You’ve made the decision to quit gambling and seek recovery for your gambling addiction. It’s an exciting time! You will feel many emotions. On many days, you’ll feel happy and you’ll be hopeful. On other days, you may feel stressed due to a desire to gamble, or frustrated because your recovery isn’t going as easily as you’d like it to be.
Among all of these emotions, you may struggle with the feeling that your gambling addiction and your actions over the last few months and years are haunting you. Debt collectors may be calling you, while old friends may not be contacting you anymore. You may be suffering from the loss of your money and your inability to get a new job within an economy that is already tough for finding employment.
How can you deal with your gambling past haunting you?
Gambling Addiction and Personal Relationships
You may have lied, or simply kept secrets, from many people close to you in order to continue gambling. You might have put the finances of your entire family at risk, or disrupted the plans and savings of others. On your road to recovery, there might have been arguments that drove you apart.
Are the consequences of your gambling addiction haunting relationships with family and friends today?
How could you begin to reconnect with these people? Think about how you could reach out to these members of your life to reestablish relationships you lost due to your addiction. It may take many months – and even years – to reconnect, and you may not be able to regain the same level of trust. Luckily, the experiences of many people make us understand it is possible to repair relationships. You can hear a few of these stories in The Faces of Problem Gambling.
What’s important is that you open up to these individuals and you make the attempt to reconnect. You may feel less haunted if you have a conversation with them, whether or not the relationship gets better afterward. Make sure you know how to educate people about gambling addiction, and be prepared to deal with the reactions you may get when you talk about your addiction.
While you were gambling, you may have ignored your professional responsibilities and lost the trust of your employers. You may have even lost your job.
What should you do if your gambling addiction is haunting your career?
First, you should recognize that your addiction does not define you. While it may have had an impact on your previous work, it does not dictate what your work ethic will be moving forward. Your addiction is not something to be listed on any resume, and it does not need to follow you into future job interviews. Think about what skills you have, and think about the kinds of work you think you’d be most prepared to do well.
You may not land the “perfect” job. If you’ve been fired from your most recent position, you may not be able to get one of equal level or salary right away. Know that recovery is a rebuilding process. While it may seem you need to start at the beginning again, you can leave many consequences of your addiction behind in the years to come.
Gambling Addiction & Financial Consequences
If you are having trouble with your finances after you’ve begun your gambling addiction recovery, you are not alone. Luckily, there are many counselors prepared to discuss how to repair the financial situation of you and your family members. As access to money is a cause of gambling for many people, it is likely you may not have complete control of the finances anymore. You will still play an active role in helping determine new budgets and new strategies for saving and repaying debts.
With proper guidance and strategy, your debts don’t have to haunt you forever, and you will be able to provide for yourself and your family once more.
How Do I Stay Motivated When I Feel Haunted?
Your motivation to recover may be limited at times when you are feeling frustrated or stressed. You may want to gamble to escape thinking about your financial situation, poor relationships or other issues.
But you have to stay motivated. How?
Make sure you’ve found the gambling treatment opportunity that helps your recovery stay on track. Whether it’s one-on-one meetings with counselors or weekly group meetings with fellow recovering problem gamblers, the conversations during these meetings will provide you with the emotional support and advice you need to stay gambling-free. You can find more about finding support and staying motivated in our e-book “Staying Safe After Problem Gambling.”
Do you have questions about your problem gambling recovery or need additional help? The NYS HOPEline is available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Call 1-877-8-HOPENY.