The 12 Steps
The Gamblers Anonymous Recovery Program is made up of 12 steps. Many GA members have been able to stop gambling and make positive changes in their lives by attending meetings, sharing their experiences with other gamblers, and actively working the 12 steps.
WE ADMITTED WE WERE POWERLESS OVER GAMBLING - THAT OUR LIVES HAD BECOME UNMANAGEABLE.
We are asked to accept the fact that our lives have become unmanageable. We acknowledge that the illness of compulsive gambling has disrupted our financial stability, our family, and our personal and work relationships.
CAME TO BELIEVE THAT A POWER GREATER THAN OURSELVES COULD RESTORE US TO A NORMAL WAY OF THINKING AND LIVING.
We are asked to believe in a Higher Power which is a source of external strength and is greater than our own self-determination and willpower. The Higher Power is not a specific religious belief, it can be anything; God, the universe, or even the emotional support of the group. This step does not require belief in any organized religion, but simply a commitment to personal spirituality.
MADE A DECISION TO TURN OUR WILL AND OUR LIVES OVER TO THE CARE OF THIS POWER OF OUR OWN UNDERSTANDING.
This step asks us to make a commitment to let go of our stubborn, habitual or irrational need or desire to control things that are clearly beyond our control. These are 'things we cannot change' - such as the actions of others, the weather, the passage of time, and our compulsive gambling.
MADE A SEARCHING AND FEARLESS MORAL AND FINANCIAL INVENTORY OF OURSELVES.
In order to attain a more meaningful life, a compulsive gambler must undergo a complete and thorough self-appraisal. Acceptance of one's shortcomings is a prerequisite to correcting them. We strive to find the truth about ourselves, for in truth is the freedom to choose the many alternatives and opportunities that life presents.
ADMITTED TO OURSELVES AND TO ANOTHER HUMAN BEING THE EXACT NATURE OF OUR WRONGS.
This step isn't about forgetting our wrongs; it's about putting our guilt over them into proper perspective. Carrying a heavy burden of guilt stops us from moving forward. We need to let go of our guilt and put it in the past so we can focus on our lives today.
WERE ENTIRELY READY TO HAVE THESE DEFECTS OF CHARACTER REMOVED.
We are asked to open our hearts and minds and be ready for a change. We are often reluctant to make personality changes because our deeply ingrained traits provide us with a sense of security. We are encouraged to be open to shedding our character defects, and to have faith that a new and better self will emerge.
HUMBLY ASKED GOD (OF OUR UNDERSTANDING) TO REMOVE OUR SHORTCOMINGS.
This step asks us to cast aside the pride that led us to believe that we could live exclusively by our own intellect, strength, and willpower, and learn humility. The action of this step is an ongoing process of working toward change. We continue to let go of our old ways and allow our Higher Power to guide us toward peace and serenity.
MADE A LIST OF ALL PERSONS WE HAD HARMED AND BECAME WILLING TO MAKE AMENDS TO THEM ALL.
Most compulsive gamblers are aware of the financial damage their gambling has caused, but they are seldom aware of the emotional damage that was inflicted. The extent of financial and emotional damage can only be made evident by writing a complete list of those they have hurt. We also need to be willing to make amends to everyone on our list.
MADE DIRECT AMENDS TO SUCH PEOPLE WHEREVER POSSIBLE, EXCEPT WHEN TO DO SO WOULD INJURE THEM OR OTHERS.
The thought of making amends raises the fear of consequences and the shame of apologizing. The act of making amends creates the hope of forgiveness and the joy of freedom.
CONTINUED TO TAKE PERSONAL INVENTORY AND WHEN WE WERE WRONG, PROMPTLY ADMITTED IT.
Personal inventory is a continuing process of self-evaluation and increased self-awareness. This is a repeated assessment of our attitudes and actions toward others, as well as ourselves. This should not be limited to analyzing only negative traits; we also need to include an appreciation of our positive characteristics.
SOUGHT THROUGH PRAYER AND MEDITATION TO IMPROVE OUR CONSCIOUS CONTACT WITH GOD AS WE UNDERSTOOD HIM, PRAYING ONLY FOR KNOWLEDGE OF HIS WILL FOR US AND THE POWER TO CARRY THAT OUT.
The Gamblers Anonymous program is based on personal spirituality, and as such, gives us the freedom to choose the means by which we contact our Higher Power. Whether by formal prayer, mediation, or some other means, we are encouraged to maintain contact with our Higher Power to achieve personal and spiritual growth.
HAVING MADE AN EFFORT TO PRACTICE THESE PRINCIPLES IN OUR DAILY AFFAIRS, WE TRIED TO CARRY THIS MESSAGE TO OTHER COMPULSIVE GAMBLERS.
This step involves showing that we care for other compulsive gamblers, and we demonstrate caring through our words and actions. Our success is not measured by results, but on the effort we make to continually practice these principles in our lives, and sharing our experience, strength and hope with other compulsive gamblers that they may also achieve recovery.