Problem gambling, which is when individuals spend large quantities of their income on games of chance like slots or horse racing, can be highly detrimental to both their quality of life and the well-being of those around them. This problem can take numerous forms for a multitude of reasons and is often challenging to address successfully. However, while overcoming problem gambling habits is difficult, it is possible with the help of Gamblers Anonymous.
Those who recognize they’ve become a problem gambler and wish to recover benefit greatly from attending a Gamblers Anonymous meeting. Such gatherings have become a common treatment option for many and have been proven to be highly successful in overcoming problematic gambling habits. But what happens at Gamblers Anonymous? To learn more, here is an overview of how to join Gamblers Anonymous meetings and how attending them will help you overcome negative behaviors.
Joining Gamblers Anonymous
Before setting foot into your first Gamblers Anonymous meeting, you’re probably wondering what you must do to join. As a newcomer, you will not need to pay any entry fees or sign paperwork. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop gambling. Although new members do not need to pledge any money to the group, financial donations are appreciated. Gamblers Anonymous is a self-supporting entity and requires assistance to maintain its facilities and pay for other expenses.
What Is a Gamblers Anonymous Meeting Like?
While the structure and itinerary of Gamblers Anonymous meetings can vary by location, there are several similarities you can expect. At most gatherings, each attendee will spend time discussing what happened during their week, what’s going on in their life, the struggles they’re having with their problem gambling, and other such reflections. Although each meeting can last around an hour; the exact length can differ depending on the number of attendees present.
The 12 Steps of Overcoming Problem Gambling
When attending a Gamblers Anonymous meeting, you and the other attendees will work together to overcome compulsive gambling by following 12 distinct steps. To progress through each step, the previous one must be completed in full. Listed below are all 12 steps in order:
- Acknowledge that you have no control over your problem gambling behavior.
- Consult a higher power for assistance in overcoming your behavior.
- Choose to place your trust in that higher power for guidance.
- Create an inventory listing all of your financial assets.
- Confess the wrongs that you have done.
- Prepare to change the flaws in your character that are causing your problem gambling.
- Ask the greater power for help changing these flaws.
- Write a list compiling every person that you’ve harmed with your behavior.
- Make amends to those people for your wrongdoings.
- Analyze the mistakes you made and how you can improve yourself.
- Call upon your higher power for strength and knowledge.
- Reach out to other gambling addicts to help them.
Given the presence of a power greater than oneself throughout most of the steps, some individuals may believe that attending a Gamblers Anonymous meeting is a religious pursuit and might be deterred from joining. However, Gamblers Anonymous is not associated with any sect, denomination, political organization, or other group. The open meetings are for men and women of all backgrounds who want to regain control of their lives.
How Attending a Gamblers Anonymous Meeting Will Help
Overcoming problematic gambling behavior takes more than just will power. It is a long process that cannot be rushed through quickly but instead requires a lot of time, patience, and determination. By attending a Gamblers Anonymous meeting regularly, you will be able to take more concrete steps toward progressive change; and the other members will be able to lend you their support every step of the way.
The others you meet while at Gamblers Anonymous meetings are one of the greatest benefits of attending. Everyone who partakes in the meetings understands what it’s like to have a gambling problem and desires to solve their common problem. Hearing stories from other members will help you process what you’re going through more easily, as well as learn from their experiences. Additionally, members are able to hold each other accountable for making mistakes, reducing the chances you’ll succumb to your gambling issues.
Now that you understand what happens at Gamblers Anonymous gatherings, consider joining today. If you don’t know where to start, here’s how to contact Gamblers Anonymous to find a help meeting. Want to prepare yourself before your first day? Consider reading some compulsive gambling facts to grow more acquainted with the problematic behavior.