Journeys through gambling

Journeys through gambling

Pathways to informal recovery

Sophie Vasiliadis and Anna Thomas

Commissioned report— January 2016

 Journeys through gambling: pathways to informal recovery is a study conducted by the Australian Gambling Research Centre (AGRC) in collaboration with Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation (VRGF).

Journeys through gambling seeks an understanding of the motivations and experiences of people trying to recover from problem gambling without the support of clinical treatment or formal support groups.

The study found that people take different pathways in informal recovery. Participants are motivated to recover when gambling becomes inconsistent with their self-image, when they are confronted by someone close to them, or when they experience a gambling-related crisis.

The study defined two types of recovering gamblers. "Self-directed" recovering gamblers take initiative and largely manage their own recovery, with a focus on achieving life goals or a new lifestyle.

"Externally directed" recovering gamblers are compelled to attempt recovery in response to a gambling-related crisis, or when they are confronted by someone significant to them.

This latter group needed intensive, regular support and monitoring throughout their recovery.

The findings of the study suggest that highlighting the advantages of recovery - such as achieving life goals, travelling, and having children - may be an effective way to reach self-directed people, while a focus on providing consistent support was important for recovery in externally-directed people.

The practical support of family, friends, and employers was crucial to both groups’ recovery. Supportive others helped recovering gamblers by promoting accountability and honesty about gambling, suggesting alternative activities, and assisting with financial management.

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