Dealing with a gambling addiction can feel overwhelming. In order to get help, people need to first realize that they have a problem, and for many addicted gamblers, this is not an easy admission to make. If you’ve reached the point where you’re ready to reach out for help for a gambling addiction for either yourself or a loved one, you’ve taken the first step.
What Is Gambling ?
Gambling is the act of playing games of chance in order to win money. A gambler is willing to risk losing a sum of money or property in the hopes of winning a larger payout. Gambling comes in many forms, including casino games like craps, slot machines, roulette, blackjack and poker, as well as horse racing, lottery tickets, sports betting, and even stock market speculation.
What Is a Gambling Addiction?
Buying lottery tickets every week or betting on a favorite horse at the racetrack does not mean that someone is addicted to gambling. Games of chance are considered fun by many people and can be a thrilling way to fantasize about winning a lot of money for what often amounts to very little upfront cash. A gambling addiction is born when simple hope crosses the line into intense obsession. While many gamblers become addicted to gambling because they want to earn large sums of money quickly, many people become addicted simply because of the intense rush that comes along with gambling. They are less concerned about money and more focused on obtaining the thrill. The high that gamblers seek is similar to the high experienced by people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol.
“A gambler is willing to risk losing a sum of money or property in the hopes of winning a larger payout. “
What Are the Negative Effects of a Gambling Addiction?
The fact that a gambling addiction causes people to spend large amounts of money in order to reach a high is what makes it so devastating to so many people. Gamblers have been known to spend everything from their children’s entire college funds to every bit of savings they have in order to fund their habits. Gambling addiction doesn’t just affect gamblers’ lives; it also has a distinctly profound and negative affect on the lives of gamblers’ families and friends. To get rid of these effects, it’s important to choose the right addiction recovery program.
What are the Basics of the Gamblers Anonymous Program?
The Gamblers Anonymous 12-step recovery program is intended to help addicted gamblers accept responsibility for their behavior and do everything in their power to change it. Listed on the gamblersanonymous.org website are the 12 steps – their program of recovery:
- We admitted we were powerless over gambling – that our lives had become unmanageable.
- Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to a normal way of thinking and living.
- Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of this Power of our own understanding.
- Made a searching and fearless moral and financial inventory of ourselves.
- Admitted to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- Were entirely ready to have these defects of character removed.
- Humbly asked God (of our understanding) to remove our shortcomings.
- Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
- Make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
- Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
- 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.
- Having made an effort to practice these principles in all our affairs, we tried to carry this message to other compulsive gamblers.
“Gamblers must admit that gambling has taken over their lives in a complete and overwhelming way.”
Gamblers Anonymous doesn’t solicit members. It provides information to people struggling with a gambling addiction. The organization’s focus is to let people know that true help is available and that there is a way for compulsive gamblers to get their lives back.