How to Stop Gambling Forever? (10 Steps to Break Your Addiction)
How to stop gambling forever? This question probably constantly enters your mind if you, or a loved one, has gotten into the habit of gambling.
This addiction typically starts off as a harmless one-time thing but gradually takes over your professional and personal life.
The question remains, how to stop an addiction from continuing to negatively impact your life?
No matter how many times you try to quit, you have that urge to gamble just one more time. If you don’t know how to stop the gambling urge, you will jeopardize your relationships and sink deeper into a financial hole.
Fortunately, this is certainly not an impossible feat to achieve. No matter how bad your situation is, the following 10 steps can help you break your addiction.
1. Make The Decision
If you are serious about learning how to stop gambling on your own, you need to first make a firm decision and stick to it. Start by determining the many ways your gambling addiction is harming you.
Address the reason you became addicted in the first place. Think about how much you have lost since then – in terms of money, career, health and relationships? Has it caused mental and emotional anguish to you and your loved ones?
Going through all the ways gambling has affected your life won’t be easy but it will help strengthen your resolve to quit gambling forever this time.
Start a journal to assist you with this process. Write down these negative impacts so you can go through them in future when you feel your resolve breaking. Written words have a strong impact.
2. Write Down the Positive Changes To Implement In Your Life
Next, list down all the positive changes you want to make in all aspects of your life. Create a mental image of your life post gambling addiction to make the list detailed and specific.
You have already gone through all the negative impacts of gambling in your life; imagine your life without having to experience those issues constantly. How will your life change?
Your relationships will improve drastically. Gambling addiction and marriage certainly don’t go well. Imagine having a stronger and healthier relationship with your partner.
Moreover, your financial situation will improve. You would finally able to save up for that family vacation you have been planning!
Write down the activities you used to enjoy but couldn’t do anymore because of gambling. Most importantly, you will get the sense of freedom back which you hadn’t experienced since the start of your gambling habit.
3. Create Goals
To make your resolve stronger and to stay committed, you need goals. Clear goals are helpful throughout the addiction recovery process and are considered the most crucial element of gambling addiction treatment.
Remember, the goals must be realistic and achievable to be successful. Unachievable or vague goals will lead you to the road of failure. Opt for S.M.A.R.T. goal setting method.
- Specific: Be as specific as you can get
- Measurable: Your goals must be quantifiable
- Attainable: They must be realistic enough to achieve
- Relevant: Must be helpful for your progress
- Time Based: Setting a time limit to each goal enhances the motivation levels
Write them all down with proper reasoning so there are higher chances of you sticking to those goals and gradually making progress.
4. Set a Deadline
While setting a time limit for all your short and long-term goals is necessary, it is also important to set a deadline for the date you will completely stop the gambling habit.
Again avoid setting an unrealistic date. You can’t simply go through the tips to stop gambling and expect to quit the next day or even the next month. Give yourself more time than that to gradually stop this addiction.
This way you will have enough time to prepare yourself mentally and physically, while also helping you to gradually reach your short-term goals and ultimately quit your gambling addiction.
Once you have picked the date, mark it on your calendar and share it with your loved ones who are motivating and supporting you in your journey.
5. Take Action
How to stop a gambler from gambling again? Make sure that they not just create goals but also take action. Understand that while goals are effective in gradually helping you progress in your recovery journey; you need to actually fulfill them.
You have to make a conscious effort to achieve those goals, make changes in your life, stay clear of your gambling buddies, and focus instead on other healthy activities.
Fill up your time with people and activities that will keep you motivated towards your ultimate goal. You have to keep making efforts to change your lifestyle.
There are bound to be a few mistakes in the recovery process but that doesn’t mean you give up. Continue moving forward and forgive yourself for giving in to the temptation for a while. Continue taking actions towards your goals.
6. Recognize Your Triggers and Stay Clear
It is one of the most common gambling addiction facts that triggers can make any addict relapse. Everyone has some triggers that ultimately make them give into the urge of doing something.
For instance, for a recovering alcoholic, dining into a restaurant might activate their urge to drink. Similarly, if there is a casino on your way home from work then it might urge you to gamble just for a few minutes.
It is important that you recognize your triggers and come up with ways to stay away from them. For instance, you can take a different route to avoid that casino.
Once you have recognized your triggers and written them down, you can find ways to stay away from them.
7. Get Help
You can get free help to stop gambling by joining support groups and seeking professional help. It might seem like you can go through this on your own but you will need all the support you can get to recover successfully.
There are various institutions that offer support groups for individuals fighting addictions. Talking about your battle, hearing the struggles of others, and getting useful tips will keep you motivated and help you realize that you are not alone.
Find the nearest gambling addiction support group, make an appointment with an addiction therapist, and ask your loved ones for help.
8. Track Your Thoughts
Majority of the gamblers have strong beliefs regarding ways to win, ways to avoid losing, about their possibilities of winning and more. This train of thoughts can make any gambler believe that the next game would be theirs.
How to stop gambling habit forever? Monitor your thoughts!
You have to keep a check on these thoughts and remind yourself that they are not real. Make an effort to break this thinking pattern since they won’t disappear on their own. Continuously monitor your thoughts so that they stop.
You can talk to someone to help you ease the urge, write them down and ponder about the ways these can thoughts affect you negatively, or distract yourself to avoid these thoughts.
9. Keep Yourself Busy
The best way of ensuring you continue on the recovery path is to keep yourself busy. Fill up your entire day with activities that will prevent you from thinking about gambling and help you fight the urge.
If you are an online gambler and wondering how to stop gambling online then maybe consider taking a break from the online world. Consider activities that keep you too busy to go online, for instance joining your local sports team.
Other ways to distract yourself is to cook for your family, go camping with your friends, start a fitness training regime, practice meditation, or volunteer for community services.
When your mind is busy and your day is filled with healthy activities, you will notice your urge to gamble reducing. These activities will help you in adapting a better lifestyle by pushing your gambling habits away.
10. Celebrate Your Success
Whether you have been looking up ways to stop your gambling habit or how to help someone with gambling addiction, keep in mind that many hindrances and obstacles are bound to come in the way of this recovery process.
The best way to stay motivated or keep your loved one motivated is to celebrate successes, no matter how small. Understand that even a small achievement makes a major difference for a recovering addict.
When setting goals, add a reward for each goal, which you can enjoy once that goal has been achieved successfully; for example, buying a new book, getting a spa treatment or treating yourself to a fancy dinner.
Quitting an addiction is not an easy task. The recovery process is bound to be tough, which is why it is important to keep yourself or your loved one motivated by celebrating all the small achievements.