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  • Writer's pictureRob M

The Strangest Secret(s) Of Gambling Addiction Recovery

When I was first beginning the process of addiction recovery, it was really important for me to understand WHY I was giving up gambling and WHAT I wanted to accomplish with my life.

After discovering the work of 1950's radio-personality Earl Nightingale, I realized that the "secret" to recovery was much simpler than I was making it out to be. Let me share the three mindset hacks that I employed to develop a purpose in my life and get clean from my gambling addiction.

Three Mindset Hacks To Quit A Gambling Addiction (Or Any Addiction)

Mindset Hack 1: Embrace Positivity

Mindset hack number one is to embrace positive thinking.

Now, bear with me here because this one's going to sound a little bit corny at first, but it's going to change your perspective. When you change the way you look at things, the things that you look at change.

In the beginning of a recovery from a gambling addiction, you're probably thinking about things like guilt. You feel guilty that you just did this to yourself or your family. You're feeling shame because you wish that you would have just stopped at a certain amount. You can't understand why you are the one that can't gamble normally when everyone else out there seems to be doing fine. These are some of the same thoughts that I had at first, but the truth is they're not helping anyone, and they're not even really true.

When we go through these situations and we put ourselves into the debts that we do as problem gamblers, we often think that it's the end of the world. And when you're in the heat of things, that's exactly how you're going to feel about it. But when you get a little bit of time clean or you take a step back and embrace this positive thinking style of life, you'll recognize a couple of things.

You'll see first that that was the amount of money that you had to lose to learn that your gambling was not healthy. When I lost that money that day, that was the catalyst for me getting myself in the group meetings, eventually creating this content, and changing the way that I viewed my addiction to make it something that was a curse into a blessing because now I'm able to help other people. You can do the exact same thing. You don't even have to make a video about it. Just getting yourself into recovery and using your negative experiences to create a positive future helps to keep you motivated, helps to keep you clean, and it could help someone else that's going through the same situation.

Now, I know you hear a lot of influencers talk about this idea of positive affirmations, and when I heard it for the first time, I thought it was pretty much a load of crap. And to be honest, it's not like you're going to close your eyes and say that you are skinny three times and then suddenly become a Victoria's Secret model. But there is something to be said about shifting your thinking from a negative to a positive lifestyle. Because when you change from "I can't" to "I can't yet" or when you change from "I'm so upset that I did this" to "I had to do this so I wouldn't do something worse in the future," you start to find small positives, and our brains will believe what we tell it. If you start feeding your brain positivity, putting a positive spin on some of the negative things that have happened, you're going to feel a weight lifted off your shoulders because now all of a sudden you have something to learn from.

A mistake is not a failure unless you fail to learn from the mistake. No matter what has happened, if you look at things positively and seek to take a moral or a lesson from it, you can change your life.

Mindset Hack 2: practice Gratitude

The second mindset hack is to embrace gratitude.

This is another one where everyone on the internet tells you to go out and gratitude journal, so you go out and do it, and you don't feel it right away. You throw it out and you never do it again. When you are in recovery from an addiction, it is absolutely one of the most important things you can do to be thankful for what you still have. When it comes to a gambling addiction, someone can very easily lose their money, but some people may take it a step further and they may lose their family, relationships, friendships, their house, their car - they might lose everything.

So, if you're anywhere along that spectrum where you haven't yet lost everything that you hold dear in your life, you have something to be thankful for. Now, what's important is that while you're working to get the things that you've lost back, you are also remaining thankful for what you haven't lost yet. That's enough to keep you motivated. Many times, people that have this addiction will think there is no point to living anymore - "I've lost it all, I am unhappy, I have nothing to live for."

When you sit down and you actually approach gratitude with some effort, you'll recognize that there are things in your life, no matter how small or insignificant you think they might be, that there are to be thankful for. For me, I have my family, I have my girlfriend, I have my friends - these are things that I didn't lose because of my gambling. Sure, I put myself in horrible debt, I put myself in a bad predicament, and it took a lot of time and effort to fix it, but throughout that whole process, I had a community, I had people to reach out to, I still had shelter, food - the necessities. It wasn't luxuries anymore, but it was the necessities. And all of these things, as you know mundane and standard, and you know we take them for granted, if we sit down and we think about them, it actually gives us a base to really feel good about our lives in a bad situation.

Nobody wants to be in debt, but if you're a problem gambler, you've likely dealt with that, or you might be in debt right now as you're battling through it and working through a financial plan to rebuild your life. Remember the things that you haven't lost yet because if you go back to gambling, you very well could lose them. Now, I practice gratitude by doing a gratitude journal, and every single morning I'll sit down and I'll write five things that I'm thankful for.

Even if it feels repetitive or you're writing the same couple of things every time, it's just a nice reminder to center yourself and remember that no matter what you're dealing with today, there are good things in your life. Not everything is good, but there is good.

Mindset Hack 3 (The Strangest Secret): Create Goals

We become what we think about most of the time... That's it... That's the strangest secret of the addiction recovery process.

And now here we come to The Strangest Secret of addiction recovery. And as Earl Nightingale called it, The Strangest Secret in the world. Now, who is Earl Nightingale? He was a renowned American radio speaker and author known for his motivational and self-help work. He's best remembered for his 1956 recording, The Strangest Secret, which is exactly what inspired today's video.

This recording emphasized the power of thoughts and became one of the first spoken word recordings to achieve gold record status. And what is that Strangest Secret? It's very simple: we become what we think about most of the time. Now, it sounds ridiculous, but is it actually as ridiculous as it sounds? When I first heard Earl Nightingale's recording, it was probably a month or two into my recovery. What I was experiencing was that I didn't know what to do with my time, my life, and I felt pretty meaningless. I was just kind of tracking days as my measure of success: days since I placed my last bet. It wasn't very fulfilling. So, I stumbled across this recording, and what he said was that 95% of people out there don't have goals.

Think about that. Do you have a goal for where you want to go in your life? He talks about how if you are the captain of a great ship and you go out to sea without knowing what port you're going to, it's only a matter of time until a storm comes along and tears you down, or you crash into a rock, or you get lost at sea and starve. But if you know what direction you're going and you have the ship to get you there, you will get there, even if it takes longer, even if the seas are rough, even if there are storms along the way. If you're going towards a specific goal and you're keeping that in mind, that's all you need.

Now, how does this apply to addiction recovery, and why am I making a video about this random guy from the 1950s? Well, a lot of times when we get into recovery, our goals are messy. We're trying to recover financially, we're trying to rebuild relationships and friendships. We might have wives or husbands who don't want to be with us anymore because we are addicted to gambling and we need help. We might have terrible mental health, and we just want to stop the anxiety and the depression. We want to get a good night's sleep.

All of these things can be bundled into "I want to quit gambling." As simple as that sounds, it's actually a decision that you need to make. Why are you trying to recover from a gambling problem? Do you know, and are you trying to stop gambling because it's become a problem in your life, or are you doing it for someone else or something else? If you don't have a goal in mind, then it's only a matter of time until something goes wrong.

So, if you tell yourself that you want to quit gambling because of the financial problems, well, once you're back in a good position and you've paid off all your debts, then a temptation's going to come along, and you're going to see no reason not to gamble. If you want to stop gambling because your wife makes you go to meetings and get help, then if your wife doesn't stay with you or you've convinced your wife to trust you again, the pressure's off.

So, it was really important for me to recognize that if I was going to recover from a gambling problem, I needed to have a why. I needed to have a goal to pursue. And what that goal ended up being for me is that I wanted to create positive change in the world using the negatives in my life. And for me, that end goal of knowing that I wanted to help people made it an absolute necessity that I stay away from gambling because that moral within me cannot be fulfilled if I am gambling and keeping myself distracted from my purpose, which is helping others. I really challenge you to determine a goal because you know we haven't talked about at all today?

We haven't talked about how to achieve a goal, and that's because creating the goal is something that only 5% of people ever do. It's the hardest step, it's the hardest thing to do in this process.

What Do You Do After You Have A Goal?

One you've determined that you have a goal that you are going to pursue, you've completed 75% of the process. Now you need to get yourself into recovery and work through a few different steps to stay clean from your addiction.

Check out this blog post where I shared the four steps that I used to get myself clean from gambling addiction for over the last 600 days!

Let's keep getting better together, one day at a time


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