Activities to Replace Gambling Posted On

You’ve decided to stop gambling because you’ve recognized the devastating effects gambling is having on your life.  The only problem is, you’ve been gambling for so long, often as a way to deal with stress and grief, that you may be unsure what activities to do to fill the void in place of gambling.  

Many people who struggle with problem gambling have stated that they use gambling to fill voids of boredom, or to avoid stressful situations in their lives.  Learning to deal with grief, stress and boredom is a skill, and it is something you can improve upon with practice.  Having the skills to deal with different emotions, and a variety of activities to choose from, can help keep you off the path of problem gambling.

There is an endless list of activities to do when dealing with grief, stress, and everyday boredom.  Identifying those activities and starting them is the difficult part of the process.  Once you’ve identified activities that you enjoy, making time to enjoy them more often will hopefully allow you to slowly replace some of the desire to gamble with a desire for these new activities.  

“What activities are there?”   

Activities to engage in:

  • Meet new people:  From book clubs to fitness or crocheting classes, engaging in new activities with new groups of people is a great way to fill the void left while in recovery from problem gambling.  New people will bring new conversations and new friendships, which may lead to other new hobbies or interests.  Hopefully, these new friendships and activities will help keep you in recovery.
  • Volunteer: As you start recovery from problem gambling, you may be humbled by the need for help, but you can still be helpful to others.  Volunteering is a fantastic way to take your mind off of yourself, and think more positively as you begin helping others.
  • Learn a language:  Literally any language will occupy your time while you’re learning, and will improve your brain’s ability to change.  Trying to change habits (like staying in recovery from problem gambling) means trying to change the way you feel, and, therefore, changing the way your brain works.  Plus, you may meet more new people along the way.
  • Creativity: Find creative activities you may enjoy and start doing them.  From drawing to model building, any type of activity that forces you to think outside your own comfort zone, forces you to focus your attention on something other than your addiction.  
  • Nutrition: Start with any recipe and enjoy the process from getting the produce to sitting to eat the final product.  Cooking takes practice, and while you’re cooking, you’ll receive the benefits of smelling all the healthy produce.  Healthy food makes a healthy mind, and a healthy mind produces happier hormones to help you feel better.  
  • Physical activity: There are so many great physical activities to engage in, but the important thing is to have fun. What all physical activities have in common is they release healthy happy hormones, increase healthy circulation of blood to the brain, and build self-esteem.  

These six options are by no means a complete list to get someone struggling with problem gambling on the path to recovery, but they will certainly make the path easier.  Take the time to try new activities, go new places, and experience things you’ve never experienced.  This will help you learn to deal with your stress, grief and boredom in a healthy ways.

Since you’ve made the decision to stop gambling, make sure to reach out for HELP.  There are many different types of help available to someone who has decided to stop gambling.  One way to get help is by calling the HOPEline at 1-877-8-HOPENY.  They’ll help you identify the available options in your region, and help you choose the option that’s right for you.