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As we look forward to the holidays, it's so important to have your priorities set in your mind. There are so many distractions during this time of year, and emotions can be at a high on many different levels.

When painful emotions are triggered, sometimes we will exercise bad habits. This can happen knowingly and sometimes without being aware of what’s going on. If you set your priorities straight, when painful emotions arise, your mind will connect with strong reasons why to stay on the path to recovery. Gambling triggers dopamine inside the brain which makes you feel good temporarily, but that good feeling doesn’t produce long-term fulfillment.
 
What matters to you the most will carry you past any short-term kick
 
Over the holidays, think about what matters most to you. Is it any of the following...

- Having peace within yourself
- Time with your family or loved ones
- Giving gifts and creating a smile on someone's face
 
When you mask your emotions with gambling, it has a more harmful effect than only the financial repercussions. Think about it for a second. The holidays are about spending time with the ones you love, giving and caring for people who need it most. Every moment and dollar you spend towards the slots or on the next game is a lost opportunity for true fulfillment.
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Instead, think about things that you’d like to do over the holidays, how you’d like to spend your money and who you’d like to be with.

Take the $100 you would normally spend at the casino and do something special with it, such as buying a gift for your son or daughter. The next time you get that urge to head over to the casino, use that as a trigger to spend time with a loved one or someone who could really use a conversation. You’ll be amazed at how good it makes you feel; you will be filled with so much joy and happiness for yourself and the other person. It has been proven that you cannot perform a good deed without feeling good within yourself as a result.
 
Be aware of your habits as emotions arise and know that you are in full control of your decisions. It’s not always easy, but as you continue to exercise positive habits in your life like the ones mentioned above, those habits will begin to replace the old ones.
 
As always, if you ever need support, feel free to reach out.

Topics: Gambling Addiction

Rick Benson

Written by Rick Benson

Rick founded Algamus Recovery Centers in 1992. A Cornell University graduate, Rick is an Internationally Certified Gambling Counselor (ICGC-II) and a Canadian Problem Gambling Counselor (CPGC). Algamus and Rick were featured on the very first episode of Intervention on the A&E channel.