Most people who gamble are able to set aside a set amount of money and just enjoy the experience, win or lose. For those with an addiction to gambling the consequences are far more severe. How do you recognise when a person has begun to slip into an addictive pattern?Many millions of us like the ‘odd flutter’ on the Grand National. That can mean drawing a name from a hat in the office sweepstake, joining a syndicate at the pub, or looking around to see if anyone’s watching as we nip into the bookies to place a bet on that ‘dead-cert’. It’s ‘a bit of fun’ - it’s not a gambling addiction! We see a placard that reads ‘Lottery jackpot £130 million this week – could it be yours?’ and we feel ‘Go on then - it has to be worth buying a ticket ’. Buying one ticket doesn’t make us a gambling addict – we’re responding to a media promotion, an advertisement, not to an inner compulsion to gamble. In other words if we hadn’t seen or heard about it we wouldn’t have even thought to do it. So where are you when it comes to gambling? Are you like most people, persuaded by adverts – or being really honest with yourself, do you feel that something about the way you gamble may mean that you have gambling addiction symptoms?
Gambling has more losers than winners!
If every gambler was a winner, placing a bet on a horse or chipping into a poker game wouldn’t be a gamble. One of the Oxford Dictionary definitions of the word ‘gamble’ is ‘To squander or lose by staking’ it doesn’t say ‘To game and win shed loads of cash’! When they place a bet, or play in a gambling game, do many serious gamblers think that they are just about to lose money? Rarely - they mostly think they are feeling lucky today and they’ll win! Are you one of those people?
Some casual gamblers don’t really mind either way because they decide first on a sum of money that they can well afford to lose and just enjoy the experience – win or lose. But how often does a regular gambler actually win? Well research says most of them have no idea - but what IS known is that they are really good at convincing themselves that they are ‘in front’! Is that you?
So when gambling stops being ‘just a bit of fun’ and becomes a gambling addiction - what really gets lost?
Well it’s certainly more than just money! What rings a bell with you? How about self-esteem? You know you are a clever person – you used to control your life pretty well - you were a winner in your team, you were a top player at work, you could hold your own in any form of real competition – so why can’t you always win when you gamble? It’s because gambling is a game of chance – and neither you, nor anyone else you know, will ever have any control over chance! Maybe you got lucky more than once in the past and maybe that felt good – but losing is depressing, disappointing and expensive. Losing makes you angry - and it makes the people around you, who care about you - sad. Isn’t this the time for a change?