When you acknowledge a gambling addiction, you take the first major step forward in your recovery. Admitting a problem that you are ready and willing to address must occur before any sort of self-help, counseling or group therapy can begin to make you stop your problem gambling and repair the damages done by your betting.
But while you might be willing to talk about your addiction, the people around you may have a hard time understanding it.
They may ask:
- How did your addiction start?
- How do you plan on staying away from gambling?
- How can I trust that you really are going to stop?
- How can I trust you with money and other responsibilities?
Along with their questions may come very emotional reactions. People might feel they have been lied to, hurt or otherwise impacted by your addiction. They may believe that they had some part in causing your problem gambling or can be blamed for not seeing the signs or consequences of your gambling sooner.
These reactions can be hard to deal with, but focusing on healthy conversations that lead to constructive efforts to repair your relationships is necessary.
Talking About Your Problem Gambling with Family & Friends
Your family members and friends may feel extremely sad and angry. It’s important for you to tell them that you understand their feelings. Tell them it is ok to express themselves and that you want to work to repair any damage to your relationship caused by the addiction.
Remind them that your addiction is a disorder, and that your gambling cannot be labeled as just irresponsible betting and bad decisions. Tell them how you are seeking help and how you intend to proceed with your recovery.
Most importantly, let them know that you want them to be a part of your recovery, and that you need their support. While you might have shut them out previously as your gambling addiction controlled your life, you need them now. Tell them what your gambling triggers are so they do not enable your addiction. Ask them not to gamble in front of you, and encourage them to join you in new activities.
Talking About Your Addiction with Coworkers
Opportunities to gamble in the workplace are quite common. There may be tournament brackets to fill out, winners of big games to choose, or even bets on the sex and weight of a pregnant employee’s baby. As you recover from your gambling addiction, you must abstain from such activities, as participating could trigger further gambling.
But how do you talk to your coworkers about your gambling? Your addiction may raise many concerns, such as:
- Can you be trusted with company finances?
- Are you committed to the company and your long-term success there?
- Had gambling interfered with your work?
- Did your gambling make you take sick days or limit your productivity?
- How can your managers be confident you are remaining gambling-free?
These concerns are not unexpected. Be open about your work ethic, your commitment to your responsibilities and your desire to succeed in your job. Speaking honestly with your coworkers might lead you to find a support group you didn’t know you had.
Dealing with Stress from Reactions to Your Gambling
Reactions to your gambling may be negative and cause you stress. If you have previously used gambling to distract yourself from stressful situations, you must now find new ways to handle these overwhelming times. Speak with your counselor or other problem gamblers to learn new coping skills that will keep you safe from gambling.
If reactions to your gambling problem become overwhelming, reach out for help. Counselors are available 24/7 to keep you on the recovery track.