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Suggestions to Prevent Urges

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Thinking about gambling or having urges to gamble in not uncommon for any member of Gamblers Anonymous. The following suggestions have helped many members prevent urges and sustain abstinence from gambling.

Attend Gamblers Anonymous meetings as often as needed, but at least once a week.

Become more involved in the Gamblers Anonymous Program.

Take a Trusted Servant position.

Telephone other GA members on a regular basis.

Read and re-read the Gamblers Anonymous Combo Book. Many GA members have said, “Everything I need to stay away from a bet is right here in this little yellow book.”

Ask another Gamblers Anonymous member to be your sponsor.

Read and LIVE the Gamblers Anonymous Steps of Recovery. At first, it is OK to have a healthy scepticism about working the Steps. However, thousands of GA members have reported that the more they become involved in the Steps of Recovery, the less likely they are to gamble. It is suggested that you ask another GA member – preferably your sponsor – to help guide you through the Steps.

Don’t go in or near establishments where gambling is available, including web sites. Shop in stores or supermarkets that are gambling-free or where gambling is out of sight.

Don’t look at anything that will remind you of gambling – for example, the sports or stock market sections of the newspaper, lottery tickets, racing programs, or advertisements for casinos or other forms of gambling.

Don’t associate with people who gamble. (This may mean curtailing relationships with friends or relatives.)

Avoid getting caught up in conversations about gambling.

Carry only the bare minimum amount of money that you need for the day. If possible, have your paycheck direct-deposited or put someone you trust in charge of your finances

Destroy your credit, debit, and ATM cards – anything that will put a barrier between you and excess cash.

Establish an anniversary date – that is, your first Gamblers Anonymous meeting after your last bet. Many GA members gain a healthy inner confidence from knowing that they have acquired the habit of not wagering over time.

Change your attitude. There is a world of difference in the statements “I have to stop gambling” and “I want to stop gambling.” Think about it. If you have to do anything, then you probably won’t want to.

Change your behavior. This is one of the most difficult tasks in all of human endeavors, let alone in the Gamblers Anonymous Program. However, it states in the yellow combo book that it is necessary for a compulsive gambler to bring about a character change in order to prevent a relapse. GA members have reported that character defects such as anger, impatience, laziness, self-pity, etc., have led them back to gambling. Replacing negative habits with healthy ones is vital for maintaining abstinence.

Consider getting your body into better physical condition. It has been said, “Bring the body and the mind will follow.” If compulsive gambling is a sickness of the mind, then it makes sense for a compulsive gambler to be in relatively good physical condition. Remember the saying: “Healthy body, healthy mind.”

Coping with Urges
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