One of the most important things you can do when you’re close to someone who is struggling with gambling is empower the person you care about to reach out for help. However, what many people forget is that in order for someone to be able to ask for help, they need to first realise … Continue reading Ways for family and friends to support gamblers
Responsible Gambling Awareness Week (RGAW) is taking place this week, running from 23-29 October in NSW. Held during the break between the footy grand finals and Melbourne Cup, RGAW aims to get people to take a moment and think about their gambling. What do we mean by this? Say you’ve gone to the races with … Continue reading Whatever your limits are, it is a great time to think about them.
People with gambling problems don’t need to hit rock bottom to begin to get help. Hitting rock bottom can be different for different people - for some it’s losing a significant amount of money or a close relationship, for others it can be losing everything. When someone has hit rock bottom the road to recovery … Continue reading The Harms of Hitting Rock Bottom
Recognising and dealing with gambling urges can be a really powerful part of recovery. People describe gambling urges in different ways: compulsions an adrenaline rush excitement cravings It is possible to manage your urges even if they feel overwhelming and difficult to resist. Sometimes people try to ’white knuckle’ urges by trying not to give into … Continue reading What is a gambling urge and why does it matter?
Many people who want to change their gambling say they are worried about the impact it has on the children in their lives. When a family member or someone they live with has a problem with gambling, children who are close to the situation may be affected. For example, children may become confused about what … Continue reading How Does Gambling Impact Children?
Fred* rang the Gambling Helpline a very worried father. He had just found out that his son Jordan*aged 22, was $30,000 in debt, owed most of this money to credit cards and had used the money for gambling. Fred admitted that both he and his wife Marie* had known that Jordan gambled, but certainly not … Continue reading A Father’s Story
Youth gambling is a concern for many parents especially with the increasing presence of gambling in sports and online. There may be one person suffering from gambling in every high school class. Ideally young people won’t gamble at all, if they do sometimes it can become a serious issue which may result in depression, missing … Continue reading Young people and gambling
Partners, family members and friends often ring the NSW Gambling Helpline (1800 858 858) wanting advice about how to talk to their loved ones about their gambling. Many times they want to talk about how to begin the conversation. Other times the family member or significant other admits gambling has been an ongoing discussion … Continue reading The conversation – talking to a family member or significant other who is gambling
In our lives we are often very busy trying to balance different commitments which often leaves little time out for ourselves. Whether you are a parent, working full time, dealing with family, relationships, or financial issues, chances are you have experienced stress in the past week. Stress is the feeling we have when under pressure … Continue reading How managing your stress can reduce your gambling
The start of a New Year means making resolutions for many people, and hopefully you are feeling full of good intentions. The break over Christmas has given you the opportunity to reflect on the year past, and wonder what might lie ahead. It is easy to start the year with the best of intentions, but … Continue reading What do you want for the New Year?
With the holidays just around the corner, many of us will be looking forward to relaxing and taking time off. However, Christmas can be a difficult time for many as it can be expensive and often daunting with many expectations including buying presents, attending social events and meeting family obligations. If you are struggling with … Continue reading Gambling and holidays – top tips
Asking for support can be challenging even though all the evidence says that you are much more likely to be able to overcome a gambling problem if you have at least one person who can support you. One of the challenges is talking to your support person about a lapse – which of course we … Continue reading Support is key!
“If I could wave a magic wand and gambling was no longer a problem for you, how would your life be different?” This might seem like a strange question, considering there is no such thing as a magic wand and gambling is a very serious issue. Counsellors ask this type of question, because focusing on … Continue reading The magic wand question
If you have been gambling for some time and you find you are having more trouble controlling the amount you spend, you might notice that you often have thoughts that make you want to gamble more urgently. Many people battle with these thoughts and try different strategies to distract themselves from focusing on them. For … Continue reading The gambler’s fallacy – a risk for relapse
Scientists have known for a long time about the link between thoughts and behaviour - Thinking about past wins may be enough to send you straight back to gambling. Identifying when you are having those thoughts, and how they lead you back to gambling will be an important part of your stop gambling plan. Here … Continue reading Thinking about gambling!
A lack of knowledge and understanding by migrants about help- services within the Australian can be a significant barrier to seeking help and the function and purpose of western counselling is a considerable barrier for migrants to seek help (Feldman, S. et al 2014). Jessica talks about what worked for her and what she recommends … Continue reading Part 4: Jessica’s story: surviving the gambling experience
The open and accepted nature of gambling within the Australian cultures can be at odds with Chinese policies and practices around gambling. For example, gambling in Jessica’s home country gambling is restricted unlike Australia where may forms of gambling are freely accepted. This more open-minded view of gambling and its emphasis on individual ‘responsible gambling’ … Continue reading Jessica’s Story Part 3: Family, Community and the difference between Gambling in Australia and China
The idea of seeking any form of assistance in many immigrant communities is often considered taboo. The issues of stigma and ‘saving face’ means that rather than seeking professional help these people with gambling problems often turn to family or close friends for help. This can be a problem for many who do not have … Continue reading Jessica’s Story: culture and gambling problems – Part 2
Reading this article (and others like it) can be one of the many ways you can help yourself to stop gambling. But how you may ask? Research shows that recognising that you have a gambling problem, and committing to change is a really important step in your recovery process. You are here because you want … Continue reading Reading this blog can help you pull yourself away from Gambling!
Gambling in Australia is more readily available than anywhere else in the world and this can cause problems for people coming from countries where it is more restricted. For example, recently arrived migrants to Australia can find the freedom of the Australian culture and the constant availability of gambling activities a risk factor for problematic … Continue reading Jessica’s Story – Part 1
Negative emotions such as worry about finances and the guilt and shame associated with losing money through gambling are often the reasons people give for the decision to give up gambling. However, negative emotions can also trigger a relapse. Negative emotions come in many forms - feeling bored, stressed, overwhelmed, sad, lonely and depressed. For … Continue reading Negative emotions and gambling relapse
Even if you have successfully managed a gambling problem, some gamblers have acknowledged the ongoing risk for relapse when working away from home. This is because it generally means moving away from your supports, having more spare time, and being in an environment where those around you may be gambling heavily. See Shane’s story: Shane … Continue reading Gambling relapse and working away from home
In our previous blog we discussed some common errors in thinking that contribute to a gambling problem. Here are some more types of ‘thinking errors’ that might look familiar to you if you are having problems with gambling, or know someone who is. One ‘thinking error” is Selective Memory Selective Memory refers … Continue reading Thinking errors in problem gambling – Part Two
Often people don’t stop to think if their thoughts are entirely true, and whether these thoughts are helping them to achieve our life goals. Often the ways people think about things are not correct but they believe them anyway. For example, many people with gambling problems develop beliefs about their chances of winning … Continue reading How do my thoughts affect my gambling?
Welcome to the third part of the relapse blog – in the previous blogs we discussed the impact of environmental factors in relapse. In this blog we will look at the urge to gamble and relapse. The urge to gamble has been well documented in research to be one of the most powerful factors … Continue reading Relapse Part 3 – gambling urges
Environmental factors that influence relapse for those trying to abstain from gambling often include being inside a hotel where the exciting gaming room atmosphere, winning jackpots and easy wins become triggers to gamble. For example, a gaming environment is often described by gamblers as tempting with excitement that stimulates the anticipation of winning money making … Continue reading Environmental factors and relapse – continued
Problem gamblers often describe their relapses with a lot of emotion. It can be devastating to fall back into old patterns of behaviour and feel like you are back at square one again. All of that hard work can feel like it was for nothing. Often relapse is described as the most devastating thing that … Continue reading Relapse Part 2 – environmental factors that can lead to relapse
One thing to always think about when addressing gambling problems, is relapse. Unfortunately it is a common part of the change process and can seem to come up out of the blue. Here are some quotes from clients who were asked to reflect on the times they had relapsed: I was going so well and … Continue reading Relapse – Part 1
Health is the first core need – and one of the foundations. When we are in good health, and taking time to look after ourselves, we are generally more resilient to stress and bounce back from adverse life events. Taking care of ourselves is also an important part of self worth – by treating our bodies … Continue reading Core needs – health
Personal growth and meaning are pretty big needs, though not necessarily as immediate as health, home and money. When we have our personal growth needs met, we generally feel fulfilled and stimulated. Similarly, when we have a sense of what our meaning or purpose is (whether that is children, work, religion, hobbies or family), we … Continue reading Personal growth and meaning – What does it have to do with gambling?
Most people have some need for social interaction – even if that is a quick chat with our bus driver, or a phone call from a friend or family member. All of us have different ‘needs’ for social interaction – very low (one or two friends or acquaintances) to very high (many different friends and … Continue reading Social & group belonging and gambling
Issues within relationships can impact us in many ways. Depending on the length and seriousness or a relationship, when there are problems with your partner you will likely experience stress and difficult emotions. So how do relationships impact my gambling? Just like with money, it can go both ways. People experiencing problems with their relationships … Continue reading Core Needs – relationship
Having enough money is extremely important to our wellbeing. Not necessarily having unlimited amounts, but having enough for food, rent, petrol and essentials. Often being short on money can be the source of enormous stress and anxiety. So how does money relate to my gambling? Just like with health and home, it goes both ways. … Continue reading Core needs and gambling: money
Having a stable home life is one an essential core need that contributes to our well-being…if your home life is in crisis, it is difficult to go about your daily life. Home is important because we need to feel comfortable and safe in our living environment. Often when there is tension at home, or we … Continue reading Is your home life affected by your gambling?
Starting to think about change is a big process. Often when people begin the process of counselling, we will ask them ‘what is it that motivated you to make this appointment?’ Here is what some of our clients have had to say about the process: ‘I reached a point where I realised I was about … Continue reading Change
After listening to many stories by those experiencing gambling problems it is clear gambling can cause significant harm across many areas of life including financial problems, depression and relationship problems. These negative consequences are often overwhelming and lead to feelings of distress. Many gamblers admitted to me that its at these times gambling becomes difficult … Continue reading It’s difficult to stop gambling when you’re feeling desperate
Many people who have shared their stories on the Gambling Help website feel like they’re at “Rock Bottom” struggling with everything from financial problems and relationship breakdowns, to homelessness and loss of work. Their words express enormous guilt, sadness, anger, and shame at the end of a gambling episode – sometimes there are even thoughts … Continue reading It’s tough to get started
Are the way you think about gambling and the way you respond to a noise in the night connected? You might be surprised. Scrambling at a noise in the night Our reactions tell us a lot about the thought patterns that have become ingrained over time in our brains. Examining these thought patterns may be one … Continue reading How do you react to a noise in the night?
One of the heart breaking things I've seen working as an intake officer and counsellor at a gambling clinic is coming across the people who called the help line, but just couldn’t bring themselves to come in for that first session. Or those who showed up for the first session, and for whatever reason, dropped out. It … Continue reading Musings of a gambling counsellor
Sit down and take a moment. This is important. Don’t just read through this, rather, take the time to make a mental image of your answers to some of these questions, because you CAN get better and you DESERVE to. Ask yourself. How might life look different if you stopped gambling? What would you do … Continue reading A minute of your time please
Gambling can take a toll not only on your finances but also on your physical and emotional health. How have you been feeling over the last few weeks? Have you been feeling flat? Lacking in energy? Have you been feeling hopeless or helpless? Have you been feeling distant from other people? Do you find that … Continue reading Gambling and depression
Australians gamble more per head than any other nation. This in itself isn’t necessarily a problem as, for some, gambling can be an enjoyable pastime. Often, people find that when they gamble recreationally, it is often in social situations where alcohol is abundantly available. It is common practice and, dare I say, emblematic of our … Continue reading Alcohol and Gambling- what’s the damage?
Every day we do things because we have to. Think about it… a lot of our day is often filled up with tasks such as our job, grocery shopping, filling the car with petrol, mowing the lawn, vacuuming the house…the list goes on! While these things do need to be done, they are not rewarding … Continue reading The importance of pleasant activities
Are you trying to stop gambling but finding it hard because you keeping having cravings to gamble? Don’t worry, this is very common! Experiencing cravings or urges to gamble is completely normal among people trying to give up gambling. Sometimes it may feel like your urge is so powerful that you have to give in. … Continue reading Have you learnt the art of urge surfing?
Once you have made a lifestyle change, how do you maintain it? If you’ve recently stopped gambling, you might be worried about relapsing. But it can be helpful to remember that a lapse can be part of the journey as you learn new skills and transition out of old habits.
Did you know that you know that approximately 70% of Australians participate in some form of gambling each year? Gambling can, in fact, take many forms. Playing the pokies, playing table games at the casino and betting on horses are all considered gambling. Even buying a lottery ticket or ‘scratchie’ is a form of gambling. … Continue reading How common is gambling?
You have all probably heard about poker machines operating randomly, though what exactly does that mean? In gambling, random means that we are unable to accurately control or predict the outcomes that will occur next. Randomness also means that each outcome is independent of one another. That is, the outcome of each spin on a … Continue reading What randomness really means in poker machines
Recent research funded by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation has found that 14% of people receiving treatment for substance abuse also experience problems with gambling. There are many similarities between substance abuse and gambling problems - both may be used to escape uncomfortable feelings such as depression and anxiety, both can result in preoccupation (either … Continue reading Gambling under the influence
Did you know that it takes on average $330,000 to win the $10,000 prize on the pokies? This translates to odds of over 9 million to one. In case you’re wondering, the chances of getting hit by a bolt of lightning are 1.6 million to one. So, next time you’re playing the pokies hoping you … Continue reading House Edge
How many times have you tried to stop gambling, only to go back to it when the cravings get too much? If you’ve ever experienced this, then you’ll know that will power alone is rarely enough to stop gambling. The good news however, is that is it possible to reduce your motivation to gamble in the … Continue reading Reach Out
If you are reading this blog, I will assume that you are either a person who wants to change their gambling, or a loved one of someone who is perhaps struggling with their gambling. It may be helpful to hear what has assisted others –their stories can show what is possible, perhaps you will see … Continue reading Starting the recovery journey – Diane