Get practical support with your gambling problem Forum Recovery Tools Reasons for gambling – boredom

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  • #8062
    Steev
    Participant

    I am pretty sure that I have written about this before – but a huge trigger for me was boredom. It was the kind of boredom which meant that i would just automatically think about gambling – and if I was in an environment where it was possible then the worst would usually happen.

    My last “slip” happened like this. I had been working on deliveries and wanted a drink at the end of the shift, so stopped in a pub I didn’t know.
    It had slots. I sat opposite one machine and noticed that it had a win line. Someone had won but come straight off. “It might hold” was my thinking and before I even knew what I was doing a coin was going into the machine. It didn’t hold so more money went in and I may have had a small win but before long I had run out of the small amount I had on my person and was thinking about where the nearest cash point might be – how I could “hold” the machine whilst I was gone … how much cash I could afford to lose. Then it hit me – that I was not bored any more. Indeed my brain was overloaded with thoughts about how I could carry on gambling and of course the other lesser voice telling me that I was wrong to be carrying on gambling … a voice that I was ignoring. But over-riding all that was the thought that I WAS NO LONGER BORED. The reason for gambling was no longer there so I could stop now – whilst my losses were small.

    So noticing boredom is a trigger and what to do about it. I think I have two choices: 1) To fight the boredom – to find something else interesting to do which does not include gambling. In a pub situation it would be leaving the area where the machine is and finding something else to take my interest – talking to someone (something that I think I along with other gamblers am not good at. Or reading something available there or on my phone. I know that on-line addiction is more difficult – but getting out of the house and maybe talking to someone either online or by phone (a helpline if necessary) will take the edge off the boredom.
    Choice 2) is to become more comfortable with boredom.
    I have read in some books about co-dependancy that we tend to create what we had in our childhood. Because I had a chaotic childhood (gambling father and depressed mother) I never knew what I was going to come home to, whether it be a stand-up blazing row between them or the cold silent treatment I got when my mother was really down. So if things were on an even keel in later life, then it would be great for a short while but eventually I would feel that it was boring. And being bored I would need to spice things up again. When I was on my own and the only place I could visit outside my room was the local pub – then the fruit machine (slot) became my friend, so I played to relieve the boredom. Eventually that got hard wired into my brain and boredom = gambling.
    Co-dependency theory suggests that we make a friend of boredom. We do things that we may have thought of as boring – but find enjoyable in small doses and we string these out and try and make them as interesting as possible. I enjoyed writing but never could do it for very long, but started going to classes and did a stint as a performance poet. I also took up dancing – partly as a way of connecting with people. Walking has become a habit for me and I really enjoy it but I am sure that in my gambling days I would have found it boring.
    Being bored isn’t worth gambling for. It isn’t worth going into debt for. It isn’t work risking your health and well-being for. It isn’t worth risking your wealth for.
    Being bored is something we can work through – but I know it is a trigger that catches many … watch out for it and learn to work with it. If you have other ideas about it perhaps you might want to share them here. This could be the most boring thread on the forum!

    #8063
    Steev
    Participant

    is that you can’t edit it. But if I could, I would have added some stuff to the first story. To perhaps point out my errors – not checking first that the pub was not machine free. Sitting opposite a machine where I was going to be interested. The positive block was still carrying very little cash with me – so that I had to think about getting more money without too much damage being done (I think I lost around ten pounds) and of course it was then that I realised that boredom was the trigger. This was a valuable lesson and well worth a tenner. This was my last ever gamble.

    Another important point I missed is to say that gambling can quite often start as a positive solution to another problem. I WAS bored when I was in a bedsit in a strange town where I knew no-one. I WAS too shy to make friends – I DID need something to keep my brain occupied – I can see why I was gambling. I had to learn to solve those problems (the shyness, the boredom, the keeping occupied) in different ways. Whilst I was gambling I was just putting those problems on hold – I hadn’t solved them. More on this when I look at other underlying reasons for gambling …

    #8064
    charles
    Moderator

    Good post Steev. I would add to this. If boredom wasn’t a trigger for someone initially then it could certainly become one as they try to stop.

    Gambling takes up a lot of our time and thought. the ac of gambling, planning to gamble, obaining funds to gamble, covering our tracks and more. That is a lot of void to fill when we stop.

    Planning our time and filling that void is important. Don’t just sit there not gambling as that is when the boredom will come.

    #8065
    i-did-it
    Participant

    Thank you for sharing this Steev.
    When I first read your post I thought I am never bored – i have Netflix , cable TV but in truth I guess these are quite boring for those of us who crave a little excitement . Winning is exciting , losing is certainly not boring and keeps our minds very active.

    I also realise reading your post that I have recreated my own childhood to an extent- I have recreated my mother’s life which she was never quite satisfied with.

    Your post has been very illuminating.

    #8066
    Steev
    Participant

    I have recently realised that I have posted about why boredom is a trigger without really addressing what to do about it.

    As Charles says – having a plan is key. Working from our logical mind instead of our emotional one also helps.

    It strikes me that if boredom IS an emotional response, then it makes sense to look at what is causing that reaction. Is there a pattern? If I wasn’t bored what would I be feeling?

    For me – I have realized that boredom usually means that there is some sort of action that I need to take. Something that I am putting off – some form of procrastiation.

    And the real truth is that I can’t say what YOU can do about boredom. I am not an expert on what you are feeling. The biggest expert on you is YOU. Recovery from gambling is something that you need to find your own way out of. All I can do is support. I hope this helps!

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