Answers to some of the most common questions we are asked:
What is compulsive gambling?
There are many and varying interpretations of compulsive gambling. The explanation that seems most acceptable to GA members is that compulsive gambling is an illness, progressive in its nature, which can never be cured, but can be arrested.
Before coming to GA, many compulsive gamblers thought of themselves as morally weak or just “no good". The GA concept is that the compulsive gambler is a very sick person who can recover by following a very simple programme, to the best of his or her own ability that has proved successful for thousands of other men and women with a similar problem.
What is the first thing a compulsive gambler ought to do in order to stop gambling?
To accept the fact that compulsive gambling is a progressive illness and to have the desire to get well. Our experience has shown that the GA programme will always work for anyone who wants to stop gambling. It will seldom work for the man or woman who cannot, or will not, squarely face the facts about this illness.
Only you can make that decision. Most people turn to GA when they become willing to admit that gambling has them licked. Also, in GA a compulsive gambler is described as a person whose gambling has caused growing and continuing problems in many departments of life.
Many GA members went through terrifying experiences before they were ready to accept help. Others were faced with a slow, subtle deterioration which finally brought them to the point of admitting defeat.
Who can join GA?
There are only two requirements for membership of GA: you must be a compulsive gambler, and you must want to stop your own gambling.
If you are not sure whether you are a compulsive gambler, try answering the 20 Questions
Do I need to book?
No. Just go to any meeting at the time and address indicated online, and someone should greet you.
What do I need to bring?
Absolutely nothing: just yourself and an open mind.
How much does it cost?
GA does not charge anyone for attending meetings. That said, each Group and the Fellowship as a whole does incur expenses (e.g. rentals for meeting-places, and the printing and distribution of literature) which must be covered by its members, who are free to give as much or as little as they desire.
What is anonymity?
In GA a member only discloses their first name. The names of attendees and what they say are not repeated outside the meeting. Anonymity has great spiritual and practical value within the Fellowship, and also attracts new members who feel there is a stigma attached to compulsive gambling.
Who runs GA?
GA is run by compulsive gamblers for compulsive gamblers.
There is no central government and little formal organisation. There are no officers or executives wielding authority over the Fellowship or individuals.
Certain jobs must be done to ensure that GA continues to function effectively. In undertaking a task, a member may acquire a title, but this is used only to designate an area of service. Those who accept these responsibilities are directly accountable to those they serve.
Is GA a religious society?
No. GA is composed of people from many religious faiths, along with agnostics and atheists.