What is Gambling Addiction and is there a solution?
Okay, so full disclaimer here, you’re talking to a bonafide ex alcoholic and gambling addict. So I have a bit of insight to the problem. And I say ex because I was completely able to kick my addictions into orbit. They are no more, and I can trust myself to never do them again.
Gambling addiction can be harmful. The first ever time I realised it could be harmful was when I went a week without lunch at school to save my money for the one armed bandits at the beach. The last time I realised it was harmful, and when I finally decided to stop was when I spent almost £500 of someone else’s money in a fruit machine. Let’s just say I nearly lost a friend. In my mind I was trying to double his money. In reality I was flushing it down the drain.
A lot of people will say that casino’s and gambling institutions are crooks and only exist to steal our money. They encourage high risk and want people to leave with nothing. In a way that’s true. Everything in casino’s and gambling establishments are designed to part you from your money and have you walking away broke.
So why isn’t everyone who gambles an addict? Good question.
It’s me that will always be the addict. You see? Blaming the tools for what I use them for is not a healthy way to see the world. I’m the one that can’t help myself when it comes to walking into a casino. I see flashy lights and boom; I’m off spending my rent money.
But what IS addiction?
People don’t realise but most addiction is the same. Drugs, gambling, sex, serial killing, you name it, if you’re addicted to it then it’s borne from the same premise. At some point in your life you were introduced to a feeling, and that feeling sent pleasurable senses to your brain. And of course, you wanted more of it.
The way I see it is this – the more that you do something then the more you get addicted to doing it. Especially if you get a good feeling from it. The brain is like a muscle, and it learns as you grow. And if your brain learns the highs and lows of gambling, and you do it often, then you’ll end up becoming addicted to it.
So, what’s the solution?
Well, quitting gambling isn’t the hard part. The hard part is staying quit. You can remove yourself from the situation any time, but the hard part is to not go back. That’s where the real work is done.
The simplest way is to swap your addiction into something positive (as well as seeing a professional). I liked a bit of gambling myself. Was quite the addict back in the day. But I managed to swap that for taking photos. Okay, so I’m a bit of a photography addict now. But isn’t it so much less harmful with the safety of not losing my money?
And I can still gamble. I abstained for many years, but now I’m out of the habit. So I can play under the notion that I’m not going to be putting money in that I can’t afford.