Improving awareness, and understanding of your gambling
- Carry and keep a diary. Record the time and money spent (including wins and losses). Recording patterns and associations can help you develop more awareness around causes and triggers. You can also record losses on an app, e.g. Stay on Track App and you can check how much you spend on an online gambling calculator here.
- Untangle what you know about your gambling. Write down how gambling impacts on you and others, and write down positives of not gambling.
- Learn about your gambling activity. What are the odds of winning? What is the method of payment? e.g. poker machines give free spins in lieu of cash rewards. How often have you cashed in your free spins?
- Know that it is particularly unhelpful to gamble when you are depressed or upset, or when taking drugs or alcohol.
Learn what you can about gambling and addiction and what other people have found helpful. You can get free texts with facts, and encouraging messages via SMS to remind you about your commitment to reduce your gambling (http://www.problemgambling.sa.gov.au/help-and-support/freesmsreminders)
- It can be helpful to understand other people’s experiences. There is an online 100 day challenge http://www.fightforyou.com.au/ where you can hear about others experiences, and you also can join the challenge and record your progress privately.
- If talking about gambling to your family and friends is difficult, counselling could be helpful. It is confidential.
Focus on your wellbeing and other interests
- Meditation and relaxation techniques can help. There are lots of free meditation and mindfulness apps and resources online. For example, you can sign up to receive 10 min daily meditations via email or an app at www.headspace.com
- It can help to return to old hobbies, or pick up a new hobby. Or commit some of your time to volunteer work.
- Focus on the things you enjoy doing, and those you love and things that are fun – connecting to others and the world around you.
- Try and plan to spend time with family or friends, or doing hobbies at times you might be likely to gamble.Tell others about your decision to cut down on gambling. Talk to friends and family that you trust and ask for understanding. It can be helpful to share your story.
- Get out into nature and get some exercise and fresh air.
- Try avoid venues. Explain to your friends why you can’t meet to socialise in clubs. Take different routes when driving or walking so that you do not pass venues.
- Only carry a limited amount of cash on you and leave your ATM and credit cards at home.
- Ask your bank to lower the amount of money you can access each day with your ATM card.
- Keep track of the money you spend here.
- Self-exclusion at multiple clubs can help. Learn more about self-exclusion here (http://www.gamblingandracing.act.gov.au/gambling-help/exclusion-support).
- You can download a Safer Gambling app which helps manage your movement in and around venues, and gives you support options if you find yourself in a difficult situation.
- Professional help for you (and your friends/family) can be really helpful. You don’t have to quit gambling to seek professional support. You can get free support through the ACT Gambling and Counselling Support Service (ACTGCSS) on 1800 858 858 or online at Gamblers Help Online.
- Getting financial support can help. You can get free financial counselling through Care Financial on 1800 007 007.
Tips if you do decide to gamble
- If you do gamble, set a time and money limit in advance. Tell others about it.
- Take frequent breaks.
- Ask a second or third party to help.
- Set a time and money limit. Ask your friends to keep an eye on you – or take your wallet from you if you need to go to a venue.
- Keep a record of wins and losses.
- Try not to chase your losses. It is best to walk away.
- Try not to gamble alone. But be wary of gambling with friends that gamble heavily.
“I’d encourage them to try remember other things that they love”