‘Leading a double life’: Lincoln facility highlights struggles of overcoming gambling addiction

At Choices Treatment Center in Lincoln, they see people from all walks of life come in for help, whether they realize they have an issue or not.
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Severe gambling is a problem around 2 million Americans face, and another 4 to 6 million have mild gambling problems.

“I finally got to a point where, I didn’t necessarily hit a rock bottom for me, it was more of a just, I was so exhausted leading a double life,” Mike Sciandra, a recovering gambler, said of his addiction.

The professionals at Choices Treatment Center in Lincoln see people from all walks of life come in for help, whether they realize they have a problem or not.

“I think one of the universal things, they’ve tried and failed to quit,” James Blanchard, a counselor with Choices, said. “The thing that I’ve noticed that before anyone can really change, they have to figure out, ‘I can’t outsmart this.’ ”

Blanchard said that although gambling addiction does not cause immediate health problems, like alcohol or drugs would, it can still be detrimental to those struggling.

It’s one thing to buy a scratch-off here and there or place a bet every so often, but Blanchard says when you can’t step away from the gambling, that’s when you should know you have a problem.

For people in recovery like Sciandra, finally reaching out for help was a huge relief.

“It’s been great as far as I am a dad, and it’s for me, that’s the biggest thing, is being as transparent with her and being transparent with everyone,” Sciandra said.

If you or someone you love might be struggling with a gambling addiction, you can find help through Choices Treatment Center.

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