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Help for Problem Gamblers:


What is a Gambling Problem look like?
Erik Bohlin, M.A.

How do you know if you have a gambling problem?  When it becomes a problem.  This is not meant to be double talk, but it really is the simplest definition.  It is all about being in touch with reality.  But let's look at some symptoms. 

Compulsion
Have you made promises that you would stop but have been unable to keep them?  Have you hurt someone you love by gambling and keep on doing it?  Does there seem to be a need or force "making" you do this?  Compulsion is there with any addiction.  The compulsive feels so strong because of the underlying needs beneath it.  The stronger the "sense of unmet needs," the stronger the compulsion.  The less strong the needs are, the weaker the compulsion to act out sexually.  We usually think we are in control and making the choice, but are we.  How much money have we spend on our habit?  Have we made promises to stop and then find that we started again?  Do we feel a compulsion to chase our losses, that is to try to win back what we lost.

Unmanageability
Has your gambling caused you trouble?  This takes time to discover.  Addicts fix things well enough to try to avoid in any way saying that the trouble they are experiencing is caused by gambling.  They will say that their loved ones are upset because "they found out."  Can it be the acting out, lying and broken promise that cause the pain and hurt?  

The addiction might be causing you pain, frustration and discomfort.  It may conflict with you moral values or religious beliefs, but you do it anyway.  You may have gone down a path where you have crossed legal lines and have gotten caught.  You might at this point admit that it is a problem.

Perhaps, you spouse, girlfriend or boyfriend is ready to leave you over your looking at pornography or chatting with someone online.  What do you do?  (to read more click here)



Bottoming Out
Breaking down could be the beginning of a break through.

No one wants to admit defeat.  It seems to go against our natural instinct to give up.  This is a good thing if it is pointed in the right direction.  Giving up smoking.  Giving up bickering and fighting.  Giving up anxiety, fear and panic.  Giving up negative thinking. 

Giving up gambling is perhaps the single most important thing you will do.  If you don't, consider the consequences.  The problem is we don't take account of what it does to us.  We want to be in denial and still use. 

"The truth shall set you free."  (John 8:32)

The truth maybe painful to face, but it will set us free.  Addiction is all about "not feeling."  A simple thing it is to take account of what something in our lives is doing for us  - positive or negative.  But we can't do it.  Sometimes we are forced to face the truth.  Maybe it is a loved one confronting us or we may find ourselves in legal or financial trouble because of the addiction to gambling and debting.   


"I Slipped Again."
"It is human to fall down, but it is demonic to not get back up again."           - Early Christian Saying


 


"If you don't want to get burned, don't go near the fire"

" Can a man take fire to his bosom,
      And his clothes not be burned?
       Can one walk on hot coals,
      And his feet not be seared?"    
                                                                    Proverbs 6:27-28

What do you do when you have fallen for the 50th time?  It seems that the harder you try, the worse it gets.  We tend to be creatures of habit, if you haven't noticed.  Just as we get stuck in our addiction, we may get stuck in the process of recovery.  Compulsive gamblers, like other addicts tend to be stubborn, closed-minded and non compliant.  The problem is not with weak will.  It is a stubborn and strong will.  We can't let go.  We are like the child who is "independent" our mother says and we will not let go and follow the directions given to us.  We are like the man who is caught in the fire in his house, who can hear his neighbors outside yelling to climb out the window.  But "by gosh, we know our own house!"  "Why are they telling me what to do."  "I know my own house."  "I know how to get to the front door."  We don't heed the fact that we are in danger, there is so much smoke we can't see clearly and we are going to asphyxiate ourselves as we go the long way.  And the long way it is. 

What should we do?  We should listen to those around us who have made it out of the house alive.  The are living proof that there is a recovery plan that works.  It will work for us if, . . if we follow it.  The early Christian church had a saying:

"If you have picked yourself as a spiritual guide,. . . you have picked a fool." 

There is also a 12 step saying that says, is that your best thinking got you here.  We need something vastly different to move into recovery and to avoid slipping.

Tenacity helps.  Steadfast.  Stubbornness works if it is channeled into surrender and consistency with the program.   Humility is key.

If we are in a burning house, we must understand that our life depends upon following directions and acting upon them.  This is not the time to make something up.  That is why fire departments for years have encouraged children and adults to learn "fire drills."  We learn where the nearest exit is, how to proceed, staying calm and making an accounting of everyone.

We must humble ourselves, by getting on our knees, crawling and listening for the voices calling outside.  We are really in the dark and can't see the path ahead, but listen for the directions.  Follow them immediately and we will get out. 

Here is are practical directions given by sponsors to their sponsees in gambling recovery if they were followed we would surely get out.

1.  Go to 12 step meetings.

2.  Call your sponsor.

3.  To avoid a slip, avoid slippery persons, places and things.

4.  To not tempt yourself.

5.  Pray.  Pray.  Pray. 

6.  Work the 12 steps.

7.  Read recovery literature - Alcoholics Anonymous, Sexaholics Anonymous, 12 steps and 12 traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous (AKA "the 12 and 12."

8.  Read the Bible.

9.  Let go of resentments and fears.

10.  Focus on your own recovery and not your spouses.



"Wired for Gambling"
How Understanding Neurophysiology can help you Recovery from Compulsive Gambling

Do you feel like the no matter what you do, you still fail at keeping sexually sober?  There is some information that may be really important for you to know.  Consider the notion that there are times when you are doing really well and others where you seem to have little control.  What made the difference?  This question is not a rhetorical as it sounds.  That means for you to successfully recovery, you have to think about what keeps you sober. . . and what doesn't. 

Let us have simple lesson in how our nervous systems work.  There is something called the Autonomic Nervous System.  This system is always functioning and helps us survive the stresses of live.  There are three divisions among the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS):  Sympathetic Nervous System (NS),  Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS),  and Enteric Nervous System (EN).


The Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) is activated when we experience danger.  It kicks in automatically to help us survive by increasing our heartbeat, our breathing, and our adrenaline.  It stops digestion, stops our elimination, the blood leaves our extremities and goes to our core.  Hence, the term "break out into a cold sweat."    Our pupils dilate, the blood leaves our pre-frontal cortex (higher thinking) and goes to our survival center, the limbic system which is pretty binary.  It is "this"  or it is "that."  It is "fight" or it is "flight."  Our speech stops, "we are speechless." I remember the term "sympathetic" and what happens here by thinking I am sympathetic to someone running from a bear.  Parasympathetic Nervous System is like a "paramedic" to the rescue.  When we are rescued we calm down.

The Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS( is the "rest and digest" systems.  We are calm, our blood goes to our extremities, arms and legs so that we can really relax and enjoy the warm sensation.  This is how mood rings measure temperature to determine our mood, by how our circulation is in our body and how warm we are.  This is why we relax so well in a hot tub, a nice bath or enjoying the warms of the sun.  In the PNS, we can digest our food properly, our sphincter muscles are relaxed we can eliminate waste.  Why is is so comforting to release urine.  Is it not just the emptying our our bladders or is our PNS activated.  Our pupils constrict and we have more blood flow go to our cortex.  We can think better.  Our speech is engaged.

So how does this information help with sex addiction recovery.  Click here to continue the rest of the article. 


"This is not about achievement."
Understanding the pitfall of achievement, pride and trying to control the outcome. 

 


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