Cravings are a normal part of winning against gambling addiction. It is similar to have a healing wound on your body, as it heals it can start to itch. This means it is getting better. The solution to healing is to deal with the itch responsibly; you wouldn’t cut your wound again to remove the pain of the itch? With gambling addiction craving, visualise it as a wound that is getting better.
How do you manage your gambling craving or ‘itch’? It is hard to ignore isn’t it? Popping up all the time with a ferocious need to be addressed and making you think the only way out is to do it just this once. It is important not to use these cravings as an excuse.
First of all, make sure to manage your craving triggers. Go into depth what has derailed your recovery in the past. Is it watching football in the pub? Certain friends who don’t understand your addiction and push you to join them? How you manage stress at work or at home? Figure out how to remove as many self-inflicted triggers and these itches to gamble will minimise.
Now that you have dealt with triggers under your control, the remaining cravings that come will be mainly mental and habit. These types of cravings will minimise over time with vigilance. Make sure to create a plan for dealing with these cravings and stick with what works for you. Some great options are: exercising, meditation, healthy socialising, going to addiction recovery meetings/ call your sponsor, do volunteering work, and more.
Explore your new life without gambling. You have many opportunities that will help you beat gambling addiction. Take this time to find out what activities bring positive changes to your mind. Building this new you is exciting and rewarding, trust the process as the wound heals and you will be free from gambling cravings.