In the early days of quitting gambling, I believe adding as many “roadblocks” as possible is the best approach. Self-excluding, placing blocks on your bank or credit card account, installing blocking software and turning over all finances to a family member, friend or professional are all great ideas.
In fact, someone that is trying to quit gambling should do all of these and more.
But I didn’t stop there and I would encourage others not to stop there either. The long-term goal isn’t to simply avoid gambling, but to gain a new insight and perspective on your relationship with gambling.
Education, Knowledge & Perspective
The real freedom from gambling addiction—and all addiction—comes from new knowledge that provides you with a deeper insight and a new perspective. While it’s not required in order to quit, I do think it’s required to recover.
As I’ve continued to learn more about how games are designed, the mental tricks they can play on your brain, and the things that happen when gambling crosses over from entertainment to addiction, it’s been easier and easier to choose life as a non-gambler.
Allen Carr is his incredible book refers to the illusion of gambling and I think that’s the perfect analogy. Just as a magic trick loses its fascinating nature once you know how it’s performed, gambling loses its fascination—and addictive grip—once you see and understand how it works.
Once you have the education and knowledge, your perspective changes and you are able to look at the same game and come to a different conclusion—that you are better off being a non-gambler and choosing not to play.
That’s the big difference. Roadblocks remove your ability to make a choice. Education and knowledge restore your ability to make a choice.
And with new gambling sites popping up every day and new places to place wagers, playing “whack-a-mole” and trying to block access is becoming increasingly more of an impossible task.
So while roadblocks help in the early days, long-term success requires gaining a new perspective and that’s exactly what knowledge and education can do for us.