Gamblers AnonymousGA is a program specifically to help compulsive gamblers. You can certainly encourage your gambler to attend meetings. You can even join them for the first few meetings, however, ultimately continuing to go must be their choice. It's important to understand that you can't force, or otherwise demand them to continue going by making threats or ultimatums. Even if you "force" them to go, if they're not ready to give up their will to the program, simply attending meetings won't help by osmosis. They need to be fully engaged, and WANT to change.
GA meetings are held virtually every day of the week, and can be found across the country, and even around the world. These meetings represent a universally accept program for getting help for gambling addiction. There are two types of meetings; open meetings and closed meetings. Open meetings simply means that you can accompany your loved and actually sit (and participate) in the meeting. Closed meetings can only be attended by gamblers themselves. Attending a few open meetings with your gambler is definitely a good idea as it will give you an idea of what the meeting is all about. It will also give you an opportunity to hear the stories of other gamblers, as well as hear their success stories in terms of how they got help for gambling addiction and stopped gambling. At least for me, I found the experience to be insightful. I also found it comforting to see that gamblers in general are good people, just like you and I (and my spouse), and that they truly are struggling with a disease. To hear about some of their successes in stopping gambling gave me some hope and encouragement.
It really critical, however, to appreciate that if your gambler doesn't want to get help for gambling addiciton by attending Gamblers Anonymous meetings, nothing positive will come from you trying to force them to go. Encouraging them to go to the first few meetings can't hurt, however, after that, you need to leave it to your loved one to conclude that the program can help them. Depending on whether or not they are in denial regarding their gambling problem, you may find that they go in and out of the program. Most people will agree that some type of regular attendance is important for the program to be effective. While considering the value of GA, please also learn about the difference between abstinence versus recovery in the Gambling Addiction Recovery discussion.
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