Start Making Changes

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If your gambling is causing you problems, take the following steps to take control back of your life.1

Ask for help
You do not have to handle your issue with gambling on your own.1 Call 1-800-GAMBLER (426-2537) a free, confidential, 24/7/365 helpline – to get information about support services and professional help available in your area.

Seek Additional Support
Try talking to someone that has gone through the same situation as you. Support groups such as Gamblers Anonymous are a great place to find others who have experienced what you are going through and are open and willing to share their experiences with you. Click here to find Gamblers Anonymous meetings in your area.2

Set goals
Short- and long-term goals help you stay focused during your recovery.1

Avoid high-risk situations
Avoid meeting at gambling venues to socialize and gambling as a reaction to emotions – they will weaken your resolve to control or stop your gambling. You should also avoid using credit cards, taking out loans or carrying large amounts of money with you – the easy access to money may make it easier to gamble and/or lose control.

Talk about it
Discuss your gambling problems openly with somebody you trust and trust not to judge you (for example, your sponsor). Opening up to them will ease the pressure of bottling everything up, and can reduce the stresses that lead you to gamble.1

Face your feelings
Recognizing that gambling is a problem in your life can cause feelings of guilt or shame. But blaming or judging yourself will just increase stress and could make you want to gamble even more. Acknowledging the problem and taking steps to seek help can help you change your life for the better.1

Be kind to yourself
Don’t focus on your addiction – focus on the positive steps you are taking to overcome the problem. Acknowledge your achievements and write them down to remind yourself of the strong and courageous thing you are doing.1

Try to find an alternative to gambling
Having too much free time can result in the temptation to gamble. Find an alternative recreational activity or hobby to replace the time you spent gambling.1

Prepare for a lapse
A lapse occurs when you gamble again after deciding to stop. Many people experience lapses, but! it does not mean that your recovery has failed. A lapse does not mean you have to continue gambling, and can be used this to learn more about what triggers your gambling. If a lapse occurs, figure out why and work to prevent it from happening again.1

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