Gamblers Anonymous Didn't Work For Me
I know that others have had very different experiences in Gamblers Anonymous, but for me it was a painful experience to say the least. Week after week (and I went there for over two years virtually every single week!), I couldn’t help but feel that people just created a forum for complaining. The odd thing is that the literature virtually always talks about focusing on ourselves and not on our gambler, and not to belittle the gambler. That seems to make a lot of sense, but for the most part people virtually always ended up complaining about things that their gambler either had done in the past or continued to do. It’s nice to get it off our chests, but is it really helpful for therapeutic?
I also began to feel a little disturbed by the so-called support system, which made me feel as though people can live with an active gambler because they have a support system that understands what they/we’re going through. I came to feel that it’s not ok to use this support group as a crutch to come to think that it’s acceptable to live with someone who is actively gambling and who refuses to get help for themselves. Sure, I agree with the comments on this site regarding we also have our own issues and things to work on, but the reality is
that we’re not the ones with an addiction.
If we had married someone without the addiction, life would be very different, and the fact is that they had a gambling problem long before they met us. So yes, everyone has things to work on, but in terms of trying to ignore the things that gamblers do to focus on our own personality issues, doesn’t really address the problem of gambling.
I’m not even sure how it is that I continued to go to Gam-Anon for so long! I became friends with the people in the group, and maybe I felt as though I would be abandoning them if I stopped going, but the reality is that that type of thinking is probably what leads a lot of us to put up with the gambling in general. I agree that my husband (and myself) need professional counseling, and that as much as the experience of the group is refreshing, it doesn’t really help solve any problems other than learning new ways to deal with various financial fire drills. It’s kind of like talking with other people with infertility problems. Lots of great information and ideas, but ultimately, they’re not going to help me get pregnant. I need to see a professional for that!
Anyway, your mileage may vary, but for me, this Gamblers Anonymous thing doesn’t seem to make much sense.