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23 Aug 09 Getting Back on Track – A Few Steps to Follow

Step 1 – Admitting There is a Problem
One of the first steps that a player will need to take in order to deal with a compulsive gambling problem is to admit that you have a problem. Without admitting it, you will not be seeking help, and cannot begin the process of regaining control. This is usually the most difficult hurdle to get over when treating a gambling problem.
In order to address the problem, players need to commit themselves to wanting to solve the problem of gambling addiction.

Step 2 – Talk to Others
The addicted gambler can choose to speak to people close to them, or to others, either professionals, or those from support groups via the Internet, or face to face. The process of unloading and opening up to others is a difficult step, yet a very important one. It is helpful to find a person or group who will not judge the actions of the compulsive gambler, since their support could be vital.

Step 3 – Is There a Root Cause?
After the first two steps, it is time to actually make a plan and put it into action. However, if the original cause of compulsive gambling began as a result of depression, or after a bereavement, or some other emotional upheaval, and was used to help suppress the feelings and emotions surrounding these issues, then it is best to speak to a professional, such as a medical practitioner, even your family doctor, in order to assess whether further treatment or counseling will be beneficial.

Block Online Gambling Sites
It is possible to either suspend or block your online gambling account if you contact customer services when explaining that you have a gambling problem. Beware that some less reputable online casinos may offer account closing bonuses, designed to keep you addicted and begin playing again. If these bonuses are offered, do your best to refuse them since they could take you back into the vicious circle you are trying to escape.
Players can purchase software that will block online gambling sites, and while this does cost money, it is a minor amount when compared to the amount of money that a compulsive gambler can lose in a very short time.

Join Support Groups
Even if you are not usually the ‘type’ to join a support group, it can be very beneficial to join others who have dealt with and are dealing with gambling addiction problems themselves. They will have had many similar experiences and can first hand, and in a non-judgmental way, understand where you are coming from. There are numerous groups available both online and land-based. If one group does not work for you, you can try another.

One Day at a Time
A problem that has become entrenched deeply cannot be fixed in a day. It will take some time to overcome, and may always be somewhat of a battle. It is important to take it one day at a time, and return to your chosen program if you deviate from it.

Set Realistic Goals
By setting only realistic goals for yourself, it is more likely that you will be able to stick to them. Setting unrealistic targets could be damaging, since it means that you could slide backwards more easily.

Keep finding new ways to tackle the problem. If one way works for someone else, it does not necessarily work for you. You are not alone – there is help and support available if you look for it. A good first step may be to look for resources and advice on the Gamblers Anonymous website

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