Saturday March 20, 2004
04:43 PM EST
Once a gambler, always a gambler
There are two main types of gambling recovery groups.
The first group is the successful one. Members of this group have not gambled for long periods; some have not gambled in over a decade. Despite their success, all members of this group still consider themselves compulsive gamblers and still in recovery. Members of this group were able to abstain from gambling for long periods because experience has shown them that when they denied their illness and got complacent, the result was relapse-- back to the merry-go-round of destruction, the never ending cycle of guilt and remorse. This group was successful because they were honest and admitted they had a gambling problem and were vigilant about it.
The second gambling recovery group is the one that is, well, getting there. If you've attended any group meeting, GA for example, you've noticed that members of this group were able to abstain from gambling for several months, or several years, but they've relapsed numerous times. What is the difference between this group and the successful group? Honesty and vigilance. Members of the successful group were brave enough to admit they had a gambling problem and were aware of the devastation and havoc the gambling problem has caused them.
Some adages are true: Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic. Once a drug addict, always a drug addict. Once a gambler, always a gambler. When you refuse to acknowledge your gambling problem, you tend to rationalize or intellectualize it away. However, the gambling problem is still there, only hidden and waiting for the right circumstance to surface.
If you have repeatedly promised yourself in the past that you would not gamble again but found yourself doing it, then you might want to voluntarily label yourself a compulsive gambler... for life.
Be honest with yourself.