The holidays can be a difficult season to navigate if you are currently recovering from a gambling disorder, especially due to our current state of isolation. Here are some common relapse triggers and tips on how you can avoid them.
How to Deal with Common Gambling Relapse Triggers
This is the most common reason for relapse, since many people who previously coped with stress by spending their time gambling, now do not know where to turn. You may feel tempted to gamble as an attempt to earn some extra money if you are feeling stressed financially; however, this can lead to a slippery slope of more and more gambling.
2. Loneliness & boredom
This year may be especially isolating for many, due to the effects of COVID-19. You may find yourself more bored and lonely than usual, and it is important that you recognize this and try to keep busy to avoid the temptation to gamble.
If you are unable to be with your loved ones in person over the holiday season, try to interact with them over FaceTime or Zoom as much as possible to stay connected. If there are any virtual Gamblers Anonymous meetings happening, try to join one of those. Many counselors also are offering remote sessions at this time. As always, we are also here to support you during this difficult time, and would welcome a phone conversation with you.
3. Easy access to apps/online gambling
These days, it is easier than ever to gamble. You don't have to leave the house... you don't even have to leave your bed.
Just because you have not gambled for some time, does not make you invincible to the temptations of relapsing. You could be feeling particularly lucky one day and decide to head down to the casino. If you’re into sports betting, you could be thinking, “I know for certain that this team will win the game,” and set a bid on that team. Or you could be thinking, “I’ll just spend $50 and then I’ll quit” but that $50 could end up leading to hundreds more.
Remember that a relapse is not a failure, and despite our best efforts, sometimes we fall short. If recovery was easy, everyone would do it. Instead of giving up after a relapse, try to decipher which emotions or situations led you to relapse so that you know how to effectively handle them in the future. Evaluate the reasons why you gamble, and know that if you were able to quit gambling once (even for just a short time), you can certainly do it again. If you need support during this time, please do not hesitate to contact us.