What Typically Goes on at a Gamblers Anonymous (GA) Meeting?

Question by stockjunkie: what typically goes on at a gamblers anonymous (GA) meeting?

Best answer:

Answer by Malevolitis
I’ve been to one particular group in the New York City area. I attended four meetings. The style of the meetings may differ a lot from one group to the next — so I’ve heard.

Our meetings began with a brief reading out of a pamphlet that functions as a kind of mini-bible for GA members. The pamphlet is filled with platitudes of the sort you’d expect to hear in any 12-step meeting. It tells the story of GA’s founders, offers commentary on the nature of gambling addiction, lists the 12 steps, etc. It’s less than 40 pp long and there aren’t a lot of words on the pages… but the folks in that group read from the thing every week. Some of them have been doing this for years, even decades. It’s rather a strange affair.

After the reading, the group leader introduces whoever’s going to lead off the night’s little speeches. The first speaker will have chosen a theme, and will speak on that theme. He gets five or six minutes (I forget exactly how many), then someone whacks the table as a warning, and he gets one additional minute. Then, all the rest of us speak. There are maybe nine or ten or eleven of us. Most speeches offer a summary of the speaker’s entire history of compulsive gambling. Conveniently the theme will relate to compulsive gambing in some way. It’s pretty easy to stay on topic. Everyone starts out with the famous formulation: “My name is Malevolitis and I am a compulsive gambler… ”

If a new member shows up, we’ll slam her down in a chair and all stare at her while one of the members reads the dreaded 20 questions. She’ll usually start to cry, or turn pale. She’ll have a lot of yesses. Everyone does, with those questions. If you get seven yesses (which you will, if you’ve entered that room), the group leader — whose psychiatric credentials are not at all clear — gives you the diagnosis: Diseased. Then everyone tries to get your phone number and buddy up to you and promises to call.

The meeting ends with hand-holding and a prayer. This part is difficult for atheists and anti-cultists like myself, but it’s integral to the process, to the Steps, etc. Then they pass the plate around. You don’t know the meaning of pathos until you’ve seen the collection plate going around at the end of a meeting filled with people who ruined their entire souls gambling and have a combined credit rating that’s barely three figures. It’s grotesque.

Why was I there? I was lost and dead. I had annihilated 50K on the Internet (20 of it in the day leading up to my first meeting), effectively ruined my career, poisoned my love affair and devastated my ego. I knew where I had to go and that was the place. Anyone who is sick with gambling should go. The program, in itself, was not the answer for me personally — but it did lead to the answer. I disliked the cultish nature of it, the reliance on a deity, the intellectual shoddiness. All the texts and major ideas had been cooked up by armchair psychologists and diseased maniacs rather than doctors. The fundamental thesis is that you are Diseased and you’ll remain Diseased, and must acknowledge your Disease every day, forever, and claim powerlessness over it every day, forever, and return to meetings every week, forever, (or even more often than that at the beginning), and say week in and week out to a group of sick maniacs that you too are as sick as they are. I loathed it. I detested holding hands with those people. The smell of their bodies was unbearable. It was hard, ugly, baleful. I just wanted out. And what I finally came to understand was that I would be condemned to an eternity of those meetings if I couldn’t get it together. That’s actually what allowed me to give up all hope on gambling my way out of my problems. It was either GA or immediate abstinence.

The last meeting was 17 months ago and I haven’t placed a wager since.

What do you think? Answer below!



Can compulsive gamblers be cured? Addicted to poker. – www.gamblinghelper.com ll they can think about and all they want to do, no matter the consequences. Compulsive gamblers keep gambling whether they’re up or down, broke or flush, happy or depressed. Even when they know the odds are against them, even when they can’t afford to lose, people with a gambling addiction can’t “stay off the bet.” Gamblers can have a problem, however, without being totally out of control. Long before an addiction has fully developed, gambling can have a negative impact. Problem gambling is any gambling behavior that disrupts your life. If you’re preoccupied with gambling, spending more and more time and money on it, chasing losses, or gambling despite serious consequences, you have a gambling problem. There are two types of compulsive or problem gamblers. While their behaviors are similar, they gamble for very different reasons www.gamblinghelper.com


Sweepstakes makers gamble on court OK

Filed under: compulsive gamblers

The purchases, or bets, involve relatively small amounts of money, but they can add up, said Brian Kongsvik, help line director for the Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling. "Yes, it is a smaller amount of money. But it is all relative. These places …
Read more on WRAL.com


Recent UCLA-led Study Strongly Supports Proposed DSM-5 “Hypersexual

Filed under: compulsive gamblers

Furthermore, adding Hypersexual Disorder to the DSM-5 would go a long way toward removing the same kinds of moral stigma previously applied to alcoholics, drug addicts, and compulsive gamblers before those concerns were fully recognized as treatable …
Read more on PsychCentral.com (blog)


Christie's anger at NCAA in sports betting tiff is justified: Editorial

Filed under: compulsive gamblers

And there are fair conditions: Gambling won't be allowed on college sports played in the state, or on New Jersey teams, regardless of where they play. And half the license fee proceeds would go toward treatment for compulsive gamblers. The NCAA flat …
Read more on The Star-Ledger – NJ.com (blog)