Millions of people with gambling addiction struggle to end their betting and begin repairing their lives every year. Unfortunately, many do not succeed because they don’t know where to find help, or worse, they don’t know they have an addiction that’s diagnosable.
They don’t know there are other people dealing with the same problems everyday.
If you are recovering from a gambling addiction, you’ve gone through the process of choosing to stop gambling and finding ways to keep yourself from beginning again. You know the emotions you feel, such as sadness, anger, frustration, and ultimately, hope. You’ve suffered from the consequences gambling has had on your relationships, finances and more.
You’ve chosen to help yourself – now how can you help others?
Raising Awareness of Problem Gambling
Unlike drug and alcohol addictions, many people don’t realize an addiction to gambling is possible. Many dismiss the actions of a problem gambler as a bad habit or irresponsible behavior. They do not understand the true severity of the disorder.
By raising awareness about the existence of gambling addiction, you can help current problem gamblers find the inspiration and treatment they need to seek recovery. You can also help prevent the consequences of addiction from hurting more people. You can inform others about the risks and warning signs of problem gambling.
How can you do this?
Speak: You might not be ready to talk about your addiction in front of an entire ballroom of conference-goers or a classroom of college students. We realize that. We encourage you to share your experience with the people you’re comfortable. You might tell family and friends about the warning signs of problem gambling, and they’ll identify another individual in their lives with an addiction. Maybe you’ll share your experience with your local community members. They might reconsider how often they promote community events focused on gambling opportunities.
When you speak about your experience, you’re teaching more people that gambling addiction is a serious issue affecting more people than they may realize. You’re raising awareness about the need for more preventative efforts. Finally, you’re exposing more to the need for additional gambling-focused addiction support programs.
Write: There are statistics, opinions and news stories shared every day about gambling addiction, but the stories of real people are the most important. People need to see others just like them to understand they’re not alone.
You can share your story, anonymously or not, with many organizations such as KnowTheOdds. You can comment on news articles, and you can spread problem gambling awareness through your own social media channels.
Act: If someone you know is dealing with an addiction to gambling, reach out to them. Share your story, and share what you’ve learned about the recovery process.
Be mindful of situations that can cause gambling problems. If your local supermarket is unlawfully selling lottery tickets to underage individuals, alert the authorities. Think about people you know might be unintentionally enabling an addiction of a family member or friend. Educate them on how to appropriately adjust their actions to be more supportive of the addiction recovery.
Directing People to the Support They Need
As mentioned before, one of the most important things you can do, as someone who has dealt with problem gambling, is help others find the support they need. Use your experience to help guide others to finding their own recovery path.
Remember that you can reference the Gambling Support Directory, a list of many gambling support and treatment centers available in New York State. And as always, you can encourage people to contact the NYS HOPEline at 1-877-8-HOPENY for counseling and assistance.
Your gambling addiction may have had negative consequences on you, but you can help prevent the consequences of many others.