Gambling Lesson 4: Your Program of Recovery

Developing a program of recovery

In the event you have completed lessons one through three and are still with us, you have most likely begun to ask yourself  “Why get lost in provocative thought?”  If you feel you have completed a thought in its entirety, then relax. Again, scan the areas of the face for tightness, take in a deep breath and let it out slowly.  Do not let another thought obstruct your mind. Stay focused. Attempt to keep the space between your mind and body clear. There will be days, due to external circumstances, that redirecting thoughts will be difficult.  It may take two or three breathes to gain access to self-control.  Be patient. It took a lifetime of conditioning to always have our minds racing in thought.These ills will take time to restore themselves.Nevertheless, you are doing fine. Please continue to relax, while focusing on keeping your mind clear.  Enjoy.

Welcome.  We are pleased that you have come this far and hope you are beginning to experience new freedoms, that strife and conflict have been minimized, while resolution and peace are acknowledged to be within reach.  It is not intended that thoughts be controlled but that we become consciously aware of their purpose.  Thinking should be deliberate, involving the brain, whether it’s purpose is to relax, for humor or to solve complex problems.  Thoughts should be intentionally invited into the process.

Lesson four : Your Program of Recovery

The itinerary set forth is meant to engender self discovery.  You are cautioned to consider outside influences, they can be perceived as manipulations of sorts.  Our purpose is simply to provide information that may be useful in broadening preexisting perspectives.

The addict now begins to develop a program of recovery designed to meet his/her needs and expectations.  This can be a painstaking endeavor when met with resistance.  Self-defeating scripts have long defined the temperament of the addict. Those who acknowledge the entrapments of  immediate gratification find themselves less resistant to recovery.

While learning to credit the attempt, the recovering addict is unlikely to sabotage him or herself by allowing frustration to dominate the psyche.  A change in perspective has begun, falling short of expectations no longer results in mutilations of the spirit. The once fragmented mind, body and soul have united,  and healing is embraced.  Alternative living solutions have been sought, resulting in the development of a program of recovery.  Like a wounded soldier suffering from war injuries and battle fatigue, recovery will entail healing physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

Refraining from physical temptations will be the initial challenge.  Developing a program specifically designed to avoid what seemed to be natural pleasures may not be an easy task, despite the severity of consequences. The addict has created a sophisticated system of denial. 

Ill feelings of guilt, shame, anger, fear and resentments lead to worry, strife, anxiety and depression.  Maladjusted and disillusioned drama eventually takes its toll, depleting the spirit of its animation while smothering the soul beneath emotional carnage.  Constructing a program will constitute effects of change.  We begin in areas where unmanageability is most apparent such as deteriorated relationships, including employment, finances, careers, emotional and mental stability, self worth and integrity. Understanding the effects of internal factors such as cross addiction, sexuality, culture and lifestyles is imperative.  Special needs are critical factors in determining the direction of recovery.  More will be covered on external factors in the biopsychosocial review.

Many gambling addicts have co-existing disorders. Depression, anxiety, drug and or alcohol abuse/dependence may be contributing factors that need to be identified and included in treatment modalities. Issues to be considered:

  • are there medical conditions,
  • emotional complications
  • history of relapse
  • readiness of change
  • are the living conditions conducive to recovery

Addicts generally struggle with consistency where trust is involved; both giving and receiving it can be a difficult task.  When things become stable, some will begin chasing the failure. The high of being aroused by fear, threats and insecurities entices the addict into action, only to crash and burn again. Working through the denial of such scripts must be a scrupulous endeavor. Being asked to let go of what has defined the individual for so long, will be challenging. You have arrived at a place in life where you admit to having betrayed your own value system.  You no longer trust or believe in yourself and are not likely to be trusting of others regardless of the need for help.

We do not suggest that one should walk into heavy traffic blindfolded; we advise that discrete steps be taken to ensure safety and security in avoiding future mishaps.  Letting someone know what is going on, sharing your experiences, and trusting that you will not be judged is very important. The self betrayer finds letting go an extremely difficult proposition.  One who is open to healing and willing to experience life in all its forms is more likely to surrender. It is not as important who or how we ask for help as it is that we do seek intervention, and continue to be willing to discover through education, books, meetings, a sponsor and support group. In an attempt to put our past behind us, we must be careful not to slip into morbid reflection.  Make no mistake, committing to recovery means going after it with the same conviction time and energy used to satisfy the desires of addictive.

There are those who would suggest that a program results in being programmed or brain washed.  Some would agree that their brains were in need of a good washing. Whatever the case, throughout the course of developing a program of recovery, priorities will take on different characteristics as specific needs come to light. The newcomer may rely primarily on meetings, a sponsor and the group.  A seasoned veteran may depend heavily on dedication to the twelve steps,the big book or  working with others. As one gains time, their horizons broaden, new relationships form, a support group develops, experience, strength, and hopes are shared. Suggestions are accepted and appreciated; hopelessness and despair have been replaced with acceptance and a sense of belonging. 

Selfishness and self-seeking pleasure are no longer the primary function of the addict.  A willingness to lead by example has become second nature. If you find yourself “needing” a meeting, there is a good chance you have an underdeveloped program of recovery. A program consists of many useful tools.  A sponsor, outlets used to vent, prayer, a home group, support group, steps, meditation, meetings and readings can all be used.  Constructing and practicing a complete program of recovery generally eliminates the absolute need for meetings other outlets have been established.  This is not to say meetings are not desired and necessary for newcomers, or those dealing with stressful situations.  What is being suggested is that life is often complicated and to insure stability a program of recovery should be diverse – an expansion of insurance if you will.

What you eat is what you are, what you think is who you will become.  It is critical that you find and develop a diet of recovery that suits your specific needs. As you begin to heal, your needs will change, resulting in a shift of priorities in your program. There will be times when a particular aspect of recovery will be of significant importance and relied on heavily while other areas will receive less focus.  The important thing to remember is that a program consists of many avenues, all of which return you home safely. Thank you.