Compulsive gambling is a symptom of an emotional illness, characterized by low self-esteem, immaturity, instability and obsessive behavior. Because compulsive gambling is an insidious and baffling illness, some adults have difficulty deciding if they were affected by compulsive gambling during childhood. The following questions may help you to determine whether compulsive gambling affected your childhood or present life.

  1. Do you obsess about money?
  2. Did family activities revolve around gambling events? (sports, cards, lottery, racetracks, etc.)
  3. Have you ever been missing money?
  4. Have you ever paid or been asked to pay a parent’s debts?
  5. Do your parents often argue about money?
  6. Were you forced to form an alliance with one parent against another?
  7. Did you parents use you as a sounding board for their marriage?
  8. Are you afraid to be alone with the gambling parent?
  9. Do you feel anxious when the phone rings, mail comes or doorbell rings?
  10. Do you feel responsible for the unhappiness in your home?
  11. Do you confuse pity with love?
  12. Have you had problems with your own compulsive behavior?
  13. Do you feel more like the parent than the child?
  14. Are you unable to remember all or parts of your childhood?
  15. Do you care for others easily, but find it difficult to care for yourself?
  16. Do you find it difficult to identify and express your feelings?
  17. Do you have trouble with intimate relationships?
  18. Do you lie when it would be just as easy to tell the truth?
  19. Do you feel more alive in the midst of a crisis?
  20. Do you think more money would solve your problems?
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If you answered yes to some or all of these questions, Gam-Anon may be for you. Gam-anon is a fellowship for families, relatives and close friends who live and have lived with the gambling problem. We would like you to feel that we understand as perhaps few can and that Gam-Anon can offer you a new way of life.

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If there is a gambling problem in your home, the Gam-Anon family group may be able to help you cope with it. If you are living with a compulsive gambler, you will answer “YES” to at least six of the following questions.

  1. Do you find yourself constantly bothered by bill collectors?
  2. Is the person in question often away from home for long, unexplained periods of time?
  3. Does this person ever lose time from work due to gambling?
  4. Do you feel that this person cannot be trusted with money?
  5. Does the person in question faithfully promise that he or she will stop gambling; beg, plead for another chance, yet gamble again and again?
  6. Does this person ever gamble longer than he or she intended to, until the last dollar is gone?
  7. Does this person immediately return to gambling to try to recover losses, or to win more?
  8. Does this person ever gamble to get money to solve financial difficulties or have unrealistic expectations that gambling will bring the family material comfort and wealth?
  9. Does this person borrow money to gamble with or to pay gambling debts?
  10. Has this person’s reputation ever suffered due to gambling, even to the extent of committing illegal acts to finance gambling?
  11. Have you come to the point of hiding money needed for living expenses, knowing that you and the rest of the family may go without food and clothing if you do not?
  12. Do you search this person’s clothing or go through his or her wallet when the opportunity presents itself, or otherwise check on his/her activities?
  13. Does the person in question hide his or her money?
  14. Have you noticed a personality change in the gambler as his or her gambling progresses?
  15. Does the person in question consistently lie to cover up or deny his or her gambling activities?
  16. Does this person use guilt induction as a method of shifting responsibilities for his or her gambling upon you?
  17. Do you attempt to anticipate this person’s moods, or try to control his or her life?
  18. Does this person ever suffer from remorse or depression due to gambling, sometimes to the point of self-destruction?
  19. Has the gambling ever brought you to the point of threatening to break up the family unit?
  20. Do you feel that your life together is a nightmare?

What is Gam-Anon? Gam-Anon is a fellowship of men and women who are husbands, wives, relatives and close friends of compulsive gamblers. You need not wait for the compulsive gambler to seek help before coming to Gam-Anon.

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In Gam-Anon we learn effective ways of coping with the gambling problem. By seeking help for ourselves and gaining serenity and peace of mind, we find that we are better able to cope with our problems on a day-to-day basis and in some cases motivate the gambler toward seeking help for him or herself.