Why do you gamble? Most people do it to get ahead financially. I am here to remind you that it will not work for you. Key Point #1 If you slip back into gambling keep precise written records of time spent, wins and losses. The fact is (95-99% of people lose) and the tiny percentage of people who win usually average under minimum wage over the course of the year. But of course you are going to hit the jackpot.
But, almost no one really understands their odds of hitting the jackpot. Yeah you are only one in 44 million to win but wouldn’t it be great if you did? To understand what those odds mean is, imagine you are in a high school football stadium with 1000 people. They are going to drop a Nerf ball and whoever catches it gets 30 million dollars. How many football stadiums do they need to fly over to make the odds 1 in 44 million? The answer is 44,000 stadiums all jammed with people.
That’s also the odds (one in 44 million) of an ugly guy like me meeting their favorite movie star out of the blue and finding out that they are so excited about meeting me that they drop everything and want to start a relationship. Okay I apologize; I really didn’t mean to crush two of your favorite fantasies in one sitting. She really is going to like you when you meet her.
The second reason many gamble is for fun. Most of us like to take a moderate amount of money we can afford to lose and have a fun night at the casino. The question is, once we go over the line of moderation can we increase our pleasure. The answer is you never can increase your pleasure with out of control gambling because even if you win, all you are doing is what I call “selling our pleasure back words”. When you win you get extreme pleasure because you beat the system. However when you lose it all a week later, plus some money you needed to buy necessities, you crash and have extreme pain with the situation you are now in.
What happened is you gambled with money you could not afford to lose and won on Friday. This brought you increased pleasure. But when you lose it all the next Friday you have destruction and pain. A person who does not gamble has less pleasure then you on Friday #1. But then they have much more pleasure than you on Friday #2 because you got wiped out. They also do not get the destruction and pain you get on Friday #2 when you go broke. Please see my article Pleasure + Addiction = Pain for more information on how addiction never brings us more pleasure over the course of the month, year, and usually not even over the course of two weeks.
If quitting gambling is hard for you it may help to get a photo of the person/persons you love most in life, on the back write how you feel when you have lost all your money and how your gambling would affect them and your relationship with them. Put it by your computer, or in your wallet when out, when you feel the urge coming have a good look and read what you have written.
Ex gamblers say that they enjoy life more after quitting gambling. But when you tell yourself that you will be happier after quitting gambling be very specific. You will be happier for the month when you are clean but some days will be tough. I think that avoiding a couple of trips to the casino per month is worth it because I can be happy every day now. My new activities and passions give me less pain and more happiness and more money over the course of the whole month than gambling did. After after quitting gambling we are no longer a slave to being driven always by the addiction (which brings the stress with it). We understand that abstinence is healthier in all ways; financially, spiritually, emotionally and relationally.
Gambling ruins your spirituality. Either permanently, or temporarily when you have a big loss. Out of control gambling is sometimes worship. You would have to tell me if you are worshipping greed, excitement, pleasure or something else. But what we do know is that when we are out of control we are not then worshipping God. I recommend you learn new habits about how to worship God who will bring you real joy. Not a manufactured, short term thrill which ends in destruction. You can read about how you can learn to worship God in my article called “addictions real issue.”
One of the biggest keys to quitting gambling is to know (and have organized) what mental exercises you need to do to overcome the addiction. The following are examples of some types of exercises you may want to learn.
1: Form a habit to say to yourself 5 times a day that “my gambling causes me financial destruction. It has in the past and it will in the future.”
2: Have a list of the benefits of quitting gambling. Write down all the benefits then memorize the top 3 and top 6 benefits. This will allow you to say the benefits multiple times each day until you get on more solid footing in your recovery.
3: Pray often each day “Lord keep me from temptation” (This is part of the Lord’s Prayer from the Bible). Pray about why you gamble. Is it for greed? Then pray a lot about that because the Bible says that the greedy will not inherit the kingdom of heaven. Is it for excitement? Then pray about what alternatives you can do to find excitement.
4: Start a journal so that you can include all of the quitting gambling idea’s you find in one place so that you can review them often.
I have over 25 articles about quitting addictions at my website.