Gambling addiction can be tough to manage. How to work with it.

I was a gambling addict in my youth, but I overcame it. I’ve had several other harmful addictions, but I’ve got to a point in life where I’ve managed to gain control over them too. Addictions, at base, are more or less the same thing – they all crave the rush of dopamine in the brain. That’s where it all stems from, the feeling of euphoria; whether that’s winning a big jackpot, or feeling invincible for a night – it’s all rooted in the same sphere.

But how to manage it?

Well, did you know that most addicts don’t have a sense of self? By that I mean that their time is completely taken up by their addiction that they haven’t really had the time to explore their likes and dislikes? For example, how can you go bike riding or canoeing if you spend all your time at the online casino?

Take me for example. My first venture into exploring myself was spending a waking night gazing at the stars with a Telescope. I absolutely hated it, but at least I tried it and realised that I didn’t like it. The first thing I went into was photography, and from there I went into writing, and the rest as you say is history. Writing is now my passion, whereas beforehand it was drinking, drugs and online casinos

The idea is to explore yourself a little. We never truly stop becoming addicts, but we can swap our bad addictions for positive ones. I now get a lot of pleasure from writing.

The next step would be to understand where your addictions came from. Most of the major ones are born from the need to self-medicate, and a carry on from family behaviour. For example, my mother would drink herself into a stupor when she had a bad day so I would learn that this was normal behaviour, in the end I would have a beer or twelve whenever I had a bad day. I know other people to take to the casino, or the amusement arcade in the same way. How can you mediate bad feelings properly if this is the only way that you have learned to?

From there you need to understand your triggers. A big trigger for me would just be getting home at night from work. I’d crack open the vodka and put on the online casino – not a good combination. However, I had to find something else to do at night when I came home. At first, I would visit my friends house to differ the feeling of coming straight in from work.

Try learning. A great avenue for me to take me from the feeling of having to gamble or drink all the time was to dive my head into something that would help me educate myself. For me I always wanted to learn computers, and instead of taking to the online casino I would dive my head into some tech tutorials – anything to get my mind off it.

It all takes time in all honesty, but if you absolutely try limiting the time you spend on online casinos and only use them as entertainment then you should find your quality of life go up.

I could still drink a little if I wanted to, but I get zero pleasure out of it anymore. I do gamble a little though but now I don’t play with what I can’t lose.