When a compulsive gambler is in recovery, feeling guilty is one of the toughest areas to resolve for some people. When a gambler finally makes the conscious decision to stop gambling, reality sets in for the first time in a long time. When they take finally take stock in themselves they see all the damage they caused. Some people stop right before it’s too late and they have a few assets left. Then the compulsive gambler thinks they’re in control and once again go back to gambling. The next time the destruction is twice as worse. The feelings of guilt increase until they finally are willing to face they have a gambling problem.
Through various discussions with compulsive gamblers, I found a majority felt guilty and ashamed about the following:
* Feeling guilty you lied to your family and friends
* Feeling ashamed that your family and friends know you have a problem gambling
* Feeling guilty that friends and family may never trust you again
* Feeling guilty and ashamed knowing how much money you lost that could have been better spent.
* Feeling guilty you didn’t spend enough time with your children.
* Feeling guilty about your self destructive behavior
* Feeling guilty you didn’t go to relatives and friends events (birthdays, graduations etc.)
In time people will forgive the compulsive gambler, but can the compulsive gambler forgive them selves?
Friends and family will come around if the compulsive gambler keeps their word from now on. Once the gambler tells you they stop gambling, they must stick to it. If not they will lose credibility. Trust is very important both for the compulsive gambler and for the family and friends. People have to learn to trust compulsive gamblers all over again. In time they will if the compulsive gambler is willing to stop gambling.
Even though a compulsive gambler made numerous mistakes, they can recover and they can move forward. It’s human nature to learn from your mistakes. No one is going to give the compulsive gambler the death penalty for gambling. A lot of gamblers feel this way when their world comes crumbling down.
Take the time to improve your quality of life and the compulsive gambler’s feelings of guilt will diminish over time.