What if I crave gambling?

If the experience of other former gamblers is anything to go by, you may crave gambling. Cravings are common. Each time you resist a craving you are strengthening yourself, and cravings will become 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, replace the rush.
  • 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.

What if I lapse?

If you do lapse, it won't be a good feeling. Your head will be telling you this is a problem and you might as well just go back to your gambling. This is not true, however bad it might feel. You can stick to your choice to have a better future, whether you don't lapse or whether you do.

  • Don’t beat yourself up – don’t let one bad day determine who you are.
  • Remember why you have stopped gambling. It is in order to complete this course and beat it.
  • Remember you have hope – gambling has had a powerful hold on you, but you do not need to gamble any more.
  • Accept that you have had a lapse, and then move on.