You recognize that you have a gambling problem, so you seek treatment. You have been sticking to your new routine for weeks, months, or possibly even years, when suddenly — you fall back into your old ways. At this point, you most likely feel lost or out of control, confused as to what to do next. However, it’s important to keep in mind that though resumption of gambling behaviors is undesirable, it can become an integral part of the recovery process if addressed and learned from properly.
What to Do After a Return to Gambling
Acknowledge That Triggers Are Unavoidable
Much like many problem behaviors’ road to recovery, recognizing and accepting that there may be things or opportunities that make you want to gamble again will never entirely disappear. You can preserve your recovery journey by avoiding or coping with every possible circumstance, thought, feeling, or person that may urge you to gamble again.
Identify What Might Make You Gamble Again
If you make a return to gambling, focus on identifying high-risk triggers that may have instigated it in the first place. A return is often prompted by some presentation of environmental, emotional, or physical stimuli that tempts you to engage in some form of gambling. These can include boredom, a compulsive need to “win,” and financial instability, amongst other things. Whether it’s an advertisement showcasing free plays on a smartphone app or being in a physical casino, taking a personal inventory of what prompts you to engage in such behaviors can help you ultimately rise above them.
Take Up New Hobbies or Physical Activities
Redirect your focus and find new activities to keep yourself occupied. However, depending on how long you’ve been on your recovery journey, you may already have taken up some things that — lo and behold — weren’t the “cure” for problem gambling. That’s okay; by either consistently trying new things or digging deeper into areas you may have only scratched the surface of, you may find or renew an internal enthusiasm that helps you stay on track.
Seek Professional Support, Even If It’s Not For the First Time
Clearly, problem gambling recovery isn’t a one-and-done ordeal; it’s a lifetime commitment to bettering one’s self. Having a strong support system and professional resources at your disposal, through the highs and the lows, is something worth betting on. For more information on finding help for gambling problems, reach out to 800-GAMBLER today.