For someone recovering from a gambling addiction problem going to Las Vegas presents the ultimate challenge. At every turn there is a slot machine or a dealer just inviting you to sit down for a few minutes and try your luck. Las Vegas is the gambling Mecca of the United States, if not the world. Indeed, the biggest gamble for a recovering addict may be going there at all.
Indeed, Las Vegas is one of those cities that invite us to act impulsively on our urges and it has gotten the better of many of us. Even some very key figures have made headlines for their gambling activity, Charles Barkley and Bill Bennett just to name a couple. While many gamblers may not have the ability to put as much money at risk as those two individuals, betting can still lead to problems.
For many, betting is nothing more than an entertainment mechanism, much like the movies or a theme park. They go knowing how much they have to spend and are entertained by the sport and thrill of it. However, once the money runs out, or once they reach a goal in their winnings, they know it is time to leave.
However, the addicted gambler has no such self control. Oftentimes, the addicted gambler cannot walk away. If they do, it is usually not long before they find themselves back at the table or slots, reinforcing the old habits of playing wide variety of gambling games such as poker, horse betting etc.
So, how does one survive being a recovering gambling addict in the city known for that very activity? There are a number of suggestions.
Avoidance. If possible, do not go to Las Vegas at all. If a trip must be made for business or family reasons, try to plan busy days doing other things so that the opportunity to gamble will not present itself as often. Avoiding Vegas may not be an option. Avoiding gambling is. Postponement. When the opportunity does come up to gamble, and it likely will, make a deal with yourself to not give into any urges immediately. Wait half an hour, then make a decision. Chances are, the temptation will still be there. But at least you have limited the time spent gambling. Accountability. If you are there on a business trip with a co-worker, do not be afraid to tell him or her about your past history. Check to see if they would help keep you from gambling by reminding you of the grim realities of the situation – that being the house always wins. Limiting funds. If you are planning on going out for the night, take only the cash you need for the activity you are planning on doing, plus a little additional spending money. Leave the rest of your money, credit cards and debit cards in the room safe in your hotel. Take your spouse. Chances are your wife or husband knows about the problem and has seen the effects it can have. Giving them total control of the finances during the trip can help avoid falling into the gambling trap. At the same time, a husband or wife that does this voluntarily should not be confrontational or ask the arrangement be changed during the trip at any point.