list of all the good things that come with quitting gambling for good. For example:
- Financial stability. Forget about debts related to gambling and other payments. You’ll notice that you’ll have much more cash laying around by the end of the month.
- Improved mental health. Stress related to gambling will be a thing of the past.
- Rebuilding relationships. You may have distanced yourself from friends and loved ones because of your gambling addiction.
Keep the list around and read it whenever you’re feeling like it’s too difficult to quit. It’ll serve as a constant reminder of all the good that will come once you’re through with your addiction.
7. Engage in Healthy Activities
Ultimately, keeping your mind off anything related to gambling could do you a world of help. If you start engaging in activities that you generally never engage in, you’ll find that you’ll be thinking much less about gambling and much more about healthier events that contribute to your journey of improvement. Distract your mind with healthier activities, such as:
- Exercising more regularly. Create workout routines to keep your mind and body fresh. This will help your mental and physical well-being.
- Take on new hobbies. Activities that you can engage in with groups of people are great alternatives, such as trekking or signing up for courses.
- Charity work is a great alternative. You’ll be helping other people out while you help yourself as well.
Other Tips to Overcome Problem Gambling
We have some additional tips that you can employ through any step of the way. Keep them in mind and try them out even if you’re just getting started with your journey. We’re sure they’ll prove quite helpful.
- Seek new social activities in which to partake. Meet new people, engage in new circles, explore new hobbies. Don’t underestimate the importance of a fresh start.
- Don’t be hard on yourself. The past is the past, and there’s no need for you to be hard on yourself for the things you’ve done. Be proud that you’re taking the necessary steps to overcome your problem.
- Be grateful about life. The most important thing is that you’re still alive. Good things are yet to come and you’ll be closer to them with every day that passes – even if hardship gets in your way from time to time.
How to Get Gambling Help in 2024
There are many organizations across the glove that are willing to help gamblers out. If you have a problem, you can reach out to gambling help organizations that will have people willing to help you through all of the steps in your journey towards recovery.
These are two of the best international organizations that you can reach out to if you need help:
- Gambling Therapy: https://www.gamblingtherapy.org/
- International Center for Responsible Gambling: https://www.icrg.org/
Depending on where you live, you may also have access to Responsible Gambling institutions that could help you out for free. Do some research and get in-person help, or use our Responsible Gambling page to learn more about local options available in some jurisdictions.
Gambling Should Be Fun – Get Help if You Need It
Ultimately, gambling needs to be fun. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a high roller, a low roller, or if you’re just getting started. If gambling is taking over your life, you need to seek immediate help. The Casino Wizard is on a quest to provide help channels to people that need them - and we've even written a complete Responsible Gambling guide.
Keep gambling fun and, please, don’t forget that getting help doesn’t make you less as a person. Don’t be afraid to reach out – there are thousands of people out there willing to help you out.