Arnie Wexler, Gambling Addiction Interventionist
Compulsive gamblers sometimes show a profit from a single session but in the end they cannot keep it. They will lose it all and more, because of their addiction.
A win is never big enough so they keep playing and dream that this time they will get the “Big Win” they crave. When it does (sometimes it does) it is still not enough so they keep gambling and lose more.
Just like “normal people” who win and buy something with the money, the compulsive gambler will only see a win as a sign that they are now on a winning streak so they risk more. They cannot stop the chase to win more and more. The human drama continues when they lose and chase the losses with even more money. The cycle continues.
Compulsive gambling is a progressive disease, much like an addiction to alcohol or drugs. In many cases, the gambling addiction is hidden until the gambler becomes unable to function without gambling. He or she begins to exclude all other activities from their lives. Their ability to stop gambling often results in financial devastation, broken homes, employment problems, criminal acts and suicide attempts.
The gambler will eventually remove themselves from reality to the point of being totally obsessed with gambling. They will do anything to get money with which to stay in “action”. They will spend all their time and energy developing schemes in order to get more cash to continue gambling. Lying becomes a way of life for the gambler. They will try to convince family, friends and even themselves that their lies are actually truths and they will believe there own lies.
Compulsive gamblers will hit a real bottom and it is then that some will try to do something to recover but most gamblers only want to stop but can’t. They are simply unable to beat the addiction. Most even at that point will keep gambling. Some will end up in jail, some will attempt suicide, others will die from their addiction as they will not take care of their health. Perhaps the stress will kill them.
A small group of addicted gamblers will finally seek and find real help but the real trick is to get in to real recovery. Not just abstinence. By the time the gambler comes for help they have broken brains. They are mentally ill. To get real recovery, the gambler needs to work on themselves one day at a time.
Compulsive gamblers who want to recover and get a stress free life must find a “sponsor” someone who will do their thinking for them. A “sponsor” should be someone who has been in recovery for some time and has a real knowledge of how compulsive gamblers feel. After some time in recovery their brain will start to function normally and they will see their problem for what it is: a health and wealth issue. They will become productive on their job and become a good father or husband. Recovery is a process and does not happen without a lot of work. The gambler must choose to make a moral and financial inventory. People can and do recover.