Contemplation - Preparation - Action
STAGES 1 to 4
Some suggestions that may assist are set out below. Each process can take any real time - depending on any individual and situation. These being suggestions only - it is up to anyone to make their own choices at their own time and pace.
**Concerned individuals should always seek professional advice in their area when necessary. Try the links on the left to find possible available help.
1. Start making a determined choice not to gamble
Make a positive conviction not to gamble any longer. Before straight out
admitting to yourself that you may have a problem with gambling, your mind needs convincing that it is something you don't wish to do anymore. Our brains have a conniving way of disguising the facts when not confronted with them,
which professionals call "being in denial", so trying to admit to yourself that you have a problem before you've made a real conviction may only serve as a
disguise until you get out of immediate trouble. You are the one that will want
to give this up. Find a new purpose in life, and decide to go forward with
whatever it takes for recovery. Having a new purpose will serve as a reminder whenever you feel like getting of the rails and making a decision yourself to go forward with recovery will make the road that much easier to travel, rather
than being negotiated into it by someone else. Remember that you have
started with choices to gamble, so recovery choices have to be yours too.
Support can always be found, one way or another.
2. Find the strength to admit the problem to yourself
Once you have gone through the first stage of convincing yourself to stop gambling,
you may be ready to admit that you have a gambling problem. It
should be easier to take now because you have eased yourself into this
position by talking to yourself about it. This process should take you out of
denial, at least with yourself for now, and give you the impetus you need to
give the recovery process a real chance. Starting recovery may not be
something you can do alone, so be prepared to admit to yourself that some
help may be needed for you to go ahead with it. All this admitting will probably make you fear of taking these first steps, and this dilemma will be concentrated mainly on how will others react, but be persistent with it and give it a fair go. Finding yourself in this situation and without getting into recovery can only
make things worse, unless some extreme miracle happens, and continuing to gamble will not produce this miracle. First steps are always the hardest, but if
life is to take a change, a way needs to be found to make them.
3. Find a support group/counsellor to help start the process
The first steps after admitting this problem to yourself is to find out what to
do next. This is the time when confusion runs rampant. On one hand you want to
get into recovery because of the situation gambling has brought you in and on
the other hand fear makes you feel that maybe it's better that you try the old
way to fix the problem because of what will others find out and retributions following it. This is the time when talking to a counsellor, getting into a GA (Gamblers Anonymous) program or some other group therapy is very important.
It will seem hard to even contemplate those first steps, however, counsellors
and GA or other groups are very reliable and confidential sources to give these first steps a real go. Try not to use any internet support groups just yet.
Although these groups are very good for giving support, it is very hard to follow emotions with people you cannot see. These groups are great when some confidence in recovery is gained. In any case, talking to people who are
already in recovery and have gone through the paces is a great tool.
4. Learn as much as you can about problem gambling
To help you along in recovery from problem gambling, you need to know as
much as possible about the problem itself. Remember that problem gambling is
an addiction and the momentum in recovery should start with it, not with
anything connected to your personality. It is a behavioural phenomenon, not necessarily a characteristic one. So, start searching through internet, books, professionals in the field, people in recovery and whatever other means about
the facts of gambling, not the myths. There are many myths surrounding
gambling, such as the ones connected to superstition, luck, operational
properties of machines, payout percentages, signs from some higher power and many more. The fact is that these myths can quickly become beliefs in a
desperate mind of a problem gambler. Learn about the facts of gambling. These facts are there, you just have to open your eyes to them. You need to know
that this isn't about whether you are a bad person or not. It's about the
addiction itself and what caused it in the first place.
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