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What Is Gambling Addiction helps determine if you or a loved one suffers the addiction, and what to do. We've included help from people who have been there, research and links to other helpful resources.

What Is Gambling Addiction?

One night I got into a poker game with some friends and lost $ 100.  I decided I would drive 100 miles to another state to gamble, there.  I lost $ 150 and drove home.  On my way home, I decided to get my last $ 100 from the ATM at my Credit Union, only to discover I was $ 4 short of the minimum.  So, I faked a deposit, inserted an empty deposit envelope, withdrew $ 100, and drove 100 miles to get my money back from the casino.  I'm sure I don't need to tell you, I lost...and got into a lot of trouble with the Credit Union.  If you had asked me, then, I would have told you that I don't have a gambling addiction problem.  What do you think?

Symptoms Of Gambling Addiction:  The fact is, no addict wants to admit they have a problem.  Let me ask you some questions that may reveal if you have a gambling addiction.
Do you have trouble meeting the monthly bills, but no trouble finding money to gamble?  Do you have trouble stopping once you've lost the amount you planned on gambling?  If you gamble with any kind of slot machine, do you remove your winnings or play until they are gone?  When you lose, do you complain that the game is rigged?

We addicts have trouble facing the fact that we, not they, are responsible for our own actions.  Here are some books to help determine what gambling addiction is and how to get control.  Actually, compulsive gamblers are some of the most optimistic people I've ever met.  Before they pay their bills, they will go and risk their money on the same game that, just last week, they said was rigged.  That's optimism!  Actually, it's delusion.  My mother used to ask me, "How do you think they pay for those large expensive buildings?"  The fact is, we pay for them.  The game is rigged...the house always wins.  You may hit a jackpot every now and then, but, over time, they win.  If the odds are even, the gambler who starts with the most money will win eventually.  Who has the most the casino?  By the way, the odds are heavily in their favor on every game. 

What Is Gambling Addiction?  My grandfather owned a cigar shop and card house in California.  He told my father he makes his money on people trying to get their money back.  The real money in gambling is taking advantage of desperate addicts.  The casinos know something about gambling addiction that we addicts need to learn...the Addiction Cycle.  We have an emptiness or negative self-image.  Signals around us suggest that, if we had more money, we could be fulfilled, buying whatever we desire.  Since we don't get enough income from our jobs, we feel the lottery, bingo, the card room or casino can provide us what we want.  After all, didn't uncle Joe just win another $ 15,000 jackpot?  He never loses! (He never tells you when he loses.)  So you take some money to go and cash in.  You lose...a lot.  You're so embarrassed and humiliated that your self-image is damaged even further.  The guilt compels you to try even harder next time with more money, so you can regain your pride...but you lose again, taking you even lower.  Until you do something to break the cycle, you'll grind yourself ever lower and more addicted.

Effects of Gambling Addiction:  The effects of compulsive gambling are almost immediately devastating.  One person I know used to visit Las Vegas on vacation and had a lot of fun.  They decided to retire in Las Vegas, so, they sold their house and moved.  Once there, they bought a condominium and banked the rest of their equity and life savings.  Within 3 years, their savings were gone and they were so deep in credit card debt they had to file bankruptcy.  In Reno and Las Vegas, you can get used luxury cars at very reasonable prices from car lots that specialize in giving gambling addicts money to use to get back the money they lost.  With debit cards and home equity lines of credit, you can literally pump your home into a slot machine one pull at a time.  Families are broken, lives are ruined, all because of someone fooling themselves into believing they can be fulfilled by a jackpot.

Gambling Addiction Solutions:  It used to be we could just avoid the places where gambling was legal... riverboats and a couple states.  Unfortunately, now states who still pretend to outlaw gambling have lotteries, race tracks, religious bingo games, card rooms and Indian Casino's popping up everywhere.  Then there's the online casino's to lure us even more.  If you manage to avoid all those, there's the stock market and risky get rich quick schemes that prey on the same addictions.  I strongly believe the arcades you see all over the land are just designed to train a new crop of little gamblers.  On the rare occasion that you win a game, you get tickets good in trade for prizes.  One of my nieces used to choose what prize she wanted and then set out to play enough games to get it...just like her adult relatives did with the slot machines.  Since gambling is everywhere, we need to get control of our problem before it destroys our families.

Work all you want on the symptom of gambling, but no treatment of the symptoms will heal you of the addiction.  The addiction started with that empty, negative self-image.  Once you've filled the emptiness, you're on the road to recovery.  But how?  You've already found out money won't do it because you've won a few times and just continued downward into addiction.  You've probably seen the emptiness of alcohol or drugs...even prescription drugs to control addiction.  All they do is replace one destructive addiction with another.  If you've been to a gamblers' anonymous meeting, you know the answer...the real help to your compulsive gambling addiction.  It isn't the 12 steps...they're just a way to get to the help.  The true help for gambling addiction...for any addiction, is God. He is the only power higher than us who understands our weakness and can help us.  He is the only one who can fill the emptiness that drives us into addictive behavior.  After He fills that void in us, He gives us the power to overcome any addiction.  If you want God's healing, just click on God help me.

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