Some people have quipped that the only problem gamblers have is losing. Would that it was that simple. Solving problem gambling involves a lot more than just finding a winning system or having a lucky streak, because a gambling problem is a deep seated situation that involves a lot more than just losing a game or money. Addictive gambling can rob you of everything you care about or hold dear and it isn’t about winning and losing, it is about gambling and action.
Like a lot of decisions in life, the decision to try to get help for problem gambling is often difficult to make because it is hard to see things clearly. You may wonder, “Do I really have a problem with gambling? Would everything really be okay if I could just start winning? Can I hit a lucky streak to pull myself out of this and then stop?”
Those are all questions that face many people who have started the long slide backwards into the terrible experience of compulsive gambling. Gamblers, like other addicts, are great at rationalizing and talking themselves into things, even though they know deep down inside, that those rationalizations are just lies. For instance, let’s compare the gambling problem to a drinking problem. A gambler may think, “If I could just hit a lucky streak and win more I’d quit gambling for good.” Then he or she goes out and gambles more, a lot more, after all, the lie that he or she will stop is allowing him or her to gamble with a clear conscience, for a while anyway.
Alcoholics often tell themselves a similar lie. “I’ll go out and have a good time and drink all I want and get it out of my system, then I’ll stop.” Then the drinker goes out and ties on a good one. But after the effects wear off, he or she is right back at it again. The same is true of the gambler who says he or she will stop after a big win or lucky streak. Even if he or she does manage to win, the gambling doesn’t stop, in fact, it usually gets worse. Obviously, the cure for a drinking problem isn’t more drinking and the cure for compulsive gambling isn’t more gambling.
Gambling causes other problems in the lives of addicted gamblers, such as relationship problems, money problems, career problems, and finally, health problems. In fact, as the disease progresses, it has an effect on every part of the gambler’s life. Are other parts of your life being affected by your gambling? That is usually the acid test to decide if it is time to act. If you are asking if you have a problem, then you almost certainly do.
So the next step is an easy one, believe it or not. All you have to do is to get information. You have learned about other things in life, now it is time to learn how to stop gambling and get your life back under control. Where do you get such information? From other gamblers, of course. What I recommend is that you call GA, Gamblers Anonymous, and briefly explain the situation. If you call and say, “I think I have a gambling problem,” they will help you. In fact, from that point forward, you will be getting help from experts and it is fee of charge. Just say those words then listen. That’s not so hard, is it?