Tips for problem gamblers during the holiday season

In my previous post, I talked about general tips on coping during the holidays. But if you are recovering from a gambling problem, there are additional challenges. This is the shopping season and the time of big sales. There are a lot of deals and it is tempting to over-spend. A big debt can be a trigger for relapse. It’s dangerous because it can easily lead to thinking of ways to make quick money.

Stay focused on your budget. Keep your receipts and be accountable. Controlling finances and making restitution payments are a major part of recovery from a gambling problem. If you need help staying on track, get your partner or a family member involved.

When spending time with family and friends, be careful about having a few drinks. Remember, drinking lowers inhibitions. What do you do when you get together? Do you play cards? Make sure you have a safety plan around entertainment.

Control your car so that you are not dependent on someone else for transportation. Have enough money for a taxi. Be prepared to leave some functions in order to protect yourself.

Hopefully, families and friends will be sensitive to your recovery and not give you lottery tickets. However, if you receive one, plan what you will do with it.

If you successfully navigated through all the activities, look back at how you did it? What went well, what would you do differently next time? Be cautious about being complacent. Some people survive the holidays only to relapse in January.

Be well everyone!

M. Linda Bell
Chief Executive Officer – Bellwood Health Services

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