Better Living - Gambling
What is Gamblers Anonymous?
Are you a gambler?
- Do you lose time from work due to gambling?
- Is gambling making your home life unhappy?
- Is gambling affecting your reputation?
- Have you ever felt remorse after gambling?
- Do you ever gamble to get money with which to pay debts or to otherwise solve financial difficulties?
- Does gambling cause a decrease in your ambition or efficiency?
- After losing, do you feel you must return as soon as possible and win back your losses?
- After a win do you have a strong urge to return and win more?
- Do you often gamble until your last pound is gone?
- Do you ever borrow to finance your gambling?
- Have you ever sold anything to finance gambling?
- Are you reluctant to use gambling money for normal expenditures?
- Does gambling make you careless of the welfare of your family?
- Do you gamble longer than you planned?
- Do you ever gamble to escape worry or trouble?
- Have you ever committed, or considered committing, an illegal act to finance gambling?
- Does gambling cause you to have difficulty in sleeping?
- Do arguments, disappointments, or frustrations create an urge within you to gamble?
- Do you have an urge to celebrate any good fortune by a few hours gambling?
- Have you ever considered self-destruction as a result of your gambling?
What is compulsive gambling?
Before coming to G.A, many compulsive gamblers thought of themselves as morally weak or just "no good". The G.A. concept is that the compulsive gambler is a very sick person who can recover by following a very simple programme, to the best of his or her own ability, that has proved successful for hundreds of other men and women with a similar problem.
What is the first thing a compulsive gambler ought to do in order to stop gambling?
Only you can make that decision. Most people turn to G.A. when they become willing to admit that gambling has them hooked. Also, in G.A. a compulsive gambler is described as a person whose gambling has caused growing and continuing problems in many areas of life. Many G.A. members went through terrifying experiences before they were ready to accept help.
Others were faced with a slow, subtle deterioration that finally brought them to the point of admitting defeat.
Can a compulsive gambler ever gamble normally again?
Once a person has crossed the invisible line into irresponsible gambling, then it seems to be impossible to regain control. After abstaining a few months, some GA members have tried some small bet experiments, always with disastrous results. The old obsession inevitably returned.
G.A. experience seems to point to these alternatives; to gamble, risking progressive deterioration, or not to gamble, and develop a spiritual way of life.
What are some of the factors that might cause a person to become a compulsive gambler?
Inability and unwillingness to accept reality
Also, a compulsive gambler seems to have a strong inner urge to be a "big shot" and needs to have a feeling of being all-powerful. There is a willingness to do anything (often of an antisocial nature) to maintain a personal image for others to see.
Then, too, there is the theory that compulsive gamblers subconsciously want to lose to punish themselves. There is evidence among G.A. members to support this theory.
- Use gambling as a coping strategy called Escape/Relief to mask other symptoms.
- Rely on the excitement to make themselves feel good.
- Bet higher amounts to win back their losses.
- Believe they can get out of debt with a big win.
- Hide their gambling from family and friends and lie about money.
- Find the financial problem becomes an emotional one.
- Eventually become emotionally, mentally and physically distressed.
What are the costs of addictive gambling?
- Family disruption, neglect or abused children, divorce, impoverishment and/or mental breakdown.
- Millions of pounds worth of productivity lost by business and industry through poor work performance, absenteeism, wasted time dreaming about gambling, theft of materials and accidents.
- Criminal acts committed to raise money in order to continue gambling after heavy losses and mounting debts. The longer the gambling problem continues untreated, the greater the probability of arrest and imprisonment.
- The misery of being in the grips of an uncontrollable illness, without even knowing it - thus permitting the illness to wreck family, career and even life which, in most cases, ends in suicide.
- Desire to STOP gambling.
- Develop skills to "stay stopped".
- Understand that gambling is not a "moral weakness", but a treatable disorder.
- Deal with the financial pressures that usually accompany addiction to gambling.
- Get started, with the family, on the road to recovery and positive living.