The myth is that everyone who develops a problem with gambling or anything else is on a one-way street moving towards that problem, they hit rock bottom and then they can start to work their way out. That can happen but more often people dance around between social gambling and a problem with gambling, often for decades.
When life is hard, if we have the grief of losing a loved one, a job, a way of life, stress, anxiety, depression, or fighting the systemic inequities of life, when these things get us down, gambling can numb us out. It is very effective at temporarily taking away the pain. Unfortunately, later the pain we were avoiding is still there plus now we have more debt or less money.
If the situations in our lives improve often gambling becomes less of a problem. That is great for the moment, but our brain remembers how good that temporary relief of gambling felt and the next time life bites us, we are likely to go back where we were with gambling or will build to those levels of gambling very quickly.
Often the best time to ask for help is in those times when life is better and we can see that gambling was taking up too much time, too much money, was altering our mood in harmful ways and was interfering with our relationships. Those moments of stepping back are great moments to make sure that the next time life gets hard you have safer tools to use to get yourself through it than gambling.
If you are ready to access gambling support, whether you are the gambler or are affected by someone's gambling, there is free and confidential support available in the province of British Columbia. If you live in the Vancouver, North Shore or Tricities, please call Margaret at 778-773-3936. If you live outside the area you can call 1-888-795-6111 to find the support person near you. Or click on the links at the bottom of the page.