Christmas is supposed to be a time of joy and celebration but for those recovering from gambling addiction, it can be a season of challenges and risks.
Here, we explore exactly what these obstacles might be and also offer actionable tips and strategies to help individuals stay away from gambling and remain on the path to recovery.
Whether it’s you that is on this journey or you’re supporting a loved one with their gambling addiction recovery, being aware of the potential hurdles and putting in place preventative measures can help everyone to enjoy the festive season more easily.
Find out how to avoid a gambling relapse over the festive season here.
Understanding The Risks Of The Festive Season
The Gambling Commission estimates that nearly half of the British population participates in gambling activities, and the most common include the National Lottery and scratchcards. Another report found that online gambling had been growing in recent years with 21% of the population having participated in this type of gambling activity.
Like any other addiction, those suffering from a gambling addiction experience strong urges to behave and act in a certain way despite the negative consequences this could have on their life.
What’s more, gambling can have a huge impact on someone’s finances, physical and mental health, and other aspects such as relationships and careers. During the festive season, when social gatherings and financial pressures are heightened and emotions run high too, those suffering from any addiction can find it difficult to cope.
Research shows that the likelihood of relapsing is often higher during times like these especially when most people are spending more, socialising more and even feeling lonely. Therefore it’s crucial to identify any individual triggers someone might have, and recognise and acknowledge these to better prepare them for their journey.
Recognising Personal Gambling Triggers and Stressors
The most important thing to remember is that relapse is really common and it doesn’t define you and your addiction recovery journey. In fact, recovery is a long road with several hurdles. However, there are a few things you can do to try and avoid a gambling relapse over the festive period. This includes being self-aware. Take some time out to identify your personal triggers.
When it comes to gambling addiction, you might find that after drinking you feel the urge to put a bet on. Or maybe spending lots of money on gifts makes you feel like you need to gamble.
Alternatively, it could be as simple as walking past a betting shop or staying up late and accessing online gambling. Whatever triggers your addictive behaviour, identify it and put in steps to prevent these from happening.
Understanding these triggering gambling factors – whether financial strain, loneliness or something else – is often the first step towards building resilience. It may be that you find it easier to communicate these triggers with a friend or family member too so that you are held accountable to avoid gambling at Christmas.
Tips For Avoiding A Gambling Relapse
Another important thing to remember is that if someone relapses, it doesn’t mean they have failed. There is still time and every opportunity to get back onto the path to recovery. Addiction and gambling recovery are both complex, but with the following relapse prevention tips you should hopefully be able to navigate it a little easier.
Plan Ahead To Combat Boredom
Many gambling addicts find that boredom is a trigger as they feel urges to repeat past gambling behaviour. For this reason, you should try to fill your days with fulfilling and grounded activities that keep your mind preoccupied.
This doesn’t always have to be about socialising either but could include quality time with loved ones, volunteering, exercise and even exploring new hobbies. Mixing your time up with others and on your own can do wonders for your self resilience too.
Embrace Self Exclusion
In a bid to help individuals suffering from gambling addiction, many platforms and outlets offer self-exclusion options to help individuals maintain control over their actions, including not being allowed into physical premises or being banned from their online accounts. This proactive step can be hard to initiate but will help you to stay away from gambling.
Stick To Healthy Habits and Routines
A healthy lifestyle will not only take your mind off gambling but it will ensure you feel good too. Try to exercise regularly, get sufficient sleep and enjoy an overall balanced diet to boost your wellbeing. Together, these can act as powerful solutions against relapse.
HALT stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely and Tired and acts as a stark reminder of the common addiction triggers. It’s important to pay attention to your emotional and physical state, ensuring that you have all the basic essentials like food, friends, support and sleep to prevent you from being vulnerable to gambling urges.
You can also seek advice and support from services that are available for people struggling with gambling addiction.
Seeking Support And Professional Help For Gambling Addiction
Various organisations and treatment centres in the UK now provide support and treatment for gambling addiction. What’s more, the NHS also offers a limited range of services specifically for gambling addiction. There is also a National Gambling Helpline which is operated by GamCare, and provides resources and advice for gambling-related issues.
The UK gambling industry is also doing its bit to help by implementing responsible gambling initiatives such as self-exclusion programmes mentioned above and safer online gambling tools like time and money limits.
One thing’s for sure, gambling addiction recovery is like any addiction recovery and requires support. If you are struggling or find yourself on this journey, it’s wise to reach out to friends, family and professionals for gambling treatment.
Not only can they help you to stay motivated and encouraged but they can also help you to understand your addiction and triggers. This is exactly where our team at Action Rehab comes in, supporting you with a range of services tailored to your specific needs.
How Action Rehab Can Help
Recovery from gambling addiction is challenging but the team at Action Rehab provides proven advice and support for gambling addiction, which has helped so many people like you. Navigating the path to recovery, and avoiding gambling during the holidays requires self-awareness, planning and support but it can be done.
By understanding the risks and festive season gambling triggers and putting practical steps in place, individuals can enjoy the festive season while staying on track with their recovery goals. Remember, reaching out to friends, family and professionals is a sign of strength and fantastic gambling relapse prevention tips.
What’s more, we’re here to help you on your journey to lasting recovery so don’t hesitate to get in touch and explore our tailored treatment options today. If you need help with how to avoid gambling relapse at Christmas, reach out today on 0151 268 6992.