Recovery Is Possible Posted On

Recovery can be an amazing experience for the person struggling with problem gambling, and loved ones affected by their gambling. Recovery can spark great things.  It can spark stronger connections with family, discovery (or rediscovery) of interests and new and exciting purposes in life!

Can People Recover from Problem Gambling?

Absolutely!  Recovery from problem gambling is not only possible, there are millions of Americans living wonderful lives, joyfully in recovery from problem gambling.  Any life change is difficult at first, but the recovery process can be an exciting journey for all involved!

Defining Recovery

Recovery from addiction means different things to different people.  The general consensus is that recovery is finding hope in a life.  This is done by understanding one’s abilities and disabilities and choosing an active life with a sense of purposeful self-improvement.  Recovery is the choice to avoid a relapse.

Relapse is a term for the moment someone in recovery makes the choice to indulge in their addictive behaviors and finds themselves uncontrollably addicted to that behavior again.   Recovery is an ongoing journey of growth that does not happen overnight, but instead with support, time and mindful choices. 

Recovery from Problem Gambling

Generally, recovery from problem gambling means living a gambling-free life, understanding that a single bet could be the onset of a relapse of problem gambling.  Those seeking recovery from problem gambling work diligently to create a new world for themselves.  One way they may do this is by understanding their gambling triggers. 

Gambling triggers are anything that a person encounters that brings about their urge to gamble.  Gambling triggers can be anything from people, places or items they own. To find success in recovery, people may choose to engage in new friendships with circles of people who are not gambling focused.  They may need to avoid certain regular locations to avoid gambling triggers.  People in recovery may also need to rid themselves of items that can act as a trigger for gambling.

Recovery Can Be Wonderful

A person struggling with problem gambling is constantly preoccupied with thoughts about gambling.  They have trouble focusing at work, on their spouse and children, and sleeping at night.  All because they are constantly overwhelmed with the thought and need to gamble. 

Now imagine that person focused on their family.  Focused on spending time playing games together, going on dates with their spouse and helping their children with homework.  Imagine that person focused at work, developing relationships and pursuing excellence at their job.  Imagine this person lying in bed at night reviewing their day, thinking about all the abundance of their life and joyfully drifting into a relaxing sleep. This is what recovery from problem gambling can look like.  

“… But gambling is taking over everything!  How do I get to this time of joy in recovery?”

Entering Into Recovery

Choosing a path of recovery can be overwhelming at first.  This feeling is completely normal, and there is a growing community of people in recovery and those supporting recovery available for help.  Below are some resources for those entering into, or continuing, recovery from problem gambling.

Learning all you can about recovery from problem gambling is a great.  Resources like Staying Safe After Problem Gambling can help for a basic understanding of what to expect and some tips to help.  You can also read stories of New Yorkers who have struggled with gambling in The Faces of Problem Gambling.  The more you learn about problem gambling and recovery from it, the smoother the recovery journey will be.

Self-help fellowship groups available for anyone looking for support.  People struggling with problem gambling can seek out a meeting with Gamblers Anonymous, and loved ones affected by someone’s gambling can find support in a Gam-Anon meeting.  Either way, many people have found these meetings, and support from those in them, to be vital to their recovery journey.

Treatment is available and there are trained clinicians waiting to help.  For those living in New York State, there are regional Problem Gambling Resource Centers (PGRCs) available to offer resources, education, and connection to local treatment providers wo specialize in the treatment of problem gambling.  To learn more about what your local PGRC can do for you, visit