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Is There a Gambling Problem in Your Family?

Gam-Anon is a self-help organization that offers support for the spouse, family or close friends of the compulsive gambler. Gam-Anon's purpose is to help members:

  • learn to accept and understand the gambling illness
  • use problem solving suggestions as an aide in rebuilding members' lives
  • give appropriate aid to the gambler, and
  • give assistance to those who suffer.

In Gam-Anon, the member will experience relief from anxiety by accepting the fact of powerlessness over the problem in the family. The heavy load of responsibility for the gambling problem is lifted and the agonizing guilt in regard to failures is gradually alleviated. The energy wasted in attempts to stop loved ones from gambling can be channeled into more useful methods of problem solving.

If the gambler and member seek help jointly, the recovery process will be less complicated. Hopefully the gambler will be motivated to seek help, but recovery for the Gam-Anon member should not depend upon the gambler.

Use the Resource Locator tool to search for times and locations of Gam-Anon meetings throughout Nevada.

For more information about Gam-Anon, or to find meeting locations in other states, please visit their website at

A Compulsive Gambler Speaks to His Family

I am a Compulsive Gambler. I need your help.

DON'T lecture, blame or scold me. You wouldn't treat me that way for having leukemia or diabetes. Compulsive gambling is a disease, too.

DON'T let me provoke your anger. If you attack me verbally or physically, you will only confirm my already bad opinion of myself.

DON'T let your love and anxiety for me lead you into doing what I ought to do for myself. If you assume my responsibilities, you make my failure to assume them permanent. My sense of guilt will increase and you will feel resentful.

DON'T accept my promises. I'll promise anything to get off the hook, but the nature of my illness prevents me from keeping my promises, even though I mean them at the time.

DON'T make empty threats. Once you have made a decision, stick to it.

DON'T believe everything I tell you - it may be a lie. Denial of reality is a symptom of my illness. Moreover, I'm likely to lose respect for those I can fool too easily.

DON'T let me take advantage of you or exploit you in any way. Love cannot exist for long without the dimension of justice.

DON'T cover up for me or try in any way to spare me the consequences of my illness.

DON'T lie for me, pay my bills, or meet my obligations. It may avert or reduce the very crisis that would prompt me to seek help. I can continue to deny that I have a gambling problem as long as you provide an escape from the consequences of my gambling.

Above all, DO learn all you can about compulsive gambling and your role in relation to me.

Attend Gam-Anon meetings regularly, read the literature and keep in touch with Gam-Anon members. They're the people who can help you see the whole situation clearly.

I love you -Your Compulsive Gambler

Reprinted from the GAMANON 1991 One Day Conference Book

The PROBLEM GAMBLERS HELPLINE is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer your questions and offer confidential assistance. Caring and knowledgeable specialists will provide information on treatment and support resources in your area for both the gambler and those affected by the gambler’s problem.

Just pick up a phone and dial:


It’s that simple.
When the Fun Stops…Help is just a phone call away.