Why is gambling so hard to kick?


It’s been months since a win, your partner fights daily with you over it, you struggle to have enough money to fill the car with petrol and the red letters are now coming weekly threatening to take away your beloved car.  As you leave another session empty handed, broke and filthy with yourself you might stop and ask yourself, “Why? Why do I keep doing this to myself?”

Can you recall in detail how you drove home today? How about to work? What about tying your shoelaces or brushing your teeth? Chances are you’ve done all of those things today with minimal conscious attention.

The reason for this being that our brains contains neurons and when an action is performed, say, driving a car, a number of neurons fire to communicate this action. A pathway is formed. Initially it takes effort and concentration (remember the bunny hops while learning in a manual car?) but as with many things the more this action is practiced and the stronger these neural pathways become. And so chances are if you have engaged in regular gambling over a long period of time, you probably find yourself in front of that pokie machine or online clicking for a bet without even realising it.

The good news is that it is possible for you to change. This needs to be repeated. It is possible for you to change. In fact it’s quite important to reread that sentence and to hold on to it as it’s likely you’ve told yourself it’s just not possible for you to change, you’ve tried a couple of times, it didn’t work, it’s impossible.  This is where challenging those thoughts is key. Yes it feels impossible and so hard at times but it is possible. Just as an old well worn pathway through a field can eventually recede and be replaced by an alternative route so can your neural pathways.

No-one said forging this new pathway will be easy. It will be painful. It will be hard. But when you do achieve this getting your life and finances back will make every drop of sweat and tears worth it. Just as a builder will enlist the help of tradies or an architect when constructing it’s good to remember that you don’t have to sweat this out on your own. Seek help – call Gambling Help on 1800 858 858. Remember that there are many different gambling treatments out there, and many different services that can help. Don’t give up. You’re Stronger Than You Think.

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