The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop gambling. There are no dues or fees for Gamblers Anonymous membership; they are self-supporting through their own contributions. Gamblers Anonymous is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any cause. Their primary purpose is to stop gambling and to help other compulsive gamblers do the same.
Most of them have been unwilling to admit they were real problem gamblers. No one likes to think they are different from their fellows. Therefore, it is not surprising that their gambling careers have been characterized by countless vain attempts to prove they could gamble like other people. The idea that somehow, some day, they will control their gambling is the great obsession of every compulsive gambler. The persistence of this illusion is astonishing. Many pursue it into the gates of prison, insanity or death.
They learned they had to concede fully to their innermost selves that they are compulsive gamblers. This is the first step in their recovery. With reference to gambling, the delusion that they are like other people, or presently may be, has to be smashed. They have lost the ability to control their gambling. They know that no real compulsive gambler ever regains control. They all felt at times they were regaining control, but such intervals – usually brief -were inevitably followed by still less control, which led in time to pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization. They are convinced that gamblers of their type are in the grip of a progressive illness. Over any considerable period of time they get worse, never better. Therefore, in order to lead normal happy lives, they try to practice to the best of our ability, certain principles in our daily affairs.
Their website includes the following features.
- Explanations of the group – its background, principles and methods
- Meeting Finder (In Person)
- U.S. Hotline numbers
- Organization Information
- Online Store
The fellowship of Gamblers Anonymous is the outgrowth of a chance meeting between two men during the month of January in 1957. These men had a truly baffling history of trouble and misery due to an obsession to gamble. They began to meet regularly and as the months passed neither had returned to gambling.
They concluded from their discussions that in order to prevent a relapse it was necessary to bring about certain character changes within themselves. In order to accomplish this, they used for a guide certain spiritual principles which had been utilized by thousands of people who were recovering from other compulsive addictions. The word spiritual can be said to describe those characteristics of the human mind that represent the highest and finest qualities such as kindness, generosity, honesty and humility. Also, in order to maintain their own abstinence they felt that it was vitally important that they carry the message of hope to other compulsive gamblers.
As a result of favorable publicity by a prominent newspaper columnist and TV commentator, the first group meeting of Gamblers Anonymous was held on Friday, September 13, 1957, in Los Angeles, California. Since that time, the fellowship has grown steadily and groups are flourishing throughout the world.