Gamblers Anonymous

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Gamblers Anonymous (GA) is an international fellowship of people who have a compulsive gambling problem. They meet regularly to share their "experiences, strength and hope",[1][2] so they can help each other solve the problems compulsive gambling has created in their lives, and to help others recover from the addiction of compulsive gambling.[3][4][5][self-published source?] The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop gambling, as stated in the GA Combo book page 2.[6][5]

Gamblers Anonymous uses the term "Compulsive Gambling" instead of, "pathological gambling" or "problem gambling" or a "Gambling Disorder", terms preferred by clinicians and the American Psychiatric Association (APA).[7]

History[edit]

Gamblers Anonymous was founded in 1957 by Jim Willis. Jim W. was an alcoholic who used his experience in Alcoholics Anonymous as the foundation in forming Gamblers Anonymous into a 12 step program.[2][8][9]

Due to favorable publicity by the newspaper columnist and TV commentator Paul Coates,[8] of the Los Angeles Mirror, Gamblers Anonymous held its First Group Meeting, on September 13, 1957 in Los Angeles California. 13 people attended the First Gamblers Anonymous meeting.[8] [The UPI article also states that 13 people attended the first GA meeting in LA.[citation needed]

The organization began in Los Angeles on September 13, 1957. By 2005 there were over 1000 GA groups in the United States, and groups had been established in

  • United States of America,[10][self-published source?] currently in all 50 states, many with multiple Gamblers Anonymous Meetings each day.[11][self-published source?]
  • Australia Phillip Sydney the founder of Gamblers Anonymous in Australia,[12] held the first GA meeting in Sydney on November 25, 1961, at the Congregational Church in Surry Hills, with three other compulsive gamblers.[13] Australia then became the second country to successfully establish a GA group in the world. Phillip was a member of Alcoholics Anonymous which he'd joined in 1961 prior to starting GA.[13] As of 2005, when Phillip Sydney passed on, Australia had 200 GA meetings a week and thousands had achieved abstinence through Gamblers Anonymous Australia.[13]
  • United Kingdom Gordon Moody, The (UK's) Secretary of the Churches' Council of Gambling in 1958, founded Gamblers Anonymous[6][14] on the 10th July 1964 with the help of Henry and Vivian F. During a business trip to the UK, Henry and Vivian F. members of GA in Brooklyn New York, heard Gordon Moody address a meeting on the subject of gambling at the South Croydon Methodist Church. After which Henry F. approached Gordon Moody and introduced himself as a compulsive gambler and a member of Gamblers Anonymous in the US. Gordon in time learned a great deal from Henry and Vivian, "enough for me to understand - and to be understood" by one seeking help with a gambling problem.[6][15][16]
  • Japan GA and Gam-Anon started in Japan in 1989. According to the GA Japan Information Center, on September 2010, GA Japan had 115 groups and GAM-ANON had 93 groups, according to the GAM-ANON Japan Information Center.[17] The annual GA Japan National Conference is held in October, while GAM-ANON Japan holds it's National Conference every June. Regional GA and GAM-ANON groups also host smaller conferences annually.[17][18][19]
  • Kenya Jackson Okoth is the founder of Gamblers Anonymous in Nairobi Kenya,[20][21] and the author of Not A Chance.[22] GA Kenya currently lists three meetings, one in Nairobi, and two in Murang'a.[23]
  • Ireland,[24] Scotland,[25] Canada[26][27]
  • Mexico, South Africa, Brazil, Israel, Uganda, Korea and many other locations throughout the world.[28][self-published source?][29]

Due to the Global 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, most GA meetings moved to online platforms such as Zoom, GoToMeetings, telephone conference calls, or a combination of these medium. In person gatherings at physical locations were temporarily suspended due to the COVID-19 Task Force Guidelines, and other regulatory guidelines in other countries throughout the globe.[30][citation needed]

Symptoms[edit]

Gamblers Anonymous members use the 20 Questions[31][32][self-published source?] as a guide to determine whether they are compulsive gamblers. This is not a definitive evaluation, and only the individual with the aid of their doctor can make the determination as to whether they have a compulsive gambling problem.[citation needed]

The American Psychiatric Association's Diagnosis Criteria of a Gambling Disorder lists the need of a compulsive gambler to increase the amount of money bet, borrowing money to cover loses, lying to conceal the extent of his/her gambling, "loss of relationships and jobs", and "frequent thoughts of gambling".[33][34]

The National Center for Responsible Gaming (NCRG) uses the American Psychiatric Association's DSM-5 to describe the symptoms of a Gambling Disorder, aka compulsive gambling to be "chasing" loses, inability to stop, cut back or control their gambling....[35] A Gambling disorder is the only non-substance use addiction identified in the American Psychiatric Association's DSM-5.[36]

The Mayo Clinic offers a list of symptoms for compulsive gambling, which include "preoccupation with gambling", "trying to control, cut back or stop", and lying. A compulsive gambler may sell personal property, or engage in illegal activity to finance the gambling addiction.[37][38]

NOAA lists "Indicators of Compulsive Gambling:", borrowing money, and spending exceedingly long hours gambling.[39] NOAA also lists some of the "Behaviors Observable in the Workplace" of a Compulsive Gambler.[39]

Treatment[edit]

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) suggests counseling can help the compulsive gambler. The APA also offers ""Dos" and "Don’ts" for Partners or Family Members", which include seeking support from GAM-ANON, along with money management strategies.[40]

Gamblers Anonymous offers it members a number of suggestions for abstaining from gambling, these include not going near or into a gambling establishment.[41]

Meetings[edit]

GA meetings are the core of the fellowship,[2][17] "Meetings Make It". Participating in GA meetings along with individual psychotherapy, is the preferred form of treatment according to the UCLA gambling studies program.[7] There are a few different meeting formats offered by Gamblers Anonymous:

  • "Closed" (also called "Main") meetings are strictly for those who have or think they have a gambling problem;[17][citation needed]
  • "Beginners" (also called "Newcomers") meetings are particularly for people new to GA, those who have been in the program under one year. Here the new comer is introduced to GA's suggestions on how to refrain from gambling, found page 17 of the combo book,.[5][self-published source?] First and foremost Going to lots of meetings in the first 90 days; Staying away from gambling establishments; not associating with people who gamble; getting a sponsor, a more seasoned GA member who can help the newcomer through the first year, and in latter years too; calling other members between meetings; etc...[citation needed]
  • "Mixed" meetings, are gatherings of GA and GAM-ANON members only. During these meetings literature from both GA and GAM-ANON's, 12 step fellowships is read, and members from both fellowships share their experience, strength and hope with each other.[citation needed]
  • "Open" meetings are open to those whose lives have been affected by gambling: the spouses, family and friends of a compulsive gambler.[17][citation needed]
  • "Step" meetings, in which GA members work specifically on the 12 steps of recovery.[17][42][43][self-published source?]
  • "Women's (also known as "Women-Preferred") meetings, are predominantly attend by women.[citation needed]
  • "Modified closed meetings" are held when a group votes to include health professionals or persons from other 12 step fellowships or guest attending with a new comer to Gamblers Anonymous.[44][self-published source?]
  • GAM-ANON meetings are exclusively for spouses, family, and friends of a compulsive gambler.[45][self-published source?][46][self-published source?].[47][17][self-published source?] The compulsive gambler need not be a member of GA for one to attend GAM-ANON meetings.[citation needed]

GAM-ANON[edit]

GAMA-ANON is the sister 12 step program[48] of Gamblers Anonymous, modeled after Al-Anon/Alateen for spouses, partners, family and friends of a compulsive gambler, who are suffering from the stresses and problems caused by the compulsive gambler's gambling and behaviors.[17][49][50][51][52]

Incidence rate and evaluation[edit]

Problem gambling is estimated to occur in 1.6% of the adult population in the United States.[53] GA has a list of twenty questions that can be used to self-diagnose compulsive gambling. The results from their instrument have correlated strongly with other tests that screen for compulsive gambling (e.g. the Total Sensation Seeking Scale, Boredom Susceptibility, Experience Seeking, South Oaks Gambling Screen, and Disinhibition subscales).[54][55]

Effectiveness[edit]

Gamblers Anonymous has been compared with other strategies, such as Cognitive-behavioral therapy as efficacy methods of psychotherapies for pathological gambling.[56] Compared to problem gamblers who do not attend GA, GA members tend to have more severe gambling problems, are older, have higher incomes, are less likely to be single, have more years of gambling problems, have larger debts, have more serious family conflicts, and less serious substance abuse problems.[53] GA may not be as effective for those who have not had significant gambling problems. GA is effective to prevent "relapses" (inability to remain abstinent from gambling), but not as effective when helping members deal with the consequences of their relapse.[57]

GA spends much of its time and energy counseling members on how to deal with financial and legal problems. GA supports "pressure relief groups" where members take each other to task and encourage them to "get honest" with people in their lives and get their affairs in order. Gamblers who are able to moderate their activity are not likely to continue attending GA meetings. GA members who stopped attending meetings were more likely to consider the sharing at the meetings "meaningless" and were more critical of GA literature. Those who felt particularly elated at their first GA meetings were less likely to continue than those who had a more balanced first impression. GA, therefore, may be most suitable for severe problem gamblers who do not have compounding issues.[58]

Criticism[edit]

Attrition[edit]

Less than 8% of those who initially attend GA remain in the program and abstain from gambling for over a year.[59] Program participation and abstinence increase if members are involved in additional therapy, or if one or more of their family members are involved in Gam-Anon or Gam-A-Teen.[60][61][62]

Gender bias[edit]

Although the likelihood of attending GA is the same for males and females,[63] GA has been characterized as a predominately male fellowship. The number of female members, however, is increasing and there is an increasing sensitivity within GA to women's attitudes.[58] GA's lack of appeal towards females has been attributed to GA's lack of focus on the principles of spirituality in other twelve-step programs, like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). A causal link, however, has not been shown. GA is often described as more secularized than AA.[64]

Among problem gamblers, it has been found that women are more focused on interpersonal issues, and that social issues were more likely to cause them to "relapse." Males more frequently discuss "external concerns" such as jobs and legal problems, and are more likely to relapse because of substance abuse. Therefore, it does seem plausible that GA's downplaying of spiritual, interpersonal, and psychoemotional issues, inhibits its effectiveness for women.[58][65]

Literature[edit]

Gamblers Anonymous has several approved books used as standard literature in the group. These are some of the most popular examples:

  • Gamblers Anonymous (1994). One day at a time.
  • Gamblers Anonymous (1984). Sharing recovery through Gamblers Anonymous. Los Angeles: Gamblers Anonymous. ISBN 0-917839-00-5. OCLC 11614655.
  • Gamblers Anonymous (1989). A New Beginning. Los Angeles, California: Gamblers Anonymous. OCLC 21416926.

See also[edit]

Some states have worked with casinos, and other gambling establishments to institute a "Self-exclusion" mechanism,[66] where gambling institutions would be prohibited from issuing credit, cashing a check or marketing to those who have self-excluded themselves from those establishments.[67][68][69][70]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Arizona Council on Compulsive Gambling, Inc". azccg.
  2. ^ a b c George, Sanju; Ijeoma, Onuba; Bowden-Jones, Henrietta (2013). "Gamblers Anonymous: overlooked and underused?". Advances in Psychiatric Treatment. 19: 23–29. doi:10.1192/apt.bp.111.009332.
  3. ^ "Addiction Recovery: The Benefits of Problem Gambling Support Groups". Know The Odds.
  4. ^ "Helping you helps me: Giving and receiving social support in recovery groups for problem gamblers". APA PsycNet.
  5. ^ a b c "Gamblers Anonymous Combo Book". www.gamblersanonymous.org.
  6. ^ a b c "Reverend Gordon Moody". Gordon Moody Association. 30 September 2013.
  7. ^ a b "UCLA Gambling Studies Program". www.uclagamblingprogram.org.
  8. ^ a b c "Jim Willis, the founding father of Gamblers Anonymous, died..." UPI.
  9. ^ Dickensheets, Scott (3 September 1997). "Growing Gamblers Anonymous hits 40 - Las Vegas Sun Newspaper". lasvegassun.com.
  10. ^ "Gamblers Anonymous USA". www.gamblersanonymous.org.
  11. ^ "U.S. Meetings | Gamblers Anonymous". www.gamblersanonymous.org.
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  13. ^ a b c "A brother to many who needed support". The Sydney Morning Herald. 11 November 2005.
  14. ^ "Obituary: The Rev Gordon Moody". The Independent. 3 October 1994.
  15. ^ Quit compulsive gambling : the action plan for gamblers and their families. Thorsons. 1990. pp. 10–11. ISBN 0722516010.
  16. ^ "Our History - Gamblers Anonymous". www.gamblersanonymous.org.uk.
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h Naoko Takiguchi, Otani University (31 January 2011). "Problem Gambling in Japan". www.japanesestudies.org.uk.
  18. ^ "GA日本インフォメーションセンター<JIC>ホームページ". www.gajapan.jp.
  19. ^ Scott, Simon (24 May 2014). "Ball and chain: gambling's darker side. (GA in Osaka, and the Kansai region)". The Japan Times.
  20. ^ "How I gambled my way to abject poverty". Daily Nation.
  21. ^ "Inside the mind of a gambler". Daily Nation.
  22. ^ Okoth, Jackson. Not a chance : a true story of recovery from the addiction of gambling and smoking. Paulines Publications Africa.
  23. ^ "International Addresses | Gamblers Anonymous". www.gamblersanonymous.org.
  24. ^ "Gamblers Anonymous Ireland". Gamblers Anonymous.
  25. ^ "Gamblers Anonymous Scotland - Gambling Addiction Help". Gamblers Anonymous Scotland.
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  27. ^ "Gamblers Anonymous Alaska and British Columbia". gabc.ca.
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  29. ^ Petry, Nancy M. (March 2005). "Gamblers Anonymous and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapies for Pathological Gamblers". Journal of Gambling Studies. 21 (1): 27–33. doi:10.1007/s10899-004-1919-5. ISSN 1573-3602. PMID 15789187.
  30. ^ "Gamblers Anonymous COVID-19 Statement on Meetings". www.gamblersanonymous.org.
  31. ^ "Gamblers Anonymous 20 Questions | Division of Problem Gambling". problemgambling.az.gov.
  32. ^ "20 Questions | Gamblers Anonymous". www.gamblersanonymous.org.
  33. ^ "Diagnostic Criteria - Gambling Disorder". Nevada Council on Problem Gambling.
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  40. ^ "Treatment". www.psychiatry.org.
  41. ^ "Gambling in the Golden State. Page 143" (PDF). OAG.ca.gov. State of California Department of Justice.
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  45. ^ "GAM-ANON Meeting Directory". www.gam-anon.org.
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  47. ^ "Gam-Anon Chicago". www.gamanonchicago.org.
  48. ^ "PROBLEM GAMBLING AND THE LAW About Peer Suport Groups page 26" (PDF). nevadacouncil.org. Nevada Council on Problem Gambling. 2010.
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  55. ^ Ursua, Maria Prieto; Uribelarrea, Luis Llavona (March 1998). "20 Questions of Gamblers Anonymous: A Psychometric Study with Population of Spain". Journal of Gambling Studies. 14 (1): 3–15. doi:10.1023/A:1023033924960. ISSN 1050-5350. PMID 12766432.
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  57. ^ Brown, R.I.F. (September 1987). "Dropouts and continuers in Gamblers Anonymous: Part four. Evaluation and summary". Journal of Gambling Studies. 3 (3): 202–210. doi:10.1007/BF01367441. ISSN 1050-5350.
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  61. ^ Johnson, EE; Nora, RM (December 1992). "Does spousal participation in Gamblers Anonymous benefit compulsive gamblers?". Psychological Reports. 71 (3 Pt 1): 914. doi:10.2466/pr0.1992.71.3.914. ISSN 0033-2941. PMID 1454942.
  62. ^ Ciarrocchi, Joseph W.; Reinert, Duane F. (December 1993). "Family environment and length of recovery for married male members of Gamblers Anonymous and female members of GamAnon". Journal of Gambling Studies. 9 (4): 341–352. doi:10.1007/BF01014626. ISSN 1050-5350.
  63. ^ Crisp, Beth R.; Thomas, Shane A.; Jackson, Alun C.; Thomason, Neil; Smith, Serena; Borrell, Jennifer; Ho, Wei-ying; Holt, Tangerine A. (1 March 2000). "Sex Differences in the Treatment Needs and Outcomes of Problem Gamblers" (abstract page). Research on Social Work Practice. 10 (2): 229–242. doi:10.1177/104973150001000205.
  64. ^ Browne, Basil R. (September 1994). "Really not god: Secularization and pragmatism in Gamblers Anonymous". Journal of Gambling Studies. 10 (3): 247–260. doi:10.1007/BF02104966. ISSN 1050-5350. PMID 24234922.
  65. ^ Preston, Frederick W.; Smith, Ronald W. (September 1985). "Delabeling and relabeling in Gamblers Anonymous: Problems with transferring the Alcoholics Anonymous paradigm". Journal of Gambling Studies. 1 (2): 97–105. doi:10.1007/BF01019862. ISSN 1050-5350.
  66. ^ "5A.130Self-Exclusion. REGULATION 5A OPERATION OF INTERACTIVE GAMING". gaming.nv.gov. Nevada Gaming Contol Board Gaming Commission.
  67. ^ By Charlene Wear Simmons, Ph.D. (May 2006). Gambling in the golden state, 1998 forward (PDF). California State Library, California Research Bureau. pp. 138–139. ISBN 1-58703-137-X.
  68. ^ "Bureau of Gambling Control - Self Exclusion - California Dept. of Justice - Office of the Attorney General". ems.doj.ca.gov. State of California Department of Justice.
  69. ^ "Self Exclusion from Gambling - How to Self Exclude | BeGambleAware | BeGambleAware". www.begambleaware.org.
  70. ^ "THE PROBLEM GAMBLING COALITION OF COLORADO VOLUNTARY CASINOSELF-EXCLUSION APPLICATION AND WAIVER" (PDF).

Further reading[edit]

  • C.W. V. Straaten (2016). Gambling Addiction Recovery Workbook: Written by a Former Gambler. ISBN 9781520767833.
  • Masood Zangeneh; Alex Blaszczynski; Nigel Turner (6 December 2007). In the pursuit of winning : problem gambling theory, research and treatment. Springer. ISBN 9780387721729.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  • Hutchison, P., Cox, S., & Frings, D. (2018). Helping you helps me: Giving and receiving social support in recovery groups for problem gamblers. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice, 22(4), 187–199.[1]
  • Campbell, F., & Lester, D. (1999). The impact of gambling opportunities on compulsive gambling: Journal of Social Psychology Vol 139(1) Feb 1999, 126-127.
  • Cunningham, J. A. (2005). Little Use of Treatment Among Problem Gamblers: Psychiatric Services Vol 56(8) Aug 2005, 1024-1025.
  • Ferentzy, P., Skinner, W., & Antze, P. (2006). Recovery in Gamblers Anonymous: Journal of Gambling Issues No 17 Aug 2006, No Pagination Specified.
  • Getty, H. A., Watson, J., & Frisch, G. R. (2000). A comparison of depression and styles of coping in male and female GA members and controls: Journal of Gambling Studies Vol 16(4) Win 2000, 377-391.
  • Lesieur, Henty R.; Rothschild, Jerome (December 1989). "Children of Gamblers Anonymous members". Journal of Gambling Studies. 5 (4): 269–281. doi:10.1007/BF01672428. ISSN 1573-3602.
  • Petry, N. M. (March 2002). "Psychosocial treatments for pathological gambling: Current status and future directions". Psychiatric Annals. 32 (3): 192–196. doi:10.3928/0048-5713-20020301-09.
  • Adesso, V. J. (May 1995). "Diversity Confronts the Monolith". PsychCRITIQUES. 40 (5): 439–440. doi:10.1037/003640.
  • Petry, N. M. (August 2003). "Patterns and correlates of gamblers anonymous attendance in pathological seeking professional treatment". Addictive Behaviors. 28 (6): 1049–1062. doi:10.1016/S0306-4603(02)00233-2. PMID 12834650.
  • Petry, N. M. (Spring 2005). "Gamblers Anonymous and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapies for Pathological Gamblers". Journal of Gambling Studies. 21 (1): 27–33. doi:10.1007/s10899-004-1919-5. PMID 15789187.
  • Petry, N. M.; Litt, M. D.; Kadden, R.; Ledgerwood, D. M. (August 2007). "Do coping skills mediate the relationship between cognitive-behavioral therapy and reductions in gambling in pathological gamblers?". Addiction. 102 (8): 1280–1291. doi:10.1111/j.1360-0443.2007.01907.x. PMID 17624978.
  • Rossol, J. (2001). "The medicalization of deviance as an interactive achievement: The construction of compulsive gambling". Symbolic Interaction. 24 (3): 315–341. doi:10.1525/si.2001.24.3.315.

External links[edit]

  1. ^ "APA PsycArticles: Journal Article". doi:10.1037/gdn0000090. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)