One of the most common searches on the internet is: “I lost all my money gambling – What do I do?” Trust us when we tell you this: You are not alone.

Gambling addiction is a problem you can solve.

There are plenty of gamblers who have lost it all because of their addiction. This is a serious problem, which has seen thousands of people completely ruin their lives. It can happen to anybody belonging to any walk of life.

Gambling habit can start off as a harmless diversion for anyone. You never know when it will become an unhealthy obsession with huge consequences. It hits you from out of nowhere.

If you’ve hit rock bottom, stop thinking about the negativity. It is time to take matters into your own hands.

In order to resolve any problem, you need to first understand it. Crying over how “gambling ruined my life” will never help. You need to understand the full extent of this dangerous addiction so that you can fight it.

What is Gambling Addiction?

Understanding gambling addiction can help gamblers regain control of their life. It will also help people close to them get a better perspective on the situation and help them out. Gambling addiction is an impulse-control disorder.

If you are a compulsive gambler, you find it hard to control your impulses to gamble, no matter how bad the consequences may be. It is almost like nothing really matters to you.

A lot of people see themselves betting on one thing after another knowing that the odds are not in their favor or if they cannot afford to lose. This addiction is actually related to different mood or behavior disorders.

Many gamblers also suffer from substance abuse, bipolar disorder, anxiety, ADHD or depression. In order to overcome your gambling addiction, you need to work on the underlying reasons so you have a fighting chance.

Here are the steps you should follow in order to overcome your gambling addiction. For friends and family members of compulsive gamblers, you should use this information to help them on their road to recovery.

1. Accept That You Have a Problem

You need to accept the fact that there’s a problem. For those who have hit rock bottom, it’s obvious. You have lost all of the money you worked so hard to earn. What more do you need?

Those who have not hit rock bottom yet, you do not want to wait for the day you go home and say “I’ve lost all my money at the casino” to realize that you have a serious problem.

Just take a deep breath and reflect on yourself. Look for the signs of a gambling addiction problem. Do you feel the need to be secretive about your gambling?

A prominent sign of a gambling problem is that you gamble till you lose all your money and then you want to gamble even when you’ve lost your last dollar. You’ll feel like doing anything to get more gambling money.

And the last sign that confirms the problem is that you have trouble walking away from gambling. Once you start, how easy is it for you to walk away no matter how good or bad your odds of winning are?

Seeing these signs and actually acknowledging that you have a problem is the most important step. Friends and family members need to help their loved ones with a gambling problem recognize these signs if they can’t on their own.

2. Self-Help for Gambling Problems

Acknowledging that you have a gambling problem is tough. It is important to recognize that as miserable as it can make you feel, there is hope. Remember the fact that you shouldn’t try and overcome it alone. It’s too tough.

First of all, you need to learn how to relieve the unpleasant feelings you have in a more proactive way. Majority of people gamble when they’re lonely, bored or when they are stressed out. Look for healthier distractions.

Instead of using gambling as a distraction, find better and healthier ways to manage your mood. Try exercising, spending time with friends who don’t gamble or perhaps even taking up yoga. The important thing is to stay away from gambling.

Perhaps your gambling problem derives from mood disorders. Substance abuse, depression, bipolar disorder or anxiety are some of the things that can both provide the initial trigger for gambling and even make it worse. It’s very important to address them.

Joining a 12-step Gamblers Anonymous group recovery program can help. It is a program planned following the effective Alcoholics Anonymous program to help gambling addicts. Finding strength in numbers and support from others is the best way to recover.

Ask yourself something: will a casino give you your money back? No. They are places designed to make you think you have a chance of winning but in the end, the casino makes the money and gamblers always lose.

3. Stay In Recovery

For a lot of gamblers, it is not quitting that is the problem. In fact, the biggest challenge for most gamblers is to successfully stay in recovery after they quit. Committing to the decision to stop gambling is very hard.

A lot of former gamblers find themselves feeling that they can probably make up for everything they have lost by chasing losses. Gambling is a lot more accessible now because of online gambling.

Maintaining recovery is still possible if you surround yourself with people whom you are responsible for. Avoid being in environments that can tempt you to think all those negative thoughts again. Find healthier ways to substitute gambling in your life.

4. Make it Impossible to Gamble

One way to stop gambling and stay away from it for good is to remove the things which allow you to gamble again. Replace them with something else. Here are the three important elements needed for a person to gamble:

Money

Make someone else responsible for your money. Give your credit cards to someone you can trust and someone who is invested in helping you stop gambling. It helps to not have access to the money to gamble away.

Time

If you do not have the time, you will not even be able to resort to online gambling. Schedule things to do in your free time and stick to the schedule so you don’t get time to gamble.

Game

If there is no game or any kind of activity for you to bet on, there’s no opportunity for you to even think about gambling. Remove yourself from any tempting environments.

5. Look for Alternatives to Gambling

A lot of the battle against gambling addiction is about maintaining your distance from the habit. Remember that you do not want to be the person who was known to say “I lost all my life savings” because of gambling.

Here are some alternatives that you can schedule for yourself in order to replace the gambling habit. These are recommended activities you can do based on the possible reason for your gambling habits and triggers. Now let’s go through them.

Rush of adrenaline

Take up a new sport. It should be something challenging. Maybe take up mountain biking, hiking or rock climbing. They’re all activities that give you a rush of adrenaline. You won’t have to rely on gambling.

Boredom or loneliness

Find something that you are really invested in. Sports, art, reading or music are good options. Look for other people with the same interests and start hanging out with them. It will be a good distraction.

Unpleasant feelings

If you’re plagued by a mood disorder or unhealthy thoughts and they trigger your gambling problem, the best thing you can do is to seek professional counsel. Try going to a therapist. It will really help.

Interacting with people

If you gamble to meet and interact with new people, discuss this with your family. Try and meet new people through them and increase your communication with your family. Join a social group.

6. Fight Cravings

Gambling cravings will come and hit you out of nowhere. If you have not lost everything to gambling, do not give yourself the opportunity to do so. If you have lost everything, fight the urge to gamble again.

Look to your friends and family for help whenever you crave gambling. Isolating yourself will never help. Call a friend over, go out for a coffee or perhaps even go to a Gamblers anonymous meeting that is happening near you.

Remember that if you are not able to deal with the cravings and you experience a relapse, you should not be too hard on yourself. Do not make a relapse an excuse to give up. Everybody slips up.

Be kind to yourself. If the gambling addiction is getting really bad, try getting into a recovery program. Every gambler’s addiction is unique. Getting into a program will provide you a solution made for you. Remember to hang in there.