Strategies for change
If your gambling is causing problems in your life, there are things you can do to stop it being an issue. You can take steps to change your life.
Set some goals
Setting short-term and long-term goals may help you to stay focussed and clear about cutting down or giving-up your gambling.
Avoid high-risk situations
High-risk situations like use of credit cards, taking out loans, carrying large amounts of money with you, using gaming venues for socialising or gambling as a reaction to emotions will weaken your resolve to control or stop your gambling.
Talk about it
Talking about gambling problems with somebody you trust and someone who won't judge you can ease the pain of bottling it up. It can also reduce the stress that can cause you to continue to gamble.
Ask for help
If you are finding it difficult, you do not have to handle your issue with gambling on your own. Many people seek professional help. Gambler's Help has free, confidential help, advice and support services.
Face the feelings
Becoming aware that you could be a problem gambler may cause feelings of shame and guilt. Self-blame and self-harm can increase stress and may urge you to gamble more. However, acknowledging the problem and taking steps to seek help can help you change your life for the better.
Be kind to yourself
Stop beating yourself up over your issue with gambling and focus on the steps you are taking to overcome the problem. Acknowledge your positive achievements; write them down to remind yourself of your strengths and attributes.
Try to find an alternative to gambling
Many people gamble because they do not know what else to do. Try to find an alternative recreational activity or hobby.
Prepare for a lapse
A lapse occurs when you gamble again after deciding to stop. You do not have to continue to gamble if this happens to you. You can use this to learn more about what triggers your gambling. When a lapse occurs, examine what worked and what didn't work with your plan.
Try phoning someone close to you, or call Gambler's Help (1800 858 858 FREECALL) or visit Gambling Help Online at www.gamblinghelponline.org.au and chat online about how you are feeling. Anybody affected by gambling (your own gambling or someone else's), can call the Gambler’s Help line, or logon 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This service can give you the contact details for the nearest Gambler's Help. We can also refer you to a service away from your local area if you prefer. Calls to the Gambler’s Help line and access to the website are free, and won't be listed on your phone bill.
- Negotiate to have someone trusted to help you with money management.
- Consider short and long-term arrangements according to what your needs may be.
- Have wages paid directly into an account.
- It may be possible for a support person to collect wages.
- Cancel credit and ATM cards or give them to the support person.
- Only carry a limited amount of money.
- Arrange with the bank to only provide small daily amounts from ATMs.
- Tell family and friends what you are doing and not to lend you money.
- Consider having two people as signatories on your accounts.
- Eliminate cash withdrawals on credit cards.
- Pay bills by direct debit or cheque.
- If dealing with other people’s money tempts you, avoid jobs where you handle cash.
- Avoid keeping large sums of money in the house.
- Pay as many essential bills on payday as possible.
- Consider paying some bills in advance.
- Consider something you would really enjoy and regularly put money away for it.
You can take part in a program called “Voluntary Self-Exclusion” where you ask venues to exclude you from gambling.