If you’ve made a decision to walk away from compulsive gambling, we’d like to congratulate you. We’d also like to warn you that it won’t be an easy journey. You’ll need all the help you can get, from comprehensive counseling sessions to weekly support groups to friends and family. But it may seem like there’s never enough time for even half of that. Or circumstances may stand in the way of fulfilling all these goals. Or perhaps you’ll simply find that you need even more assistance, and that’s no great shame. What matters is that, one way or the other, you have someone there for you.
That’s why today we’ll be focusing on the virtual side of support. So much is available right at our fingertips if we know where to look, so be sure to bookmark a few of our suggestions.
Although it was founded some 12 years ago in June of 2005, social news aggregation website Reddit began its rise to prominence sometime around 2011. The internet of the current decade has clearly been defined in part by the website, which hosts hundreds of thousands of “sub-forum” communities. If you can think of it, Reddit probably has a community dedicated to it, from jobs to jokes to jogging to geometry. There are multiple communities dedicated to gambling as well, including a few which are designed to help recovering addicts find mutual support and move on with their lives.
You can think of the page, known as “r/ProblemGambling”, as an online support group that’s open 24/7, rain or shine, 365 days a year. You can read what others have gone through and find common ground. Former compulsive gamblers frequently leave messages discussing the techniques that worked for them. If you’re awake at four in the morning dreading the difficulty that you face in staying away from the casino, you’ll always have this venue through which to type your thoughts and let your voice be heard.
A quick online search can result in dozens of call centers worldwide wholly dedicated to helping you get through this. Just hop on Google or Bing and see what’s out there. Different hotlines can be specialized for folks from different walks of life, but not a single one of them will turn you away. So if you ever find yourself in desperate need of an immediate outlet — someone who will listen and be there for you no matter the occasion — take the time to browse the web just for a few seconds. You’ll be glad you did.
The National Council on Problem Gambling features an in-depth website built from the ground up to give you the help you need. If you reside within the United States, it’s a one-stop source that should prove invaluable in your recovery process. With directories for every state, links and contact information for a variety of aid facilities in your area, a phone number and chat support, you’ll know the folks in charge of the site truly care for your wellbeing. It’s also an officially-recognized national organization, so it receives plenty of funding to keep people from falling back into tempting old ways. Plus, it plays host to its own Reddit-esque peer-moderated support forums where you can discuss the specifics of your struggle with others.
If you don’t live in the US, take heart: there are many similar sites to the NCPG which cater to the populations of other countries. You can even find links to international agencies through their homepage.
There are so many online opportunities for compulsive gambling support that we could probably spend all day discussing the remaining options. And, truth be told, there are undoubtedly plenty which we haven’t even found ourselves. Your best bet for further ideas is to consult your counselor, coworkers, and loved ones. Your counselor will likely have several links handy at any given time; they know how prevalent the web has become as a tool for recovery. Others in your support network who have gone through similar challenges or who know someone who has may also have favorite sites.
If there’s one thing we hope we’ve established for you today, it’s that you’re never alone. The internet is a boundless place for guidance if you know where to look and it’s been populated with people just like you who have gone through what you’re up against now and been successful. You will get through this.