If you have a gambling addiction, or severe gambling problem you may have stopped gambling for a while and have been doing quite well. You may have gotten help from a therapist or may have even attended Gamblers Anonymous Meetings.
You may have even tried to stop on your own or used online self-help methods to help you stop gambling. Whatever the case may be, you have apparently stopped gambling and are in the process or reclaiming your life as you knew it before your gambling addiction problem took a grip on you and your life.
The reality of gambling addiction, however, is that it is one of the hardest addictions to actually recover from. The "gamblers' high" which are those powerful endorphins and adrenaline chemicals in your brain are truly very powerful. These brain chemicals truly feel good, and it is easy to remember what this "gamblers-high" feels like.
In addition, the escape world for a gambler, especially in a gambling casino establishment can be very enticing, especially if you are under a lot of personal stress and just need a respite from this. It is like a fantasy land, with pretty colors, bells, and whistles, and sounds of money cha-changing, as well as jackpots. This is a definite escape from reality, which can truly be seductive indeed.
You also may feel bored and things are very humdrum and routine in your life. Since you have not gambled in a while, you may have had, or still have feelings of wanting to reward yourself with a few hours of gambling.
Unfortunately, a few hours of gambling may turn into several hours of gambling, and financial losses could be huge if the decision to return to gambling was made.
Making the decision to return to gambling after some time in recovery from a gambling addiction can be devastating as the vicious gambling cycle would be started again, sinking you further and further into a hole.
Many of you who have a gambling addiction may have returned to gambling numerous times until you quit gambling permanently. Some of you may still be trying to stop gambling, and have still been unsuccessful in stopping your addiction for good.
When you return to gambling, however, there are usually certain like triggers that may influence you in returning to gambling. These triggers can be quite powerful in a gambling addiction relapse, and it is truly important to know what these are.
Here are ten tips to prevent you from returning to gambling and having a full-blown relapse of your gambling addiction. It is hoped that these ten tips will help prevent you from returning to gambling.
1. If you are feeling like returning to gambling, write down on paper some of the feelings that you are currently feeling. Are you feeling sad, depressed, lonely, stressed out? What are you currently feeling? Many times loneliness or just a desire to nurture oneself is feelings associated with wanting to return to gambling.
2. If you know what some of these feelings are, write down some solutions that can help alleviate these feelings. For example, if you are lonely, call a couple of trusted friends or a family member to get reconnected. If you need to nurture yourself, write down some of the things that you believe can help nurture you.
3. Take action immediately with some of these things. If you have worked hard all week, and are just looking to give something back to yourself, make an appointment and get a full body massage. If you want to treat yourself to a new outfit, or a new haircut, go and do it! Many times we return to a gambling addiction because we have lost the ability to nurture ourselves.
4. Go out and get some exercise. Go to the gym, or take a 30 minute walk. When you exercise, not only do you acknowledge that you are doing something good for yourself, but you also produce natural endorphins and "feel-good" chemicals in your brain by doing this. In addition, it is hard to go out and gamble and do something harmful to yourself, and also do something good for yourself like exercise at the same time. Self-care and self-harm are polar opposites, so if you put on your exercise gear and go to the gym, it will be harder to get in the car and drive to a gambling casino and throw out all of your hard-earned money.
5. Write down on paper what you feel like on your way home from a gambling casino. What are the feelings? How does your stomach feel after you lost hundreds or thousands of dollars? How do you feel about yourself after spending twelve hours in the casino? What is that drive home like? How do you feel about your life, yourself, and your future? Be specific, and do not leave anything out.
6. When your urge to return to your gambling addiction becomes acute, please take out the paper that you just wrote and read it thoroughly, meditating on the feelings associated with your own personal experience after a gambling binge. Spend about ten minutes feeling the feelings and using your imagination. What will happen is that you will start to physiologically feel the feelings associated with the aftermath of gambling. This is a very powerful technique that I highly recommend you using.
7. Attend a local Gamblers Anonymous meeting if the urge to gamble hits hard. Even though you may not be a regular attendee, or may never want to be, it will definitely help you get through this bumpy period. If you do not have a Gamblers Anonymous meeting close by, attend an open A.A meeting just to get support from other people who suffer with an addiction just like you.
8. If you are depressed or highly anxious and have a lot of stress in your life, seek out a professional counselor who can help you with these issues. This can prevent a gambling addiction relapse before it occurs.
9. Make a schedule of your daily life including all tasks. Try to have a schedule every day, and fill in your times with things to do. Include creative and fun things to do as well. Having too much free time is very dangerous for someone with a gambling addiction, especially if you are in danger of a relapse.
10. Make sure that you reward yourself for preventing a relapse. Be good to yourself, and treat yourself well. Reward yourself for taking care of yourself and not partaking in destructive behaviors. Treat yourself to a nice dinner, a new book, or a massage. You deserve it.
It is hoped that these ten tips to help prevent a gambling addiction relapse were helpful to you. Remember, that you are a work in progress, and recovery from gambling problems takes time.
Whatever you do, try your hardest, and I mean you're very hardest not to return to gambling and place a bet. A gambling addiction relapse can set you back very far emotionally and financially. Do not give into the urges. Place yourself first.
If you recently had a relapse and are looking to stop gambling again, there is help out there for you. Never stop trying to give up gambling. If it takes 5 times, 20 times, or a hundred times, never give up. Gambling addiction is a destroyer of lives. Do not let gambling destroy you.