How to Prevent Relapse
1. Recognise Personal Warning Signs that may trigger the URGE to gamble.
Do a Risk Assessment ~ warning signs and degrees of risk. See Work sheet 2 below. Become familiar with your habits (cycles and patterns), beliefs, attitudes, and emotions.
Important warning signs
Anger or resentment. Resenting what is not going your way.
Listening to your inner critic (fear of being responsible for failure and/or success).
Depression, anxiety and other uncomfortable feelings/emotions.
Boredom or loneliness (nothing pressing to do).
Possession of money. Money in pocket or at hand (not wanting to be responsible for it).
Promised money. Money about to be in hand (not wanting to be responsible for it).
Excess drinking or drugs throws caution to the wind (not considering the consequences)
Creating indifference (to argue, fight, etc) in the planned hope of creating reasons for leaving hostile environment (eg. leaving the family to itself) and to have self-imposed justifications to seek rewards through gambling.
H.A.L.T. Don't get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired.
2. Consider the Likely Consequences of gambling if you relapsed.
Go over your List of Negative Consequences of uncontrolled gambling (personal and other). Consider your personal history of gambling consequences. Become aware that you too can re-live these consequences if you choose to relapse into problematic gambling.
3. Other Considerations
Delay impulsiveness, and gratification. Delaying the time between the idea and the action can change the outcome.
Create enough time to seriously check yourself for hidden motives contrary to recovery.
Think about something other than gambling. If you think long enough about relapsing - you will. Remember: "I become what I think" - so think about recovery.
Look at past record of behaviours, attitudes, etc.
Plan your day, and have a back-up plan in case your first plan falls through. Keep a small diary - carry it with you wherever you go.
Be sure that you use your Support Network - Family and friends, GA, counsellors, and other supportive people.
Be aware of your ‘self'. Be aware of the rebel in you, the resenter, and the inner critic.
Be aware of both your true and false perception of yourself. They can be different to how you experience yourself.
Learn what you are actually like. Listen to what others observe about you - see how it can contradict how you see yourself. Look at reality, be more open-minded to who you are. The 4th and 5th steps of GA 12 step program helps you to look at the real you.
4. Daily Plan Of Recovery
Why Have A Daily Plan?
A daily plan helps you to create change in your life. You need to change your old ways so not to repeat the same old results.
A plan helps you to program your own recovery - to the person you want to be.
A daily plan helps you to keep within the day, today. Especially if your day is constructive.
It helps you to go a day at a time. Goals are reached a day at a time. Sometimes it takes a while for new ways or habits to become natural in a person.
A daily plan is a "relapse prevention technique" in use.
To learn how to create routine and structure in your life.
To learn how to create healthy goal setting.
It keeps you specific and focused.
To create positive habits.
To help you form the notion of "What would this person do under the circumstances?"- a way of being more responsible.
To change learnt self-defeating behaviours. To learn how to overcome boredom, depression, procrastination, and other self-defeating behaviours.
To learn how to complete tasks and create positive reinforcement (self-esteem).
To learn how to accept accomplishments and to reward yourself.
To learn how to generate an attitude of gratitude at the end of the day. Always be grateful for lessons learnt for today and for the future.
Two Most Important Requirements
1. Remain a non-gambler.
2. Change (if nothing changes, then nothing changes)
Work on defects of character - self-defeating attitudes and behaviours.
Work on improving your coping skills - to cope with life without having to cope through gambling.
Put the Gamblers Anonymous 12 step program into practice.
Keep it simple.
5. Monitoring Your Progress
Working it Out
Both financial and emotional matters are very important focus points in recovery from problem gambling. They are easy to monitor. For financial matters, simply monitor your money plan and repayment plan. See Financial Strategies. For emotional matters, keep a personal journal of your feelings and how you managed them.
The Simple Secret to Keeping a Diary: carry the diary, and pen, with you where ever you go. This allows you to have immediate access to your diary whenever you need to. And because the diary is always with you, you will be compelled to put it to use. To keep a diary, simply keep it with you.
Self Monitoring (assessing your coping strategies)
What ways in the past have I successfully used it to cope with high-risk situations?
What new ways of coping can I use, or have I used, in similar risky situations?
Talk to others about to what they would do in similar high-risk situations.
Keep a Journal of how you are coping, and ask yourself these questions:
1. How did you cope with the situation?
2. What things didn't work for you?
3. What could be done differently, and how?
4. What plan do I have for next time?
5. Did your new coping strategy work? If not, go back to point (2.)
6. What did you do that worked?
7. How are you going to reward yourself?