Tuesday, February 3, 2015
Working with gambling clients can be a difficult task at times. In this writer's opinion, gamblers are a rare addict, they have the ability to camouflage or mask their honesty, and appear to present themselves as in control of their addiction. When I see this behavior with clients or potential referrals (after the initial intervention) I use caution. We want our clients and referred patients to control their thoughts, and then their behavior. Trying to control the addiction as a compulsive or pathological gambler will not work. Gamblers present themselves as being in control, especially with their finances. Gamblers are notorious with fantasy thinking behavior, they seem to believe that their budgeting or financial situation is always under control just as their gambling is always under control. This dissociation with reality is part of the gambler's way of how they believe they are controlling their own addiction. Regardless of the type of gambler, (there are many types of gamblers) they continue to live out what this writer calls, the gamblers fallacy. Some days they control their spending, and may not even gamble, but it is only a matter of time, (the next hour, or next day) that they reward themselves for not gambling (validate this to themselves) by gambling again, the addiction cycle continues. The gambler is trying to control the addiction, instead of trying to control their thoughts. The impulsive thinking of the gambler is fueled by what they can win, or how they think the "big win" will bail them out and life will be good. The chase is on for the gambler. Unfortunately, that fantasy thinking turns quickly into the gamblers fallacy, where reality is distorted and manipulated with insidious behavior for the gambler. Gamblers are only controlling their continued destruction of self. The interpersonal relationships between the gambler and others begin to crumble. The gambler is now avoiding his or her loved ones, and seeks to control the addiction. Spiraling out of control, the gambling usually hits rock bottom, (sometimes this happens more then once to each gambler) and the gambler is forced to step out of their fantasy thinking world. It becomes clear to the gambler that their own illusion of trying to control the gambling will not benefit them anymore. The path to financial, emotional and psychological despair magnifies the gamblers current situation. This is when the gambler begins to heal, acceptance is developing for the gambler, and being honest for the first time in the gambler's life starts to get better. Making amends with all the gamblers destruction behavior to people becomes a goal. They know longer are willing to try and control the addiction, but are ready to control their thoughts and begin to work on self. One thought at a time. Learning how to identify their unmet needs and replace them with met needs. Addiction is the substitute satisfaction of an unmet need. The gambler begins to recognize the urges and triggers by understanding (as they play it forward in their head- and remember the past gambling behavior with consequences) they know they can gamble, but they are choosing not to. We want the gambler to find balance again with their own mental health, and start new activities, building new, safe, healthy interpersonal relationships. Exercise and mediation will play a pivotal role in self getting balanced. A higher power will help the gambler with their own faith, and understanding there is something bigger then self that can help navigate through life's struggles in a healthy met need. As the gambler works on self, learning how to balance their thoughts, and every day routine, their higher power gets stronger each day bringing fun back into their life. The gambler begins to have fun without gambling and will learn how validate their clean time with more clean time having fun in their life as they stay in the moment. The control of self is the transformation for the gambler to be mindful of where they are at right now in life! Stay in your health, stay in the moment.
Monday, February 2, 2015
We talk about how important positive energy is in the program we implement with all of our clients, addict or not. Energy can be the missing link to some people who waste to much negative energy on their daily routine in life. I was in a video Skype meeting a couple weeks ago sharing my thoughts on energy with a day program for adolescents and adults who struggle with self esteem issues and depression/anxiety with some addiction if I remember correctly. Each day self has the opportunity to control how much energy they want to put forth on things that they can not control. We used a example with one of their clients who shared she was going through a relationship and was looking to make this particular relationship work this time she noted with a strong voice! Apparently, she was recently divorced, and her ex husband was very abusive, and a addict. She began to tell the group how deflated, tired, and appeared to be frustrated that she was not getting anything out of her day program. I interjected with how her day started before the online group with me and her staff. She looked up at the monitor, and asked what did I mean. I then asked again, what she did this particular morning before coming to group. She quickly rattled off her medications, shower, did not eat, did not do her assignment for group, and got on the phone with her current boyfriend and talked for 15 minuets, and was late for group. This writer slowly, began to identify with her how much wasted energy she used to start her day. We as a group examined how not eating breakfast, not doing her homework, and worrying about her boy friend took a tremendous amount of energy out of her, that it proved to be a waste of energy. Then I suggested how we could role play her morning, and try to get positive energy going, therefore; when her thoughts would go to a negative, she could focus more on her self and the positives she had completed this morning. She could talk to her boyfriend after group, sharing her positives and how she is learning to be mindful of her energy! The exercise in this particular case was educational and positive I was told from her and the group! The point is that self, you right now when you are reading this blog, can control and be mindful of where you are allowing your energy to go! Try to think of where you put energy on a daily basis? Are you wasting energy on things you can not control and then create more negative energy that can cause you to get out of your health? You have the power to put your energy into what ever you want. Stay in your health, stay in the moment.