Conversations with my compulsive gambling brain

This is a very powerful post showing how gambling addiction really works. One of our members described a daily conversation with his gambling-compulsive brain like this:

Compulsive Brain (Creating trigger): You are way behind on bills again! You need to gamble! It will solve everything because you will win a jackpot!

Me: Yeah, I wish.

Compulsive Brain (Pushing): Right?! Come on, let’s go! Do you know how happy your partner will be if you win a lot of bill money?

Me: But what if we lose money instead?

Compulsive Brain (Emotional argument): You’ve lost so much the last few times. It’s definitely time for you to hit a jackpot.

Me: That’s true.

Compulsive Brain (Pushing): Just take $xxx from the bank. If you can double it, that will help with the bills.

Me: We always say that, but we always play everything back.

Compulsive Brain: This time, you won’t.

Me: How do you know?

Compulsive Brain: Simple, because you really need the money!

Me: I want to, but I’m scared we will put the money back.

Compulsive Brain (Switching tactics): They have that good restaurant you like, and it’s free!

Me: I do like that restaurant.

Compulsive Brain (New Push): You must pay back that money you “borrowed” before the person finds out you “borrowed” it.

Me: Last time we gambled, we had enough to pay that back 4 times over. But, we never cashed out!

Compulsive Brain: But, we will now.

Me: I don’t know.

Compulsive: Remember that time you walked away with $xxxx. You can do it again. Just be strong!

Me: Yeah, but what about when we broke the gambler’s box to get money?

Compulsive Brain: It was a rough night. You will win today, though! I know you will! Don’t you want to get these bills caught up?

Me: It will take 10 years to pay these bills.

Compulsive Brain: Not if you win a jackpot!

Me: Daydreams of winning a big jackpot…

Compulsive Brain (Egging on): Exactly! We could pay so many bills!

Me: We’ve won many jackpots, and we rarely keep them.

Compulsive Brain: We will today!

Me: So many bills. What if we win a jackpot and we cashed out?

Compulsive Brain (Egging on): Let’s get the bill money!

Me: All these bills are because of you.

Compulsive Brain (Ignoring argument): YOU WILL WIN A JACKPOT TODAY!

Me: Sigh.

These are the thoughts I have to conquer daily.

Can you relate to it? What are your initial trigger arguments?

Final comment:

For this user, the trigger is winning money to pay the bills. The compulsive brain keeps pushing arguments in the other direction even if the person logically knows it’s a bad idea to gamble. Unfortunately, we’re controlled by other emotions, not logic.

Finding ways to deal with our emotions is the key to stopping this constant battle. The financial anxiety, regret, and hopelessness are areas this person needs to address to quiet the brain and start the journey to becoming gambling-free.

Founder of QuitGamble Anders Bergman
Anders Bergman
Anders Bergman MSc, MA
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