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I Replaced Substance Addiction With Gambling: How Do I Prevent Developing Another Addiction?

You may have seen or heard in some version a thousand times; “I quit smoking, so I started eating.” “I quit drinking, and now all I eat is sugar.” There is always some version of addiction replacement available out there. Some of these are harmless, to a degree. No one should fault a person for giving up alcohol and replacing it with a reasonable amount of sugar. One causes liver failure and traffic accidents. The other one has adverse health effects but nothing so serious as cirrhosis of the liver.

The previous examples raise an interesting question. Are there unacceptable addiction replacements out there?

Gambling as an Addiction Replacement

Is gambling an acceptable tradeoff for giving up substance abuse? Like everything else, it depends. The previous sugar example falls short if you become so dependent on sugar that you proceed to destroy your body with its endless consumption. In that case, sugar would not be an innocent tradeoff. It is only a reasonable tradeoff if it can be controlled. As self-control seems to be an attribute that can be tricky to navigate, it might be best to avoid any pastimes that are notorious for addiction. Gambling is definitely one of those.

Safe Gambling Rules

If you think gambling is safe enough for you to try, adhering to the following guidelines can help you to gamble safely:

  • Stick to a budget
  • Only gamble as long as it is fun
  • Do not borrow money to keep on gambling
  • Do not miss out on social commitments or family obligations to gamble

Signs It’s Gone Too Far

If you think that your gambling has entered a gray area, you may want to reevaluate. Watch out for the following signs that could indicate that gambling has become a problem for you.

  • It is not fun anymore, but you are still doing it. Stop there. That is evidence that your gambling has reached the level of addiction.
  • You are losing friends and family because you are borrowing money from them.
  • You find yourself sinking further into debt.
  • Gambling and finding ways to gamble occupies your thoughts.

No one likes to think that they may become addicted to numerous substances or behaviors in their lifetime, but, unfortunately, it is a real possibility if you have already experienced addiction to continue that trend. The most important aspect of recovery is honesty, both to yourself and others. If you feel deep down that something is safe, then it probably is. But it could not hurt to have someone else holding you accountable just in case. Gambling with your recovery is never a safe bet.

It’s difficult for anyone to know if they are doing something out of addiction or if they’re doing it because it’s fun. Maybe it’s a little bit of both. But going home broke and not knowing how you’ll pay your next bill or who you’ll have to borrow money from isn’t fun. Gambling can be a great pastime if you can enjoy it responsibly. But if you find yourself or your relationships suffering from your gambling, it’s time to reach out. The Guest House can help. Call (855) 483-7800 for more information.