If you struggle with gambling addiction, the first step to recovery is acknowledging that your problem is real. Many heavy gamblers assume that they are just not disciplined enough, or that if only they could be like their non-gambling friends, everything would work out fine. This couldn’t be further from the truth! It’s actually a complex issue that affects the brain, and there are plenty of things you can do to help curb your gambling habit.
One of the best ways to stop gambling on online slots is to place more barriers between you and the addictive behavior. For example, if you find yourself on the computer or phone and navigating to gambling websites, consider using an app like Freedom which allows you to block dangerous websites for a set period of time. This prevents you from having to use willpower every time you feel the urge, which is often unsustainable and exhausting.
You can also try replacing the activity with something that is genuinely enjoyable, such as a hobby or a social activity. This is a great way to focus your attention and energy in a positive direction and challenge unhealthy thought patterns, such as the illusion of control and the gambler’s fallacy. It’s important that you choose a replacement activity that is a good fit for you, and that is a small change that you can easily incorporate into your day-to-day life.
Another helpful tool is to create a gambling budget. This will help you to limit your winnings and prevent you from spending more money than you can afford to lose. It can be hard to keep track of money when you’re gambling, so it’s a good idea to set a specific amount of money that you want to spend per session and stick to it. This will make it easier to track your wins and losses, which is a key factor in responsible gambling.
Finally, you should talk to your family and friends about your gambling problem. While it’s not easy to admit that you have a problem, telling others can be a huge relief and help you to stay on track. In addition, they can support you and warn you if they see you starting to gamble again. If you don’t have any close friends or family who have a gambling problem, it may be helpful to join a support group for people with a similar problem.
When it comes to gambling, the most important thing is to know when it’s not worth it monetarily. While it can be fun for a short period of time, the thrill quickly wears off and the money spent is never recovered. It’s crucial to be honest with yourself about whether the risk is worth it, and to seek treatment if necessary. Chris has shared his own experiences with gambling addiction and recovery on his podcast All Bets Are Off, his blog, and a recent interview on BBC Sounds.