Learning to Cope With Life in Recovery

STAGES 9 to 12
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.

9. If and when a bust happens - be open about it

There are reasons to believe that just about in every recovery some kind of
lapse will occur. It would be misleading to say that it won't. There may be a
case here and there when people will go through recovery without a bust, but
that is a rare occurence and it's possible that the addiction wasn't too
emotionally connected or everything just fell into place favourably. The answer
is to stay cautious and to give your support base every chance to spot the
signs. If and when a lapse does happen, don't be afraid to let someone know
about it. Your support base should be aware that these things do happen and
to allow for possible setbacks. The stumble people create when a lapse
happens is to keep it undisclosed. Keeping lapses a secret doesn't do recovery
any good. In fact a lapse unchecked could easily lead to another lapse and
than another, which may lead to a complete re-lapse and a feeling as if going
back to the start of recovery. Recovery is a process of changing a mind set
and replacing an unhealthy habit, and that does take time and effort.

10. Look for opportunities to give support back

A great way to keep a check on urges is to stay in touch and keep attending support group meetings, such as Gamblers Anonymous or group therapy, by
having contact numbers from people who are already in recovery and by having
a person from these meetings as a first port of contact, such as a sponsor
(usually someone who has some time in recovery). All that helps immensely at times of urges. By generating and than giving support back when someone
really needs it, empowers both persons in recovery. You would already know
some of the answers to questions you may have in recovery and it's amazing
how these answers appear when giving support back to someone else. We as human beings tend not to listen to ourselves even when we have answers about something which could help us, yet we freely give these suggestions when
others raise the same questions. This is why group meetings are so effective. Questions and answers on how to deal with situations in recovery are shared among everyone attending and solutions seem to be much more clearer.

11. Take time to find new activities and/or hobbies

Two of the biggest enemies in recovery are stress and boredom. Stress comes
from perhaps not fully attempting to fix whatever the initial problems were
behind this addiction and boredom usually descends when people find
themselves without anything to do at those times when they normally went gambling. This is when urges start to play up on the mind and an internal fight between gambling and recovery commonly flares up. One of the best remedies
to combat these times of procrastination and stress is to make yourself busy. Whether it is around the house, the garden, visiting other people, getting more involved with the family, or some kind of activity or a hobby. There will no
doubt be withdrawal symptoms from not gambling, so this is where the mind
needs to have all sorts of diverters. Activities or hobbies which involve other non-gambling people is even better. Such as ten-pin bowling, social clubs,
sports like tennis and/or squash, etc. At home, gardening and decorating can
be terrific diverters. Keep your mind occupied with healthy choices.

12. Start being open with people you're comfortable with

This is a touchy area for many in recovery. Having a feeling of that stigma which
is attached to any addiction and the sense of guilt and shame stops people
from talking about this subject in a conversation when it springs up. This is understandable under the circumstances and apart from the family and perhaps some close friends, the whole world doesn't need to know if you don't wish
that. This comes along naturally and by gaining confidence in your own
recovery. You will sense when to talk about it and when not to. It depends on many factors, such as who the other people are and whether they would understand your situation or use it against you in some way, on what occasion
this conversation culminates and whether it would affect your partner and
children or whether it would be helpful to further the cause of recovery of someone else by relating to your own story, etc. In time, your confidence will allow this area to open up and you will mostly feel comfortable talking about gambling, your own experiences with it, and your recovery from it.

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