Addictions are compulsive behaviors that take over your life. They can come through outside substances like drugs, alcohol, even food. Or they can come through behaviors that charge up the body’s own feel-good responses. They are meant, initially, to bring relief, comfort, excitement, or pleasure. They promise fulfillment and a respite from suffering. They are not a shortcut to happiness; they are a dead end of despair and compulsion. They do not provide control; they take control.
As we take a closer look at addictive behavior, let’s focus on the topic of gambling addiction. Is Gambling an issue for you? Below is a gambling personality questionnaire. Answering these questions honestly will be valuable to you:
- Consider the things in your life of value to you. They can include family and friends or activities you enjoy or find meaningful. How much time do you devote to each of these valuable things?
- How much time do you devote to gambling during a week? Contrast that amount of time with the time you put down for the valuable things in your life.
- Think about how you feel when you gamble. Are those feelings negative or positive? If they are negative, consider why you engage in an activity that promotes negative feelings. If they are positive, how long do those positive feelings last? Do they outlast the gambling activity itself, or do they dissipate as soon as you have stopped gambling?
- With busy lives, often decisions must be made about how to spend our time. Think back over the past six months. How many times has a decision about whether or not to gamble come up against a need to do another activity? This could be time spent with family or friends, time spent working, even time spent relaxing or sleeping. How often has gambling won out over these other things, and at what cost?
- When you think back over your gambling, does it seem like you enjoyed it more at the beginning or now? If it has changed over time, can you remember when the transition occurred?
- Do you feel isolated from your family and friends when you gamble? Do you feel unable to understand the way you feel about it? Do you feel, by being out of touch with gambling, they are out of touch with you?
- When other people have questioned you about your gambling, how have you felt? Do you feel they are invading your privacy, your “private space,” by questioning you? Do you feel defensive about your gambling?
- How honest have you been with others about how much time/or how much money you spend gambling? Do you find yourself trying to hide or cover up the truth about your gambling?
- When you are in the midst of gambling, do you ever feel like you are “getting away” with something? How does that make you feel? Bad? Excited?
- Consider your gambling over the past six months. Now consider your spirituality over the past six months. Has your gambling increased and your spirituality decreased? Have you missed your connection with God? Would you be willing to alter your gambling behavior if it meant being closer to the Lord?
- Think about all the things gambling promises. Honestly evaluate how much of a motivation those things are in your life. Do you desire them too much? Is gambling really the way to achieve them?
- When you are gambling, do you engage in activities you feel guilty about? Do you drink or smoke excessively while gambling? Do you flirt or engage in sexual conversation with other gamblers? Does gambling strengthen your resolve to live a godly life, or does it weaken you?
- If you had to give up gambling or your loves ones tomorrow, which would you choose? Having chosen to give up the first thing — gambling — did you still wish you could someone continue to have them both? Were you relieved it was only a question and not a reality?
I wish I could say gambling addiction gets the kind of attention and resources as alcohol and drug abuse, but it does not. If you are struggling with gambling addiction, The Center • A Place of HOPE is here to help. Contact us today at 1-888-771-5166 and begin the healing process. Or, fill out this form, and one of our Care Specialists will be better able to assist you.