In no way do I want to deny my part in the damaging feedback loop of my gambling. I will repeat my self, there were too many (one was too many) people harmed emotionally and financially by my actions. I negatively affected individuals, family systems and workplace environments. My privilege kept me out of the criminal justice system.
I believe people can deal with those parts ourselves that allow us to get caught in that feedback loop of pain and destruction. I also know that some people never reach the depths of pain, desperation, and destruction of some and might less intensive work.
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
― Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Wherever we are on the spectrum of a gambling disorder, maybe closing in on the spectrum, or anywhere in life, we all have stories to tell. Find a person/place to tell your story. Could be a family member, a friend, a mentor, a religious member, a hotline, a therapist/counselor, a self-help/mutual aid group…many of us with a disorder of some kind tend to isolate in our minds. Not usually healthy though it can be understood when using a lens of trauma and previous dysfunctional relationships. My suggestion is to take small steps, keep searching for a trusted person/group with whom you can be courageous. Sometimes the best I can do is write for myself.
Here some things I think we can do to look like we are trying to break a destructive loop or catch a loop before it goes off the rails. I do not mean to imply it is okay to lie our way through the process. I do know that sometimes it takes getting into a process before we believe in it.
- Acknowledge to ourselves something is not right
- Acknowledge to others that they believe something is wrong even if we do not believe that
- Be gentle with ourselves and others
- Talk to someone
- Take a break from our actions until we can figure out what is not right
- Education: Learn about our actions from an academic/systems perspective
- Education: Learn about our role in the system
- Education: Learn about the effects we have on others/systems
- Take a break from judgment of self and others
- Make a decision to continue or discontinue with action with either decision including restitution
- Monitor/be honest with ourselves either in recovery or in action
- Advocate for ourselves and others
- If needed start the process over or pick-up at any point
The above is a thought experiment that I hope leads to a recovery process based on a humanistic platform. I am a believer in the resources listed on the home page and the resource blog page. I have found the existing gambling self-help/mutual recovery to not be a good fit for me. There are less options for gamblers than there are for substance users.