Relapse prevention

Giving up on gambling can make a big difference to your life. However, it can be quite challenging. There may be times when it feels impossible. Remember that lots of people have quit gambling and the techniques suggested through our website really do work. You will need to practice the skills you have learnt and get as much support as possible for what you are doing – don’t hesitate to get in touch with your loved ones or friends to provide encouragement and recognition for each success.

If setbacks occur and you revert to gambling, don’t be hard on yourself. You can always get back on track and use the experience to learn how to stop next time.

Forward planning

To anticipate and avoid lapses, you can:

  • Remind yourself of what your ‘at risk’ situations are.
  • Be aware of the decisions that might lead you to gamble.
  • Be familiar with the steps you can take to avoid or manage those situations.

You can write this down as a plan on a small card which you can keep in your pocket or wallet. Alternatively, you can rehearse it through audio or video recordings on your phone.

Dealing with lapses

Lapses are normal and can happen at any time when you are trying to stop gambling.

When a lapse does occur, remember to see this as an opportunity for learning. There are risk situations and new ways of coping that you have not yet identified for yourself. You need to refresh your plan and practice and apply the skills you have learnt. It may also help to re-read some of the self-help sections on our website.

Managing relapses

If you are experiencing lapses over and over again, you are going through a relapse with all its accompanying negative consequences. It may be time to revisit your reasons for change. Is your motivation flagging? Have you got stuck somewhere?

At this stage, you may want to talk to someone such as your partner, friend, or GP about what is going on for you, and consider seeking outside help.

The West Midlands Gambling Harms Clinic is delivered by Inclusion, which is part of the Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. The service offers free, confidential and specialist treatment and recovery for problem gambling for people aged 18 years and over and registered with a GP in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, Telford and Wrekin, Shropshire, Birmingham, Solihull, Black Country, Coventry, Warwickshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

Building a new life

If you have managed to follow the steps set out in our self-help section, you will be on your way to rediscovering what is really important for you and establishing a lifestyle that is meaningful to you.

In rebuilding your life free from gambling and gambling harms, you will be increasing your activities and resources across different areas:

  • Personal: including skills, good health, aspirations, hopes and coping abilities.
  • Physical: tangible assets such as a place to live and regular income.
  • Social: ties and connections to other people such as family, friends, work colleagues and neighbours.
  • Community/cultural: inclusion within communities that share similar values and beliefs.
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