“Initially Gam-Anon slowed my panic down, later it made everything manageable...”
You are not alone.
I was really nervous entering the Gam-Anon room for the first time, but I needn’t have been. Discovering my partner was a compulsive gambler had turned my life upside down and that room turned out to be like a comfort blanket for me. I was assured of confidentiality, made to feel safe and secure by people who listened without judgement. These people had been where I found myself now, they really understood my predicament, shared their own stories with me. I soaked up every word I heard and took away some literature. I knew I was going to return to this room. I did and over time I was shown ways of dealing with a life infiltrated by addiction. I am so glad I found this place to pose my questions, face my doubts and fears, and find the relief of knowing I wasn’t on my own in dealing with it all...
Everyone in GA or Gam-Anon has had to attend their first meeting at some point and YES everyone feels nervous, scared and unsure as to what lies behind those doors. Try not to worry too much, no one will leave you standing in the corner all alone, you will be greeted with a smile and a warm welcome. Remember everyone in that room, whether it be a Gambler in the GA room or friends/family of a gambler in the Gam-Anon room, are all there for the same reason – to get help, support, and understanding of coping with compulsive gambling.
Once you are in the meeting, sitting down still probably feeling nervous and scared, the chairperson (every week a member chairs the meeting, nothing to worry about just like any other meeting, also don’t panic as a new member you will not be asked to chair) will introduce themselves and then will go around the room and everyone will introduce themselves – first name only, so everyone’s anonymity is intact.
By now your heart is still probably racing and your hands are still clammy, again keep reminding yourself, everyone is here for the same reason. Once you have been introduced to everyone, you may be asked to tell a little about what has brought you to the meeting. This can be a short or as long as you feel comfortable, remember that what is said within the meeting, stays within the meeting. Nothing that has been discussed will be repeated beyond those four walls.
Hopefully by now you are a little more relaxed and as the meeting progresses you will begin to realise that you are not alone. Every single person in that room has been through, or is going through, a situation similar to yourself. Every person has a different story, but there are amazing connections between all our stories, and others will share their experiences with you.
The one thing we say to anyone is – COME BACK – give the meetings a chance, you won’t know unless you try. Please try and get to at least six consecutive meetings, whether in person or via Zoom.
We are here to help you to get some peace and serenity back into your life.
Contacting Gam-Anon UK & Ireland:
(click on relevant role to send an email)
Other web-sites which may be useful:
Gam-Anon Groups in Scotland: https://www.gamanonscotland.org/
Gam-Anon International Service Office: https://www.gam-anon.org/
G.A. Meetings (for the gambler): https://www.gamblersanonymous.org.uk/
International Zoom Meetings and Audio Archive of Therapies: https://gamblersinrecovery.com/
Gam-Anon UK & Ireland
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