So you’ve tried. Maybe you went without gambling for a week, maybe two. But then, like the time before, and maybe the time before that, you found yourself thinking about it.
The urge grew stronger and before you knew it you found yourself there again. The place you promised yourself, maybe even promised your partner and family, that you would never go..,
What ever your personal hell, you were there. Your hand was in your pocket, there was less money, and even more pain, guilt and regret than you ever thought possible. BUT IT DOES NOT NEED TO BE THIS WAY. REALLY.
Let’s get something straight. Quitting gambling isn’t easy. But if you’ve really looked at what gambling has cost you (and not just the money and possessions you may have sold, but friendships, your happiness and health) and have decided you don’t want that for yourself anymore, you can turn your life around. But it takes a real desire to change, time and hard work.
Research says that someone struggling with a gambling problem can think about gambling up to 80% of the time. That’s a lot of brain time being consumed with gambling thoughts.
For many people, this is why giving up gambling is so hard. Without changing those thought patterns and filling your time with other more meaningful activities or healthier interests, it’s easy to become bored, and the lure of gambling can pull you right back in again.
Everyone has slightly different ways of dealing with things. What works for you may not work for someone else and that is why it’s so important to develop a program with a professional gambling help counsellor that works for you and your needs. This help is free, confidential, and available to everyone. There is help available every day, every hour of the day. You can call 1800 858 858 right now and get started, or you can read on a bit more…
Problem gambling, also known as gambling addiction, or compulsive gambling, is a type of impulse-control disorder and getting on top of it needs expert help.
If you find it hard to control thoughts about gambling. If you can’t stop at the limit you set. If you can’t quit even though you know your gambling is hurting not only yourself but your family, friends and loved ones, it’s likely gambling has become a problem for you, an addiction that is out of control.
The reality for many problem gamblers is that unless they get some kind of professional help they will continue to be caught up in gambling and continue to suffer its affects.
The life of a compulsive gambler is hard.
Whether you’re up or down, broke or flush, happy or depressed, you will still be thinking about gambling and find it hard to control your behaviour.
The truth is, if you’re preoccupied with gambling, spending more and more time and money on it, chasing losses, or gambling despite serious consequences, you have a gambling problem.
For a minute lets say there was an accident and you broke your leg. What would you do? Ignore it? Tell your leg to fix itself? Live with the pain and lie to your family and friends and yourself while trying to get around with a broken leg?
No? So why would you treat a gambling problem any differently?
Having a problem with gambling can make you feel isolated, as though no-one understands what you’re going through. But the truth is you don’t have to do this alone.
There are many people and services ready and able to provide help and support whenever you’re ready to take action. They can help you to take steps to control your gambling and quit. For good.
Gambling is a game of chance. No matter what we want to think, the REALITY is that the odds are always stacked against you. If you’re thinking about making changes to your life in 2012 why not try these five tips to help you change your life for good and say goodbye to problem gambling forever.
Many problem gamblers say that once they’ve taken the first active steps to deal with their situation, they immediately feel much more positive and in control.
There are things you can do today that will help you take control of your gambling:
- Self-exclusion (banning yourself from venues including pubs, clubs , casino and TAB. It is a legal process and it works. Gambling Help counsellors can help you through the paper work and support you through the process)
- Keep a gambling diary. What you’ve done, what you haven’t, how you feel. You can keep track of what gambling REALLY costs and keep focussed on WHY you don’t want gambling in your life.
- Limit your access to money (cash and credit)
- Get a helper (a family member or friend and professional support)
- Sign up for Free SMS Reminders
- Get free stuff
If you live in NSW, you have the right to ask a pub or club to exclude you either from the whole venue or from certain areas within it. In the case of clubs, at the moment you will need to sign a separate document for each club you may visit, but that is soon to change.
Currently you can self-exclude from several hotels in one go. You can also ask the casino to exclude you and have yourself banned from TABs.
Your local gambling counsellor or Gambling Help can help you to complete this process.
To exclude yourself from online or mobile phone-based gambling, visit the GamBlock website onwww.gamblock.com. This is not a free service; charges can be up to $100US per year.
Keep a gambling diary
Many people find that they learn a lot about the things that make them spend too much on gambling by keeping a gambling diary. There’s one included in our workbook, which you can order or download via the Gambling Help website
Or you might prefer to simply jot down the details in a small notebook or use the notes function on your phone.
Each time you gamble, write down the day and date; the time; the place; who you were with; how much cash you were carrying and your net win or loss. It’s also important to make a note of why you were gambling: did your friends encourage you? Were you bored, angry or stressed?
By looking back at these details later, you will probably be able to see patterns that will give you an idea of what makes you want to gamble too much. You’ll also get an idea of how much time and money you’re losing to gambling.
Limit your access to money
If you decide to gamble, leave your ATM and credit cards at home, and only take with you an amount of cash that you can afford to lose. NEVER ‘chase your losses’, or try to win back money you’ve already lost. This is the way that gamblers most often end up in serious trouble. Once you’ve lost, or won, walk away.
You can also consider asking your bank to lower the daily withdrawal limit on your ATM card. Freezing (fill a take-away or ice-cream container with water place your card in and freeze) or shredding your credit cards, or giving them to someone you trust can also help.
Get a helper
Pick someone in your life you trust and talk to them honestly about your gambling and the fact that you would like to get more control of that aspect of your life.
Ask them if you can ‘check in’ with them once a week, or as often as you need to, to talk over the steps you’re taking to change your life. Making positive changes can be difficult when you first start. Having someone there to cheer you on can be a big source of strength and encouragement.
If you don’t feel comfortable talking to someone you know, call Gambling Help on 1800 858 858 it’s available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The person at the other end of the line has talked to hundreds of people just like you, and they understand exactly what you’re going through. You can call as many times as you like, it’s free from a landline and if you’re on a mobile they can call you back.
You can also arrange to speak to the same person each time, if you prefer. The gambling help website also has a list of people and organisations near you who can offer free help and support.
All Gambling Help services are free, including telephone, online counselling (via email or instant chat) and face-to-face treatment and support.
Sign up for Free SMS Reminders
Are you more likely to gamble on particular days or at particular times? If so, visit the website and subscribe to our SMS messages to help remind you of your decision to get your gambling under control.
The messages include facts about gambling, encouraging messages and information about help and support.
Get FREE stuff
Gambling Help offers free materials and information to help you understand gambling and get your gambling under control, books, DVDs, workbooks. Download from www.gamblinghelp.nsw.gov.au or order so that materials are posted to you. Everything is free.
JUST DO IT
There is no try, only do.
Take action now, call Gambling Help on 1800 858 858 or go to http://www.gamblinghelp.nsw.gov.au and make 2013 a year that counts.
What do you have to lose except a gambling problem that you really don’t want.