While everyone knows that admitting a problem is the first step in recovery, it’s a tough ask. Our minds are fabulous at denial and we often tell ourselves so many other things before we can think about telling ourselves the truth.
We tell ourselves we win more than we lose and there’s no problem if you can afford it.
We convince ourselves a win is due, so we talk ourselves into spending one more $50 making one last trip to the ATM.
Sometimes we borrow money from people, telling ourselves we’ll pay them back with our winnings, except we don’t tell them we’ve borrowed the money and usually we don’t win.
If people have called us out on our gambling, tried to tell us we have a problem, we tell them they’re the ones with a problem – they can’t mind their own business or they don’t like to see anyone having fun.
Sometime we tell our partners or our family that we’ve quit. We tell ourselves they won’t know that we’re making up stories about where we’ve been and what we’ve spent our money on.
A quick truth test
Do you plan to spend a certain amount of money on gambling but find yourself spending more, maybe going back to the ATM or topping up your account?
Do you lose track of time when gambling? Say you’ll spend an hour and it’s usually much more.
Are you making excuses for why you can’t afford to go out with friends or why you need to borrow money?
Do you ever feeling guilty or worried about how much you spend on gambling?
Have you ever thought you could gamble and win your way out of debt?
Ever borrowed money from your friends to cover gambling debts or taken money from your family or workplace.
Do you find you’re thinking more and more about gambling and losing interest in your friends, family or activities you used to enjoy?
It’s important that you are honest with yourself about your gambling and the harm it may be causing you or others. It’s going to be hard at first but it will help you to move forward in a positive way.
Some people find it helpful to keep a note of how much, how often, how long and who they gamble with. Keeping track is a way to really see the truth about how much you’re gambling. Often people begin to see patterns about their gambling habits and can work out what to do to get their gambling back under control. Try writing down the time you gamble, the day and date; the place; who you were with; how much cash you were carrying and your net win or loss. Why were you gambling? Did your friends encourage you or were you alone? Were you bored, drunk, angry or stressed? You might want to download or order a free pocket size workbook that helps you with this and offers other ideas on controlling your gambling.
Download or order a free workbook to be sent to you in a plain envelope.
For many people, confiding in friends and family about gambling problems can be the start of real change.
Some people confide first in their partner and/or family and together seek help from Gambling Help services (anywhere in Australia call 1800 858 858) or click here for services in NSW .
While others seek professional help first before discussing the issue. Free specialist help is available whenever you need it for you and for family and friends.
It might be that your family or friends at first react with shock, anger, distress and sadness. Sometimes it can take a bit of time for the people who care about you to understand what you’re up against. Or you might find that they are relieved to know what is really going on – often partners or family suspect something is wrong and they’ve feared the worst. Generally speaking, having the truth “out there” is key to gaining control of your gambling.
You may want some extra information before making any decision. Download a copy of Gambling Impact Society NSW’s Problem Gambling – A Self Help Guide for Families (4 MB) or click here to have one sent to you.
If gambling has become a problem for you, know free, confidential, expert help and support is available anytime by calling 1800 858 858 or online. There’s no shame in getting professional help, no one will judge you or think less of you.
If family and /friends offer you support take them up on it. You may be able to find ways of dealing with the problem or seeking help together. Remember, the more everyone understands the truth about gambling problems the closer everyone is to being free of the problem. Gambling Help specialists will help you and your family and friends understand the truth about problem gambling and how to overcome it.