People that struggle with problem gambling often ask themselves “Why me? Why can’t I stop?”.
Many view it as an addiction, while others view it as something they’ve inherited in their genes especially when parents or other family members have been heavy gamblers. Others again berate themselves as being ‘so stupid’ and just unable to stop.
Yet, there is another aspect that is often over looked – the power of early positive experiences. All of us can recall with ease our favourite restaurant and what is was about that restaurant that made such an impression on us. Same with countries we have travelled to, great cars we’ve driven, or special food we’ve eaten.
This first impression, be it positive or negative, lays down the foundation of how we view that experience. What is interesting to note is that when asked, most people struggling with heavy levels of problem gambling can recall a very positive experience early on. Be that fond memories of playing penny poker as a family activity or stumbling across a relatively big win early on, both experiences are positive and lay down a foundation that enables the person to view gambling as a positive benevolent past-time.
If you are someone who is experiencing problems with gambling and are struggling financially and emotionally, stop and really consider “What were my very first experiences of gambling? Were they positive?” This piece of the puzzle might be able to contribute to a better understanding allowing you to progress forward in your treatment.
If you think you have a problem with gambling, or if you want to know more, a gambling counsellor can be found by calling Gambling Help on 1800 858 858. Free individual sessions are available to anybody who might be concerned their gambling has gotten out of hand.
The Gambling Help website has a range of free resources and self-help tools available to download or order, as well as new community support forums where you can share your experiences and hear from others who are in similar situations. Visit www.gamblinghelp.nsw.gov.au/forum to join the conversation.