Getting your finances in order, accepting your situation and getting help are all good ways to start your road to recovery but what can you do to stay away from gambling.
Hopefully you’ve done all the important things like self excluding and handing over control of your money.
It’s important that we help ourselves.
Why tempt fate by having money burning a hole in our pocket and easy access to gambling, right?
What I’m going to share are things that have helped me on my journey to stay gamble free.
Find a new hobby or rekindle an old one to help you stay away from Gambling.
I get bored quite easily. This may be a common trait in gamblers.
We’re used to the highs of winning and the frequent lows of losing. Naturally other tasks will feel mundane in comparison.
But to avoid relapse we need to find something to fill the void of time we used to spend gambling.
Not only does having something else to preoccupy us distract us from gambling thoughts and urges but, depending on the hobby, it could be a chance to meet new people, get fit or try something completely new.
I like to train weights in the gym.
It’s very relatable to my recovery because It’s about more than just the time I spend in the gym.
If i want to see real results I have to be disciplined both in and out of the gym by understanding what I eat, drink and how much rest I get can help me perform better.
We have to be disciplined in this battle with our gambling addiction we have to know what can lead to urges or triggers and learn to avoid them.
We need to find what makes us feel better so we are stronger when faced with urges and triggers.
Also I get a great feeling of achievement everytime I go the gym.
I sold unwanted items on Ebay
Selling things on Ebay is great fun.
I sold everything that wasn’t nailed down or I hadn’t used or worn in the last year. It generated extra money for date nights and helped declutter my house.
I also asked family members If i could look around their garages for unused items to potentially sell on their behalf for a cut of the profits.
According to a Daily Mail article the average household in Britain has £3500 in unwanted goods in their homes. Link to the article below.
You could take it as far as to go to car boot sales or charity shops to buy to sell on ebay.
It’s a great way to keep you occupied and generate extra income but be careful if you’re buying for the purpose of resale you’ll have to declare it with the taxman.
Link below for more information.
There’s people that make a full time living from buying used goods and selling them on Ebay. So you can get a good idea of the potential.
Get into the habit of writing things down.
When i got into the habit of doing this I really felt I was taking back control of my life.
I’d write down everything to how I was feeling what could have lead to these feelings.
Once I found out what lead to me feeling better about myself.
I’d just repeat what would lead to the same good feelings the following day.
I even kept a log of my sleeping habits. I really struggled with my sleep when gambling and for a good year into my recovery.
Eventually I was able to follow what I was doing that aided a good night’s sleep and emulated that.
Make sure you get proper rest
I mentioned above I struggled with my sleep, this was due to overthinking and I just couldn’t switch off at night.
If I had a bad night’s sleep, I would be in a bad mood for the majority of the day.
I’d drink coffee to help get me through the working day.
Then I’d end up drinking too much coffee and then be wired by the time I was due to sleep again.
It was a vicious circle.
Getting proper rest had a big part to play in me feeling better about myself.
Tip : 2 tbsp of Apple cider vinegar with the mother, 1 tsp of honey and hot water. Is what i like to call my bedtime cocktail.
I’ve been drinking this 30 minutes before bed for the last 6 months or so and my sleep has improved massively.
Learn to deal with Stress
Stress can be a trigger, often gambling would act as a release or escape for me.
So it’s important we have actions we can take that aren’t gambling when feeling stressed or overwhelmed.
Meditation makes me happier, it just does.
I found this out by reviewing what i was writing down.
I like to meditate in the morning as I like to be set for the day ahead.
It also allows me to separate myself from my thoughts.
Learn to Reset
There’s some simple breathing techniques I’ve used in the past for when my mind is racing and it’s the middle of the day and I’m at work.
I don’t think my boss would take too kindly to me taking a pew in the office and meditating for 15-20 minutes.
So I use the quick technique below.
When my mind is racing or I simply want to stop thinking about something I’ll make a cup of tea. While the kettle is boiling I take 5 deep breaths through my nose and out through my mouth.
The important thing is to follow the breath through your body. This allows you to focus on your breathing for these moments getting you away from the thoughts you’re trying to escape.
Plan ahead to help you stay away from gambling
It’s important that we as gambling addicts plan ahead.
I’ve mentioned above about filling void time with hobbies but we need to be careful of special events.
Depending on what your weakness was with gambling.
Personally mine was horse racing, slots, blackjack and football.
Keeping in mind what i used to gamble on I’m more likely to think about gambling during certain times of the year.
Like Cheltenham and the Grand National, start of the new football season and nights out with friends that on occasion used to end in a casino.
By planning ahead I can know that I may have urges stronger than normal but because I’ve preempted these feelings I will have an action to follow already thought out.
Keep reminding yourself of the good things in your life
I’ve mentioned something similar in another blog post on the link below.
We are constantly reminded of the debt as a result of this addiction and it’s difficult to come to terms with the situation but there negatives things in our lives.
In order to move forward with our lives and make progress on this journey we need to remind ourselves of the things we’re grateful for.
Start writing a list of things you’re grateful for once a week or whenever you feel particularly down.
This helps bring us back to focusing on the positives.
Do you have any advice on how to stay away from gambling? Tell us your tips and story in the comments below!
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