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Hitting Rock Bottom, Don’t Wait

Many people believe that addicts will not change their behavior until they hit “rock bottom”. This means that a person loses everything that was important and has nowhere to go but up. Compulsive gamblers are not thought to be an exception to this rule. Although many compulsive gamblers take multiple attempts before they discover a way to remain abstinent, and some do have to lose everything before they make a change, I do not believe that this has to be true for all. I have worked with addicts who will feel as though they have hit rock bottom, but the fact is that they were improving prior to their rock-bottom losses.

Sometimes gamblers have maintained a period of abstinence, but their relapse can overshadow their successes. People can get caught up on focusing on the actual relapse instead of showing some appreciation of recent successes.Often times gamblers feel as though this is a rock-bottom experience because they do not know how to gain self-esteem from their successes and they over-emphasize their failures. The truth is that in order to make a successful plan, a person needs to frequently change it. If a person relapses, it is likely due to the fact that part of this plan had failed, which means that it needs to be changed accordingly. Good plans continue to change over time. If they do not change, they do not often succeed.

I do not write this to make excuses for an addict’s failures, but rather to point out that if you think you have a problem with gambling, or any other addictive behavior, seeking out treatment before you feel as though you have lost everything is highly recommended. All too often, potential clients procrastinate what they could have changed and plans that they could have made until they have lost their families, homes, jobs, and many other things. Don’t wait…

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