Welcome to your first Gamblers Anonymous meeting. Take heart - we have all been where you are right now. After this meeting you should feel a sense of relief. We not only understand your gambling problem, but we will offer direction and support in helping you get out of the mess you are in. So try to relax, sit back and listen to what the members have to say.
If you feel threatened in your relationship with others because of loss of their respect, financial failure, and low self esteem, remember that we all felt the same way before our first meeting.
To come to Gamblers Anonymous is to admit that you have a problem you have not been able to solve. Compulsive gambling is an illness. You will find you will be able to live a normal, happy life without gambling with the help of the Gamblers Anonymous program.
You may have negative feelings about yourself - self-pity, self-hate, worthlessness, remorse or even thoughts of suicide. Others at the meeting will offer new perspectives, ideas and solutions. Their "therapy" will offer hope that your present situation need not be permanent. You will be welcome at the meeting. You will meet others who have a gambling problem, yet are learning how to abstain from gambling. We will show you how to relieve the pressures including the financial difficulties, that you are now experiencing.
Up to now, you knew something was wrong. You might have even thought of your gambling problem only as a financial one. You have probably gone to great lengths to hide your gambling and to keep your financial problems a secret. As matters grew worse, the more difficult it became to keep things hidden. The burden of an "unsharable secret" then became part of the gambling problem. Because you have kept your problems to yourself, you may believe that you are unique. In Gamblers Anonymous, you will find great relief in hearing the stories of others who have had similar experiences. The members relate these experiences not only in the sense that they have had the same problems, felt the same emotions, or did the same things, but that they find it extremely helpful to share with others. Moreover, this revealing of faults takes place in an atmosphere of acceptance. You have been devoting a great deal of energy into keeping your image intact and this pursuit has become an overwhelming burden. In Gamblers Anonymous you can put down that burden. You do not have to "con" us; you do not have to pretend that you are a success. In short, you do not have to go through all the face-saving techniques which have become a preoccupation in your everyday life.
You will soon realize that your problems are not unique. By hearing the experiences shared at meetings, you will no longer think you are the "worst person on earth" and beyond all help. There will be stories worse than yours and some not quite as bad. You will realize that gambling has caused many problems in your life and Gamblers Anonymous is the solution to those problems. In Gamblers Anonymous you will find people who truly understand you and what you have been going through -- people who have faced the same obstacles and are learning how to overcome them.
While gambling, your perception of others was narrow, distorted and unrealistic. By listening to other members, you will learn ways of thinking and living you had not thought possible. In the program, you will be able to set attainable goals and develop acceptable values using the examples and guidance of other Gamblers Anonymous members who have turned their lives around.
We all welcome you to your first Gamblers Anonymous meeting