A relapse might be part of your journey when making a change to your gambling. Don’t lose courage: with time and practice, you can regain the confidence to control your gambling.
“Gary” is a frequent caller to our helpline who recently experienced a relapse. When he decided to quit gambling, he thought it would be ok if he kept just one of his online accounts open, in case he needed money. He was trying hard not to gamble, but then he found himself caught up in the excitement about an upcoming race and he gave in. The next day, he realised the temptation of having the account was too much for him, so he closed it.
He immediately felt stronger. Gary recognised his triggers, so the temptation became manageable.
Gary called the helpline and told a counsellor that he knew this relapse would not defeat him. This was not the end of his journey to stop gambling, it was just a diversion in his path.
When callers like Gary get back on track, they feel stronger. With time, they think back on the relapse as if it were a bad dream. They leave the relapse in the past. You can too!
After a relapse:
Stop for a moment
Realise: The relapse is an opportunity to learn about yourself and your triggers. Insight will make you stronger next time.
Identify your triggers
Think about your day: what provoked the urge to gamble? Sometimes, if we haven’t identified our triggers, the urge can seem irresistible.
It’s not: once you understand your triggers, you can guard yourself against them.
Learn from this relapse. Once you have identified your triggers, you can challenge them when they tempt you. Over time, they will lose their power.
Be kind to yourself, and seek support.
Make a plan to move on:
- It’s important to understand your emotions. Discuss what happened with someone you can trust. Together, you can make a plan to move on.
- Develop a list of possible triggers, and strategies to help you challenge them. Next time you’re confronted by a trigger, it will be easier to resist if you are prepared.
- Only carry small amounts of money.
- Seek professional support. A professional can help you develop strategies that will empower you to withstand urges that might otherwise feel out of control.
- Identify small milestones to help motivate you. You’re working hard: celebrate every milestone.
- Seek support from others on our forum. Many of our posters have also recovered from a relapse. You’re not alone: you can work on moving on together.
If you’re struggling with a relapse, chat with a counsellor. You can get started online or call the free Gambling Helpline to speak to a local service on 1800 858 858. You’ll speak confidentially with a trained counsellor who can share techniques to help you bounce back.