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Our clients arrive at Algamus in various stages of resistance or acceptance to our residential treatment process. Some are accepting the severity of their gambling disorder and this can make them extremely motivated to continue the program. 

It is common for people with gambling problems to go through several phases before they are ready to receive treatment and these stages are unique to every individual. Though some are quick to snap out of the denial stage and decide on their own will to seek help some are adamant and end up being forced into treatment by law, employers or loved ones.

People who do not enter gambling treatment on their own initiative often end up feeling “forced” into treatment. They might be going through the motions to appease someone else but do not feel like they should be here. They are somewhat (even vehemently) resistant to the process perhaps feeling that their family and their treatment provider have "conspired" to assure their program entry.  This is the denial component of gambling disorder which can greatly hinder the success of a gambling treatment program.

Our 25 years of clinical experience certainly assists most of these clients in realizing the severity and/or consequences of their gambling addiction rather quickly so that they can become motivated in the recovery process. We understand the unique experiences surrounding gambling disorder because many of our staff are in recovery from gambling addiction.

When addiction treatment fails


While most of our clients do overcome their denial and resistance to treatment, a very small fraction of our clients do not. They fail to loosen their resistance during their stay and they somewhat reluctantly “just do their time." They often choose only a few of the easiest and safest components of the recovery process and as a result, are most vulnerable to relapse. 

They are like the daily insulin prescribed diabetic who says, "I only need insulin twice per week" or the kidney dysfunction patient who is prescribed dialysis 3 times per week and says, "I'm only willing to have dialysis once per week".  In these instances, when the diabetes or the kidney dysfunction worsens, the prescribing physician cannot be held remotely responsible by the patient. 

When a relapse occurs post-treatment, usually as a result of not following the written, negotiated aftercare plan nor maintaining regular contact with their recovery program staff post-treatment, some clients are quick to shift the blame and erroneously hold their treatment center and staff accountable for the relapse. 

In even more atypical instances where the client has been terminated early from treatment (perhaps for reasons of noncompliance), the client's own inability to accept any responsibility for the relapse, builds up anger and bitterness. The anger and blame sometimes comes out in angry negative online reviews. When this happens, we specifically choose not to rebut them as there is always more to the recovery story than meets the eye.

What is Gambling Addiction Treatment?

We do, however, proactively attempt to reconnect with the client to assist in all good ways. In almost all instances, Algamus' commitment to every client includes our extreme willingness to have that person return to our residential program, often for an abbreviated, "recharge" stay.

Going to a treatment center for addiction requires a person to be committed to achieving results. Active participation in the programs and a commitment to following the plan set in place by your treatment providers is incredibly important. Just checking in to “do your time” to appease someone else is not likely to result in an impactful, long-term change.

If you’ve gone through a gambling treatment program before but it didn’t work, call us. We can help you work through the resistance and denial that’s holding you back.

If you’re concerned about a loved one who doesn’t seem to want to get help, they might not be ready. The best thing you can do is to contact a gambling addiction treatment professional who can help empower you to help them realize the impact of their gambling.

Topics: Gambling Addiction, Treatment

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.