A gambling urge is a very strong impulse or desire to do something in the spore of the moment. These urges are difficult to spot, and you may not notice them until you completely withdraw from gambling. You still get a flash of it after you’ve stopped gambling. But what if you can change the narrative?
Notice these signs, and you’ll be able to suppress, control, and increase your chances of completely staying off of it. A gambling urge is an unpleasant one, and it’s usually noticeable when at that moment, you can’t gamble due to lack of funds, or you are not close to a casino or even your smartphone for an online casino game.
There are three different ways to describe gambling urges, and they include:
- An Adrenaline Rush / Sometime, the adrenaline rush.
With gambling urge comes a temporary feeling to satisfy it – by doing so, you get ‘temporary relief.’ However, a temporary relief won’t stop the urge from coming back. Temporary satisfaction is not the best way to go when dealing with an urge. Problem gamblers recount that the urge is overwhelming and feels uncontrollable, but it is possible to control and beat it.
One strategy you should avoid is the ‘white knuckle’ approach. Rather than help you, it leaves you drained, no thanks to a vicious cycle that you have to maintain. But you don’t have to push the urges away with an ineffective white knuckle. Remember, urges are like waves, and they start, build up, break up, and finally disperse. The point is, during the build-up of these waves, you want to be able to stay in your frame till it rides off.
When next you are experiencing an urge, wait for a few seconds, could be minutes. Take time to understand what is going on in your body. Imagine that the sensations associated with these gambling urge that is feeling overwhelming. Now, imagine that these sensations associated with gambling are a wave. You can try the breathing technique to ride these waves until things are calm.
The urge may grow at first, but it will eventually fade off. One thing you must understand is that gambling urges are natural occurrences, and it’s just your brain telling you to go back to ‘how things were.’ After the raging wave, it will subside in no time.
But what if you are shown an effective way to go? Let’s show you.
Prevent surges from occurring.
- Go to gamblers anonymous meetings frequently. Even if you can’t attend all the group meetings, make sure you attend once a week. This is not the best time to postpone or sit at home, doing nothing.
- Volunteer – get more involved in different Gamblers Anonymous Program. You don’t have to complicate things here, being a trusted servant is good enough.
- Reach out to other GA members on a regular basis.
- Study and digest all Gamblers Anonymous Combo book. Many GA members have insinuated that everything they need is staying away from a bet. A bit of what you need can be found in the little book.
- Ask another Gamblers Anonymous members to sponsor you.
- Read and Live the Gamblers Anonymous Steps, and you’ll be on your way to recovery. That’s not all you need, but t’s a good place to start.
- There are certain triggers you need to avoid. Such triggers include casinos, logging in to your online casino dashboard just to surf through it – this is a bad idea. You want to avoid trips that are close to gambling establishments. If you want to shop for things, go to supermarkets or stores that don’t have gambling platforms, and gambling is generally out of sight.
- Avoid looking at things that will remind you of your gambling days. For instance, the stock market section of newspapers, reading racing programs or accessing lottery tickets. Reading ads or seeing them on TV is not advisable too.
- Stay away from people who gamble. At this point, you want to tone down your associations with people who gamble. If this also includes family members, you should step back too.
- Avoid gambling topics. Now is not the right time to get caught up on gambling-related discussions.
- Carry a budgeted amount of cash with you. This should be the money you’ll need for the whole day. If possible, have your paycheck directly deposited or put a trusted associate, family member, or friends in a change of our funds. But, be careful not to overly trust your live savings in someone’s hand. You should always have them give you verified updates on your account dealings. That’s why we say addiction is a bad thing; either way, you don’t want to mess up your funds.
- Change your mindset. Wanting to change your gambling habit is different from you telling yourself that you have to stop. If you have to do it, then you probably won’t at all. So, give yourself a reason why you need to stop gambling for good.
What to do when the urge comes.
- You need to acknowledge the urge. Don’t try to psychologically block it out by trying to ignore it. Accept it, but don’t give in to it.
- When the wave rises, and the urge to pick up your phone and place a bet hits you hard, again, acknowledge it and do something else. This is when a postponement is a great tool.
- The thoughts that enter your mind are like slides. You have the ability to change what your mind is showing you at that moment.
- Regardless of the way you feel, how uninspired you are, go to a gambler’s meeting.
- Why not leave the ‘you’ and reach out to someone else? Helping someone who’s struggling with addiction just like you will give you a different perspective on things. A perspective that you’ll appreciate.
- Deal with it, DAILY. Recovery from all types of addiction is like placing a brick on another one. To build a wall that will help you fight the addiction, you need to live in the moment.