Stick to your decision
You need to set yourself up to succeed. Too many people set themselves up to fail, or the people around them do. They make a decision but then try to stick to it through sheer willpower. Willpower alone is not enough.
You need to make it easy and automatic to stick to your decision. For instance, if you're passing the bookmakers but have no money on you then, although you might be tempted, you won't be able to make a bet.
If you've been gambling in person
- Exclude yourself from all premises. Do this for bookmakers by calling 0800 294 2060. This is a line that has been set up by the gambling industry, to make it easier for you. You can also exclude yourself from casinos here
- When you are out, leave your debit / credit card at home and only take the cash you need. Don't take more money out than you need.
If you've been gambling online
- Change your advert settings on Facebook and Google, or other similar websites you use, so you aren't tempted by gambling adverts
- Get someone to set your account filters to light control on your wi-fi, and ask them to keep the password. This way gambling sites will be blocked, but if you need anything specific unblocked, they can unblock it for you.
- Delete all gambling apps from your phone and tablet
- Use blocking software especially designed for gambling, such as the free option Gamban, or paid options such as Gamblock or Betfilter.
- Ask someone else to keep you accountable by looking through your bank statements with you regularly.
disempower your CRAVINGS
If the experience of other former gamblers is anything to go by, you will crave gambling. This does not mean that things are going wrong, or will go wrong. It is just a sign of how entrenched your habits have become.
Each time you resist a craving you are strengthening yourself, and cravings will become fewer and weaker, in time.
Here are some tried and trusted tips:
- Recognise that you are having one. You may have a more rapid heart beat, a gut instinct, or be fantasising about gambling.
- Instead of gambling, substitute something else for it – go for a run, play a sport, go fishing, whatever you like. Replace the rush you get from gambling with a healthier one.
- Play out the script, think through what would happen when you gamble – as long as it is in your head and not in reality.
- Connect the worst memory you have of gambling with this urge to gamble. Then every time you crave, think of this bad memory.
- Get support – call someone, email, text, or go and visit them. Your friends and family want to help you manage yourself and to recover from this addiction.
If you do succumb to a craving, then don't beat yourself up. Just start again afresh the next day. As we say below, "don't let one bad day determine who you are".
For more inspiration by the way, look at our memes here. And do feel free to share them on Facebook or Twitter.
What will you do?
Go through the sections above, and put into place steps to protect yourself when your willpower alone isn't enough. Make it automatic and easy for yourself.
Recognise that cravings are normal. They are not a problem, but you just need to deal with them in the right way. If you do lapse, then don't feel that is the end of it - just accept it as a learning experience and start again the next day.
Take care of the little things and you will find that it becomes simple to succeed.