What's So Good About Recovery?
You can become the person you want to be - a person who has no problems with gambling.
A person in recovery is a person who experiments with change to effect personal growth and maturity. Life becomes more meaningful and optimistic.
When you stop gambling, you'll have more time on your hands to pursue some other enjoyable interests. New opportunities and experiences await the person who is prepared to risk change.
A recovering problem gambler will become free from gambling debts, and start to effect financial stabilisation or growth.
First you'll hate recovery, then you'll get used to it, then as time goes by you'll get to enjoy it, and even be dependent on it. The more completely you change (forming new habits), the more the personality changes. - John Watson (1920).
When Am I Ready to Change?
Basically, it is when you really want to change. Not for somebody else, or for some other reason, but for yourself.
When you know that when it comes to gambling, you cannot trust your own thinking - because it is your thinking that always gets you back to gambling.
When you are sick and tired, of being sick and tired. When you've had enough of losing control over gambling, and all the negative consequences involved.
About Hitting Rock Bottom
There is no such thing as a rock bottom because there is always the possibility of a relapse, and to go even further down the gambling spiral. To test this for yourself, imagine what possible rock bottom scenarios you have not experienced YET^?.
^ The word "yet" implies a future time - eventually. It is yet to happen, if you continue to do the things you do to gamble.
1. "I'm not that bad YET!" Meaning: ‘Personal history tells me, that if I don't change, I too will become that bad'.
2. "I haven't done those things YET". Meaning: ‘Personal history tells me, that if I don't change, I too will do those things'.
(YETs) is a type of thinking that stems from the ‘wanting' to gamble. It is looking for differences between yourself and other than yourself - a comparison. You are trying to prove differently, to be an exception to the rule - a non-problem gambler.
YET = You're Eligible Too if you choose to relapse.
Why do I Resist Change?
Not accepting the problem
People resist the idea that their past assumption of pure victimhood was false and self-serving. Gambling, in itself, is not the problem. The problem is with the gambler who gambles out of control. It is a personal problem - not somebody else's problem. There is only one reason why a person would want to gamble - because they want to.
Not accepting losses
Personal history tells you that gambling is not the way to overcome your losses. It is not good sense to try and overcome your gambling losses by the very method that created the loss in the first place - gambling.
Abusive gambling desensitises the value of money in a person. Some gamblers see money as something that is out of their control (fate) - as something that freely comes and goes, or money won is free money: "I got it for nothing". To accept your losses is to accept the true value of them. Some recovering gamblers resist the idea that money has more value/meaning than previously realised. They would rather win back their losses than have to work for it.
Problem gamblers are great resenters, they use resentment as an obstacle to change. Older the resentment, harder to change - but not impossible for even the most stubborn gambler. Here are some common gambling resentments:
failing to gamble within limits - and having to gamble within limits.
losing and/or getting into debt.
feeling like a loser - a hopeless gambler.
‘that gambling deludes me, because I am unable to beat the odds'.
‘that others don't understand my problem (because I don't understand it myself)'.
Problem gambling becomes a part of a person's identity - a part that needs to be changed to be other than a problem gambler. To give up a whole philosophy of life (based around gambling) is never easy, especially if it entails the realisation that years of one's life have been wasted. But why waste more years by not taking the option to change.
Previous attempts to control your gambling had not been to your satisfaction - adding to any feelings of being a loser. Future notions of attempting to control your gambling may become blocked with memories of past failures and criticisms - generated by your Inner Critic.
The inner critic is the inner voice that criticises your worth. It compares yourself with something else. Its aim is to generate a difference. The inner critic could generate enough difference to make things seem, as if, so extreme and impossible to bridge.
With enough imagination, a person can end up believing that to change is not meant for them, saying: "What's the use? I'm only going to fail".
The key to a healthy Inner Critic is to stay positive and realistic.