Last month, I mentioned that I found a site that offered gambling therapy online while it also actively promoted gambling. Well, as it turned out, that site, which really is a UK based gambling site, was doing what most casinos do: offering help to clean up the mess of gambling addictions after the damage has been done.
In the United States casinos are required to set aside a fixed amount of money to fund gambling hotlines and to post in the casinos and on their advertisements the number to call to get help. For most people, it is much too late. By the time they reach out for help, they are in deep financial trouble and emotional distress and usually don’t know where to turn, since there are so few facilities or counselors trained to deal with gambling addictions.
Recently, someone mentioned an online gambling therapy group that is not in cahoots with the gambling industry. This gambling therapy site is connected to the Gordon Moody Association, which provides residential treatment for compulsive gamblers. Gordon Moody is in the UK; the gambling therapy site is international and apparently is moderated by gambling addiction counselors.
I have just started checking in and reading some of the posts. A recent one was about relapse. I know that relapse is always a possibility when one has an addiction, but the stories about people who have relapsed are so sad.
I think that although these stories are reminders that people who are experiencing addictions are always a step away from sliding down the slippery slope, it also is really helpful and inspiring to hear from folks who are on the far side of recovery. That is, they are going on about their lives and not even thinking about gambling.
I wish I could say that about myself, but with the absolute saturation of advertising inviting us to come where the winners are and lose our souls, spirits, and lives, I’m always on alert.
Sometimes when I’m driving in my car and a commercial comes on the radio promising me and everyone else listening that Ho Chunk Casino is were the winners are and that all I have to do is come to the casino to win some money and some junk I don’t need, I have to turn it off! Not because I’m afraid that I will go back to gambling after having stopped more than two years ago, but because I don’t like to think of the struggle I had with myself as I was trying to break the hold that slot machines had on me.
Every time I think about the darkness of the abyss that was gambling for me, I remind myself about how good life is now. Even when things aren’t going the way I hope they might on a given day, I remind myself that I have come a long way into the light. Stepping into a casino for anything, including a stage show, would destroy this contentment I’m beginning to feel now. I have choices in this life and my choice is to stay far, far away from things that will cause me harm. I’m often asked if I still gamble. The answer is NO.
Sandra Adell, Author, CONFESSIONS OF A SLOT MACHINE QUEEN: A MEMOIR