The prevalence of gambling & compulsive spending addiction is staggering.
If you are reading this, then you most likely had or currently have problems with gambling and/or compulsive spending addiction. According to addictions.com, over 80% of American adults gamble yearly and over 750,000 young people, ages 14-21 struggle with a gambling addiction. Many times gambling and compulsive spending addiction are linked together.
Ever heard of a shopaholic? Many gamblers and other people struggle with chronic, repetitive purchasing that they feel is almost unbearable to stop. Spending money becomes a way of coping and feeds their addictive behaviors. These people attach emotionally to their purchases as a source for obtaining self-esteem.
Here are 9 tips to aid yourself or someone you know that might be struggling to overcome Gaming & Compulsive Spending Addiction to avoid relapse and maintain prevention:
1. Mirroring – reflect on yourself by admitting you have a problem, verbalize and repent in order to make changes happen. This will help you set the gears in motion for change.
2. Boundaries – set limitations for yourself. This might require you to organize bank accounts that require a co-signature and will not allow access to funds during your urges.
3. Dissect – the compulsive behaviors have deeper layers that must be understood. Identify your triggers, feelings, and cognitions that lead you to gambling and spending money.
4. Coping – everyone has different reaction skills that work for them. Seek out the distractions and self-soothing techniques that fit your unique needs. Distractions can include exercise, engaging in productive hobbies, and socializing. Some useful self-soothing methods include mediation or prayer, progressive muscle relaxation or other types of deep breathing, and even listening to music.
5. Regression – if you gamble or spend too much money one day, do not let the guilt and shame stick to you permanently. Tell yourself “tomorrow is another day” because taking steps toward and one step backward is a normal part of the recovery process.
6. Self-esteem – at some point you have lost your capacity to fight for yourself. When gaining more self-confidence, you will feel more empowered to say “no” to bad habits and “yes” to actions that are healthy. If you are struggling with providing yourself with positive affirmations, then ask others who are close to you for help.
7. Replacements – avoid utilizing other addictions to feed the addictive part of your brain. Many people resort to numbing out with prescription medications, alcohol, and other recreational drugs. Do not be a part of the statistics with people leaving one addiction and resorts to more harmful addictions to feed their adrenaline.
8. Accountability – ask friends and family to make you accountable. This can be harder than it sounds. Often people who struggle with spending money tend to also feel anxiety when asking others for help. Your loved ones care about you and would be thrilled to be a part of your recovery process. Have a least one person per day reach out and ask you about your spending habits or urges to spend.
9. Help – seek out resources in your local area, such as Gambling support groups, schedule financial counseling, or addiction counseling to speak with a mental health professional about your addiction. Local resources near my Carlsbad office:
West Coast Recovery Center (888)453-1894
San Diego Gamblers Anonymous (888)233-8547
It may seem overwhelming to approach all of these tips at one time, therefore focus on one tip or strategy to implement each week or month. Take baby steps and avoid trying to make changes so extreme that it leads you into failure mode. When working on something difficult in our lives, we all need to forgive ourselves when we mess up and we must continue to try again.
If you or loved one is suffering from a gambling or spending compulsive addiction, be sure to share these strategies on how to overcome gambling and shopping addiction.
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