Finding a Local Addiction Support Group


Now that you’re ready to let go of the slots lever and get your life back in order, you’re going to need a great deal of help. There’s a natural compulsion in some of us to believe we can do anything on our own, especially when it comes to difficult and embarrassing circumstances like an addiction to gambling, but you can’t let yourself make that mistake. You need to accept the help as it comes and actively seek it too. Let’s go over how to find a local support group so you can climb this mental mountain and move on with your life. 

Search Online 


The quickest and easiest way to find a local support group is to pull out your phone or boot up your computer and type a few words into your favorite search engine. Try queries like “gambling addiction support near me” and “local support group directory” and you might be surprised how much is available in your area. Depending on the population size, you may end up with dozens of options. If you’re living in a small town, you might only have a few.  As Nikki Martinez, Psy.D. LCPC says, “We only have control of ourselves and our own desire for growth and change. Part of that growth and change is deciding the type of person we allow in our lives, and the positive impact they can have on us.”

Regardless, be sure to save your findings or jot them down so they’re handy. Start devoting some time every week to scoping out the different search results. Don’t be afraid to move on after a single evening at a coffeehouse support session if you didn’t feel like it fit you. Keep looking until you find something promising, and then commit to sticking around. These things take time. 

Visit a Worship Center 



If you’re a spiritual person, you can find comfort and assistance through your local buildings of faith. Whether it’s a church, a mosque, a synagogue, a Buddhist temple, or anything we haven’t mentioned, if it suits your beliefs it’s well worth a trip. Larger facilities often feature regular support groups for a vast number of situations, including gambling. You may even discover a new ally in your struggle with gambling through the religious leadership. In an article by Marjie L. Roddick, MA, NCC, LMHC she mentioned that “To improve your spiritual health, it can help to create a quiet space for solitude and contemplation or a place of curiosity and playfulness. Maintaining a playful, curious attitude can help you find experiences that offer hope, purpose, and meaning.”

Make an Appointment with a Counselor 

“Many people also find that counselors can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life.” Chris Corbett, PsyD. said. Therefore, part of your road to recovery will involve mental health professionals, especially if your gambling addiction is serious. (Tip: if you have to ask whether or not your addiction is serious, the answer is probably yes!) It’s important that you do some research on the psychologists you’ll be speaking with before you commit to anywhere. We recommend consulting modern technology again for this part. The internet is filled with all sorts of review services, so do a study of what others have said about the help they received. And don’t just stop there — read up on what the professionals have said about themselves. Find someone whose website description seems to resonate with you. 

Reconnect with Friends and Family 



Professional help, spiritual help, official help groups, these are all beneficial and well worth looking into. At the end of the day, however, sometimes our biggest source of support has been with us all along. There’s a lot to be said for attending formal group meetings with others who are experiencing difficulty with gambling, but we should never discount the role of familiar faces during the healing process. 

While it’s challenging to approach the people we care about over such a sensitive subject, the rewards speak for themselves. Build a custom-tailored support group from among those closest to you. Chances are, your family and dearest friends have been worried about you all along, and they’ll be downright desperate to do whatever it takes to see you smiling again. What about those co-workers whose movie invitations you kept declining in favor of another round of roulette? You don’t have to gush abruptly at them about the problems you’re dealing with, but just agreeing to finally catch the latest summer blockbuster may be enough to make a difference. 

3 Tips On Escaping Your Gambling Addiction


If you ask gamblers, they will tell you that the reasons why they’re gambling: 

  • They are bored and gambling fills their time. 
  • Gambling makes them forget their problems and frustrations in life. 
  • The act of gambling relaxes them, soothes them and in a way, becomes a celebratory habit. 

For non-gamblers, these reasons will appear superficial and even irrelevant. Really? Gamblers want to waste away their money just because they’re bored, stressed or happy?  

I am not siding with those who love to gamble. In fact, I know firsthand how it feels to be a person whose loved one is a gambling addict. It is not something that I would wish on anyone – not even my enemies, if I had any. The whole life experience is truly terrible, which is why I am happy to share some things that I know about gambling addicts and their road to recovery.  Perhaps, as Damon Dye, EdD, LMHC, NCGC II, BACC  used to say, “They gamble to reach the high. They gamble to escape emotional pain for hours, for days, until the money runs out. They quickly relish the winnings, investing nearly all of it back over the next days and weeks. They slowly destroy their lives. They get caught in the cycle.”

The three things mentioned above are what they call gambling addiction triggers. So, every time a gambling addicts is bored, feeling depressed or at times, happy – these feelings can trigger his irresistible need to gamble. But, with great will and a massive dose of determination, a person’s addiction with gambling can be curbed and fixed. Of course, with the help of therapy services, the gambling problem can be halted.  


Anyway, here are tips on avoiding gambling every time you are bored: 

  1. You must try out creative hobbies like drawing, sketching, painting, sewing or gardening, among many others. Harnessing a skill, instead of gambling your time away because of boredom, is a very rewarding alternative. It will make the person feel good about himself and of course, the whole act is fulfilling.  “When you challenge yourself to learn a new skill, you are building your intellectual health. People who pay attention to their intellectual wellness often find that they have better concentration, improved memory, and better critical thinking skills,” says Marjie L. Roddick, MA, NCC, LMHC.
  2. Sports activities or getting physical is also a great way to dodge boredom gambling. Running marathons, playing tennis or hanging out in the gym are all way better than sitting in front of the slot machines or swiping cards on the table. Physical activities will also improve your overall well-being and keep you in tiptop shape. 
  3. Read a book. If you were once a great reader before your insatiable desire for gambling started, go back to it and make reading a habit, once again. This time, you can read about anything you like – medical studies, comedies, short stories or whatever genre your heart desires. 

Now, if you are gambling because you’re frustrated, then, you can do these: 

  1. According to Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D., a licensed psychologist and marriage and family counselor, “Studies have shown that problem behaviors are generally reduced by 20% if you write every time you have the urge.” Buy a journal notebook and write your feelings down every time you have the urge to gamble. It can be positive feelings or negative feelings – happiness, sadness, relief, stress or whatever. It is very therapeutic and a great avenue for you to jot down your memories and reflections. 
  2. Go to a yoga class or practice self-meditation. These two activities will clear your mind and relax your body. It can also teach you to breath correctly and can give you a feeling of total calmness. 
  3. Walking is also a relaxation technique which can help you with your gambling addiction. Enjoy the fresh air as you walk and with that, you can release all your tensions and inhibitions.  

You can also let go of gambling when you’re in the mood to celebrate by doing these things: 

  1. Celebrate with your family or friends. Go to a theme park. Watch a movie. Visit the zoo. Go to different places except for gambling institutions. You will realize that happiness can also be found in other things aside from poker chips and a deck of card. 
  2. Another way to make a difference and be happy about yourself is by doing volunteer work. You can do this too instead of throwing away your hard-earned cash with the roll of a die. 
  3. Explore the city. This can be an exhilarating activity. 

Remember that at first, it won’t be easy. But, as you try to ward off the gambling urge, you will soon realize that each day you spend outside the casino is an achievement on your part. Surround yourself with people who love and care for you – those who are true to you and support you during recovery. These people are your family, friends and your therapist. It will be hard, but it can be done. Believe that you can do it. 

5 Leisure Activities Healthier Than Gambling


If you’re struggling with an addiction to gambling, one of the most important things you can do is to seek out new pastimes. Not only will this get your mind off the poker table, it will also expand your life experience, opening up all sorts of productive opportunities for a more successful you. Today, we’ll take a glance at five savvy options, so kick back and consider our suggestions. If any of them pop out at you, don’t delay until you can hear the casino calling all over again — make plans posthaste! 

Hook, Line, and Sinker 

Fishing isn’t just an international phenomenon. It’s a way of life, dating back to the proverbial dawn of time, providing an important livelihood for families the world over. Of course, when we think fishing, sometimes the first thing that pops into our minds is an older fellow with a baseball cap and an old-school radio and a whole lot of free time. How did he get so hooked on rods? How does anyone get so big on reeling?  

“Meditation is not just relaxing, but to be keenly aware of the present moment while not interfering with mental activities that revolve around our little self.” –Andrea F. Polard, PsyD

Fishing is a relaxing hobby punctuated by moments of excitement. So much goes into perfecting the trade, from buying the right rod to understanding the tensile strength of your line to studying lakes, rivers, and oceans for just the right time and location and more. At first the whole thing can seem overwhelming, but it’s a vast enterprise with rich rewards. Catch something tasty while you were on the boat? Good news, because the next suggested activity is… 

Four-Star Cuisine 

It’s easy to get into the habit of eating out often. Some people swing by fast food joints every night of the week! This unhealthy tendency leads to all sorts of problems, including a lighter wallet. Don’t give up gambling just to go broke on double cheeseburgers. Save money, live healthily, and impress all your friends with great food. 

Like learning to play the perfect hand of cards, cooking involves deliberate study of a wide host of factors. Parsley and paprika can both add a dash of flavor to any chicken dish, but should we toss them in together? If so, how much is too much? Ten hungry co-workers are coming over this Saturday, but will they all be happy eating something spicy? Surely, a compromise can be made. Gordon Ramsay keeps baking the perfect cake, but how does his batter come out so fluffy, and why is he always yelling? We don’t know why he’s always yelling, but we guarantee you can learn to bake great cake, too. 

“For someone who battles negative thoughts, worries, and is constantly bombarded with doubt, fear, shame, cooking can be a healthy outlet to bring peace and serenity into their headspace.” –Justyna Wawrzonek, LCSW, LADC

Take A Trip 


There are better ways to have fun than losing money at slots. Traveling is one-of-a-kind; we can see the world and enrich our minds. Earth’s a beautiful place, and we’re lucky to live here. Don’t believe me? Spend a morning at the Grand Canyon or take an evening stroll down the boulevard near Versailles. See the stars somewhere without a lot of light pollution. Host a picnic near the cliffs of the Irish coast. I could go on. Traveling is wonderful and forces us to realize how much splendor is all around us, but it isn’t always cheap. Thankfully, there’s a local option… 

“Research shows the biggest boost in happiness comes from planning the vacation.” –Shannon Torberg, PsyD, LP

Get Social 


If you can dream it, there’s an adult social club for it. With the advent of the internet, instant communication became commonplace from one corner of the globe to the other. Whether you live in a big city or a small town, there’s bound to be plenty of things to take your mind off gambling. Book clubs, hiking groups, singles nights, you name it. Learn to quilt or go paragliding. From the mundane to the mesmerizing, you’ve got options. And speaking of the internet… 

Go Ahead and Binge 


It’s been said that we’re living in a golden age of television. A somewhat ironic phrase, given that so much great content is available not only the tele but online. Netflix started something big, and plenty of rival companies have followed suit. We’re heading toward a world of streaming, and there are so many riveting shows to watch. If you’ve found yourself wasting away whole weekends in Vegas, you know what it’s like to lose track of time — and money. Why risk it? Lose time for ten bucks a month with award-winning dramas instead. Invite some friends and catch up on the latest season of whatever it is you crave. 


Healthier Living Makes a Difference in Avoiding the Slots


“You should get out more.” Five words many of us have heard before, rarely spoken in praise. Yet what if those cheeky snide remarks were onto something? We should all get out more, as any doctor will tell us, and this — along with a few other healthy living suggestions we’ll discuss today — really can make a difference in keeping us away from compulsive gambling. 

Fitness Fanaticism  


Like the thrill of gambling, exercise releases endorphins. “For starters, exercise releases endorphins, the body’s “feel-good hormones,” that can calm the mind and relax the body.” Clinical psychologist Jenny C. Yip, PsyD said. Unlike gambling, we’ll never go into debt or lose those we care about through exercise. We feel better when we’re in shape, and every time we finish a brisk jog, there’s a real sense of accomplishment involved. When our muscles are sore — the good kind of sore — our bodies will thank us. Fitness is a journey, not a destination, and that journey is filled with fun. Walks through parks with friends, sprints and swims in decathlons, it’s all a part of the journey.  

It may sound daunting at first, and believe you me, it will be hard, but over time you’ll find it easier to meet your cardio goals. You’ll be inspired to stretch those goals. Rather than banking on odds you can’t control, why not invest time and effort into a cheaper way to get those endorphins going? You’ll look great, feel great, and experience a clarity of mind only possible through exercise. 

An Apple a Day 


We can’t blame you if you’re starting to feel like today’s blog entry could be found on all sorts of pages unrelated to gambling. But hear us out — healthy eating really can keep us away from gambling. “A balanced diet that includes lots of fiber helps keep your gut system running efficiently by helping to support a more diverse gut microbiome.” John M. Grohol, Psy.D. said. Think of it this way. Addiction is built on impulses; we impulsively crave a hit of whatever we’re stuck on, including slot machines, lottery tickets, poker hands, and other such fare. When we’re addicted to gambling, we’re seeking that one big win that may well never come to us. Mathematically speaking, it is downright illogical for us to believe we’ll ever find it, but since someone has to win eventually, we figure it may as well be us. 

Break the Cycle 

This kind of thought process is dangerous. As you likely already know, compulsive gambling can destroy lives. What else can destroy lives? Poor diet. What sort of thinking prompts a person to eat fast food three meals a day every day of the week? Impulsive thinking! When we eat poorly, we blame time and money for our impulsive decision-making. When we gamble overmuch, we blame the cards for not favoring us. We may even blame a lack of money for the money that we’re spending on our bets. It doesn’t make much sense when you stop to think it through, does it? 

Here’s where the correlation comes into light. The better we feel about ourselves, the less likely we are to make mistakes. Gambling when we’re trying to get our lives back in order? That’s a mistake. And the better we eat, the greater we’re feel. Fresh home-cooked meals rich in vitamins and minerals will leave our bodies in good condition and our minds running on all cylinders. Now we can consider all our options, including the detriment we’ll cause if we spiral back into a lack of self-control. The very sort of self-control we lack if we’re constantly eating out, causing harm to our minds and bodies! It’s all cyclical, and that is why it’s so crucial that we take care of ourselves when we’re breaking away from our vices. 

Social Media 


 No matter how strong we are, we’ll always have an easier time curbing addictions when we aren’t alone. You’re going to need a dedicated support network, and developing these sorts of bonds will also mean living a healthier life. Mental health has inescapable ties to compulsive gambling, and our mentality will improve when we’re surrounded by people who care about us and want to see us get through this.  “Social media can be a good adjunct to treatment, but not necessarily a replacement. If online support and resources are all that some people can manage, then I think it’s important we support them in that.” A reminder from Dr. Stephanie Smith, a clinical psychologist

Good news, then, because we can find these people just about anywhere. While there’s no replacement for a deeper sense of love only available to us through those who are closest, there’s plenty of good vibes to be had in hiking guilds, dance clubs, and any other hot hangout scene. Get social! Scope out the local offerings and challenge yourself to reconnect with other people. There’s no underestimating just how helpful it is to see a few friendly faces in life. 

Alternative Gaming: Play Without the Gamble


There’s a thrill to gambling. It’s a dangerous thrill, with plenty of potential pitfalls. Simply put, it’s not a wise endeavor. But what if you could experience that thrill without worrying so much over your finances? There’s a whole wide world of gaming out there with one-time price tags delivering dozens of hours of fun. A correlation exists between addiction to slot machines and a desire for adventure — that’s why casinos market their money-draining services around terms like “unforgettable escapade” and “daring good time”. Let’s explore some ways we can scratch that gaming itch without going into debt. 

Gripping Genres for Every Occasion 


“A good video game keeps players engaged. To do this, developers build rewards, hidden features, and side quests into games.”  Lin Anderson, LMHC, MA, EdM said. Gaming is a fairly new pastime, but it’s exploded in diversity over the past couple of decades. Mario is still running in a mostly straight line to the right of plenty of TV screens, jumping on lizards in hopes of saving a princess with a penchant for getting kidnapped, but there’s so much more on-offer.  

You can explore vast imaginary lands in open-world video games, get lost in an enthralling story fit for the movies in more narrative-driven games, or have a blast socializing with friends in fighting and racing games. Call over your brother and sister and offer to host a relaxing evening of old-school couch co-op. The opportunities are nigh-endless and many are actually great for improving your social life. You can even get off that couch and go hiking for treasure or infamous little pocket monsters (you know the ones) with cutting-edge augment VR games. 

Okay, But How Does This Help Me Quit Gambling? 


While the connection to gambling might not be immediately apparent, I guarantee you there’s a lot of high-risk, high-reward, high-octane fun involved in all the non-casino corners of the gaming industry. If you’re the type of person who lives for the big stakes of seeing those Lucky 7’s start to come together, but you’ve realized the odds will never be on your side, how about trading in those chips for a major change in lifestyle? 

Here’s the thing. When you boot up a video game, you’re going to run into a ton of these moments. Do you use the last of your ammo in a mad dash toward a power-up or play it safe and sneak around the battlefield? That’s up to you. Should you talk the troubled convict into peaceful surrender or go all-out with fists raised? Totally up to you. Up against a friend and you need to decide whether or not to try to pass them in the next lap via a risky vertical ramp? All I can say is good luck. There are so many moments of do-or-die determination in this kind of entertainment, and none of them have to cost you your mortgage if you know where to look. Video games, when played responsibly, provide an adrenaline rush that will feel familiar but prove healthier. 

Your New Hobby Comes With A Warning Label, Too 

“Balancing technology use with other aspects of daily life seems reasonable, but there is a lot of conflicting advice about where that balance should be.”  Christopher J. Ferguson Ph.D. in clinical psychology explains. Games aren’t a perfect trade for gambling, so this article’s suggestion comes with some words of caution. For starters, we’ll address the elephant in the room: yes, some people develop an addiction for this as well. If you believe you’re a very naturally addictive person, you might want to look elsewhere for entertainment, or perhaps better yet, build a strict schedule on how much free time you’re willing to part with. Yet even when folks sit around with their PlayStation controllers for too long, they’re not as likely to face severe emotional and financial hardship as those who can’t quit hitting on 17 in blackjack, so it’s all relative. 

There are certain types of video games which feed into the gambling vice more than others, and if you’re trying to kick the habit, you need to know ahead of time. For instance, mobile gaming is very hot right now, with tens of millions of people otherwise uninterested in the medium tapping a few keys on their phone during downtime. There’s nothing wrong with this, of course, but many of these apps offer countless ways to increase your chances for small payments called microtransactions. Get extra lives for a dollar. Decrease the time you have to wait between missions for three dollars. This doesn’t sound like much, but it adds up quickly. Does this sound familiar to you? It should. This method of service transaction is modeled after gambling, and it can bring you right back to your addiction if you aren’t careful. Our advice is to avoid these games outright. 

“There is also little doubt that all of the new technologies, led by the Internet, are shaping the way we think in ways obvious and subtle, deliberate and unintentional, and advantageous and detrimental,” says Jim Taylor Ph.D. Therefore, play smart, though, and you’ll be on your way to a fun new hobby without the wallet-draining fuss. Enjoy! 

10 Signs You’re Becoming An Addict

In any type of addiction, recognizing early-warning signs is vital to a speedy recovery. This is especially true of gambling, where failing to cut oneself off in time can result in significant debt, severe depression, and worse. The fact that you’re reading this blog is already a step in the right direction — it shows that you’re committed to at least doing some research on the matter. Let’s strike while the iron is hot and look at 10 indicators you need help with a gambling addiction. 


You’re Having Difficulty Organizing Your Thoughts 

Addiction can lead to the feeling of being “scatterbrained” whenever we’re not where our impulses crave us to be. We see it in cigarette smokers if they frequently insist they need another hit in order to stay focused. We see it in alcoholics if they consistently express a need for a drink to clear their heads. Throwing money at the slot machines can follow a similar line-of-thought. Don’t con yourself into believing excessive gambling is a source of mental clarity. It doesn’t bring zen. It brings anguish. Remember, “The lack of awareness of the disorder makes it difficult enough to identify problem gamblers and connect them to treatment, much less address the impact problem gambling has on loved ones.” Damon Dye, EdD, LMHC, NCGC II, BACC  said.

You Keep Purchasing Lotto Tickets “Just Because” 

Gas station attendants might just be the folks who are the most capable of recognizing a gambling addict. Their primary purpose is to tender gasoline transactions, but most gas stations and tie-in convenience stores sell lottery and scratch-off tickets, too. Plenty of people fall into the habit of purchasing these quick-play gambling games whenever they’re filling up their car, and that adds up fast. It’s easy to stop viewing it as a fun little occasional distraction and start buying daily, so kick the habit before it takes over your routine. 

You’re Cancelling Social Events  


“If you find yourself avoiding parties, work gatherings, or even your own friends and family, there may be a fear of judgment or underlying feelings of inadequacy.” Dr. Marisa Alter, PsyD, a clinical psychologist  explains. We can’t always make room for scheduled hangouts with our friends and family. Stuff comes up no matter how hard we try to perfect our itinerary. This is fine. What isn’t fine is cancelling frequently and for no recognizable reason. If you’re experiencing a rise in inexplicable apathy, take a look at your leisure activities. Maybe you’re getting too heavily into those poker games. 

You’ve Been Told You’re Irritable Lately 

Trust your loved ones to know you better than you might think they do. If you’ve been hearing complaints lately that you’ve been getting cranky, take stock of your surroundings, especially if you hadn’t realized you’ve changed until someone pointed it out. When addiction begins to overwhelm us, our minds rebel to the negative emotions, and we sometimes take it out on others without realizing it. 

Your Boss Isn’t Satisfied With Your Work 

If you used to be a prime candidate for employee-of-the-month but your performance evaluations have tanked since you took up slots, you’d best consider putting that cruise ship vacation on hold until further notice. Productivity often falls by the wayside when addiction gets serious. 

You Gamble Alone 

Occasional, responsibly-financed trips to casinos can be fun as a group event or with a few close friends. Like any entertainment venue, there comes a point when enough is enough. There’s nothing inherently wrong with visiting casinos alone, but it can be a warning sign. You’ve written off the social aspect, so are you only here for the money? 

You’re Glued To YouTube Gambling Videos 

YouTube and similar services offer us a doorway for learning all kinds of things. If you’ve subscribed to a bunch of channels about poker probability and slots distribution, consider taking a step back and evaluating your current life choices. There’s nothing wrong with learning this stuff, and it might give you an edge at the weekly company card night. But make sure that’s all that’s going on, here. Because “Even those who have never been to a casino and likely never will can still become addicted gamblers because of the proliferation of gambling websites.” says Dr. David Hodgson.


You’ve Started Lying 

Now we’re getting into the darker symptoms of gambling addiction. People who develop a “need” for gambling quickly find a similar “need” for covering their tracks when loved ones begin inquiring as to their whereabouts and why they look so glum and all those other considerations. You’ll have to admit your problem soon enough, so nip those fibs in the bud. 

You’re Viewing Gambling As Extra Income 

This one’s dangerous. Many folks who develop an addiction start out with a couple of casual trips to the roulette wheel and then when money’s tight they begin to calculate how much they’d need to win to cover the rest of their utility bills, or their child’s education. You know what they say about that place that’s paved with good intentions.  

You’re “Just Going Back to Zero” 

If you’re throwing money at the hope of climbing back to your starting bet, chances are you’re really just throwing that money away. Think statistically. If you’re somewhat in debt now due to a compulsory gambling condition, you’re definitely addicted, and you need to think about getting your savings back up rather than wasting what you have left. 

Online Avenues On The Road to Quitting Gambling


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. 

Further Suggestions 



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. 

Break The Losing Streak: Getting Help to Quit The Game


Understanding the root causes of addiction is crucial to recovering. The better we understand ourselves, the more prepared we are to avoid making the same mistakes over and over again. Today we’ll look at a few of the ways people become addicted to gambling and how to be open with your mental health counselor about your own personal story.  

Gambling as Void Fulfillment 

No one wants to lead a dull life. Dullness is boring and boredom is never fun. For many, addiction begins when we grow too attached to a particular source of entertainment. We subconsciously latch onto it to provide a daily sense of achievement. Gambling is a prime example of this, because the instant we win, we experience an endorphin rush. It isn’t hard to see why we can go overboard and develop an addiction when that rush feels so fleetingly satisfying.  “They gamble to reach the high. They gamble to escape emotional pain for hours, for days, until the money runs out. They quickly relish the winnings, investing nearly all of it back over the next days and weeks. They slowly destroy their lives. They get caught in the cycle.” As explained by Damon Dye, EdD, LMHC, NCGC II, BACC.

The thing we need to realize is that there are hundreds of more genuinely fulfilling things we can be doing. Taking up gardening probably won’t ever lead to finding $10,000 in our yard, but can produce fresh fruits and vegetables without the probability of us losing $10,000 to get there. Alternatively, you can opt for something more minute-to-minute exciting, like getting in-shape to run races and learn the martial arts. You can even get a local sports team up and running and train to “win big” with a last-second touchdown. 

The Ties That Bind 


“Compulsive Gambling is when an individual is unable to control their desire to gamble. A compulsive gambler will continue to make wagers regardless of how often or how much they win or lose,” explains Aaron Sternlicht, LMHC, CASAC. Compulsive gambling doesn’t typically develop in a vacuum. There are usually direct ties to preexisting problems, and identifying those problems will help you and your health care provider to break the addiction. Depression can lead to addiction because when we’re feeling glum we often lose sight of what’s important and feel a willingness to toss aside reason in favor of reckless abandon. “After all, what does it matter if I lose? It’s not like my life is worth much to begin with.” This is a dark thought that can have serious emotional ramifications. If you’ve experienced such thinking while struggling with gambling, you have a clear and present root cause and you should inform your counselor immediately. 

Anxiety follows along a similar track. Anxiousness over looming challenges can lead us to seek outlets for our apprehension, and those outlets aren’t always productive. Temptation to “live a little” before a major life change can take us to the casino, but we need to remember how to take ourselves back home afterward.  

Money Matters 


“Many people mistakenly believe that if they just had more money, all their stress would disappear and they’d be blissfully happy.” Bahareh Talei, Psy.D. said. However, it is not. That is why financial challenges are a common source of compulsive gambling. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s ever seen an old gangster movie, but plenty of the people glued to the poker table are in debt. If you’ve fallen on hard times and don’t know if you can recover, gambling is never the answer. You’ll only fall further into debt. But no matter how far you’ve slid, it’s never too late to walk away. Be frank with your counselor about your financial burdens. Go into clear and concise detail about what brought you into the hope that gambling would help, and listen to their advice. 

You may also wish to consult an economic advisor. Opening up about the reality of debt is a harsh subject, but avoiding the issue will only bring further hardship. If you’re privileged to know someone personally with an exhaustive economic background, make asking them for help a significant priority. Set up a meeting, offer to pay for coffee, and be forthcoming about the problems that you face. Ensure that they understand you’re on the road to recovery and thank them for taking the time to make a difference. 

Follow All Directions 

We’ll close with an obvious but nevertheless urgent piece of advice. Your counselor wants what’s best for you, so take this seriously and consider everything that they say to you. Don’t leave your counseling sessions behind at the door; take them with you everywhere you go. Think critically about what you’re told and meditate over it in the morning or before bed. Make it a part of your daily routine, replacing the time you’d previously spent agonizing over gambling. Adopt a new philosophy of positive change and you’ll break the losing streak with a true victory. 

Keeping Your Kids Away From Casino Cravings


Although occasional trips to the casino can make for a fun divergence from day-to-day living, all too often folks find themselves drawn back there day after day until they’re indebted and depressed. For those of us who have had a challenging time with gambling in the past, or who are struggling to get away from it even now, we will want to ensure our children never go through this.

“Even those who have never been to a casino and likely never will can still become addicted gamblers because of the proliferation of gambling websites.” –Dr. David Hodgson

Let’s talk about some ways to approach teenagers about the dangerous allure of gambling and why it’s important we keep ourselves in check when we play. Although it will be a few more years before they’re legally admitting in, thank goodness, it’s never too early to set a good example. (As the old saying goes, “if we don’t talk to our kids, who will?”) 

Gamble loudly, but not frequently 

Time spent at a casino should be kept to a minimum. Rather than developing a hobby around the activity, young people should treat it as a yearly or bi-yearly event where friends get together for an hour or two and try their luck. Suggest that they combine it with other activities as part of a birthday celebration or while attending a wedding. They’ll have fun with their friends for a short while and then they’ll have fun somewhere else.  

Gamble smartly, but not expensively 


Parents know teaching teens about how to manage their finances can be a full-scale curriculum. Budgeting is a big part of that most absurd of modern words, “adulting”, and budgeting one’s spending money can be that much harder. Needless to say, it’s necessary that your teenager understands the difference between cost-of-living and whatever’s left over before you even approach them about being cautious at a casino. Once that’s out of the way, you have a clear line to set boundaries on how much they should be comfortable taking with them.

One of the best things we can do when we gamble is to bring a set amount of cash with us and leave the rest out of reach. The sooner you drill this tactic into your son’s or daughter’s mind, the savvier they’ll be at the slot machines. “Although any kind of gambling can become addictive, video slot and poker machines are the most seductive because they offer the greatest escape.” psychologist Robert Hunter elaborates. 

Gamble socially, but not competitively 


Since you’ve told your teen why it’s a good idea to bring some friends, you should also emphasize with them how everyone can watch one-another’s backs while they’re there. Whoever they go to the casino with, it had best be people they trust — and, if possible, people who you trust, too. If they’re away at college, you’ll need to accept that they’re growing up and you can’t keep a constant eye on them anymore, but good parenting always leaves an indelible impact — believe in them to make mature decisions in their socializing. 

At any rate, so long as they’re in with a good bunch and hitting up the Hard Rock infrequently, they’re already off to a good start. Advise them to keep respectable tabs on how the bets are coming along in their social group, and to have them see about the team working together in a pact to make sure no one gets in over their heads. Having someone there with us to offer not only words of encouragement but words of caution as well can be an invaluable tool.  

Gambling should never be about betting against one-another to see who wins big, either. It’s us against the house, and your teen needs to understand that. Competition between friends is perfectly healthy, but it sometimes leads to overspending at casinos thanks to increasingly desperate bids to outperform friendly rivals. This is a slippery slope philosophy and it ought to be avoided at all costs. So “If your gambling addiction has led to severe social, medical, legal and/or financial difficulties, you may need to find an inpatient program to give a jumpstart to your treatment.” Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D., a licensed psychologist and marriage and family counselor suggests.

How To Admit Your Gambling Problem


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.

Have Answers 


“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.