The Dangers Of Gambling Abuse And Addiction

So, how do you know if you or someone you love have a gambling problem?

First of all it’s important to note that compulsive gambling is a psychological condition that makes people unable to control their desire to gamble. Many crave the feeling they have when they gamble and seek this experience on a daily basis, no matter whether they’re on a winning or losing streak.

Compulsive gamblers may start betting small amounts, but sooner or later start to wager higher bets in order to get the same feelings of excitement they had when they first started playing. Compulsive gamblers often feel agitated and restless if they are unable to gamble and can feel a strong desire to gamble when other aspects of their lives are weighing them down. Compulsive gamblers may also believe that gambling is the only way to pay off debts and keep believing that it’s only a matter of time before they hit the elusive jackpot. Some compulsive gamblers may find themselves lying to friends and families and in some cases stealing money or goods to pay for their gambling habit.

Not all compulsive gamblers will exhibit each of these qualities, but if you recognise just a few of these in yourself or someone close to you then it could be time to seek help.

Compulsive gambling is treatable and there are a number of wonderful organisations set up to deal specifically with this problem.

Gamblers Anonymous is probably the most well-known and widespread and is based on a 12-step program similar to that of Alcoholics Anonymous. Members meet on a regular basis to share experiences and listen to each others stories and you will find that there are literally hundreds of Gamblers Anonymous groups situated all over the world. Go to the Gamblers Anonymous website for more information (www.gamblersanonymous.com) or check your local newspaper.

Gam-Anon is another well-respected self-help organization whose motto is “serenity, courage, wisdom. “Their website provides a solid resource into the issues surrounding compulsive gambling and meetings are held regularly. (www.gam-anon.org).

The National Council on Problem Gambling is a government sponsored organization with branches across the USA. The website also has a lot of information which you may find useful. (www.ncpgambling.org).

Other countries will also have their own groups and organizations which may be publicly or privately run. Again check your local newspaper or phone book for more information.

Remember, compulsive gambling is a mental health issue for which there is help and support. If you feel that gambling is dominating your life in a way that is harmful or unhealthy, then perhaps its time to talk to someone about it.

The Day I Decided To Stop Gambling With Gamblers Anonymous

Everything was going perfect for me in life. Good job, good home, good life and good friends. Until one day some friends asked if I wanted to go to the casino. By the time I realized it, three years of my life were gone and I was in debt. It was time to quit.

The day I decided to stop gambling I was depressed and relieved at the same time. I couldn’t go on any longer. I thought all my hopes and dreams were shattered. I couldn’t tell anybody what I was going through. I was afraid that they would be disappointed in me. I remember the first day. I was nervous and anxious. I had a hard time focusing at work. This was not my first time trying to quit. I was sure I really wanted to quit, but wasn’t sure if I could quit.

The day I decided to quit I had no where to turn. I found it was difficult to talk to my family and friends about my problem. I began to do research and found Gamblers Anonymous. I wanted to give Gamblers Anonymous a try. I happened to have met a lot of nice people there. They welcomed me into the group and made me feel comfortable. I had tears coming down my face and my anxiety kicked in. I was very quiet buy my emotions were running wild inside. I made it through my first meeting and was somewhat looking forward to the next one. As each week passed new members would join and others would disappear. This became a weekly event. Who was going to come back and who was going to stay?

I continued to go to my Gamblers Anonymous meeting on a weekly basis. I was always afraid some one would recognize me. The turn over was extraordinary. Each week as I entered the meeting my heart began to race until I was sure I didn’t know any of the new members. It was the tenth week and an old co-worker of mine walked through the doors. We hadn’t worked together for over ten years. I thought about leaving but I decided to stay and try and work it out. Unfortunately he did not keep the Gamblers Anonymous code. He had told a friend who told another friend until it got back to me. It was unfortunate, but I dealt with it and moved on.

I and others unfortunately had other situations occur that were not very positive for us at Gamblers Anonymous. I still thank them for putting me on the road to recovery. From the first time I entered Gamblers Anonymous and followed up with the website I Stopped Gambling So Can You http://www.istoppedgambling.com/

I believe I am on the road to recovery. I take one day at a time and allow myself the option to gamble or not to gamble. This helped me to take control of my life. By allowing myself to make the choice the amount of stress on me has been significantly reduced.

A month after I stopped going to Gamblers Anonymous meetings, I ran into one of the members. He was curious at how I was doing and asked me if I would be there next week? I told him I would try and make the meeting. I popped in a few times more to tell them how I was doing. They were all glad to see me, but I wasn’t in compliance with the rules of Gamblers Anonymous, so I decided not to go back. In this particular group I attended, they have rules that do not allow a member to comment during therapy if they did not attend four consecutive weekly meetings. I respected their rules but realized it was time to move on. I told the group and thanked them very much for putting me in the right direction and left.

After this experience I created a website that would allow people to be themselves as they recover. This site is also the closest to anonymous you can get. There you will also find a private stop gambling chat room and a self help manual to help gamblers stop compulsive gambling addiction. The website is I Stopped Gambling So Can You http://www.istoppedgambling.com/.

My experience from Gamblers Anonymous meetings to now has helped me to stop gambling. I stopped so can you!

Dealing With Gambling Debt

More often than not, those who have gambling problems or an addiction to gambling fall deep into debt. The debt becomes a major problem when it transcends owing money to casinos. Instead, gambling addiction can rack up major credit card debt, loan debt, and even extremities (though not completely unheard of) such as home equity debt. If this sounds like you, whether you own $ 500 or $ 5000, there are ways of dealing with the debt that follows the addiction.

Seek Help for the Gambling Addiction

Before you begin dealing with debt, it is imperative you get help for your addiction. It's been proven in many cases that gambling addicts are less willing to admit their problems than someone with a substance abuse problem. Not only should you get help for yourself, but for the ones who love you; your family and your friends. Take the time to really evaluate your situation, and how it has affected you, your family and the general quality of living surrounding it all.

Cut Off Funding

It could be half to all of your paycheque, a credit card, or maybe you've been dipping into your savings. In either case, put a complete halt on any money put towards gambling. Canceling a credit card is never a good idea, as it worsens your credit situation and lowers your credit score. But in the grand scheme of things, putting a stop to it now rather than racking up another large amount of money is probably for the best.

You Won't Win Back what you Owe

Statistically speaking, the chances of you winning back what you owe are next to impossible. In fact, you're only damaging yourself even more by putting yourself further in debt, and deluding yourself into believing something along the lines of "well I'll win back what I owe, and then some for good measure!"

Seek Treatment

If you find doing your best and trying your hardest toward helping yourself isn't working at all, you may need to seek a professional. In some cases, your health insurance provider may cover some or all of the treatment necessary to cure the addiction.

Pay Off Your Debt!

When you've controlled your addiction, begin focusing on your debt. Recognize this won't be easy. You're going to have to work hard, and do everything in your power to get the debt off your back. Write out a list of everyone you owe. You may have overdrafted bank accounts, or past-due credit cards. If you're in real trouble, you may even owe a bookie or loan shark. In either case, it's incredibly important to get your debt paid off.

Borrowing money from a loved one or a friend is a huge shot to your ego, even more so that you'll have to fess up about your addiction and your debt. If they're willing to help, not only do they trust you and love you enough to help, but they trust and love you enough to support you. Make note of the close friends and family who really help you; if you ever feel the urge to indulge in your former (or current) addiction; talking it out with them might help.

You could also start by selling your valuable assets. While undesirable, it's even more undesirable to carry a debt on your shoulders, especially a gambling debt. Furniture, electronics, jewelery and even your care can bring in some money to put toward the debt.

Getting a second job could help as well, even short term and part time. Any penny counts when it is as important as a gambling debt.

In the last and extreme case – file for bankruptcy. Gambling debt can be discharged by bankruptcy, though if you incurred the debt under false pretenses, or through fraud, you will not be able to file for bankruptcy.

Gambling Debt Help

Gambling is addictive, and often leads to financial trouble. Thousands of people fall into gambling debt, and this is where gambling debt help is needed.

The people who are unfortunate enough to find themselves falling into gambling debt should seek some professional gambling debt help. These gambling debt counselors are experienced professionals who will gladly help the gambler to overcome his various financial problems. They can often help these people get out of the debt trap to start a new life. They teach them the right procedures in which to repay their creditors, while saving as much money as possible in the process. They can offer gambling debt help by consulting the various creditors and getting them to lower their interest rates. This in turn lowers the amount of money the gambler has to repay.

However, as gambling is very addictive, gamblers need not only financial help, but also personal counseling to overcome this addiction. Many gamblers in debt have tried Gamblers Anonymous for help, only to come out of it when they run into friends and co-workers at the meetings. As gambling is a private addiction, they cannot face known people with this addiction.

With the Internet, there are many private chat rooms with self-help manuals available online to provide psychological help to compulsive gamblers who want to beat their addiction. With a search engine, compulsive gamblers can easily find treatment that best fits their position.

So gamblers, with the assistance of professional gambling debt help individuals, can overcome gambling debt and get on with their lives.