Questions and Answers
What is the Gam-Anon Programme?
The programme offers a new way of life. The spiritual values such as patience, humility and honesty, which we learn to accept gradually, help us to meet old situations with courage and confidence, and new situations with strength and serenity. The full benefit of the programme comes through helping others.
How long does it usually take to develop a normal way of thinking after we join Gam-Anon?
We have found that it depends largely on how soon we can accept the Gam-Anon Way of Life programme.
How can we be of greatest help to the person who has joined GA?
- By giving your fullest co-operation and understanding.
- By letting the gambler talk to you about any progress or problems. Don't interrogate.
- Share your worries or fears with another Gam-Anon member.
Can involvement with a Compulsive Gambler result in neurotic behaviour?
Years of living with a compulsive gambler can often result in neurotic behaviour, and experience has shown us that generally the entire family is, in fact, affected.
Troubles do not automatically end when the gambler stops gambling - troubles may follow the person who has close contact with the compulsive gambler throughout life, unless certain changes are made with the help of Gam-Anon. The only assurance of growth is through the Twelve Steps of Recovery.
If the gambler continues to gamble, how can I learn to live with this problem?
To live with this problem takes almost superhuman patience. Realising that this is an emotional illness helps. When we realise that our loved one is not deliberately trying to hurt us, our burden is a little easier to bear. The only real happiness one can be sure of comes from within. We cannot change them. Be hopeful that the gambler will recover, however, don't depend entirely on any one person for your happiness. Build your own inner core of spiritual strength and maturity. Use of the Gam-Anon programme is suggested.
What can be done about the financial problem?
The problem of money goes hand in hand with the gambling problem We realise that when our loved ones are gambling they may not assume the financial responsibilities for the family. Feel comfortable about asking a Gam-Anon member about valuables, bank accounts, savings, insurance etc.
What about our financial problems after the gambler joins GA?
We find that financial problems are gradually alleviated. Accumulated debts can only be taken care of gradually. It is suggested that household expenses take priority over gambling debts. Worrying about the future only blinds us to what can be done today.
We say "Don't interrogate" - Why is that so important?
We have found that when we examined the gambler’s every move or motive it became degrading to everyone involved. We are not judge and jury. We are not responsible for the gambler’s actions. It is important to accept the fact that we cannot change anyone but ourselves. Interrogations only serve to make a compulsive gambler more secretive , allowing further withdrawal into the shell of this illness.
What should I do before Gam-Anon can help me?
We find that we have to be honest enough with ourselves to admit that we have a problem and that we need help. When we are willing, we accept the help that Gam-Anon has to offer.
What do we in Gam-Anon have to offer a new member?
We have a new way of life to offer the new member if we work the Steps of Recovery and the Unity Programme to the best of our ability.
Can Gam-Anon help me, if the gambler is still gambling?
Yes, it will help us realise that we are not alone with our problems. Here, at last, are people who will really understand. We can learn understanding and acceptance of the gambler’s illness.
Is Gam-Anon part of G.A?
No. Gam-Anon is a completely separate fellowship. However, they are closely allied and co-operate with each other in every way.
Will Gam-Anon show me how to stop the gambler from gambling?
The compulsive gambler will stop gambling only when the deep desire is there. But Gam-Anon can help us to change our attitudes toward the gambling problems and reduce our anxieties and frustrations.
Will Gam-Anon help me to convince the gambler that they are a compulsive gambler?
As understanding attitudes may make the gambler realise that compulsive gambling is a problem and may motivate an interest in bringing about a change. To create an interest, you can obtain literature from G.A. and leave it where it can be seen and read.
Through our experience pleading or censure has been found to be ineffective.
Will the Compulsive Gambler ever be cured of gambling?
We have found there is no cure for compulsive gambling. However, with regular attendance at G.A. meetings and a continued effort to work the Twelve Steps of Recovery, this illness can be arrested.
Does Gam-Anon offer any help to the children of the family?
Living in the home of a compulsive gambler affects every member of the family. Children of compulsive gamblers gradually lose their feelings of insecurity after their parents’ attitudes of criticism and resentment change to understanding and forgiveness.
Do we in Gam-Anon have slips?
Yes, habits are difficult to break We often slip back into the old ways of thinking and acting. However, we need not be discouraged. By attending Gam-Anon meetings and calling members regularly, we can return to a normal way of thinking.