From our knowledge of gambling addiction’s triggers, we know that some people choose to gamble to fill time when they’re bored. Others gamble to avoid problems and frustration. Other problem gamblers choose to gamble as a method of relaxation or a way to celebrate good news.
For a problem gambler in recovery, it is very important to identify other activities that can be done instead of gambling. Below, we look at a few healthy options for individuals looking to avoid gambling.
Boredom & Gambling Addiction Recovery
Many people start gambling to fill up free time they have. Gambling might sound like a good way to pass 30 minutes or an hour, but for people at-risk for problem gambling, this can turn into a serious issue. For recovering problem gamblers, free time and boredom can make them more likely to consider gambling again.
How can you avoid gambling when you have free time or feel bored?
- Consider creative hobbies you can do instead. Maybe you’ve always wanted to start painting or gardening. Maybe you’ve had a project you’ve wanted to finish in your garage or basement for many years. Find a way to devote your energy to something productive that will result in a creative piece you can share with family members or friends.
- Consider fitness activities that require your time frequently. Join a local softball team or running club. Even if you’re not very fit now, you can begin training for small community runs or walks, such as charity 5ks.
- Study. Learn a skill you’ve always wanted to master or study a topic you’ve wanted to understand better. You don’t have to go back to school – see what books you can check out from your local library to educate yourself.
Relaxation, Frustration & Gambling Addiction Recovery
It’s well known that many people gamble to escape frustrating problems at home and at work. By playing repetitive games for long periods of time, people are able to block out thoughts of issues that require their attention and consideration.
Trying to escape and ignore problems often creates even bigger problems. We must be prepared to handle issues that come our way, even when frustration, disappointment or stress threaten to make our days very difficult.
How can you keep frustration or stress from making you want to escape? What relaxation techniques can make you better prepared to handle stress?
- Write. Start a journal that allows you to jot down your fears, your stresses and your problems. Your journal can also allow you to reflect on good days, progress in your gambling addiction recovery, and memories you want to keep a record of. A few minutes of writing every day is therapeutic for many people.
- Meditate. Whether you meditate at home alone or join a class in your community that teaches relaxation techniques (such as a beginner’s yoga class), learn how to clear your mind and use breathing techniques to relax your body and refresh yourself.
- Walk. Fitness activities aren’t just great ways to pass time – low-impact exercises such as walking can help you relax, as well. Get outside and enjoy fresh air. Deep breathes and a short walk around the block can release tension. Physical activity during the day can also help you sleep better at night.
Celebration & Gambling Addiction Recovery
People gambling to do more than escape problems – some are gambling on good days, as well. Many people choose to go to casinos, buy lottery tickets or do other gambling activities when they’re in a good mood and looking to continue enjoying their day. Unfortunately, people at-risk for problem gambling and people in recovery can’t gamble as a method of celebration or as a way to spend the day with family members and friends.
What are some positive activities that can be done, instead?
- Enjoy a trip to a local recreational venue. You might not go to a casino or bar – but what about a family-friendly park or zoo?
- Volunteer. Find a local organization you can encourage your family members or friends to support with you, and enjoy that time spent with loved ones and strangers while supporting the community.
- Explore. Where can you hike on a sunny afternoon? Where’s the best place in the city to see the stars at night? Get to know the region you live in better.
Surround yourself with people supportive of your recovery. These people will understand when you can’t go to the casino, won’t bet in an office pool or don’t want to go to the sports bar to watch the game. These people will be able identify many, many ways to spend days and nights without putting your problem gambling recovery in jeopardy.
Are you a recovering problem gambler or professional who works with gambling addiction? What activities do you recommend?