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  • Writer's pictureRob M

The Four steps I used to quit gambling (gambling addiction recovery)

My name is Rob and I am in recovery for a gambling addiction. These are the four steps that I employed to get myself clean from gambling on November 12th, 2022.

When I was first trying to quit gambling and get into recovery from my gambling addiction, I didn't really know what to do. I was seeing a therapist and he knew a lot about mental health, but lacked the knowledge of gambling that would have led to a more productive connection. I was going to support group meetings, but I knew that alone wasn't going to solve my problems.

It was only when I put all four of these steps that I will share with you together that I began to feel good about my recovery and stopped feeling urges to gamble.

I'm no doctor, but these four steps to quit gambling have helped me stay away from the bet since November 12th, 2022. I hope they can do the same for you.

Tip number 1 - Find alternatives for your time

When you first stop gambling, there is an immediate problem you will run into... You will have no idea what to do with your time.

You should seek to keep your mind and body active, filling up the hours with things like exercise, reading and even pursuing a passion (if you don't have one, this is a sign to start trying new things).

When we are addicted to gambling, we become fixated on the games and the dopamine that they provide. Gambling makes us feel good and makes us feel excited until eventually we experience the inevitable losses that it brings.

For this reason, your body has become adapted to getting a huge thrill from the gambling that you will now be trying to give up. The challenge is not just to fill your time, but to understand that no matter what you fill your time with, it won't feel good at first. But rest assured knowing that our brains have what's called neuroplasticity and over the course of a few months away from gambling, it will begin to rewire itself and you will find pleasure in your activities again. Be patient and keep your mind and body active.

Tip number 2 - limit your access to money that will tempt you in gambling addiction recovery

When I quit gambling, I gave control of my bank account to my family.

It was too much of a temptation for me to have access to the money because as an online gambler, I was constantly wanting to chase my losses. If I could do it with one click of a button, I was going to eventually when my willpower ran short.

Giving control of your finances to a family member or a loved one could be a great strategy for limiting your exposure to temptations. Depending on where you live, this can also be accomplished by using bank transaction blockers or products like Truelink.

"Instead of making the habit obvious, attractive, easy, and satisfying, you want to make it “invisible,” “unattractive,” “difficult,” and “unsatisfying.” You start by removing any triggers from your environment." – James Clean (author of Atomic Habits)

Tip number 3 - limit your access to gambling itself (self-exclusion)

Continuing the process of making it more difficult for yourself to gamble, doing a self-exclusion from the casino is a great strategy.

This is essentially a process where you tell the casinos to ban you from playing at their facilities or on their mobile apps. It can be found in the contact us section or responsible gambling section of all of the major sportsbooks and casinos.

The truth is that you will always be able to gamble if you want it badly enough. But by self-excluding and making things more difficult, moments of weakness where you get urges to gamble will be easier to navigate.

You would be shocked to see how much easier it is when it takes 5 minutes for you to place a bet rather than 5 seconds. This strategy is about making things more difficult to give you the time to think about your decisions, something we admittedly struggle with as problem gamblers.

Tip Number 4 - go to support group meetings

Finally, go to support group meetings.

Thinking that it is possible to recover on your own is our egos giving us an excuse to go back to gambling in the future.

Every Tuesday night (yes, still to this day), I go to a Gamblers Anonymous meeting in-person and share my experience.

The accountability and community gained from going to a gambling addiction support group are incredibly valuable to your journey.

If you don't have any meetings near you, here's a link to free online meetings running 24/7.

live a better life today

These are the four steps that I have used to stay clean from gambling addiction and I hope that they can help you do the same. It's important that you do all four of these steps and not just one or two because they create the exact situation you need to thrive in your recovery when used together.

If you are looking for resources to help you in your journey, you can find them here.

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