The ONLY way to WIN against the pokies machines..... is NOT to play!

Readers beware: This article is purposely written for those who are determined to kick the habit of squandering their hard earned cash by feeding the "money monster slot or pokies machines".

As a writer/researcher, one of the socio-economic problems I have followed and monitored for the last ten years is the pokies gambling addiction and how people struggled to beat the demons that have destroyed many lives and loving relationships.

What could have started as an innocent  social punt one night at a Casino could end up as the start of a miserable, pretentious life entangled on web of lies. Usually the person would be in the company of family and friends and there is really no urge to gamble. With a bag of curiosity, a twenty dollar note is inserted on the slot machine and watching what the others are doing and looking at the possible winning combination, the expensive and utterly vicious form of entertainment begins. For some striking and bewildering coincidence, the first timers usually end up with a happy unexpected winning outcome!!!

This scenario occurs everyday. It is everyday too that it happens that with that first lucky visit, the excitement phase begins. Often those who have experience the joy of winning with their first slot machine encounter end up coming back to play and beat the odds hoping for another lucky visit.

The excitement phase now becomes the wanting phase. The second, third , fourth visits become a regular form of "visits" when there is money to splurge. Suddenly the person becomes addicted to the poker machines not because they wanted to but because they have been losing money and want to break even. Sadly though, the break even never happens. And sooner than the gambler realises, she/he is now hook and repeats the same mistake over and over again.

From here on the objective of this article is to help those who have become addicted and desperate to beat the sickening habit for good. 

In a lot of cases those who have tried to beat the hideous habit of feeding the machines with their twenty or fifty dollar bill every ten or twenty minutes (depending on how big their bets are) have found themselves repeating the same mistake over and over again. This is despite the fact that  assistance would have been sought from Gamblers Anonymous and other government agencies that provide a free confidential 24 hour support.

So what causes the gambling addiction relapse and how is this address?

From the study I have made, it is evident that the focus of professionals in assisting compulsive gamblers is by helping these people understand the root cause of why they gamble? Whilst there is merit to this point what is also important for those providing assistance is to highlight to the gamblers how the poker machines work; what makes it addictive and how it is designed to lure people like the compulsive gamblers to get hooked? Very few know that psychologists are hired to work on how the machines could be more attractive to the user.

Having an understanding of the hows, the whys and the whats consequently assist a gambler to successfully stop. With the support of a loved one or the professional consultant, the gambler would find it easy to cruise during the withdrawal phase. Similar to a person who wants to quit smoking, the withdrawal phase is the hardest. It is a constant battle with the alpha and beta brain and it is a real test of the willpower. The urge to gamble and perhaps, perhaps, this time the person thinks that he/she will win the jackpot would always play in the mind. It is during this phase that the 4 factors - the decision to gamble, the time available, the money on hand and the game itself have to be reinforced to successfully win the stressful, mind boggling brain exercise.

Once a person has gone past the withdrawal phase. the desire to gamble with the false hope feeling gradually eases and the person goes through the recovery or transition phase. This phase is often very stressful and hard. It could tempt the person to go back as the reality sets in that the money intended for paying bills or buying groceries are no longer available. It is indeed a vicious cycle in the life of the gambler  but through a constant affirmation and visualisation of how evil the pokies machines are and how it has ruined one's life, then the recovery process slowly kicks in until such time that the person has fully recovered from the scars of denial, listlessness and lying. It is a good idea as part of the recovery or transition phase to listen to self-hynopsis as a treatment for the mind.

The successful phase is when the gambler can outright say "I have beaten the machines. I am the winner!"  There are some who have successfully beaten this monstrous habit of wasting money and believing that they are now in control have visited playing venues again and end up losers back to square 1.

One has to accept that a compulsive gambler would always have addictive tendencies. Hense, constant affirmations and visualisation of how good life has turned around for the gambler now that he/she is no longer playing pokies or inserting coins to the slot machines is crucial to successfully wean oneself from gambling for the rest of their lives.

I wish you the very best and congratulations in making the first step of deciding to stop gambling.