Gambling is a narrow bridge of luck; the one who crosses it successfully yearns for more fruitful crossing; the one who falls also desires to cross it at least once; both situations make gambling an addiction with catastrophic consequences. For some gamblers, even if they have a desire to stop gambling, the compulsion to continue leads to physical, psychological, financial, social, and legal problems, and sometimes even to suicide. Gamblers’ addiction is harmful not only for the gambler himself, but also for others: his family, friends, and community.
Gamblers Anonymous is a program that helps the problem gamblers to cope with their mental imbalance and thereby free themselves from the clutches of gambling. GA offers a twelve-step-program for those who wish to be cured of compulsive gambling; the members get the protection of anonymity during the course; with the recovery program they are brought back to normal life. However, it is the willingness of the gambler which makes the program a success; it cannot be imposed upon a gambler who does not think that he has a problem; it also needs the support of the family members and friends of the problem gambler; without mutual support, there is no sustainable recovery. With proper spiritual and medical aid, the GA program brings a gradual character change in the gambler. An essential part of the support group for gamblers is the former gamblers who have got rid of the ‘illness’ through the GA program; they offer invaluable service as voluntary guides by posing as real life examples and by helping the new entrants of the program to open their minds to the hopeful way of cure.
The GA offers twenty questions to ask yourself to know if you are a compulsive gambler who wants to stop gambling. If you have at least seven Yes to the questions, you need GA help. GA conducts weekly meetings for the gamblers and their families and friends. The Gamblers Anonymous meetings are held all over the world. These meetings offer a platform for the gamblers to meet others having the same problems in managing their lives. That itself propels the formation of a desire to get over the mental state they are in. There are ‘Open’ and ‘Closed’ meetings. The gambler’s family members and friends can attend the Open meetings. Closed meetings are only for those who think that they have gambling problems and wish to cure it. Anyone who wants to seek a helping hand to escape from compulsive gambling can find out the nearest meeting centre and day of the week when the meeting is held.