Are You a Secret Gambler and is it Ruining Your Life?
The picture of compulsive gamblers as flamboyant and conspicuous is not always the case as some gamblers try to hide their gambling problem.Â Many people want to stop gambling and try to hide the amounts they lose and the lengths they will go to supply their habits.Â Does any of this sound familiar?Â You or someone you know may sell or pawn items of value to get more money to gamble.Â Sometimes secret gamblers are deeply in debt on credit cards or owe money to finance companies or even loan sharks.
There are even compulsive gamblers who have turned to prostitution or larceny, yes some will sell their bodies and others will turn to stealing to supply a gambling habit that is out of control.Â Any or all of these behaviors is obviously very serious, but there is one point that should be made clear.Â It is never too late to stop and it is never impossible.Â Any gambler can stop, can regain his or her life and self respect.
I have worked with hundreds of people who had a behavior that was out of control and one thing I have learned is that age and strength of addiction is no barrier.Â One of the biggest reasons that people are secret gamblers is because they do not want to lose social standing or even lose a job. Others may fear that their loved ones will leave them or not love them anymore if they admit they have a gambling problem.Â I have had people tell me they were surprised when a loved one not only accepted them and their gambling problem, but also supported him or her when seeking help.
If you think that a gambling problem means you don't fit into society or that it is the mark of a loser, I invite you to go to a meeting of Gamblers Anonymous.Â You may be shocked to see people from all walks of life, even doctors and lawyers, who have admitted they have a problem with gambling and work every day to recover from the devastating effects it has had on their lives.Â You are not different and you are not worthless because you have a problem, but you are human and have something in common with many people.
You may get some comfort from that fact, but before you get too comfortable, let's set the record straight, you can get help.Â You can change.Â It isn't as difficult as it may seem and it certainly isn't impossible.Â Is it painful?Â Yes.Â Is it worth it?Â Definitely.Â I recommend a trip to the local GA meeting or at least calling them on their toll free line.Â You don't have to tell them who you are, but you can get some information, that is a good first step, then, you can go to a meeting and see for yourself that you are not alone and you, like others, can do it.Â Don't give up.