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Addiction – Recovering from Mental Illness

As someone who has struggled with gambling addiction for a long time, I understand firsthand the challenges of maintaining sobriety. One moment, you feel like you are finally gaining back control, and the next, there is this overwhelming urge to gamble.
Knowing how to initiate recovery from gambling addiction is hard. The internal struggle of wanting to break free from the grasp of compulsive gambling while feeling unsure about where to start can be overwhelming. I have been there, struggling with the yearning for change but feeling paralyzed by the enormity of the task of initiating my recovery from gambling addiction.
I am a recovered compulsive gambler. Overcoming gambling dependency was a long road of self-discovery and transformation. Going through the process of breaking free from the shackles of compulsive gambling left me vulnerable and a lot like someone who’s on the outside looking in. As a recovered compulsive gambler, I continue to identify as a gambling addict despite my recovery milestones because owning this identity gives me power over the compulsion that held me hostage for so long.
Gambling fixation doesn't look the same for everyone. Very quickly into my gambling escapades, I realized that each person’s journey is unique, and this is determined by their motivations, vulnerabilities, and circumstances. Looking back at my own experience, I see that I became an interplay of personality traits. Through the winning, losing, and desperation phases of my journey, my emotional struggles, personality, and attraction to the allure of gambling unlocked in me the chaser, escape artist, risk taker, denier, and isolationist. These are types of gambling fixation.
Sharing gambling addiction recovery stories really matters. As much as we discuss gambling and addiction, the picture that’s painted is that of hopelessness. Granted, the thrill and hope of a big win have a dangerous grip that leads people down the path of compulsive gambling, but it is the stories of hope and triumph that give people with addiction the hope they need to overcome the struggle.
Recognizing powerlessness over addiction is the first step to freedom--both literally and in literature. It's recognizing your powerlessness that is the tricky part. So here are some ways to know if you are powerless over your addiction.
While not an official mental health diagnosis, video game addiction is very real (Addicted to Video Games). This is embarrassing to admit, but I did nothing yesterday but play a Facebook game. I began to question whether I had a video game addiction and how to recover from it. Here are some signs that help to recognize a video game addiction and tips on how to recover from it.
I recently returned from a trip to Quebec, where I learned alcoholism symptoms should not vary by culture. Sadly, they do. In the United States, having a drink in the morning is called an eye-opener and is one of the CAGE Test symptoms of alcoholism. Even WebMD lists it as a sign of a drinking problem. In Quebec, a brunch cocktail such as a mimosa or a bloody Caesar is normal. I even posted to my Facebook page that I had no clue how Canadians diagnose alcoholism because it seemed like everyone drank like fish. Interestingly enough, the alcoholism rate is higher in the U.S. than it is in Canada--but is that because of culture? There needs to be a clearly defined international standard for alcoholism symptoms--not one that seems to vary according to where you are.
It's clear we need a sensible drug policy in the United States. My generation grew up with a government policy of 100 percent abstinence from illegal substances. We became the most drug-addicted generation in history. When you explore the racist history behind our current drug policy and read what the science really says about illegal drugs, it can easily lead to one conclusion: We need a sensible drug policy in the United States.
The new year made me realize it would be a good idea to write about how to self-diagnose an alcohol addiction. While only a professional can make a formal diagnosis, awareness of your drinking habits and any problems that arise from drinking can help you seek treatment (Identifying and Diagnosing Alcoholism). Here's how to self-diagnose an alcohol addiction.