Overcoming Shame and Stigma in Gambling Addiction Recovery

March 7, 2024 Kevin Anyango

One of the toughest battles I have faced in my journey is the shame and stigma in recovery. For years, I carried the burden of shame, believing that my gambling addiction was a reflection of my moral failure. Society's misconceptions about gambling addiction only fueled these feelings, leaving me trapped in a cycle of self-blame and isolation. Society views gambling addiction as a matter of poor self-control. Most people still believe it is a choice and people can stop whenever they want, which is not the case. What shame and stigma in recovery do is disempower people and even hinder their ability to recognize addiction as a complex issue that requires support and treatment. 

Battling the Shame and Stigma in Recovery

Here are some strategies for those in gambling addiction recovery to battle stigma and shame.

  • Take the time to educate yourself about gambling addiction's causes and effects. This will help you develop compassion for yourself and others facing similar challenges.
  • Establish healthy boundaries with friends and family members who may inadvertently contribute to stigma through judgmental attitudes or lack of understanding. Talk about your needs and what support looks like for you.
  • Surround yourself with people who understand and validate your experiences without judgment.
  • Share your story.

Fighting Stigma and Shame in Recovery for Loved Ones

Here are some ways to fight shame and stigma in recovery if you're a loved one.

  • Understanding gambling and gambling addiction can help you provide more meaningful support to your loved one.
  • Approach your loved one with empathy and compassion rather than judgment or criticism. Remember that addiction is a complex and multifaceted issue, and your loved one needs understanding and support, not shame or blame.
  • Create a safe space for your loved one to share their journey without feeling judged or dismissed. Practice active listening and refrain from offering unsolicited advice or trying to "fix" their problems.
  • Encourage your loved one to seek professional help for their addiction. 

The Role of Gambler's Societies in Fighting Stigma and Shame in Recovery

There are several gambler's societies. Here's how they, too, can fight stigma and shame in recovery.

  • Advocate for greater awareness and understanding of gambling addiction by challenging stereotypes and misconceptions like gambling is a choice or a phase.
  • Advocate for increased access to better and cheaper treatment options for people struggling with gambling addiction.
  • Support anti-stigma campaigns.
  • Encourage responsible gambling practices.

Addressing the shame and stigma of problem gambling is essential in promoting successful recovery outcomes. Raising awareness and challenging misconceptions can create a more supportive and inclusive environment for all recovering gamblers.

APA Reference
Anyango, K. (2024, March 7). Overcoming Shame and Stigma in Gambling Addiction Recovery, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 19 from

Author: Kevin Anyango

Kevin Anyango likes to say, "I am still me, no matter my mental health." Find Kevin on Twitter

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