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  Compulsive Gambling  

The word addiction derives from the Latin word addictere, to be bound or enslaved to another. In addiction the individual is no longer master of his fate or captain of his destiny, for he lives and breathes, plots and schemes, and carries on all of his affairs under the thumb of his evil genius, his addiction.

Addictions are customarily divided into (a) substance addictions such as alcohol and other drugs, and (b) process addictions such as compulsive sex, gambling, eating, working or other activities. Addiction is correctly understood, not from the characteristics of the substance or process in question, but from the manner in which the individual relates to such substances or processes.

Characteristics of the addictive relationship include:

  • salience or exaggerated importance, in which the target of the addiction 'trumps everything' in the addict's life, even at times life itself
  • rigidity, persistence, inflexibility and imperviousness to corrective feedback such as painful adverse consequences past, present and anticipated, as well as the negative opinions of peers
  • the invocation of a distinctive mutually reinforcing network of psychological defenses, including denial, rationalization, minimization, projection &etc., which function together like a well-designed system of military forts and defenses to protect the addiction
  • the incorporation of the addiction into a system of mood and value-regulation upon which the identity, meaning and reason for existence of the addict are progressively grounded

By their fruits ye shall know them. And the fruits of addiction are always bitter and inimical to the life and well-being of the individual: shame, fear, guilt, secrecy, depression, remorse, loss of relationships,  and vocational, legal and health consequences are common results of the more serious addictions. And in all too many instances the final fruit of addiction is death itself.

While the particular characteristics of the substance or process involved exert effects that must be recognized and reckoned with, it is the structural process of addiction just described which isolates and undermines the psyche and frequently the soma(body) of the addict.

Compulsive gambling is a well-recognized addictive process that may exist alone or in the presence of other active process or substance addictions, as well as of other psychiatric disturbances such as depression.

Gamblers Anonymous offers the following questions to anyone who may have a gambling problem. These questions are provided to help the individual decide if he or she is a compulsive gambler and wants to stop gambling.


  1. Did you ever lose time from work or school due to gambling? 
  2. Has gambling ever made your home life unhappy? 
  3. Did gambling affect your reputation? 
  4. Have you ever felt remorse after gambling? 
  5. Did you ever gamble to get money with which to pay debts or solve financial difficulties? 
  6. Did gambling cause a decrease in your ambition or efficiency? 
  7. After losing did you feel you must return as soon as possible and win back your losses? 
  8. After a win did you have a strong urge to return and win more? 
  9. Did you often gamble until your last dollar was gone? 
  10. Did you ever borrow to finance your gambling? 
  11. Have you ever sold anything to finance gambling? 
  12. Were you reluctant to use "gambling money" for normal expenditures? 
  13. Did gambling make you careless of the welfare of yourself or your family? 
  14. Did you ever gamble longer than you had planned? 
  15. Have you ever gambled to escape worry or trouble? 
  16. Have you ever committed, or considered committing, an illegal act to finance gambling? 
  17. Did gambling cause you to have difficulty in sleeping? 
  18. Do arguments, disappointments or frustrations create within you an urge to gamble? 
  19. Did you ever have an urge to celebrate any good fortune by a few hours of gambling? 
  20. Have you ever considered self destruction or suicide as a result of your gambling? 
  21. Most compulsive gamblers will answer yes to at least seven of these

  • State of Georgia Helpline
    (800) 699-7117

  • Gamblers Anonymous Metro-Atlanta Helpline
    (770) 237-7281

  • Gamblers Anonymous Southeastern Helpline
    (800) 313-0170

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Help Lines

State of Georgia Helpline
(800) 699-7117

Gamblers Anonymous Metro-Atlanta Helpline
(770) 237-7281

Gamblers Anonymous Southeastern Helpline
(800) 313-0170


Gamblers Anonymous

For friends and family members of compulsive gamblers.

Georgia Compulsive Gambling Online Resource Center

National Council on Compulsive Gambling, Inc.
The mission of the National Council on Problem Gambling is to increase public awareness of pathological gambling, ensure the widespread availability of treatment for problem gamblers and their families, and to encourage research and programs for prevention and education.

Original Papers

The Addict's Dilemma

Addiction, Lies and Relationships

Addiction and the Mechanisms of Defense

Excuses Alcoholics Make

The Experience of Deprivation and Loss in Early Recovery

Getting Away With Addiction?

Obstacles to Recovery

Resistances to AA

What is Recovery?

Why is Recovery So Hard?

Your First AA Meeting: An UNOFFICIAL Guide for the Perplexed