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.

Comments for Gamblers Anonymous Didn't Work For Me

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Sep 07, 2021
by: Anonymous


Jun 08, 2015
Gam Anon Member
by: Anonymous

I am a girl who came to the GA program alone. My husband felt the same way, but he was never willing to accept that he had a problem, and understand what he had done to his family.

I continue to go to be a healthy person, and to pick up the pieces, and to raise our child in a healthy home. Due to my husband's feels towards the program we are headed to divorce!

The people I see coming (the men in the GA room) have good lives and mostly all stayed in marriages and have money in the bank today, and a happy life. No it's not easy, but if you put the work in with no expectations, you'll be surprised where you land. Good luck and God bless.

Jun 02, 2015
It Takes Time
by: Mark

Thank you for sharing your experience. I'm no expert, however, my understanding is that any treatment requires a LOT more time that a couple of weeks. I would recommend that you give it a number of months, if not a year or more before deciding if it can help you. Also, did you get a sponsor at your GA meeting?

That said, from the reading I've done, and my own experience, I would definitely recommend one-on-one therapy. GA may or may not help you, however, the most effective treatment is working with a therapist who has experience treating gambling addiction. They can help you get to the root cause of what your triggers are, and how to arrest them.

If you have medical insurance, it will likely cover therapy. If not, I recommend contacting your local universities/colleges to see if any research on gambling addiction is being done. If so, they may provide free therapy/support. Also, some states offer a limited number of free therapy sessions even if you don't have medical coverage.

I recommend the first step is to get to GA, and go as often as possible; even daily. While you're doing that, try to find a personal therapist.

Please report back to let me know what you decide, and how you're doing!

May 31, 2015
GA Depressed Me More
by: Anonymous

I did GA activities. I went for a couple of weeks a few years back to get some help but it was depressing. Most GA people also has drugs and alcohol problems. So I stopped going. Now I am having a relapse, and I want to give it another try. I found a women's GA group nearby. I will give it a try. Hopefully it will be better.

Jun 19, 2013
by: Anonymous

I agree, GA didn't help me either. The best help is your own. Get a PC or go to a library and watch documentaries about gambling. Joining the 100 day challenge is a good starting point.

Apr 24, 2012
I Couldn't Agree LESS
by: Anonymous

Wow, you really have some negative feeling about Gam-anon! While I understand some of your thoughts, I just wanted to post here so that people reading your comments don't get completely turned off.

I personally have had, and continue to have, an amazing experience. Gam-Anon literally saved my life and has helped me be so much happier with myself and my husband (my gambler).

Gam-Anon is an amazing place to get help, and people can find a lot of comfort and improve their lives by coming to meetings. I hope your post doesn't scare them off!

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