So you’ve accepted the unfortunate truth: you have a gambling problem. The old cliche is true here; this really is the most important step. But it’s still just the first step, and some of those steps are going to be harder than others. It’s one thing to discuss an addiction with a paid professional we haven’t met before, but what about the folks we have a history with? What about friends, co-workers, siblings, parents? What about our own children? Today we’ll help you plan this important conversation and muster the courage to open a dialog.
Understand the Importance
Before you can discuss your addiction openly, you have to understand why it’s so important that you do so. There are many reasons, from being able to accept yourself for who you are to easing the tension in your life, but we believe the biggest reason of all is that you need to be real with the rest of the world. People deserve to see the real you, and it will make future conversations so much easier when you’re no longer hiding behind a mask. We’re all flawed, so don’t fall victim to the fear that you’ll be seen as subhuman just because you made mistakes. Anyone who behaves as such is certainly facing serious problems of their own. Remember, “The first step was to understand that our goal was to mainstream addiction treatment into the general delivery of health care.” Navdeep Kang, PsyD said.
“Admitting you have a problem is the first step in treating your addiction. However, due to the nature and the danger of this disease, simply just stopping on your own is highly unadvisable.” Dr. Howard Samuels, PsyD. said. When you open yourself up and admit your gambling addiction, you’ll be asked questions. You need to answer them. People will wonder what they can do for you, how this all started in the first place, what you’re doing to end it, why you finally realized your problem, and so forth. You may even be asked the current state of your finances. So long as you trust the people you’re speaking with — and really, you should only be admitting this to those you trust — you need to be completely forthcoming. It’s vital that the folks in your life have a deep picture of your circumstances. It’s the only way they can help.
Prepare for Pain
There’s bound to be some negativity involved in this process. You probably already knew that, and there’s a good chance it’s what’s prevented you from taking the plunge before reading this. Loved ones may feel hurt that you didn’t speak with them sooner. They may even feel hurt that they didn’t recognize the signs and force you to find help before it got any worse. There might be anger, too. Anger that you waited so long, anger that they were lied-to, anger at their own perceived helplessness.
Trust issues will arise in any financial scenario. This is all ugly, but it doesn’t have to be a disaster. Facing the pain is absolutely mandatory for the healing process and you’ll never truly face it without admitting it. You’ll always be harboring some dark secret, and you’ll still be lying as a result. You’re ready to move on and get treated now, so end the cycle of hurt with those that care about you. Reconciliation, if necessary, will come in time.
Steel Yourself and Live Happier
“Give yourself permission to do some serious emotional healing to become your happiest self and remember, it is a process more than a destination.” Roya R. Rad, MA, PsyD said. Now that you’re open about your gambling problem, you need to be prepared for increased stress as you address it with those around you. Make sure your counselor and support network are available when you’re feeling down, and practice channeling your stress into more productive tasks than gambling, like finding new hobbies and making up for lost time with loved ones. The beautiful thing is that your support network will only expand as you admit your issues, so in a very real sense you’re expanding your help net with every discussion you make. Take solace in this and move forward into a brighter, more fulfilling tomorrow.