The first and most powerful conversation with anyone who struggles with gambling addiction is their initial admission that there is a problem. It is often a gut wrenching process to answer questions such as these taken from the Gamblers Anonymous 20 Questions:
Have you ever lost time from work due to gambling?
Has gambling ever made your home life unhappy?
Do you ever gamble to get money with which to pay debts or otherwise solve financial difficulties?
After losing, do you ever feel you must return as soon as possible and win back your losses?
Do you ever borrow to finance your gambling?
Have you ever committed or considered committing an illegal act to finance gambling?
Have you ever considered self-destruction as a result of your gambling?
Once this initial conversation is made, the first steps to recovery can begin. One of the most important keys to addressing gambling problems and building a healthy life environment is creating continuing conversations with others in recovery, counselors, family members, and other mentors. These dialogues help the person with a gambling problem to begin to change irrational ways of thinking that supported gambling behaviors. Being honest and listening to those who support a recovery oriented way of life is critical to beginning and sustaining a recovery from problem gambling.
Recovery support conversations can take many forms: individual therapy or group therapy with treatment providers; in-patient treatment; and/or Gamblers Anonymous (GA) meetings. For many, continued participation in GA creates a strong support system in daily conversations with one’s sponsor and other members of the fellowship. “To recover from one of the most baffling, insidious, compulsive addictions will require diligent effort. Honesty, Open-mindedness, And Willingness are the key words in our recovery.” (GA Combo book)
GA promotes the act of conversations through group meetings (as many as possible per week); telephone conversations with other members (as often as possible between meetings, telephone list is provided); and with oneself by the repetition of the Serenity prayer: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
Gambling Recovery is a step by step process:
Believe recovery is possible.
Be engaged with life, with your family and those around you.
Engage in other activities.
Be honest and open.
Follow through on promises.
And always Have The Conversation!