About San Diego Gamblers Anonymous

Welcome to the local San Diego Gamblers Anonymous website. The San Diego Area Gamblers Anonymous Intergroup represents the members of San Diego and South Riverside counties. The purpose of the website is help the gambler who still suffers and to support the members and meeting rooms within our area. We hope the information on the site will keep you informed and will aid you in your recovery.

If you are a member of Gamblers Anonymous within San Diego and and South Riverside Counties with at least 30 days of recovery, we invite you to register to gain access to the Member and Intergroup sections of this site.

GAMBLERS ANONYMOUS is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from a gambling problem.

The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop gambling. There are no dues or fees for Gamblers Anonymous membership; we are self-supporting through our 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. Our primary purpose is to stop gambling and to help other compulsive gamblers do the same.

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.

The Gamblers Anonymous Recovery Program is the foundation upon which those in the Fellowship are able to rebuild their lives. The Recovery Program is outlined in 12 steps and is a plan for a better way of living.

These are the steps which are a program of recovery:

1. We admitted that we were powerless over gambling - that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to a normal way of thinking and living.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of this Power of our own understanding.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral and financial inventory of ourselves.

5. Admitted to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

6. Were entirely ready to have these defects of character removed.

7. Humbly asked God (of our understanding) to remove our shortcomings.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

12. Having made an effort to practice these principles in all our affairs, we tried to carry this message to other compulsive gamblers.

The Gamblers Anonymous Unity Program is a framework for the well-being of individual groups and the Fellowship as a whole. The Unity Program is outlined in 12 steps and is meant to insure the continuity and perpetuity of Gamblers Anonymous.

In order to maintain the Fellowship for present and future members, both individual and groups follow the proven concepts upon which the Unity Program is based. The essence of this program is in the preservation of common welfare. Members understand that what is best for the group is best for the individual.

The Unity Program serves to protect the Fellowship from disruption. Members work together under the principles of unity in order to preserve and perpetuate the opportunity for themselves and other compulsive gamblers to recover and grow within the Fellowship.

Unity is the most precious quality our society possesses. Our lives and the lives of all to come depend squarely upon it. Yet unity in Gamblers Anonymous cannot automatically sustain itself. Like personal recovery it demands honesty, open mindedness, and above all, vigilance. In the words of the great patriot Benjamin Franklin, “We must hang together or assuredly we shall all hang separately”. So there can be no sacrifice too great if it will strengthen our essential Unity. In maintaining unity we have begun to traditionally practice the following principles.

In order to maintain unity our experience has shown that:

1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon group unity.

2. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.

3. The only requirement for Gamblers Anonymous membership is a desire to stop gambling.

4. Each group should be self-governing except in matters affecting other groups or Gamblers Anonymous as a whole.

5. Gamblers Anonymous has but one primary purpose - to carry its message to the compulsive gambler who still suffers.

6. Gamblers Anonymous ought never endorse, finance or lend the Gamblers Anonymous name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.

7. Every Gamblers Anonymous Group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.

8. Gamblers Anonymous should remain forever non-professional, but our service centers may employ special workers.

9. Gamblers Anonymous, as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.

10. Gamblers Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the Gamblers Anonymous name ought never be drawn into public controversy.

11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, films, television and Internet.

12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of the Gamblers Anonymous program, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

What does Anonymity mean?

Defined as 'lacking individuality, distinction, or recognizability' in the dictionary, GA practices anonymity at the level of press, radio, films, and television, to preserve the Unity and Principles of the Program. Such practices include, not using last names in meetings, or exposing someone else's membership to the fellowship in public.

I haven't lost everything. Do I still belong?

With reference to GA, we feel gambling is an emotional problem; a thinking and living problem. Therefore, money problems seem only to be a symptom of the problem itself. See also "Isn't compulsive gambling basically a financial problem?" in the Combo Book.

I belong to "another" 12-Step program. Can't I just use that program to help my gambling problem?

Perhaps. However, many cross-addicted members in the fellowship feel that their other 12-Step groups do not provide the understanding found in GA for their gambling problem. Many have found that only GA can help them with their gambling problem.

What is Pressure Relief?

A Pressure Relief Group meeting is a tool provided to members facing legal, employment, marital, or personal problems. A major focus is financial in nature, although members need not have financial issues to benefit from a Pressure Relief Group. The group meeting usually consists of the requesting member and a few other members experienced in Pressure Relief, and remains CONFIDENTIAL in every detail amongst those attending members.

What if I see someone I know at a meeting?

Anonymity is the basis for the Gamblers Anonymous program. Therefore, unless agreed mutually, members should not discuss outside involvement within a meeting, or vice versa.

What is "Intergroup?"

Intergroup is a monthly "business" meeting, where member-elected representatives and officers discuss items that affect its serving members. It is also where announcements and literature are disseminated to individual meetings via its representatives. Any member may attend, although only officers and one(1) representative per meeting may vote. No individual may carry more than 1 vote.

What does "ISO" mean?

ISO stands for International Service Office and is the central office for Gamblers Anonymous. It handles items such as official literature, and new group meeting starter kits, as well as any issues involving Gamblers Anonymous as a whole. In other countries, an RSO (Regional Service Office) may handle such issues.

How many "meetings" do I have to attend?

GA believes that "Compulsive gambling is an illness, progressive in its nature, which can never be cured, but can be arrested." Therefore, most members feel that recovery is dependant on a program that includes the attendance of meetings. Some members will suggest "attending as many meetings as possible" for at least 90 days. After such time, a member can make a better decision on whether the program is right for them.

What is GAM-ANON?

Gam-Anon is a fellowship of men and women who are the partners, spouses, parents, relatives and close friends of compulsive gamblers. To learn more, visit GAMANON.ORG.