If you want a life that is not dominated by gambling, consider the advice below.
Limit your funds
Making sure you don’t have access to money at times when you are tempted to gamble is an effective way you can put the brakes on your own behaviour. When you decide to gamble, leave your ATM and credit cards at home and only take with you an amount of cash that you can afford to lose. Never ‘chase your losses’, or try to win back money you’ve already lost. This is the way that gamblers most often end up in serious trouble. Once you’ve lost, or won, walk away. You can also consider asking your bank to lower the daily withdrawal limit on your ATM card.
A financial counsellor can offer you many practical tips on controlling your money more effectively. For a list of free financial counsellors who specialise in gambling issues, visit our Financial counselling page.
Get a helperMaking positive changes can be difficult when you first start. Having someone there to cheer you on can be a big source of strength and encouragement. Pick someone in your life who you trust and talk to them honestly about your gambling and the fact that you would like to get more control of that aspect of your life. Just taking that step can feel like a massive relief and a good start to your recovery. Ask them if you can ‘check in’ with them once a week, or as often as you need to, to talk over the steps you’re taking to change your life. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to someone you know, call Gambling Help on 1800 858 858, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The counsellor at the other end of the line will understand exactly what you’re going through.
Many people also find Gamblers Anonymous (GA) very helpful. If you like, they can pair you up with a sponsor who has been through the same experiences as you. There is also Gam-Anon which provides peer support for friends and family of problem gamblers. Meetings are in most communities on a regular basis and are held in the strictest of confidence. You can find out more here:
Keep a gambling diary
Our free workbook includes a Gambling Diary. By writing down the stresses that trigger you to gamble, your emotions at the time and your patterns of gambling, you can come to understand a lot about what is behind your gambling and how to fix things. You can download the workbook here. You can also download our handy wallet card to keep as a reminder of your commitment to stop gambling.