Before we begin, we’d like to point out that we don’t see QG as a competitor to GA. We’re all doing our best to help people with gambling problems get back to everyday life. If GA works for you, AWESOME! We couldn’t be happier for you! Continue doing what works for you. If you need an alternative to GA, then QuitGamble.com might be interesting to you.
Gambler’s Anonymous, GA, has helped people through its 12-step program for over 60 years. They arrange physical meetings daily worldwide, and the community is full of fantastic and helpful people. Well done!
GA has been the place to go if you want to stop gambling addiction. BUT it doesn’t work for everyone, and many keep struggling with gambling problems. Moreover, approximately 80% of all compulsive gamblers don’t seek help.
No doubt GA is doing a good job, but there is room for GA alternatives. In this article, we’ll compare GA with QuitGamble.com. We’ll discuss the different approaches the two platforms have.
Let’s begin with a recap of Gamblers’ anonymous 12 steps. (Skip ahead if you’re already familiar with them.)
Step 1 – We admitted we were powerless over gambling – that our lives had become unmanageable.
In the first step, the participant must admit that he/she is powerless to their addiction. Powerless might sound harsh, but in reality, it means the participant doesn’t have enough power to overcome their problem. Admitting there is a problem
Step 2 – Believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to a standard way of thinking and living.
The participant needs to look for something better/bigger than him/herself. In step one, he/she admitted he/she didn’t have enough power, so naturally, the participants need something more substantial to help them. Here God plays a central role for many GA members.
Step 3 – Decided to turn our will and our lives over to the care of this Power of our understanding.
In the third step, the participant needs to decide to let go. Accept that he doesn’t have control over everything and take life on life’s terms. It means accepting
Since the participant doesn’t trust himself anymore, he lets the higher power be in charge. Before the participant does anything, he should ask what God or someone would be better than I do in this situation.
Step 4 – Made a searching and fearless moral and financial inventory of ourselves.
In the fourth step, the participant makes a list of everything that hurt him, makes him angry, ashamed, guilty, or hostile. He should list everything terrible that has happened to him. Perhaps there are abuse, bullying, betrayal, failed relationships, or he’s been maltreated.
The person looks at life from a perspective of resentment.
As part of the 4th step, we’ll learn things about how we play a part in how people treat us. It might even be partly our fault. If you’ve stolen from somebody, that person might not treat you nicely afterward.
Step 5 – Admitted to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
Share all the horrible things you’ve done with somebody you trust. Tell them about the things you’re ashamed you’ve done, things that eat you from the inside. Sharing is good because you might get a new perspective on the things you’ve done.
Step 6 – Were entirely ready to have these defects of character removed.
In the sixth step, you need to welcome change. Be ready to admit to and remove your “defects”. You must want to be a good person again.
Step 7 – Humbly asked God (of our understanding) to remove our shortcomings.
Pray to the higher power to remove all the defects from you. Ask God to help you be a better person. To have faith in yourself, that you can do it. Help us make good decisions.
Step 8 – Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
This step is relatively self-explanatory.
Step 9 – Make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
Fix all the wrongs we’ve made. Do anything we can to prove and give evidence to our change. Ask how we can make amends for things we’ve done.
Step 10 – Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
Ask ourselves daily how we’re doing and correct our mistakes.
Step 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.
Ask the higher power to help us keep the right track. Please help us make the right decision and be a good person.
Step 12 – Having made an effort to practice these principles in all our affairs, we tried to message other compulsive gamblers. Share your experiences and help other people with gambling problems.
Source: Gamblers Anonymous
3 probable REASONS why 80% of problem gamblers don’t seek
GA has a clear structure, and everybody is welcome to their meetings. However, in Step 1, you have to admit that you have a problem, even more: You have to admit that you’re powerless to the addiction.
- Admit you have a problem
- Admit you’re powerless
- Do it in front of strangers
For many, this is a HUGE DEAL. Naturally, we agree, it’s better if the person admits to their problem, but, for us on QG, it’s not a deal-breaker. On QG, it’s more important that we can start the process of helping somebody than he/she admits they have a gambling problem. We’d like to be an alternative to gamblers anonymous that accept everybody.
On QG, we want to make the threshold to get started as small as possible. We aim to create a platform that is easy to access, fun to use, and helps the users deal with the underlying causes of their addiction. We want to inspire our users, help them grow in an environment built on helping yourself by helping other people.
For us, admitting that you’re powerless makes the person a victim. We want to empower, inspire and make the person believe in their own ability. We do that by encouraging and challenging the user. We intend to build up his/her self-confidence and self-esteem gradually.
Finally, we believe the physical meetings GA arranges are great. The challenge is to get people to come to the first, second, and third meetings. Physical meetings can be intimidating, and though the person might struggle with gambling, he/she might not be ready to go to a meeting.
QuitGamble.com is online-based; the person can log in, chat, share experiences and work on various programs. QG is open 24/7, and the user can choose to be completely anonymous. Again, we try to make the process of getting started as short and stress-free as possible.
Why Gambler’s anonymous might not work for some
GA has a well-tested 12-steps process. For some people, this process works splendidly. WOW, we even smiled when we wrote that. GA can be excellent! Many people struggle in GA, though. Here are some of the reasons we believe people struggle:
- People easily get stuck on one step
- They are focusing on people staying away from gambling, not the underlying cause.
- Relapses push you back to day one.
In GA’s 12-steps, you take one step at a time. To reach the next step, you need to do/admit/believe certain things. Sometimes, that’s difficult, and the person gets stuck. On QG, we don’t think there is a linear process to becoming gambling-free. We believe there’ll be bumps on the way. Sometimes we struggle, need a little time, and perhaps need a new perspective on things. To get ahead, the user can either do something else or discuss and share their experience in the forum or live chat.
The main difference between QG and GA is what we aim to achieve. In GA, the goal is to create a sober addict. The goal is to help the person not gamble again, but the person will remain a gambling addict for the rest of their life.
When the process is focused on helping people stay away from gambling, it’s easy to forget what caused the addiction in the first place. On QG, we believe pain is the cause of addiction. Gambling is just a way to escape pain, not the cause of the addiction. It means that if the person stays away from gambling and doesn’t deal with what causes them pain, the risk he/she gets addicted to something else is undoubtedly high.
On QG, we help people fight pain and to help ease the pain. The goal is to create a happy and free person. We believe a happy person experiences less pain and is, therefore, more resilient to becoming addicted to anything.
In GA, they count the days since your last bet. It can be effective and get people motivated. But, since the focus is on staying away from gambling if the person relapses, he/she has to admit it to the group and start over. For us, it feels almost like the relapse is punished.
On QG, we see relapse as part of the journey. All new users are recommended to create a change plan. In our video course, they learn about updating the change plan as they go along. A relapse then becomes a way to learn and to make the change plan stronger. Besides, our Nonviolent communication program helps the person deal with relapse and guilt and shame, which often come with it.
QuitGamble.com and Gamblers Anonymous have different approaches. In this article, we’ve shown how QG can be an alternative to Gamblers Anonymous. GA has a rigorous 12 step process with a big organization and a lot of senior members. QG is online-based and approaches the entire problem of gambling addiction differently from GA. At QG, fighting pain is central, and in GA fighting gambling is the primary goal.
On QG, we’re not competing with GA. We aim to become an alternative to GA with an online platform that is easy to access and stress-free get started. For GA members, QG might also become a valuable resource for the journey to become gambling free.
No matter what you choose, we wish you good luck!