Making Recovery From Gambling a Priority

STAGES 5 to 8
Some suggestions that may assist are set out below. Each process can take any real time - depending on any individual and situation. These being suggestions only - it is up to anyone to make their own choices at their own time and pace.
**Concerned individuals should always seek professional advice in their area when necessary. Try the links on the left to find possible available help.

5. Take time to open up to someone close - such as a partner

Time will come when opening up to someone will need to be a choice made.
The best person to open up to at this stage is usually the partner (if there is
one). If opening up to a partner is hard at this time or if there is no partner,
the next choice would be either another family member or a very close friend.
To break the ice of opening up, the mediation of a counsellor may need to be necessary. Holding onto so many secrets will only bring pressure, guilt and unnecessary mood swings which will surely hinder the recovery efforts. Remembering that these secrets can't be held forever and that something will come out sooner or later, it's better if the truth comes out of you, than by
chance or from someone else. As hard as it will seem, a heavy burden should be lifted of your chest. Be prepared for reactions, arguments, some anger and disappointments, which is all normal under the circumstances, but when the
dust settles in time and when a real effort is shown by you in recovery, all
that will become an invaluable and encouraging bridge for you.

6. Work out all the finances - ask for financial advice

Now that you have opened up to someone and some of the burden has been
lifted it may be a good idea to assess the damage which has been done by your gambling on the financial side. If your partner knows what has happened by
now, it is a good idea to actually work these things out with them. If they don't
or there isn't a partner, it is still a good idea to get a sense of the financial damage done. This will bring some reality so it can be embraced and used in recovery. Many people have some idea of the damage done, but many will also hide from this reality because of the fear it creates. It just became a habit of making repayments when it could be done, but with more gambling over time to try and win some money, it has actually made things worse. There are financial advisors available in many places that will help in these situations and in some cases will do this free of charge or will do it at a low cost to you. Surprisingly, most creditors will listen if there are genuine attempts to make your payments
and when you give some indications and plans of any future repayments.

7. Look for ways to find pressure relief

Apart from some cases where the addicted actually gamble because they really enjoy it, a lot of problem gamblers have used gambling as a means of escape
from some other pains or fears which may have evolved in life. There will be something behind the addiction itself, and that something is what creates pressure. And that pressure is what makes people escape to more gambling.
This can also create a chemical imbalance in the brain, which makes the person feel either too high or too low. When feeling too low, an escape is usually to
go for more gambling and create a feeling of that high. What the brain
perceives as a high is what the brain sends as a signal to do more of when a
person feels low. It becomes a vicious cycle. The person needs to find out
what is hurting behind this addiction. And this is what is called "pressure
relief". Some GA groups will have this as a part of their program, but if there
isn't such a group near by, a counsellor or a psychologist can help. In some
severe cases of depression a psychiatrist may need to be consulted.

8. When possible, talk openly with the rest of the family

This is a stage that can be taken at any time in recovery if anyone wishes to do
so. It isn't necessary to do this at any specific time. However, if recovery is to move forward it may be better to do this. It all depends on anyone's situation, their partner, the age of their children, the vulneribility of some of their family members, etc. When it comes to support, the family is the best support anyone can have once genuine honesty comes through. This may not be the case with everyone. If not quite sure or if there is the slightest thought of someone
getting hurt by this admission, it's best to consult with a professional counsellor
to work this through. If the family is in a good bond however, this is one
support system that really works well. Because a problem gambler is
surrounded by this support closely, more vigilance can be given over the
situation to protect the gambler as much as possible through those rough times
of urges. Once this support starts to progress, everything does feel easier and
has a better chance of staying on track, as long as the honesty is maintained.

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