This article originally appeared in Counsellor Sam and has been republished with permission.
The idea of hitting ‘rock bottom’ is often associated with recovery. It’s common to think that to decide to change, we first have to find ourselves in the very worst situation we can imagine: hopeless, helpless, and scared. A common thought that many Gambling Help clients have is “Do I need to hit rock bottom in order to change? How bad do things have to get before change happens?”
The good news is you can decide to make a change at any time. Sometimes hitting rock bottom gives people the motivation to seek help, but that doesn’t mean you have to hit rock bottom before changing your gambling habits. Your reasons to change just have to outweigh the reasons to stay the same.
If you think you might be ready to make some changes in your life, here are a few tips to help you make up your mind:
- Make a list of the pros of making changes to your gambling. It’s a good idea to actually write this out rather than making a mental list, so you have a visual aid you can refer to in order to help you change. Considering the thoughts, feelings or actions that are pushing you towards change will help you make a list of the benefits of changing. For example, “I feel bad about the money I spend” can translate to “I will be happier with the way I manage my money.”
- Consider what is really important to you. For example, is being a good money manager important to you? Is providing for your family important? Do you like being able to pay your own way rather than rely on others?
- Visualise what life might be like if you change. Honestly assess the impact of your habits on your life. Will changing your behaviour ease some of the pressure that you feel? Will some aspects of life be harder? What could you do to mitigate the negative effects?
- Consider what your ‘rock bottom’ might be. Are you on that trajectory? How close are you? Could you avoid it by changing course now?
- Sometimes, our actions seem inevitable and automatic, but the truth is we can decide to take control. You don’t need to hit rock bottom to change. You might just decide that the pros of making a change outweigh the cons of continuing on your current trajectory.
We know the decision isn’t easy. A trained counsellor can give you some ideas on how to get started. If you’re having issues and want some guidance, give us a call on 1800 858 858.