For those struggling with problem gambling, the road to recovery can be a challenging and complex journey to embark on. One of the many important factors to your recovery involves creating an environment that eliminates distractions and triggers and promotes strong and stable healing. It can help you stay focused and committed to your goal of staying away from gambling. However, creating that safe environment for oneself can seem challenging, especially if you aren’t sure how to proceed. 800-GAMBLER will provide some tips for creating a safe environment when recovering from problem gambling.
Disconnect from Triggers
First and foremost, it is crucial to disconnect from sources that may trigger your impulse to gamble. And the first step in detaching from triggers is to identify them. Knowing what triggers you can help you avoid them or be prepared to deal with them when they come up. Common triggers include stress, boredom, socializing with people who frequently gamble, seeing casinos or gambling advertisements, or having extra money to play with.
Once you know your triggers, avoid high-risk situations. This means staying away from places where you’ve gambled in the past or where gambling is prevalent, such as casinos, racetracks, or card rooms. You should also avoid socializing with people who frequently gamble or talk about gambling in their leisure time.
Find Positive Coping Mechanisms
Coping mechanisms not involving gambling are essential to building a safe environment. Disconnecting from triggers can leave you feeling bored or empty, but you don’t have to continue along that path. To fill the void that gambling used to occupy, find other activities to do that are enjoyable. This could include reading, spending time with friends and family, or pursuing a hobby. You can also try engaging in activities that produce similar levels of dopamine, such as exercise or creative pursuits like painting or writing. Meditation, deep breathing, or yoga can also be helpful in handling stress or anxiety. Finding new habits to replace gambling can help reduce the appeal of gambling and decrease your chances of relapse.
Communicate with Friends and Family
When recovering from problem gambling, it is crucial to have a strong support system. Friends and family can provide invaluable encouragement and understanding during this difficult time. This support system can set the foundation for a beautiful environment that promotes problem gambling recovery. However, you certainly want to be transparent with them about your goals for recovery.
Here are some tips for communicating with friends and family:
- Be Honest – It’s important to be honest with your loved ones about your struggles with gambling and your desire to recover. Explain the challenges you face and let them know what they can do to support you.
- Share Your Goals – Communicate your goals for recovery and what steps you plan to take to achieve them. Sharing your goals can help your loved ones understand what you’re working towards and how they can be a part of your journey.
- Ask for Help – Don’t be afraid to ask your friends and family for help when you need it. Whether it’s attending a support group meeting with you or just lending an ear when you need to talk, your loved ones can be a valuable source of support.
- Set Boundaries – Sometimes, friends and family members may unknowingly enable your gambling problem. It’s important to set boundaries with them and let them know what behaviors are not helpful for your recovery.
- Be Patient – Recovery takes time, and it’s essential to be patient with yourself and your loved ones. Remember that your friends and family are learning how to support you through this process, and it may take some time for them to fully understand.
Develop an Aftercare Plan
Creating a safe environment is an ongoing process that requires vigilance and effort. Develop an aftercare plan to maintain the gains you’ve made while recovering. This includes regularly attending patronization counseling, staying connected with support groups, and continuing positive activities.
Call 1-800-GAMBLER Today
Creating a safe environment is a crucial step in recovering from problem gambling. By disconnecting from triggers, developing coping mechanisms, communicating effectively with loved ones, and many of the additional tips discussed above, you can pave the way for a successful recovery.
You should also call our free confidential helpline at 800-GAMBLER for more problem gambling recovery tips. Get support for friends and family or find a help meeting and start setting the building blocks for a stable recovery environment. Remember, the change may be challenging, but it is possible. Help is available, and it’s never too late to start your journey.