WHAT IS COMPULSIVE GAMBLING?
Compulsive gambling is a progressive illness which can never be cured, but can be arrested. In GA, a compulsive gambler is described as someone whose gambling has caused growing and continuing problems in any department of his or her life.
isn't compulsive gambling basically a financial problem?
No. A person in the grip of this illness creates mountains of apparently insolvable problems. Of course, financial problems are created, but they also find themselves facing marital, employment, or legal problems. Compulsive gamblers find that they've lost friends and relatives may have rejected them. Of the many serious difficulties created, the financial problems seem the easiest to solve.
How can you tell whether you are a compulsive gambler?
Only you can make that decision. Most people turn to Gamblers Anonymous when they become willing to admit that gambling has defeated them. Many GA members went through terrifying experiences before they were willing to accept help; others faced a slow, subtle deterioration that finally brought them to the point of admitting defeat. If you are unsure whether or not you gamble compulsively, check out The 20 Questions - it may provide you with additional clarity.
why can't a compulsive gambler simply use willpower to stop gambling?
Most people, if they are honest, will recognize their lack of power to solve certain problems. When it comes to gambling, we have known many problem gamblers who could abstain for long stretches, but caught off guard and under the right set of circumstances, they started gambling without thought of the consequences. The defenses they relied upon, through will power alone, gave way before some trivial reason for placing a bet. We have found that will power and self-knowledge will not help in those mental blank spots, but adherence to principles seems to solve our problems.
what is the first thing a compulsive gambler should do in order to stop gambling?
The compulsive gambler needs to be willing to accept the fact that he or she is in the grip of a progressive illness, and has a desire to get well. Our experience has shown that the Gamblers Anonymous program will always work for any person who has a desire to stop gambling. However, will never work for the person who will not face the facts about this illness.
who can join gamblers anonymous?
Anyone who has a desire to stop gambling. There are no other rules or regulations for membership in GA. A gambler becomes a member by attending Gamblers Anonymous meetings in his or her community. There are no dues or fees for GA membership.
is gamblers anonymous a religious group?
No. Gamblers Anonymous is composed of people from many religious faiths, along with agnostics and atheists. The Gamblers Anonymous recovery program is based on acceptance of certain spiritual values, but each member is free to interpret these principles as they choose.
how often do ga members have to attend meetings?
There are no attendance requirements, each individual is free to choose how often they attend meetings. Many newer members find it helpful to attend multiple meetings per week. Members who are further along in their recovery may only attend meetings once a week, or a few times per month. No matter how long you have abstained from gambling, there is always something to gain by attending meetings.
does gamblers anonymous want to abolish gambling?
No. GA has no opinion on outside issues, including the morality or legality of gambling itself.