How to Stop Gambling

How to Stop Gambling by Yourself: Try These Methods!

Gambling is a serious problem that can devastate your financial and emotional well-being. It not only affects the life of the gambler but also has repercussions on their family. So, why does a seemingly harmless practice like gambling sometimes turn into a full-blown addiction? And more importantly, is it possible to stop gambling addiction forever? As a former gambler, I’ve dedicated time to researching how gambling impacts our brains and lives. Thanks to this research, I’ve managed to quit gambling permanently without the need for medical support. Let’s explore how to stop gambling by yourself.

I know many of you have likely attempted to quit gambling multiple times, only to relapse when you have access to money. This approach doesn’t lead to a permanent solution. It’s more like a temporary break resulting from a lack of financial resources. Gambling is like a car that requires fuel to run. If there’s no fuel, the car won’t move. But what if I told you that quitting gambling often begins with intense suffering? It might sound frightening, but it’s a crucial step on the path to recovery.

Why Is Quitting Gambling So Challenging?

Many people try to quit gambling, but unfortunately, most of them fail. The primary reason for this is that they don’t want to confront the mess they’ve created. When they think about their losses, debts, upcoming bills, rents, or bank loan payments, they experience stress. The brain tends to create a smooth pathway towards gambling as a way to alleviate this immense stress. No one intentionally chooses the harder path in life. Those who persevere and take the more challenging route are the ones who eventually find success. In today’s comfortable world, it’s even more tempting to opt for easy, quick fixes.

It’s undeniably exciting to double your money within two minutes at a roulette table or in a split second on a slot machine, all without exerting much effort or dealing with stress. However, this instant gratification has a profound impact on our brain’s reward system and is where addiction begins to complicate matters.

Winning a reward fuels gambling addiction!

As mentioned earlier, achieving success without effort and experiencing pleasure isn’t as innocent as it seems in our brain’s system. Every enjoyable moment in life is associated with the release of rewards that keep us motivated and alive. Eating your favorite meal triggers a release of dopamine, which makes you feel good. Having sex involves a different level of dopamine release. These natural dopamine levels are typically associated with the enjoyment of daily activities.

When we consider harmful addictions like drugs, smoking, alcohol, and gambling, they cause an abnormal surge of dopamine in the brain, resulting in extreme excitement. While this may seem appealing, excessive dopamine disrupts the brain’s reward system and leads to a host of problems. Due to this excessive dopamine, you may no longer find joy in everyday activities such as eating, spending time with family, going to the movies, or meeting friends, activities you once cherished. Instead, you’ll constantly yearn for gambling to feel any semblance of happiness. This is the primary reason why gamblers often appear upset, depressed, pale, tired, and disinterested in everything else.

Summary: Gambling disrupts the brain’s reward system by causing an excessive release of dopamine, leading people to turn to gambling as a way to cope with stress.

How to Stop Gambling Addiction?

Quitting gambling is a journey that you must embark on by truly understanding yourself. Doctors can offer medications, but they can’t replace the determination and self-awareness required for success. Unfortunately, many gamblers seek help after gambling has already taken a substantial toll on their lives. First and foremost, you must ask yourself whether you are gambling to make extra money or to pay off debts. Many people initially turn to gambling for these reasons, but in reality, gambling doesn’t offer a sustainable income. What you’re truly seeking is the thrill, even if it’s short-lived. Is it worth it? Let’s examine what gambling costs us.

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To understand the difference, we must reflect on our “pre-gambling life.” Back then, we might not have had significant income, but we also didn’t carry the burden of crushing debt. We had peace of mind. We had friends who enjoyed our company and were happy to spend time with us. But now, those friends have either disappeared or turned away when they see us because they fear we might ask them for money.

We had families who loved us deeply, but our gambling habits have left them feeling ashamed and distant. In the past, we enjoyed our meals, drinks, and various activities, but now, we’ve become individuals who derive no pleasure from life except through gambling. Once, we used to carry $100 in our pockets, but now we’re tempted to gamble even $10 if we have it. Buying new clothes and shoes used to be regular occurrences, but now it’s a rarity.

So, why did we start gambling in the first place? Many of us hoped to supplement our income or make quick, substantial gains. Some thought, “I’ll hit the jackpot today and escape this cycle,” while others set ambitious goals like making $100 a day to grow their capital. Some believed they had cracked the secrets of roulette or slots, while others claimed to possess insider knowledge of match-fixing or expert analysis of sporting events. The list goes on.

But let’s consider this: if these so-called experts were truly successful, wouldn’t the gambling industry have collapsed by now? Why do new online casinos keep emerging every day? And why haven’t these supposed experts shared their golden secrets with the public? The truth is, they haven’t because their methods simply don’t work.

Now, let’s discuss your current situation. You’ve become a robotic entity devoid of life’s joys, only finding excitement within the gambling system. As previously mentioned, this excessive dopamine release in your brain is the root of your addiction. You’re now stuck in a cycle of chasing higher and higher risks to achieve the same level of reward. This is why setting limits, such as “I’ll quit when I reach $100,” often fails. Your brain quickly becomes desensitized to lower levels of excitement and craves higher risks to achieve the same high.

So, what’s the solution?

Those who want to quit gambling often seek a miracle, but they’re chasing an illusion. They may wish to turn back time and start life anew. However, quitting gambling becomes easier when you have no money to gamble with. When you run out of money, most of us naturally stop gambling until our next paycheck arrives. Don’t expect a miracle or a quick fix when you want to quit gambling. It won’t happen overnight.

Prepare yourself to endure suffering. This suffering manifests in two forms: emotional and financial. You’ll suffer greatly, and regrets will haunt you. You’ll wake up in cold sweats, but don’t be discouraged. These are all part of the process. Think of your brain like a wound on your arm. It bleeds initially, scabs over time, and eventually heals. However, if you keep picking at the scab, the wound will never heal. Those who choose suffering over the hope of miracles will ultimately reap the rewards.

Tips to Help Overcome Gambling Addiction!

  • First and foremost, distance yourself from all YouTube channels that promote gambling. Create a new email address if needed to avoid these channels. Visual graphics can be a powerful trigger, so it’s important to eliminate exposure to gambling content.
  • Temporarily avoid digital payment methods. This must be a strict rule. Even for shopping, opt for physical money transactions to help reestablish the value of money in your mind.
  • Ban or remove yourself from all possible physical and online casinos. Make these decisions without excuses or hesitation.
  • Cease online banking activities. Remember the days before online banking? Reintroduce physical money transactions into your life to rebuild the value of money.
  • Change your phone number immediately. Online and physical casinos may send you enticing messages with free spins or bonuses, but remember that these are designed to lure you back. It’s often best to acquire a new phone number.
  • Create a brand-new email account and update your online casino accounts with this new email address. As you do this, write down your new email password on a piece of paper. Make it a complex password that you won’t easily remember. Afterward, discard the paper.
  • Distance yourself from individuals who continue to gamble. While they may be good people, their actions can lead you down a destructive path. Focus on your own future.
  • Rekindle your passions and engage in hobbies that bring you joy. This is not about reading a book or hitting the gym if you don’t enjoy those activities. Reflect on your past and rediscover what truly excites you, even if it’s flying a kite. Your age shouldn’t limit your pursuit of happiness.

What About My Debts?

Create a payment plan, starting with the most urgent debts. Understand that finding a solution in five minutes, like gambling promises, isn’t realistic. Gambling is what got you into this situation in the first place. Miracles are elusive and won’t rescue you. Stick to your plan, be honest with lenders about your repayment schedule, and pay back what you owe on time.

Over time, as your debt decreases, your appreciation for the value of money and your relationships will also improve. This is the most challenging part of the process, but remember that continuing to gamble only makes matters worse. You’ll lose more than your initial deposit in your quest to recoup losses. Once again, quitting gambling involves enduring suffering for a period. Pain is a reality in this process, but it’s a necessary step toward healing.

How Can I Cope with Gambling Urges?

Living in the past or dreaming of the future can make you anxious. When you’re anxious and stressed, your brain turns to gambling as a supposed stress reliever. The brain knows you’re seeking an escape from your predicament, and gambling offers a quick fix with its promise of 3,000 units of dopamine. But consider this: is your life just a series of 5-minute moments? In the post-gambling stage, your frustration and depression will only intensify. Is it worth it?

Focus on the present—on “now.” Don’t poison your mind with thoughts of the past or the future. We can’t change the past, and we can’t predict the future. These thoughts only push you toward gambling. Stop dwelling on both and stay firmly in the present. Savor the beauty of rain, the taste of your meal, or whatever you’re doing at the moment. Only by staying in the present can you regain the life you had before gambling.

Additionally, the most effective way to combat gambling urges is to consider the consequences. In the early stages of quitting, your brain will try to tempt you in every possible way. It will present tempting messages to lure you back into the illusion. Some of these messages might sound like, “Hey, just gamble $100; even if you lose, it’s nothing compared to your overall losses. You won’t play again if you lose $100, but if you win, you can pay off some of your debts!” To resist these deceptive theories, focus on the real, lasting outcomes of your actions. Always remember that gambling is what has cost you your current life. It’s like falling in love with your executioner. If you had never gambled, you wouldn’t be in debt or experiencing the stress you are now.

No matter your age, your brain has the power to heal itself. Give it the opportunity through your passions. Those who have successfully quit smoking or drinking understand that suffering during the first week or month is part of the process. Patience is key. To reiterate, quitting gambling means enduring suffering for a period. Pain is a reality in this process.

I’ve been gambling-free for nearly six years. I’ve regained control of my life, my emotions, and my finances. Life is far more enjoyable than gambling when you know how to manage it. Stay within your limits, stay present in the moment, and find happiness. Remember that excessive indulgence in anything is harmful in this world. Always keep this in mind. I hope you’ll give yourself the chance to be reborn and live a life free from gambling. Wishing you a gambling-free life filled with joy and fulfillment!

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