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Preventing relapse

When attempting to cut down on or quit gambling, gamblers may find that certain situations or feelings make it difficult for them to stick to their goal.

Each gambler has his or her own triggers, which may occur in isolation or in combination, causing them to forget their decision to quit.

It is important to identify your personal triggers so you can learn the best way to cope with them and avoid a relapse. The following tips can help:

Learn to manage positive and negative emotions

  • When you experience negative emotions such as frustration, sadness, irritability, loneliness, or anger, you may want to gamble because you think it will make you feel better. 
  • Conversely, you may want to gamble to “celebrate” a special occasion or happy event, or simply because you feel particularly good.
  • Sometimes something good may happen that you did not expect—perhaps you have come into some money or had good news at work. This may make you feel particularly “lucky” or like you are sure to win.

Avoid gambling opportunities

If there is a gambling venue nearby or friends are getting together for a poker party, it might be hard for you to resist.

Change your habits

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

Be realistic
You may think you can handle a gambling situation, even though similar situations have caused you problems in the past.

Resist the urge to win it back
For example, if you cannot pay your bills, you may be tempted to win back the money you have lost.

Resist social pressure
If your friends like to gamble, it may be hard to tell them you do not gamble anymore.

Find other pastimes

  • Problems with work, finances, or relationships may make you feel like gambling would be a nice escape.
  • If you get bored, you may also be tempted to go gambling again for a little excitement.

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