The reality is that recovering from a gambling addiction can be difficult given prominent advertising and marketing strategies for a wide range of gambling opportunities. It is also true that gambling reminders are readily apparent when going grocery food shopping, stopping for gas at a convenient store, browsing the internet, or driving on a Florida highway or elsewhere, with ads for online gambling, the lottery, or promotions from casinos, pari-mutuel facilities, and card rooms around the state. Avoiding relapse can be extremely challenging when encountering ongoing exposures to gambling.
A “relapse” is when a person returns to gambling after a period of improvement or abstinence. While relapse rates are high for recovering compulsive gamblers within their first year of recovery, it is essential to remember that this does not mean the person failed. Relapse is common, is part of the recovery process, and can signal the need to alter treatment. How we view things impact significantly on how we respond, so it is important for disordered gamblers and loved ones to be aware that relapse prevention is key to a successful recovery.
The primary points to remember include establishing goals that are attainable, seeking the necessary support through professional treatment, self-help groups, self-exclusion programs, online and other helpful services, and literature. It is also important to have strategies in place, including people in your life who you can call on when experiencing challenging periods.
Recovery is hard work and while attainable, it is not typically something that one should do in isolation. Understanding you are not alone can be life changing. Knowing that help and hope are available for those suffering from the effects of a gambling problem can be equally comforting. The 24-Hour Confidential and Multilingual HelpLine can be reached by phone at 888-ADMIT-IT, via text (321-958-0555), email (firstname.lastname@example.org), chat (gamblinghelp.org), or on social media, such as Facebook and Twitter.