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Help with gambling addiction … first steps you can take yourself

This blog has been asleep for a long time. But after all these years and thousands of clients with gambling addiction seen … it seems that it is overdue to start sharing some of the self-help tools that could help people help themselves.
It would seem that if you find yourself on this website – you probably already feel that you have a gambling problem. If you are still unsure – there is one simple question you can ask yourself that can clarify if your gambling pattern is normal or not. ‘is my gambling causing me or people around me harm? ‘
If the answer to this question is YES – then keep reading…
Gambling addiction is a serious addiction that can severely disrupt peoples’ own life and the life of those around the addicted person. Some of the reasons that gambling often persist for long without people finding out is a result of the denial, shame and humiliation and distortions about more gambling being a solution to the gambling problem i.e. ‘if I only win enough money I will repay my debt and stop this for good’
Without further ado – I will share the number one tip for disrupting the gambling. This piece of advice may sound so elementary that you might start wondering… but this is not just a small piece of advice that I am giving because it sounds so easy; it is actually one of the most common reason some clients end up with one relapse after another.
You need to give up control over your money!
Please note that when I say give up control over your money – I mean sums that are bigger than what you actually need for the things that you have pre-determined you have to spend on. And any savings and other large sums that might be otherwise tempting to gamble at some point even if that time is not right now.

Yes, I know this is not what you wanted to hear.

Yes I know this you will have a million and one reasons for why this is not possible

And yes I know that this sounds so plain and that many of you will say to your selves‘if it was that easy why don’t just every problem gambler do just that’
well… they should but for the same reasons that you might right now be sitting there with reluctance- so do many others. Giving up control over money does not feel like fun. Especially not if you are someone who have ideas about what money represent for you in terms of power, control or ‘freedom’. Nobody wants to feel powerless, out of control or confined by free choice. But…
If you are already getting ready to switch this blog post down – then just quickly ask yourself the following question.  ‘how cool/free/nice/powerful did you feel the last time that you came out of the bookmaker /alternatively had lost a lot of money on online gambling?
The feelings following serious losses can be beyond devastating. It is not uncommon to hear gamblers describe states of utter desperation, intense hopelessness and/or even suicidality. Even if you don’t feel as bad as that – this really is a time to start questioning how much it is worth to persist in having direct access to large funds when the cost of this is to end up feeling desperate and hopeless on regular intervals just because you want to tell yourself that you can battle this addiction without external help.
Remember- if you were addicted to drugs or alcohol – you would not think that you would find success in recovery by carrying the stuff in your bag. It will not work! For a gambler – the money is your means to gamble. And of course the venue is as well but we will tackle that in a different blog post.
For now you can start thinking of the following small ideas:
- Speak to your partner/husband/wife/sister/brother – see if they would be able to help you at least in the short term
- Ask your bank if they can immediately reduce your withdrawal limit
- If you get paid money regularly – start planning ahead for how that money will be spent. And set up direct debits ahead of time; this to ensure that the money is never actually sitting in your account.

I am not suggesting that this is going to be the cure of your gambling problem. But what is needed at first – before you can even get your mind into a state where you can start making other changes to your life- you need the madness to come to a halt. And this is the fastest and most effective way of making that happen.

In the next blog post –I will share some creative ways that some of my clients have used to manage their money better. Good news is that many of those ways have not felt difficult or made life harder- in many cases people have even felt that it is a relief to not have to be so worried about ones’ possibility of going gambling.
GOOD LUCK! Annika

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