Preventing a relapse

As gamblers try to cut back on or quit gambling, certain situations or feelings may make it hard for them to stay focused on their goal.

Each gambler has unique triggers, which may occur in isolation or in combination. These triggers may cause the gambler to forget his or her decision to quit.

It is necessary to identify your personal triggers so you can learn to manage them and avoid a relapse. The following tips can help:

Learn to control positive and negative emotions

  • You may feel the need to gamble when you experience negative emotions such as frustration, irritability, anger, sadness, or loneliness because you think it will make you feel better.
  • On the other hand, you may want to gamble on special occasions as a way of celebrating a happy event.
  • You may feel especially “lucky” if something good unexpectedly happens, such as coming into money or receiving good news at work. This may lead you to gamble because you feel like you are sure to win.

Avoid gambling opportunities

If your friends are getting together for a poker party or if you are near a gambling venue, it may be difficult for you to resist.

Change your habits

For example, it may be hard to break your gambling habit if you always gamble on your way home from work. This also applies if you always gamble when you are alone, on a certain day of the week, or with a particular group of friends.

Be realistic

You may believe you can handle a gambling situation, even if similar situations have been a problem for you previously.

Resist the urge to win it back

For example, if you are struggling to pay your bills, you may be tempted to try to win back money you lost in the past.

Resist social pressure

If your friends enjoy gambling, it may be hard to tell them you have quit gambling.

Find other pastimes

  • You may feel like gambling would be a nice escape if you are facing problems with relationships, work, or finances.
  • If you are bored, you may think gambling will provide you with some excitement.