Gamblers Anonymous, a 12-step group modeled on Alcoholics Anonymous, provides the most widely used treatment in the United States. Costing practically nothing and available everywhere (there are more than 1,000 chapters), it's routinely recommended by professional therapists. Members acknowledge that they are powerless over the habit and try to heal themselves with the help of other group members.

Tips from Gamblers Anonymous
  • A compulsive gamblers needs to be willing to accept the fact that he or she is in the grip of a progressive illness.
  • Gambling addicts recover best when they have an honest desire to stop gambling
  • Someone stops gambling by bringing about a progressive character change within themselves.
  • To recover from the most baffling compulsive addictions will require diligent effort. Honesty, open-mindedness and willingness are key in recovery.
  • Rather than bailing out a recovering gambler, Gamblers Anonymous recommends a "pressure relief" group budgeting session to list and prioritize existing assets and debts.
The National Center for Responsible Gaming is the largest nonprofit organization dedicated to research on gambling disorders. It is largely underwritten by Harvard University.

Tips from the National Center for Responsible Gambling
  • Understanding how gambling works and the dangers that are associated with gambling is an important step in your journey.
  • Before you make a decision to change your habits, it's good to think about the costs and benefits of each choice.
  • Remember that change is a process and it will take time. The first three months are usually the most difficult.
  • To handle urges, focus on other things. Replace the things in your life that you associate with gambling with other activities that will help to keep your mind off gambling.
  • Talk about your urges to gamble and how you are dealing with these feelings. Friends and family who support your decision to change will play a big role in helping you achieve your goals.
Find a community of support from these and other organizations here.
FROM: Living a Secret Life
Published on September 21, 2004

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