Have you decided that it is finally Joker time to stop gambling? Have you also realized that you need help? Are you uncomfortable talking about it? First of all, many people realize it is a hard decision to make and that you may be embarrassed. It is hard to ask for help sometimes, but at some time or other, everyone needs help. It isn’t a sign of weakness to ask for help, in fact, it often takes strength to admit you have a problem, like a gambling addiction or compulsive gambling, and could use some help. As a therapist I have often heard people say that they feel different than other people and feel separated or isolated. In fact, that is something that many people have in common.
I often heard, “If only people knew the real me.”
The interesting thing is that I heard the same thing over and over and yet, each person felt that he or she was the only one in the world who felt that way. You will be amazed to learn that millions of people have felt the way you feel now and there are many people who understand exactly what you are going through and are willing to help you. You can also rest assured that they will not look down on you. Yes there will be some smug people who’ve never dealt with a powerful addiction who may look down on people who have to deal with an addiction like gambling, but their opinions don’t matter because they’ve never lived through what you’re living through. You might say they are ignorant.
Every thing that we do in life, both the big things and the little accomplishments, have steps that are involved. For instance, when you start your day, there are steps. First, you wake up, next you get out of bed, then you may walk to the kitchen. The same is true of getting dressed or any other thing you do. Each thing you do starts with a single step. It is the same with stopping gambling.
The first step, which you have already accomplished, is to admit you have a problem. The next step is to think about ways to solve the problem. You need to gather information so you will know what you can do and how to solve the problem of getting your life back under control. Where do you get information? From someone who has already done what you want to do and has gone through what you are now experiencing. In other words, it would help to talk to other people who’ve dealt with a gambling problem.
Where do you find them? Well, you may know someone who has successfully stopped gambling, but if not, or if you’d rather talk to someone who doesn’t know you, you can always call GA, Gamblers Anonymous. Just like the name implies, the call can be anonymous. You may go to a meeting and hear how other people are coping and that may be anonymous as well. People in GA do not go out and tell other people what they’ve heard in a GA meeting. You know the saying, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” well what happens in a GA meeting stays in the meeting, as well.
The point is, if you’ve gotten to the point where you can say, “Help, I need to stop gambling now,” Then you are ready to gather information using the national hotline for GA that will provide that help. Just one step at a time and the next step is to gather some information. If you look at it that way, it will be do-able, perhaps not always easy, but you can do it.