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Tools of the Gam-Anon Program

A meeting may be held with as few as two members. The only requirement for attending meetings is that you are a person who has been affected by someone with a gambling problem. In addition to the spouse or parents of a gambler, the widow or widower, the companion, the divorced spouse, the child, the friend, the employer or employee, etc., can attend.

Using the telephone or e-mail between meetings is a helpful way to stay in touch with the program and receive its experience, strength, and hope daily. We use the telephone or e-mail to connect with other Gam-Anon members and get strength by hearing how they have coped with similar emotions and challenges. No longer do we have to do it alone. We can simply pick up the phone or send an e-mail.

At meetings all over the world we read from the same Gam-Anon literature. Gam-Anon has a rich variety of books, pamphlets, and information sheets about the Twelve Steps of Recovery, personal growth, and reflections on our lives, offering us strength, hope, and the Gam-Anon experience.

Writing gives us insight into ourselves. It is helpful in strengthening our thoughts and resolutions. We discover hidden fears and face them. It brings to the surface many long buried feelings, and we can reveal them with complete honesty and without fear of judgmental reaction.

Sponsors are members in our program who are willing and able to share their experience, strength, and hope with the newcomer. They keep regular contact with the newcomer between meetings. A sponsor does not have to have all the answers, but a sponsor is the link to the program, where all of our answers are found. Most important, a sponsor listens and is objective. This offers the new member an initial sense of belonging and trust, and the older member a renewed sense of sharing and worth.

Service is the principle of the Twelfth Step of Recovery. It is a way of giving back to the program what has been so generously given to us.

Pressure Relief Meetings are a function of the Gamblers Anonymous meeting in which Gam-Anon members cooperate. Most of us come into Gam-Anon with issues of debt and financial pressures. Sometimes the debts are overwhelming and in the name of the gambler; other times the debts are held jointly or are in the name of the Gam-Anon member. Regardless of how debts are labeled, how much debt there is, or the financial capability to address the debts and budget a lifestyle, the Pressure Relief Meeting is an invaluable tool in getting the finances in order. The goal of the Pressure Relief Meeting is to relieve the financial pressures by suggesting a budget that prioritizes the normal needs of the family, which addresses all debt, and is livable.

The Gam-Anon member whose gambler is not attending GA or who is attending but refuses to have a Pressure Relief Meeting can address financial issues in the Gam-Anon meeting and receive additional guidance in the literature. A Gam-Anon “Budget Meeting”, given by experienced Gam-Anon members using the Gamblers Anonymous budget guidelines, without considering repayment of gambling debts, is available and can be helpful. Though the behavior of the compulsive gambler cannot be controlled, the member can exert some control over his or her finances.

Each person in the Gam-Anon program has the right to be as anonymous as he or she chooses. Maintaining anonymity is vital if Gam-Anon is to give support to its members and attract newcomers to the fellowship.

At meetings we use our first name and last initial, only. We need not disclose where we live or where we work. We offer telephone numbers and/or e-mail addresses so that we can use these tools between meetings. We must never violate anyone else’s anonymity. We never disclose to anyone who attends our meetings and never identify ourselves or leave messages that indicate we are members of this program lest a nonmember hears the message.

Anonymity is a sacred trust.