Overcoming gambling addiction is a tough battle and shaking off the stigma that follows can feel like a whole new battle. But the first step in all of this is to reject personal stigma.
Before society can be okay with you again, you’ve got to come to terms with what’s happened to you. If you’re facing this issue right now, know you’re not alone. It’s time to break free from the labels and rebuild your life.
We’re going to try to guide you in beginning the journey to reject personal stigma after dealing with a gambling addiction. It won’t be all you need to overcome it, but we’re hoping it can give you some ideas of how to get on with your life.
Don’t dwell on the past
Well all know that to truly overcome addiction, you have to acknowledge your past. But don’t dwell on it. You’ve had a problem, you’ve faced it and now you’re moving forward. It no longer defines you. This is a story of strength, not shame. Remember that your actions now are what matters. And that should help you reject personal stigma bit by bit…
Educating those around you can feel like hard work. You don’t need to do it with every Tom, Dick and Harry, but if you educate those who you really care about, then it can actually help you reject personal stigma too. There’s a hell of a lot of misunderstanding about gambling addiction. Help people close to you understand that it’s a complex issue, not a choice or a moral failing. Share your journey and what you’ve learned. This is a powerful way to change perceptions.
Build a support network
Surround yourself with people who see you for who you are, not just your past. These could be friends or family, or even others who’ve overcome similar challenges. These people are your cheerleaders and can remind you just how far you’ve come.
Work towards new goals
Set new goals and chase them. Focus on what excites you. Whether it’s a new hobby, career ambitions or fitness goals, having something to work towards can help you reject personal stigma and shift your focus onto a brighter future.
Recognise your achievements
Celebrate your victories, no matter how small. Overcoming addiction is a huge achievement, so recognise that progress. Treat yourself on each of your milestones and watch your resolve to stay away from gambling strengthen and your self-esteem soar. Not only is this a great approach to reject personal stigma, it also will do wonders for your feeling of self worth.
Be patient if you slip up
Change doesn’t happen overnight. There will be tough days and that’s okay. There might even be times where you fall off the wagon and gamble again. But it’s okay. Every step forward, however small, is progress. Be kind to yourself and reject personal stigma every step of the way.
Talk to a professional
Sometimes the weight of rejecting personal stigma is to heavy to lift alone. Therapists or support groups like Gamblers Anonymous can help give you guidance. They understand what you’re going through and can provide valuable tools to help move you forward.
Information and resources for problem gambling
There are lots of places around the world that can help you if you’re struggling with overcoming gambling addiction, or maintaining a gambling-free life. If you’re in the UK, we recommend checking out Be Gamble Aware. On their site, you can find resources to learn more about addiction and also find places and supports near you that can help you in your journey.
If you want to read more, take a look at some of our responsible gambling articles: