Finding alternatives to gambling
Maintaining recovery from gambling addiction depends a lot on finding alternative behaviors you can substitute for gambling. Some examples include:
Reason for gambling
- To provide excitement, get a rush of adrenaline
- To be more social, overcome shyness or isolation
- To numb unpleasant feelings, not think about problems.
- Boredom or loneliness
- To relax after a stressful day
- To solve money problems
Sample substitute behaviors
- Sport or a challenging hobby, such as mountain biking, rock climbing, or Go Kart racing.
- Counseling, enroll in a public speaking class, join a social group, connect with family and friends, volunteer, find new friends.
- Try therapy or use HelpGuide's free Emotional Intelligence toolkit.
- Find something you,re passionate about such as art, music, sports, or books and then find others with the same interests.
- As little as 15 minutes of daily exercise can relieve stress. Or deep breathing, meditation, or massage.
- The odds are always stacked against you so it's far better to seek help with debts from a credit counselor.
Dealing with gambling cravings
Feeling the urge to gamble is normal, but as you build healthier choices and a strong support network, resisting cravings will become easier. When a gambling craving strikes:
Avoid isolation. Call a trusted family member, meet a friend for coffee, or go to a Gamblers Anonymous meeting.
Postpone gambling. Tell yourself that you'll wait 5 minutes, fifteen minutes, or an hour. As you wait, the urge to gamble may pass or become weak enough to resist.
Visualize what will happen if you give in to the urge to gamble. Think about how you'll feel after all your money is gone and you've disappointed yourself and your family again
Distract yourself with another activity, such as going to the gym, watching a movie, or practicing a relaxation exercise for gambling cravings
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