Gambling addiction is very real.
The most common path to becoming addicted to gambling is through a big win early on. If anything, winning big the first time you try gambling is one of the worst things that can happen to you. Because from then on, you're forever chasing that same feeling of instant success.
You chase that same feeling, but you never quite get it. You know it exists because you felt it before. But strangely, even if you experience an even bigger win, it never really feels the same.
And this is where the addiction starts.
The money you now deposit becomes ammunition in your attempt to get back to where you were. And the money you're now losing no longer has the same value, because it's just something you need to use to achieve what seems like a greater goal.
And the longer it goes on, the deeper you get in to the hole, and the more gambling becomes your only salvation. Gambling seems to be the only way out of a gambling addiction.
It's an incredibly common pattern, and it could happen to anyone. Some of the smartest people have fallen in to it. It's never a conscious decision; it's just something that catches you, and all of a sudden you find it's harder than you thought to get out.
You're not stupid for falling in to it. You've just been swept away by an undercurrent that you didn't know was lurking beneath you, and now it's sweeping you further away from the shore.
But whilst it wasn't your fault, it is your responsibility moving forward.
There is a path back to shore, but you've got to swim hard to get there. The first step isn't to admit that you have a gambling addiction, because you're probably already all too aware. The first step is to resolve that you do want to get back to shore.
An effective method is to find people who are swimming in the same direction as you. This is not an admission of failure, it's merely a way to help turn the tide in your favor. Just because you got here on your own it doesn't mean that you have to get out on your own.
There are different places that can help you depending on where you live:
It doesn't matter what the name is or where it is, all that matters is that you surround yourself with people that are working toward the same goal as you. It's a method that works in any aspect of life.
A common mindset is to view this as a pointless endeavor. After all, you've lost so much now, what does it matter losing some more? Does it really make a difference now in the grand scheme of things?
But it doesn't actually matter how much you've lost. You can't change the past, nor should you want to. All that matters is where you go from here.
The money you don't gamble today is money you have earned. And this money is more valuable than money won on the spin of a wheel or the turn of a card.
Remember that every day is an achievement. There is no fast route out of a gambling addiction. It takes energy to pull yourself back, and every day is an opportunity to move in the direction you want to travel.
How you do this is unique to you. There is no formula. You just need to find something deep inside of you, and hold on to it while you keep yourself afloat from one day to the next. Hold on hard, and don't let yourself sink.
If you want my advice, start playing chess.
The only way I've usurped my addictions in the past is to replace them with something less destructive. I don't know the cure for addiction because I've never gotten rid of it. All I've ever done is change one addiction for another, but with the new one being something that moves me forwards rather than backwards.
I can't change who I am, so I change the things I do until the old pattern fades away.
I salute anyone who finds there way out of gambling. It takes a certain kind of energy to do it, and it's usually an energy that you didn't know you had. But I can promise you it's there inside you.
I look forward to playing chess with you one day.