Moving forward from a secret life – four tips to start breaking the cycle of deception


As you begin down the road to recovery and begin to reflect on your gambling, you may see how small lies about gambling have spiralled into bigger lies and more deception.

It is common to attempt to keep gambling a secret from loved ones. Bending the truth can help you cover up gambling problems and avoid hurting others by preventing them from discovering the consequences of your gambling.

Even saying “I am ok” when you are not is being dishonest. Being untruthful often starts if you try to convince yourself you don’t have a problem with gambling.  This faulty reasoning enables you to disregard any early warning signs so that you can continue to gamble.

Some common lies people tell themselves include:

  • I am ok.
  • I don’t have a gambling problem, I am just socialising.
  • I see others gambling more than me.
  • Others lose more money than me.
  • I win more than I lose.
  • Tomorrow will be different because tomorrow I will win.
  • I will be able to win back my money and pay back my friend.

Avoiding the truth can seem reasonable at the time, but as gambling problems increase more lies are told to family, friends and colleagues.  Sometimes you may begin by changing the truth or telling the facts differently, or hiding and the amount you are spending, which is also deceptive to yourself and others. This deception deprives people who care about you the opportunity to provide you with support. Some examples of these sorts of lies are:

  • I’m late for dinner because I had to run an errand after work.
  • I’m short of money this week because I had to pay a parking fine.
  • I got caught in traffic getting back from lunch.
  • I have to pop out to the chemist.

Once the gambling cycle takes hold it can become hard to keep track of what is true and what is not. Lies are often out of character, which adds feelings of intense shame. But with support you can start to make positive changes and leave your secret life behind!

Four simple steps to embrace what’s really happening

  1. Talk about how you are feeling. If you’re not ok let people know, this means they can help support you, which is very important.

2. Keep a journal. Start you journey of recovery by keeping a journal of your thoughts.          Admit to yourself that you have told a lie, look at the reasons why and consider                  more positive choices and responses for yourself and others. This will help keep you          honest and grounded.

  1. Seek support. Find someone you trust to talk to with honestly and begin to repair broken trusts. People in your life will offer support if you talk to them about what is really going on. If you feel like you can’t begin the conversation, that’s ok, it can be hard. Speak to one of our counsellors who will listen and can help you begin to break the cycle of deception.

4. Think about how good being truthful will feel. Take some time to consider the                      positives of being honest. Not having to lie can release a huge amount of pressure              on your life.

Yes, it is possible!

With professional help, you can feel supported to begin to break the cycle of deception and gain the confidence to share your struggles with those who care.

Please consider seeking free and confidential support from a specialist counsellor by contacting Gambling Help on 1800 858 858. Our counsellors can provide you with free counselling and ongoing support.


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