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Broke Girl Society Podcast Host Shares Story Of Gambling Addiction Recovery

Christina Cook, the host of the Broke Girl Society Podcast, is using her voice to help others in recovery from gambling-related pathologies.

Christina Cook Head Shot
Photo by Christina Cook
Derek Helling Avatar
4 mins read

Christina Cook welcomes you to walk a mile in her shoes. That especially applies if you’re interested in recovery from gambling addiction.

Cook is the host of the Broke Girl Society Podcast, where she endeavors to aid people in recovery from gambling-related behavioral pathologies. As a woman in recovery herself, she has been in those shoes. That also means her footprints show the path to a better life.

Cook’s struggles with gambling become an inspiration

When Cook speaks about gaming-related pathologies, she does so with the authority only a lived experience can bestow. Her story has a common arc of gaming being a mechanism to cope with other issues.

“I’m a firm believer in addiction being a symptom of internal issues,” Cook shared. “In my case, a big part of my compulsive behavior came from years of emotional abuse and trauma and not having the knowledge or resources to navigate in a healthier way.

Gambling, in the short term, helped me avoid or escape my emotional struggles.

All that being said, my gambling addiction in itself caused me anxiety and PTSD. It became a vicious cycle of self-harm and the ‘industry’ makes it easy to stay in the cycle of chaos compared to the work needed to face my struggles.”

In July 2021, Cook started the Broke Girl Society Podcast. As much as the podcast is an outlet for other women with similar struggles to share their stories and a resource for everyone in recovery, it’s also an aid for Cook herself.

“The Broke Girl Society Podcast is a huge tool in my own accountability and recovery,” Cook explains. “Storytelling has an enormous impact on those listening. It evokes compassion, connection, inspiration, and healing through a shared experience. To me, there is nothing more powerful than that.”

While Cook said the community her content continues to build is a potent resource, her experience also gives her a unique and much-needed perspective on interventions available for people who struggle with gambling-related behavioral pathologies in the United States. Cook is clear on what she would like to see change.

More funding, better strategies needed to address problem gambling

When it comes to resources for people who struggle with problem gambling in the US, Cook said current edifices are inadequate. “The lack of funding for real support and resources is our biggest issue,” Cook comments.

“There is no federal funding for gambling harm treatment and a very noticeable lack of support from the ‘industry.’ Everything is left to a state level and some of the hardest hit states have a real lack of organized support due to funding cutbacks or lack of funding in general.

Having more funding support for more treatment and peer support options is one of the most important things we could do as a community to support those impacted by gambling harm.

We should never allow something that creates harm to dictate whether or not there is funding to support those impacted. People in recovery carry the true burden of helping those struggling. We do it often as an unpaid second job because of the lack of resources.”

Cook stresses that addressing problem gambling is not the responsibility of just one party involved in regulated gaming in the US. Rather, it’s a whole societal issue.

Cook’s advice for operators and regulators

Regarding companies that operate online gambling sites, Cook shares some simple recommendations appealing for them to “in general, care about the person playing their games.”

  • Make self-exclusion a clear-cut, cease-all process
  • Make those options easier to find and navigate
  • Have people on hand who will work with those struggling to get the help and resources they need
  • Put more cooling-off options in play

Cook adds “it would be helpful if the ‘industry’ actually acknowledged that harm could happen and not say things like online gambling is no more addicting than a cell phone.”

For state regulators, Cook emphasizes that such personnel should “focus on the human element and the potential harm.” She adds that regulatory frameworks should not “put all the responsibility on the player.”

Her advised strategies include “set cooling off periods, affordability checks, and” for bodies to “regulate predatory adverts and tactics, especially those focused on the younger generations.”

Even those whose professions aren’t tied to the online gambling industry in the US can be an ally, Cook said. People can provide responsible gambling support regardless of whether they have ever struggled with gambling addiction themselves.

Rallying for those affected by gambling addiction

Cook said that while gambling helplines are an important component of recovery because they can point people to available resources, there is no substitute for shared experience. Cook added:

“Overall I think people want to talk to those who have been right where they are and fought to get back to a normal way of living. This is the importance of peer support.”

There are still ways to provide support for people who don’t have that shared experience. Cook said it starts with “accepting and acknowledging that harm is happening and responding.”

“Knowledge is one of our best tools against addiction,” Cook elaborates. “[You should] provide more research opportunities and support recovery programs in your communities. Gambling addiction has the highest suicide rates all addictions. The more resistance to acknowledging and responding to this issue, the more harm and loss we experience.”

The genius tagline that Cook penned for the Broke Girl Society Podcast is that recovery is about “building a life you don’t want to escape from.” Cook is doing the work of recovery herself and inviting everyone to walk with her. With her support, that path will surely lead to the better life she illuminates.

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Derek Helling is the assistant managing editor of PlayUSA. Helling focuses on breaking news, including finance, regulation, and technology in the gaming industry. Helling completed his journalism degree at the University of Iowa and resides in Chicago

View all posts by Derek Helling

Derek Helling is the assistant managing editor of PlayUSA. Helling focuses on breaking news, including finance, regulation, and technology in the gaming industry. Helling completed his journalism degree at the University of Iowa and resides in Chicago

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