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9 Effective Tips to Stop Gambling Urges

August 27, 2021 41 0
9 Effective Tips to Stop Gambling Urges

Nobody wakes up with a decision to become a problem gambler. Gambling usually starts as a pastime. Recreational gamblers adhere to a time and budget. However, that’s not the case for gambling addicts who struggles to stop gambling urges.

A gambling urge is an impulse or strong desire to gamble. It’s hard to notice these urges until you stop playing, and once you cease your gambling activities, they can feel unpleasant. The signs are exceptionally louder when you’re unable to continue gambling. For instance, when you’ve already burned your bankroll but are still not satisfied. 

Trying to stop gambling urges is not an easy task. However, recognizing and dealing with them is crucial for your recovery. Gambling urges manifest in various ways. They can feel like excitement, compulsion, or an adrenaline rush. In this article, you can find out how to stop gambling urges. 

Can a Gambler Ever Stop?

When you feel a great desire to gamble, you may see the need to play to get temporary relief. But that’s a band-aid solution and won’t stop gambling urges. Gambling addiction can be overwhelming and seem impossible to beat. However, you have the power to overcome it. 

Your brain can’t maintain a gambling urge forever. If you wait long enough, it will eventually die down. Every time the gambling urge passes without you gambling, it weakens its power. It gets easier each time, but here are some tips:

  • Have a relaxing bath or shower
  • Keep yourself busy doing other activities
  • Journal how you’re feeling and what worked 
  • Hide your cards or money somewhere out of reach
  • Distract yourself by bonding with your family or reaching out to friends

You can always change your habits. It takes time and dedication, but you can stop gambling urges. Recovery from gambling addiction starts with you making an honest assessment of your current situation. And more importantly, you have to make up your mind that you’re ceasing your gambling activities. If you’re going out, just bring the money you need. That way, you won’t be tempted to gamble away your money. 

What Causes Someone to Have a Gambling Addiction

What makes gambling so addicting is the illusion of easy money. However, that can also result in instant financial problems. In case you didn’t know, when you’re gambling at a casino, the odds are never in your favor. The gambling industry has been thriving over the years because the house always has the advantage.

Since gambling is an assorted activity, various types of gambling addiction exist. Several factors contribute to it, including the desire for excitement, dream of becoming a successful gambler, and desperation for money. It’s hard to break the cycle, and it can even get worse when you’re financially desperate. 

Some gambling problems take root in the desire to win back the amount they’ve lost. Unfortunately, even if they eventually win a massive amount of money, it’s rarely enough to compensate for their loss. And the majority of gamblers can’t even come close to breaking even. 

How to Stop Gambling Urges

Saying goodbye to gambling is no easy feat, but getting started is half the job. Once you launch your recovery journey, the task at hand is to stay away from gambling. While that might feel impossible, know that many people have already overcome gambling addiction. 

As with quitting smoking or other vices, you can feel urges to gamble. These are a natural part of regaining control and stopping gambling. You become more in command each time you successfully stop gambling urges. An abstinence-based approach has proven to be effective. Here are some helpful tips:

Live One Day at a Time

Taking one day at a time means trying to forget about the things of the past, including your gambling losses. If you keep thinking about ways to get even with casinos or bookies, you can’t concentrate on your recovery issues. 

Similarly, living your life one day at a time entails not worrying about tomorrow. Stop obsessing over the future and focus on what you can do today. Think of stuff that is beneficial to stop gambling urges.

Schedule Your Day

Ex-gamblers who are so accustomed to the highs and lows of gambling might experience boredom. According to research, problem gamblers tend to have low threshold boredom. When a task seems uninspiring for them, they’re always unable to complete it or not do it altogether.

If you find yourself in the same situation, don’t give in to gambling temptation. Playing to ease boredom is only a band-aid solution. You’d do well to plan your days to help avoid boredom. That way, you can avoid temptation and stop gambling urges. 

Try Something New

Since you’re used to gambling regularly, your brain is programmed to work in a certain way. And after you quit gambling, you need to stimulate it constantly. One way to do that is by doing something entirely different.

Try to set new tasks and goals every day. Such activities will help you forget about gambling and the thrill that comes with it. When you’re committed to solving the problem, you’ll be better able to stop gambling urges. 

Reconnect With Your Passion 

More often than not, problem gamblers become so invested in gambling that they lose interest in their hobbies. After you quit gambling, the best way to go is to return to your old hobbies. Besides boosting your self-esteem, it will also remind you of your new way of life.

Similar to most other behavioral addictions, it’s essential to replace unhealthy vices with a healthier activity. That way, you’ll see the benefits of your new life instead of obsessing over what you’re missing out on. Reconnecting with your passion not only keeps you busy but is also an effective way to stop gambling urges. 

Learn How to Manage Stress

It’s normal to experience stress from time to time. However, it can significantly contribute to relapse from gambling recovery. High stress levels increase the risk that the urge to gamble will become stronger. 

When it comes to stress management, it’s crucial to look for new, healthy ways to cope with it. That can be in the form of mediation, physical exercise, or chatting with a friend. Recognizing the negative impact of stress on your life is a crucial first step. 

Identify Your Self-Sabotage Triggers

“Self-sabotage” means directing a destructive behavior towards yourself. It can manifest in various behaviors unique to you. This type of behavior is hardly noticeable at first but can become psychological self-harm when it continuously undermines your efforts.

When trying to stop gambling urges, your clean time is precious. See those attacks as a temporary menace. Get ready as they can emerge before special events like exam time, anniversaries, or birthdays.

Avoid the Lure of Special Events

For problem gamblers, looming special events might threaten a relapse. If you used to be a sports bettor, it could be major sporting events like NBA or FIFA World Cup. Such special events gain plenty of media coverage, and bookies add to the hype with attractive bonus offers. 

Before you can stop gambling urges, you must first be aware of your triggers. When important events are approaching, be mindful of your vulnerabilities. Boost your social support, avoid reading special event updates or watching build-up shows on TV. It’s also best to have an accountability partner as part of your relapse prevention strategy.  

Forget About the Money

One of the biggest gambling mistakes you can commit is to make “stick and stay, make it pay” your motto. That desire can be addicting and lead you to see gambling as a means of living. By trying to feed your instinctual desire for material security, you’re only creating more problems. 

Also, it’s a good idea to remember your past losses. Gambling urges can make you forget them, but you have to remind yourself why you’re there. Remember that even if you win, it often just represent a portion of the money you lose. 

Think Badly of Your Betting Platform 

Another way to stop gambling urges is by associating the casino or betting platform with a negative connotation. Whenever the bookie’s logo appears on your head, think of a filthy image. That way, you can plant a negative gambling bias in your subconscious. 

Each day you stop gambling urges, you’ll become more powerful. As you start to regain your focus again, you’ll see your life take on a new meaning. Instead of chasing your losses, win back personal relationships, neglected passions, and valuable time. It’s never too late to recover.

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