For me, thoughts of suicide were comforting at times because I believed it would end my pain. Understanding panic attacks and learning how best to support yourself and…. Dear Jim — You started your message by asking for help.
Have trouble controlling your gambling. Once you start gambling, can you walk away? You may feel pushed to borrow, sell, or even steal things for gambling money. Have family and friends worried about you. Denial keeps problem gambling going. If friends and family are worried, listen to them carefully. The biggest step to overcoming a gambling addiction is realizing that you have a problem. It takes tremendous strength and courage to own up to this, especially if you have lost a lot of money and strained or broken relationships along the way.
Many others have been in your shoes and have been able to break the habit and rebuild their lives. You can, too. Learn to relieve unpleasant feelings in healthier ways. Or after a stressful day at work or following an argument with your spouse? Gambling may be a way to self-soothe unpleasant emotions, unwind, or socialize. Strengthen your support network. If your support network is limited, there are ways to make new friends without relying on visiting casinos or gambling online.
Try reaching out to colleagues at work, joining a sports team or book club, enrolling in an education class, or volunteering for a good cause. Join a peer support group. Gamblers Anonymous, for example, is a twelve-step recovery program patterned after Alcoholics Anonymous.
A key part of the program is finding a sponsor, a former gambler who has experience remaining free from addiction and can provide you invaluable guidance and support. Seek help for underlying mood disorders. Depression , stress , substance abuse , or anxiety can both trigger gambling problems and be made worse by compulsive gambling. The Internet has made gambling far more accessible and, therefore, harder for recovering addicts to avoid relapse.
Online casinos and bookmakers are open all day, every day for anyone with a smartphone or access to a computer. One way to stop gambling is to remove the elements necessary for gambling to occur in your life and replace them with healthier choices.
The four elements needed for gambling to continue are:. A decision: For gambling to happen, you need to make the decision to gamble. If you have an urge: Gambling cannot occur without money. Get rid of your credit cards, let someone else be in charge of your money, have the bank make automatic payments for you, close online betting accounts, and keep only a limited amount of cash on you. Schedule enjoyable recreational time for yourself that has nothing to do with gambling.
A game: Without a game or activity to bet on there is no opportunity to gamble. Tell gambling establishments you frequent that you have a gambling problem and ask them to restrict you from entering. Remove gambling apps and block gambling sites on your smartphone and computer.
Maintaining recovery from gambling addiction depends a lot on finding alternative behaviors you can substitute for gambling. Some examples include:. Feeling the urge to gamble is normal, but as you build healthier choices and a strong support network, resisting cravings will become easier. When a gambling craving strikes:. Avoid isolation. Call a trusted family member, meet a friend for coffee, or go to a Gamblers Anonymous meeting.
Postpone gambling. As you wait, the urge to gamble may pass or become weak enough to resist. Visualize what will happen if you give in to the urge to gamble. Distract yourself with another activity , such as going to the gym, watching a movie, or practicing a relaxation exercise for gambling cravings.
Overcoming a gambling addiction is a tough process. You may slip from time to time; the important thing is to learn from your mistakes and continue working towards recovery. Talk to your doctor or mental health professional about different treatment options, including:. Inpatient or residential treatment and rehab programs.
These are aimed at those with severe gambling addiction who are unable to avoid gambling without round-the-clock support. Treatment for underlying conditions contributing to your compulsive gambling, including substance abuse or mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, OCD, or ADHD.
This could include therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes. Problem gambling can sometimes be a symptom of bipolar disorder , so your doctor or therapist may need to rule this out before making a diagnosis.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy. CBT for gambling addiction focuses on changing unhealthy gambling behaviors and thoughts, such as rationalizations and false beliefs. It can also teach you how to fight gambling urges and solve financial, work, and relationship problems caused by problem gambling. We hope and pray that these reasons will give you the added desire, incentive and motivation to stop gambling or to not start "gaming" in the first place.
If you are addicted to gambling, we fervently hope that this lesson, plus the recommended resources, will help you win the battle with your addiction. We recommend that you seek professional counseling, but even more important is your need for God's guidance and help to start and continue the road to recovery. Our attitude toward people with any kind of addiction is sympathetic, not condemning.
We just want to help. Whether or not you are tempted to gamble, you may know someone who is having problems because of gambling. This lesson will help you to help others. This lesson addresses two issues—gambling and addiction to gambling. It also relates those issues to your relationships with God and the people you love. He not only was obsessed with the hope of winning, he became so mesmerized while he was playing that he could shut out all thoughts of family responsibility.
After that, his shame would trigger the next episode as he hoped to win back his heavy losses. Then he would go home and face his family in fear and anguish. This never stopped him though; he continued and borrowed money from my husband and many others until he was so in debt he didn't know where to turn.
At that point, the man could take no more and shot himself in the head to end it all. It was terribly sad. After his death my husband felt much guilt too. He wondered if he could have done more to help his friend. This is an example of typical collateral damage. Addictions and suicides lay a guilt trip and many other psychological burdens on the loved ones.
In this lesson we will address the gambling-related problems that are obvious, like spending the grocery money and becoming addicted to gambling. But first, what is wrong in principle with gambling? The fundamental issue is this: When one person wins money, it's because other people lost money. Hoping to win means you are hoping that others will lose. Not just lose a contest or a prize—lose their money so you can win their money! In a casino, you may think in terms of the casino losing the money.
But where does the casino get its money? From all the many disappointed people who lost their money—many of whom are poor and gamble in desperation, clinging to the fantasy of "rags to riches. It is win-lose-lose-lose-lose. This is contrary to God's great commandment to love your neighbor. After all, "Love does no harm to a neighbor" Romans We're also instructed, "Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep" Romans God wants us to have true empathy for others!
In gambling, you feel like rejoicing only when others feel like weeping, and vice versa. We're told, "Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others" Philippians 2: You'll be helping other people and helping society when you don't support the gambling industry.
For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money The mushrooming mania for gambling, especially in Western nations, is one major example of this prophecy being fulfilled. Only 50 years ago, most Christian Americans thought of all gambling as being evil.
The gamblers went to Nevada and New Jersey. But many things have changed. Today, most people don't read the Bible, know much of what it says or pay much attention to the Ten Commandments. Governments have legitimized gambling with state-run lotteries and other forms of legalized gambling.
And people tend to think that if something is legal, it is mora—which often is not true. With the boom in betting comes the corrupting consequences: John 8: Just look at the statistics. A large percentage of gamblers are already addicted. Many would not admit it, because they are in denial.
A gambler may admit to having "a few problems" with it—like spending too much money, getting deeper into debt and spending too much time away from family—but it may take a major crisis "hitting bottom" before he or she admits to being a problem gambler, a compulsive gambler or an addicted gambler—enslaved to gambling.
We are creatures of habit. The more we do anything, the more it becomes routine. One bad habit leads to others, and a bad habit often becomes a psychological addiction, which is enslavement. God wants you to be free from bad habits and addictions.
It's easy to see why gambling is addictive. A win is a thrill that whets the appetite for more. A loss is often followed by more playing in hopes of recouping the loss. And, for many, it is escapism from reality and responsibility.
The "Related Resources" listed below offer valuable guidance in dealing with addictions. Exodus Covet means desire, but it implies a wrong kind of desire, like greed. When you gamble, you are coveting your "neighbor's" money. You are not earning the money or offering goods or services in exchange for his or her money.
You want his money while offering nothing in return. Therefore, your desire for his money is coveting. And Paul said that covetousness is idolatry Colossians 3: Because it is a desire that is stronger than your desire to love God and put Him first in your life. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
Materialism—the love of money and the things money can buy—is related to coveting, and as this scripture shows, it is often self-destructive. Someone is materialistic when money and physical things have become more important than relationships and spiritual values. The Bible says, "How much better to get wisdom than gold! And being materialistic can cause you to lose out on the most valuable thing of all—eternal life! Jesus said, "Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God!
And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? Love can be defined as "the give way" rather than "the get way. He is the source of "every good gift and every perfect gift" James 1: Therefore, God wants us to follow His example and live a life of giving. Use your time, talents and energy to give to others.
Gambling, however, is focused on get, not give. Proverbs This verse is contrasting all "get-rich-quick" schemes, including gambling, with honestly earning an income. Consider also: Money gotten quickly usually disappears quickly. The Bible repeatedly praises hard work as noble and a key to success. See Proverbs Spend your time productively, such as in getting an education, working and serving others. How should parents teach their children about important issues of life, including gambling?
Deuteronomy 6: God encourages parents to make teaching an everyday part of life. This includes discussing good and bad examples from the news, from entertainment and from personal experiences. Tragically, real-life examples probably won't be hard to find.
Some researchers consider gambling the fastest-growing teenage addiction.
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