Listed below are some ideas to help create a supportive environment where healthy choices become easier to make:
1. Handle money as little as possible
- Dispose of bank teller cards
- Discontinue credit cards if you are taking cash advances or using them irresponsibly
- Have your pay cheque put directly into your bank account
- Have someone else who you can trust (e.g. friend, family member) manage your finances
- If you are going near a gambling venue, leave all your cheque books, etc. at home
- Consider other financial avenues, such as locking your money into long term savings bonds, etc.
2. Keep a diary of your expenditures. If you are gambling, keep track of how much you have spent, and the amount you have won. If you can't afford to lose anymore, record the losses of a friend or investigate legislation and statistics about the takings of gambling venues.
3. Try to reduce your financial need.
- Determine if there is something else contributing to your high level of financial need (e.g. drug or alcohol abuse)
- Is it necessary for you to have lots of money or a high standard of living to be happy?
4. Problem gamblers often gamble alone, so get involved in activities with other people. Take an evening class, join a club or sports group, volunteer or participate in activities with family or friends.
5. Associate with people who do not gamble. Meet with friends in a place where gambling is not available.
6. Build a support network
- Seek out self-help groups (e.g. Gamblers Anonymous, GamAnon)
- Seek out counsellors, psychologists, psychiatrists or other health care professionals who can help you.
- Seek out family, friends or relatives for support
7. Seek financial counselling if needed (e.g. for budgeting skills, debt repayment, plans, etc.)
8. Seek treatment for drug or alcohol abuse and mental illness (e.g. depression, suicide, mania). See counselling for relationship problems, career and legal issues, or other problematic areas in you life.
9. Save your gambling money for something special you enjoy doing (e.g. hobbies, travelling). Reward yourself when you choose not to gamble (e.g. go out for dinner, see a movie).
10. Channel excess energy or prevent boredom or loneliness by building other alternatives to gambling. Take up sports, hobbies, exercise or other enjoyable activities.
11. Change habits and behaviours that support your gambling (e.g. don't drive past your gambling venue of choice, avoid reading sports results).
12. Plan and schedule your days, replacing the time spent gambling with other activities you enjoy. Stick to your schedule as closely as possible.
13. Determine what triggers your gambling (e.g. stree, depression, loneliness, anxiety) and find other ways of dealing with them.
14. Learn more about problem gambling. Go to a library or bookstore, use the internet or contact us at the PGRN. Read books, pamphlets or borrow videos.
15. Develop realistic expectations for change
- It is unrealistic to expect quick change or improvement. Relapses are likely and they are not signs of failure.
- Understand that winning is due to luck and luck only, not skill.
- Gambling is not the best way or the only way of controlling your financial situation