The Unshakable Shame of a Gambler

Feb 27, 2011 by

“Is it true that you lost all your money at the Atlantis?” “You aren’t really going to play that, are you?” “Have you fallen off the wagon?” “Aren’t you afraid your husband will get mad at you?” “I just won my gamblaholic friend $5.”

Is it possible that you can reach a point that gambling doesn’t control your life anymore?


It is possible to get to that point within yourself where you can move on.

You’ve done the work you needed to do on your problem gambling. You knew you had given away too much of your power to gambling and you made the choice to take it back. You continue to make adjustments in your life that keep you healthy and safe. You are responsible with your money. You may even be able to do a little bit of gambling and stay aware of your feelings.

What happens when others don’t approve? What happens when they won’t let you change?

The opening blog statements have all been said to me. My compulsive gambling is a part of my life that I’ve put behind me. I still get the snide comments. People look down on me for having a gambling problem. Their words still hurt my feelings. I can’t help but wonder if I will ever be able shake the shame that I earned from being so irresponsible and reckless.

Sometimes I still get a tiny voice that tells me they must be right so I may as well go back to my old ways. I am at a place in life where that voice gets squashed pretty quickly. They aren’t right. They don’t know me anymore. They probably haven’t given me a chance to change in their eyes. And, quite frankly, that’s their loss and their own baggage. I may be ashamed of who I was, but I’m not that person anymore and I’m proud of who I am with my gambling today.

Believing the bad things they say is like taking the poison they have given you. Negative comments like that can really upset the balance you are creating in your life. Please don’t leave your life in their hands. You know what’s best for you. You know how far you’ve come. Surround yourself with good, positive people so that the unsupportive ones won’t have as much influence over you. Give yourself the recognition you deserve. You know whether or not you’re doing the work to improve your life. Besides, chances are good that the people throwing the biggest stones live in their own glass houses.

Remember what’s real!

Here are some ways to remind yourself of your progress:

  • Keep a journal saying positive things about your journey. Be your own fan club president. This may be difficult at first, but if you keep at it things will get easier.
  • Contact a positive friend. Pick someone who always puts a smile on your face and let them remind you how great you are. Maybe even ask them to write a letter talking about your positive qualities. Keep the letter close by and read it often.
  • Talk to a loved one and share your feelings. I used gambling to numb out. I’ve worked endlessly on learning what I was feeling. Putting my emotions into words and working through them really helps me get back on the right foot again.
  • Participate in your favorite healthy activity and shake it off.

It’s better to be proactive about these things and build up your confidence first so the naysayers won’t break you down as easily. If you do find yourself in need these tips will come in handy.

People are usually pretty quick to point the finger and say shame on you. The truth of the matter is shame on them. You deserve support, caring and kindness. Condemnation is their problem, not yours.

Keep your course. Remember what’s real. Live your own life with feeling.

You never know whose life you will touch by sharing! Your choice matters!


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