Looking at gambling as an addiction

Let us pretend for a moment that you are the commander in a nuclear missile silo. You are in charge of a bomb. If you think about it, this is exactly the kind of control that you want over your life. You want to be in control of your thinking, feeling, and behavior. You want to be in control all of the time, not just some of the time. With gambling, just like using a drug, at the time, you feel in control. Worries slip away. Even time seems to be under your control. You’re convinced you have the power to make your life, your attitude and your circumstances better. You feel it in your bones even. This is the high that keeps gamblers gambling. Nothing else matters when you’re in it. Consequences slip into a distant future possibility. You forget the past. You feel as if the present moment is yours.  Problem is, it is all fallacy. It’s all bullshit. Gamblers and addicts loose. They need more and more and end up with less and less. So do those around them. Just like the commander in a nuclear missile silo, If you do something by accident or if you do something foolishly, then you might hurt or destroy many people. That is what gambling as an addiction tends to do in the end. At least 99.9% of the time!

What is the first thing a compulsive gambler ought to do in order to stop gambling? The compulsive gambler needs to accept the fact that he or she is in the grip of a progressive illness and has a desire to get well. (GA, 1989 a, p. 8) Now, this is much, much harder than one might think at first. Defence mechanisms of denial are strongly at play through the hell of gambling as an addiction. 

To accept the chaos we know comes with gambling is what we call accepting powerlessness and unmanageability. A gambler must look at the truth. People who are powerless over gambling do things that are harmful to themselves and others. They do most anything to stay in action—to keep gambling. Gamblers do not consider the consequences of their behavior, and they keep gambling until they are on the verge of death. Gamblers are in action when they plan a bet, make a bet, or wait for a bet to come in. Once the bet is in, they are out of action. Being in action is a primary goal of compulsive gamblers. By staying in action, gamblers feel how they want to feel. They escape reality. They live in a fantasy world of their own creation. Some gamblers gamble for the thrill and some to escape. Others to hope that their circumstances change. 

 gambling as an addiction

Some common lies gambling as an addiction breed:

“I can quit anytime I want to.”

“I only gamble a little.”

“The police are out to get me.”

“I only gamble when I want to.”

“Everybody does it.”

“I gamble, but I do not have a problem.”

“Anybody can have financial problems.”

“My friends will not like me if I do not gamble.”

“I never have problems when I gamble.”

“I can pay the money back later.”

“From now on, I would just gamble a little.”

“When I win, I am going to buy a present for my family.”

Gambling as an addiction ensures those lost unto its control continue to lie to themselves to the very, bitter end. They hold on to their delusional thinking, and they believe that their lies are the truth. They deliberately lie to those close to them. They hide their gambling. They make their problems seem smaller than they actually are. They make excuses for why they are gambling. They refuse to see the truth. 

Gambling as an addiction that causes certain chaos

Imagine that you are the manager of a large corporation. You are responsible for how everything runs. If you are not a good manager, then the business will fail. You must carefully plan everything and carry out those plans well. You must be alert. You must know exactly where you are and where you are going. These are the skills that you need to manage your life effectively. Gamblers are not good managers. They keep losing control. Their plans fall through. They cannot devise and stick to things long enough to see a solution. They are lying to themselves, so they do not know who they are. Through gambling as an addiction they feel confused. Their feelings are being changed by gambling, so they cannot use their feelings to give them energy and direction for problem solving.

You do not have to be a bad manager all of the time. It is worse to be a bad manager some of the time. It is very confusing. Most gamblers have flurries of productive activity during which they work too much. They work themselves to the bone, and then they let things slide. It is like being on a roller coaster. Sometimes things are in control, and sometimes things are out of control. Things are up and down, and gamblers never can predict which way things are going to be tomorrow.

People’s lives are unmanageable when they have plans fall apart because they are gambling. It is that simple to say, yet very hard to understand for the gambler, especially when they are in it. When they are in the throes of the drama, chaos and all the thrills of the highs and lows that go with it. For more help with Gambling as an addiction contact Pathways Plett Rehab. We are here to help 0824424779, info@pathwaysplettrehab.co.za