Self-help groups can assist by providing ongoing support from persons who have experienced similar circumstances and aid in knowing one is not alone.
Self-help is an essential element for persons beginning and navigating their way back from the depths of a gambling problem. Often, when in despair, gamblers and loved ones feel isolated, desperate, and with no where to turn. Self-help groups can assist callers with the tools for recovery by providing support, direction, motivation, resources, and a sense that they are not dealing with the gambling problem alone. These groups, along with the FCCG, provide self-help materials that further aid gamblers and others in understanding a gambling addiction, associated issues, and strategies for learning to cope and resume a productive life.
Self-help support groups are comprised of individuals who have lived the experience, have walked the paths of recovery in varying stages, and offer strength, support, and hope to newcomers. An aspect of many self-help programs is sponsorship. Sponsors provide additional information, encouragement, fellowship and guidance to newcomers on a voluntary basis. They may also furnish assistance and offer suggestions to newcomers on a case-by-case basis.
It is also important to note that while self-help is frequently successful in combination with Professional Treatment supports, acknowledging the difference between the two services is essential. For example, self-help in most instances is an ongoing lifelong process for committing to change, whereas professional treatment is for a limited period of time.
The two primary support groups for compulsive gamblers, family members, and friends, are Gamblers Anonymous (GA) and Gam-Anon.
Both GA and Gam-Anon (and other similar self-help groups) function based upon 12 guiding principles and 12 steps; hence the name 12-step programs. These self-help fellowships do not have “leaders” and members agreeing to “chair” a meeting or perform other functions do so as a “service,” which is voluntary. Furthermore, GA and Gam-Anon do not align themselves with outside organizations. As such, they do not become involved with political or other matters, and do not accept financial contributions from outside entities.
For more information on meeting days, times and locations, as well as other local resources, call the FCCG HelpLine at 888-ADMIT-IT.