Journal ID (publisher-id): jgi
Publisher: Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
© 1999-2006 The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Publication date: August 2006
Publisher Id: jgi.2006.17.6
|Recovery in Gamblers Anonymous|
|Affiliation: Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
|Affiliation: Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
|Affiliation: York University, Toronto, Canada
|Manuscript history: This paper was peer-reviewed. Submitted February 23, 2005, accepted December 1, 2005. While this paper
has not been submitted elsewhere, sections from it were taken from the final report: Ferentzy, P., Skinner, W., & Antze, P
(2004). “Exploring Mutual Aid Pathways to Gambling Problems”, Final Report submitted to the Ontario Problem Gambling Research
Centre, after a 16-month study of GA and NA.
Contributors: PF attended GA meetings and conducted all interviews on his own, save for one which was conducted by PF and WS. Co-authors met regularly with PF to discuss research results. PF wrote the initial draft of this article, save for parts of the section on methodology, which were written by PA. All authors were involved in the writing of the final draft.
Competing interests: None declared.
Ethics approval: Ethics Review Research protocol #24/2003 entitled “Exploring mutual aid pathways to recovery from gambling problems and co-occurring gambling and substance use problems” was approved in March 2003 by CAMH Research Ethics Board and by the University of Toronto. One key issue addressed was the consent of mutual aid groups for an investigator to be present. Because of the principle of anonymity, written consent was not feasible for group observation, and permission was explicitly sought. For individual interviews, written consent was required, both for the interview itself and for audiotaping. For both group and individual documentation, no identifying information was reported and all information was subject to the Centre's guidelines for confidentiality.
Funding: This study was funded by the Ontario Problem Gambling Research Centre.
Peter Ferentzy (PhD, social and political thought, York University), principal investigator of this study, has been studying GA since 2002. Dr. Ferentzy's work is a historical sociology of the origins and development of the modern concept of addiction with an emphasis on how it has interacted with ideas about mental illness and compulsions in general. He was a predoctoral fellow at the Addiction Research Foundation of Ontario, with Robin Room on his committee. He has compiled an annotated bibliography on GA (and other mutual aid options for problem gamblers) with the help of an Ontario Problem Gambling Research Centre Incentive Grant.
Wayne Skinner (MSW, RSW, University of Toronto) is clinical director of the Concurrent Disorders Program and the Problem Gambling Service of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, Canada. He has over 25 years' experience as a clinician, supervisor, researcher, consultant, and educator. Wayne is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto. He also directs and teaches in the Addiction Studies certificate program in Continuing Education at the University of Toronto. He has studied at the doctoral level at York University, where he is an adjunct faculty member of the School of Social Work. He is editing a clinical handbook on the treatment of co-occurring addiction and mental health problems. He is co-investigator on several research studies on problem gambling.
Paul Antze (PhD, committee on social thought, University of Chicago) teaches in the Division of Social Science and the graduate programs in Anthropology and Social and Political Thought at York University. He is a former president of the Canadian Association for Medical Anthropology and currently a member of the editorial board of Ethos: The Journal of the Society for Psychological Anthropology. He has written widely on the culture of psychotherapeutic movements and has carried out field research on AA and organizations modeled after it, including GA and Codependents Anonymous, as well as on Recovery Inc, Synanon, and other peer therapy organizations. His recent work has emphasized the cultural uses of trauma and dissociation, especially as seen in the multiple-personality movement. He is co-editor, with Michael Lambek, of Tense Past: Cultural Essays in Trauma and Memory.
For correspondence: Peter Ferentzy, PhD, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, 240 Northcliffe Blvd., #204, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M6E 3K7. Phone: (416) 651-8094, e-mail: email@example.com
This article was written to provide an overview of recovery in Gamblers Anonymous (GA). How GA's approach reflects the distinctive needs of compulsive gamblers is a central theme. GA is a mutual aid organization modeled upon Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), though differing in some ways from that organization. One notable feature of GA is its emphasis on patience in the recovery process, reflected even in its approach to the 12 Steps, which are “worked” at a slow pace for this reason. Another feature that distinguishes GA is a seemingly more rigorous approach to avoiding potential triggers, notably gambling establishments. Whereas AA leaves it up to the individual to decide whether or not it is safe to enter establishments where alcohol is served, GA's official stand on such questions is uncompromising: members should not enter, or even go near, gambling establishments. Reasons for these differences are discussed.
Gamblers Anonymous (GA) has earned a reputation in the literature for being a 12 Step fellowship in name only, downplaying spiritual and psycho-emotional concerns in favor of a pragmatic focus on abstinence from gambling and issues such as debts (Browne, 1991, 1994; Ferentzy & Skinner, 2003; Lesieur, 1990). In another article (Ferentzy, Skinner, & Antze, 2006), we report that, while this perception is still partly true, GA has more recently embraced a broader conception of recovery and has become more focused on the 12 Steps. Yet GA's approach to the 12 Steps and recovery is unique. One theme that distinguishes GA from many other 12 Step fellowships is that of patience. While substance addicts in recovery must clearly learn to resist the instant gratification offered by the substance, GA members must be doubly on guard against such impulses: beyond the immediate thrill associated with gambling, there is the very real possibility that large winnings could indeed solve many problems immediately. Compulsive gamblers are generally in difficult financial straits by the time they decide to make a change, and the temptation to solve problems quickly can jeopardize a gambler's recovery. Browne (1991) has said that instead of 12 Step consciousness, GA members have what could be called “page 17” consciousness—a reference to the practical recommendations on the last page of GA's most important text, the Combo Book (GAISO, 1999). While GA has changed since then, page 17 is still central, with patience possibly being its most important message. This article is a discussion of GA's approach to recovery.
This qualitative, 16-month ethnographic study was preceded by the compilation of an annotated bibliography of GA and mutual aid as it pertains to gambling problems. The study had two main components: participant observation and individual interviews. The principal investigator attended and documented the activity and discourse at 42 GA meetings in the Toronto area and conducted 27 interviews with GA members, three of whom were also long-standing members of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). For comparative purposes, 29 Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings were observed and four NA members were interviewed. All interviews were audiotaped. Informal discussions during and after meetings with GA members, notably those with experience in other 12 Step fellowships, were also significant to this study.
Still, this study was regionally limited, and the advent of slot machines seems to have changed GA's character in some regions, raising potential questions our research team has yet to answer.1 Efforts were made to compensate for regional limitations. Notably, two of our GA interviewees were from other North American locales, and the principal investigator engaged in informal (phone and e-mail) communications with GA members from across the continent. Beyond that, much of this article addresses issues by means of explicating GA literature in conjunction with our own findings—with the effect that our observations are interpreted in relation to themes that clearly apply to GA in general. While these efforts do not negate the regional bias, we have cause to believe that the bulk of our observations apply to many, if not all, North American regions. This was a qualitative study using a relatively small interview sample, designed to generate preliminary findings that could later be verified with formal methods employing larger samples.
Observational and interview strategies were revised in response to what had been uncovered. A grounded theory approach (Glaser, 1978) was used to generate observations and hypotheses about the meanings embedded in typical GA narratives and the ways members use them to overcome their addictions and to make sense of their lives.
This section contains two parts. The first (A) is designed to provide some background information on GA and is delivered as a list of six important themes. The second part (B) then provides an account of recovery in GA with a focus on the 12 Steps and GA's main text.
While formats vary, a typical GA meeting starts with members taking turns reading from the Combo Book (GAISO, 1999), which is really a pamphlet (9 cm by 14 cm) and only 17 pages long. GA does have a larger text—comparable to AA's Big Book (AAWS, 1976)—called Sharing Recovery Through Gamblers Anonymous (GAISO, 1984), but it is rarely used or even mentioned. Less textual in orientation than AA or NA, GA must put greater emphasis on its oral culture. However, the Combo Book is a masterly exercise in concision and thereby reflects GA's traditionally no-nonsense approach to recovery. As mentioned, GA has tended to take what could be called a pragmatic approach. The last and probably most important page in that text, page 17, can be viewed as a summary of the Combo Book—another exercise in concision. Normally, the readings are followed by a section called “How was your week?” wherein each member briefly answers that question and possibly elaborates on his or her state of mind. If newcomers are present, they may be asked GA's 20 Questions (a diagnostic tool designed to determine whether someone is a compulsive gambler) or asked simply to read the questions and to think about them during and after the meeting. If several newcomers are present, and especially if many ask for feedback, such interaction may dominate the rest of the meeting. Usually, however, the chair will propose a topic—possible themes are regaining one's family's trust, abstinence, a particular step, helping newcomers (the options are countless)—and members will share on the given topic, or something else if they choose, for the duration of the meeting.
As with other 12 Step fellowships, GA members give their first names and acknowledge their addiction before speaking. Yet there is a difference. In AA or NA, a member might say, “My name is Sue and I'm an alcoholic/addict.” In GA, one is more likely to hear, “My name is George, and I fully admit and accept the fact that I'm a compulsive gambler.” So the admission is more adamant. Further, in GA the identification will usually be followed by an account of one's time abstinent (which is much rarer in AA and NA). Despite recent changes, GA still puts comparatively more emphasis on pure abstinence. Reasons for this are discussed below.
Brown (1986, 1987a, b, c) has explored the reasons many new members leave GA. Perhaps his most notable observation is that members who seem very elated at their first meeting are more likely to leave than those with a balanced first impression.
Members have told us that some gamblers are simply not ready, the idea being that they have not, in 12 Step jargon, “hit bottom”—only after one has suffered enough will there be willingness to face the problem and address it. Some gamblers are said to be looking for excuses (which they inevitably find), and others are said to receive financial bailouts—something against which GA warns emphatically—and then consider their problem solved. GA emphasizes in strong terms that one has a gambling problem and not a money problem. So those who perceive their problem as primarily financial will in most cases either change this view or eventually leave GA, with or without a bailout, simply because they do not identify with the GA program.
Our interview participants stated that women are more likely to leave than men, but they (male and female) did not blame sexism, a “boys' club” atmosphere, or problems of that nature. So-called “war stories”—graphic and disturbing accounts of one's addictive career—are another possible reason. Such tales cause some members to think that, since their misfortunes are not so extreme, maybe they do not need help or are not true compulsive gamblers. Money can be an issue, especially for women. On average, the male GA members report having bet larger amounts, and a few are even said to belittle the seriousness of smaller bets (even in cases where these bets were made by someone with less money at their disposal). For this reason, there is a countertendency in GA—consistent with GA's official position (GAISO, 1984, 1999)—to emphasize that the amount of money gambled is relative and not an absolute indicator of the seriousness of someone's gambling problem.
GA members also theorized that those who drop out may not begin practicing the 12 Steps quickly enough. The idea is that without the emotional growth brought about by embarking on the 12 Steps, the problems associated with early recovery from gambling are overwhelming. This suggests that GA newcomers may face conflicting advice. On the one hand, they are urged to be patient and to take their time in all aspects of their recovery, while on the other they are warned against the hazards of procrastination. In GA, finding a balance between both impulses is an ongoing struggle. One member, when asked why some do not succeed in GA, had this to say:
Well because they can't seem to make the transformation from the initial rush, the initial excitement, of finding a lot of people like themselves that had gone through the same experiences. And you know the stories—all the rush that we get when we first come into GA. And they can't seem to get to the steps, the 12 Steps of Recovery, fast enough. You know there seems to be a lag between … some people get the excitement of the program when they first come in. And they get the power of example and the hope and everything … And they fall off before they start looking, and working the steps. I think that's where we lose a lot of people. (#5, male GA member)
This statement is telling for two reasons: first, there is an implicit critique of GA's slow-paced approach; second, it is consistent with Brown's (1986) observation that those who are overly elated at their first encounter with GA may in fact be less successful in the long run.
Perhaps with good reason, more experienced GA members perceive the newcomers as “sick” and troubled souls, with “huge egos” and inflated feelings of entitlement. For example, they say, newer members who have abstained for a week will often express outrage at not being trusted by their spouses, despite having pursued their destructive behavior for many years. Some new members enter GA believing that the fellowship might actually pay their debts. Several informants reported that they were also in this state of mind when they arrived, and one confessed that he would not have remained if not for his mistaken belief that GA might eventually pay his debts.
GA is more guarded about potential relapse triggers than many other 12 Step fellowships. AA, for example, does not tell members to refrain from entering bars, whereas on page 17 GA members are told to not even go near gambling establishments. Many long-standing GA members tend to view themselves as vulnerable to relapse and hence in need of taking precautions.
GA puts less emphasis on spiritual awakening than do other fellowships, such as AA and NA. GA's Step 2, for example, speaks of a restoration to a “normal way of thinking and living” (GAISO, 1999) rather than the standard “restoration to sanity.” GA's Step 12 speaks of carrying the GA message to other gamblers, but unlike AA and NA, there is no mention of a “spiritual awakening.” One might suspect that GA, long known to be more secular in orientation (Browne, 1991, 1994; Ferentzy & Skinner, 2003; Lesieur, 1990), has at least some good cause to have evolved this way. Anything associated with the mystical can be reminiscent of the mystification endemic to a problem gambler's mindset with respect to odds, hunches, or good luck charms.
There was a strong association between 12 Step work and reported life satisfaction as well as not missing gambling at all. All but two GA members interviewed, even those who do not work the 12 Steps, agreed that those who do work the steps are better off spiritually and emotionally. GA also seems to gear 12 Step work to recovery needs associated with gambling. As mentioned, in GA patience is key, and the 12 Steps are treated to a large extent as an exercise in patience. On the whole, GA members take considerably more time on each step than their AA and NA counterparts.2 So the theme of not solving problems quickly is actually practiced while members go through the 12 Steps.
Browne (1991) and Brubaker (2004) have discussed GA's early history and how the characters involved influenced the ways in which GA altered AA's 12 Steps. Our concern in what follows is with how GA's distinctive approach to the 12 Steps reflects the recovery needs of compulsive gamblers. Only those steps relevant to this end are discussed, that is, Steps 1 to 6 and 12.
As practiced in GA, the 12 Steps are to a large degree geared toward teaching patience. For reasons already discussed, GA treats this virtue as key to a gambler's recovery. A recurring warning among GA members is not to move from Step 1 (admission of powerlessness) immediately to Step 12 (passing on the message to other gamblers). While a warning not to overstep one's ability in the enthusiasm of early recovery is common to other 12 Step fellowships—moving from Step 1 immediately to Step 12 is called “two-stepping”—in GA this warning also involves an emphatic call for patience. To quote a long-standing (35 years) GA member:
You know some people, some people, and thank God, can be on Step 1 for a year. It's only when you jump from Step 1 to Step 12, and forget about all the ones in between, that there's a problem—a very serious problem. (#1, male GA member)
Clearly, if members were to spend an entire year on each step, it would be more than a decade before they were “ready” to spread the word, and act as sponsors. The latter might actually happen after about a year of abstinence (and the person may then be working on Step 3 or 4), but the point is that newcomers are consistently warned against impatience and much less often against procrastination. There are many reasons for this. When asked which item on page 17 he considered most important, another member (over 7 years abstinent) replied,
… one day at a time, don't try to solve all your problems at once was very helpful to me as I had to face the chaos that I created but without number one [the first suggestion on page 17]—attending meetings—I wouldn't have ever understood how someone could take their problems one day at a time. (#27, male GA member)
Here, even meetings are treated primarily as a means to achieve patience. Like most GA members, this person had huge debts to pay—gamblers, more so than many other addicts, must understand that it may take time to set things right.
For obvious reasons, an attitude of avoiding quick fixes can be important to recovery from drugs and alcohol. As mentioned, it is simply more pressing to the GA member. Gambling is not only a quick fix in the sense that it may provide an escape or a thrill, it can (conceivably) be a source of quick revenue—and this temptation can spell death for a gambler. It may also take a gambler longer to earn the trust of family members. Not only has more money been wasted (possibly misappropriated or stolen from family members), but the newly abstinent gambler is not “obviously” abstinent, as a sober alcoholic or cocaine addict might be: it is much harder to tell whether or not a gambler has indulged that day in the addictive behavior. For these and other reasons, some GA members—even after 20 years of abstinence—are in a position where their spouses refuse to let them control more than nominal amounts of money. While the timelines vary, the latter scenario is something for which the new GA member may have to prepare. Again, patience is key. Recovery in GA can be seen as a complex interaction between the 12 Steps and the messages (primarily concerning patience and abstinence) found on page 17. Normally, recovery would begin with Step 1—the admission that one is a compulsive gambler, aided by GA's 20 Questions—and then turn quickly to the instructions on page 17 (some of which could be perceived as parts of, or additions to, Step 1).
You know—every time you read the Combo Book you get one step closer to understanding it. And every time you read it there's a different meaning to it. There's a different understanding. There's something that speaks to you, you know, depending on your frame of mind, depending on how the page is being read, or even who's reading the page. You know, because it's kind of a magical book. (#2, female member)
One of GA's most striking features is the length of its main text. The Combo Book is a pocket-sized, 17-page pamphlet. At an AA or NA meeting, one might be introduced to one of several lengthy books published by the fellowship, or to one of several pamphlets. GA is grounded almost exclusively in the Combo Book.
A first glance at the Combo Book would not likely vindicate our interviewee's claim of it being profound and magical. It may appear quite simple and even shallow. But the authors of this pamphlet must have had a clear grasp of what compulsive gamblers need to hear. Otherwise, the Combo Book would not be so prominent. More than a few gamblers reported that the Combo Book gave them the feeling that it was written about them personally. The Combo Book speaks to gamblers with more finality than even the famous Big Book speaks to alcoholics. In AA, there is in fact some disagreement—at times heated—over which AA literature is best. Some prefer the so-called 12 by 12 (AAWS, 1981), which can infuriate traditionalists who prefer the Big Book. Some AA members prefer other AA literature, and a vast majority prefer some variety. In GA, there seem to be no such divisions: practically everyone endorses the Combo Book.
The book begins with a history and then a brief description of GA. By pages 4 and 5, one is already reading the 12 Steps of recovery. Since they are only listed without explanation, GA members must rely very heavily on GA's oral culture to learn about the 12 Steps. They may also go to Step Meetings for more textual assistance and deeper discussion. But such meetings are only recently becoming more prominent, and at the time of this writing there were only 3 in the Toronto area out of about 23 meetings in all.3
Pages 6 and 7 contain The Unity Program, GA's version of AA's 12 Traditions, which are often called the “12 Steps of Unity.”4
Pages 8 and 9 discuss compulsive gambling along disease model lines. These pages deal with the need for acceptance of one's condition, qualified by an endorsement of self-diagnosis: only you can decide whether or not you are a compulsive gambler.
Page 10 discusses three characteristics associated with being a compulsive gambler: inability or unwillingness to accept reality, emotional insecurity, and immaturity. Then, page 11 discusses “the dream world of the compulsive gambler,” which may include such amenities as yachts and servants. Yet the dream will never materialize, because the gambler will use any money won to “dream still bigger dreams.”
Pages 12 to 14 further discuss gambling along disease model lines, making it clear that even a penny-ante game or an office sports pool are sufficient to activate the addiction. Most important, perhaps, on page 12 it is explained that compulsive gambling is not a financial problem.
Pages 15 and 16 contain GA's 20 Questions, which help new members decide whether or not their gambling has been compulsive and also help experienced members confirm their status as compulsive gamblers. The book says that most compulsive gamblers will answer “yes” to at least seven of these questions. In practice, however, GA members insist that you definitely are compulsive if you answer seven positively—a contradiction of the previous statement on page 8 that self-diagnosis is the only valid criterion. This paradox is not specific to GA and has long haunted 12 Step/disease model approaches. Two legitimate concerns are involved: first, compulsion, marked by “craving” of any kind, is an experiential phenomenon that only the subject in question can identify with certainty; second, experienced addicts are often able to identify a kindred spirit who may be practicing some denial. A balance between these two legitimate concerns is integral to any healthy rapport with newcomers.
After these sparsely worded 16 pages, one turns to what is probably the most important page of all.
Many GA members say that page 17, on its own, can ensure abstinence from gambling if a person takes all the instructions seriously. Others say that page 17, along with the two pages containing the 12 Steps of recovery, are sufficient reading material for healthy recovery. One cannot understand GA without understanding page 17. How could one short page resonate in such a powerful fashion? Page 17 contains seven suggestions, or admonitions. Despite their apparent simplicity, the suggestions reflect a philosophy of recovery as well as ideas about the nature of compulsive gambling. The page begins with bold, uppercase lettering:
“TO ALL GAMBLERS ANONYMOUS MEMBERS, PARTICULARLY THE NEW GAMBLERS ANONYMOUS MEMBERS”
And then the first admonition:
Interviewer: So what you're saying to me is that a relapse is more dangerous for a gambler than maybe for an alcoholic.
Respondent: The … only difference is the amount of money. I mean an alcoholic goes back to drinking, he may drink for a month and then go back to AA. He may use up a couple of hundred dollars. If he's not gambling on the side. But a compulsive [gambler] goes back, they go back with a vengeance. (#1, male GA member)
I never gambled in a casino. Maybe that's the answer, I don't know. But when they show the news on, and they showed the last 15 seconds … during the sports they show like the last 15 seconds of a feature race. I have to shut that off. I still, after all these years get anxiety, or my mind right away picks the outside horse, or the inside horse, or the gray horse. (#28, male GA member)
Interviewer: … Now, all of these suggestions in item 3 imply that gambling addiction is a very serious illness. Now AA for example has no official policy on whether or not members can go to bars, you know, even if different AA members have their opinions. The AA message seems to be that once in recovery and free of alcoholism, an alcoholic can go anywhere.
Respondent: Well because they supposedly have a spiritual awakening … in some shape [or] manner. (#28, male GA member)
Gambling certainly presents a dream world that seems to be something I have to constantly guard against, perhaps made more alluring by my memories of the times I actually won gambling, and the false hope I could win again reinforced by industry and government agency advertising “Millions Win.” I can't imagine harboring such delusions about drinking again, perhaps because I have no memories of “winning” when I was drinking. (#27, male member)
Interviewer: One thing that struck me is that page 17 is a set of practical principles; it seems just pragmatic, how to avoid gambling and so on. But to some members it's a lot more than just a practical guide. Do you have any thoughts on this?
Respondent: I think it paraphrases the necessity for someone to utilizing the tools of the book. It talks about read the 12 Steps often, read and review the Unity Steps. It encompasses every highlight of the book that I think is necessary. So I think it's way more than practical. I think it's practical and spiritual. (#16, male member)
What happens is that there are people in GA that have the concept that says, “We shouldn't give a guy or a woman a budget meeting or a pressure group … until we know that they're for real….” And there's a lot of advocacy that says 6 to 8 weeks. Which to me is stupid because the pressure, the financial pressure is so great, that sometimes you gotta do it right away or they can't recover ‘cause they think that the only way to pay the bills is to go back to gambling and get a big win. (#28, male member)
Be patient. That is … there's our magic. That's so hard. But you see, you can't … I can say to you the first day you come in, “be patient.” What the hell are you talking about? Here I've got problems up to my, you know? So that's why you don't come to page 17 for quite a while. (#1, male member)
GA has been designed to suit the specific needs of problem gamblers, which differ in many respects from those of substance addicts. GA also provides a good example of why it is imprudent to assume that all 12 Step associations are essentially the same. Despite the common grounding in a disease conception of addiction, along with a 12 Step approach, the many fellowships modeled upon AA are nonetheless able to develop distinctive cultures of recovery. While this article provides a preliminary analysis of GA's approach, there is much more to be learned about this mutual aid organization. Given the growing significance of pathological gambling in the wake of the proliferation of legal gambling venues, a better understanding of GA has become an urgent necessity.
1This point was brought to our attention by an anonymous reviewer, and also by a woman who attends GA meetings in Regina.
2While we would not hazard to offer average timelines, GA members with experience in AA have confirmed this statement. Our study also involved NA. The main difference seems to be that in both AA and NA there is some debate between those who advocate moving quickly through the 12 Steps and those who argue that the Steps should be worked slowly, while in GA the dominant message is clearly the latter.
3We hesitate to provide an exact number of meetings, as meetings often close down and new ones form. The estimate of 23 is based upon the most recent GA meeting list as well as our own information about newer developments.
4The 12 Traditions of AA are a set of rules for the entire fellowship to follow. They were designed to ensure, among other things, a decentralization of authority, anonymity, and the absence of a profit motive in all AA activities.
|Alcoholics Anonymous World Services (AAWS), Inc. ( 1976). Alcoholics Anonymous: The story of how many thousands of men and women have recovered from alcoholism (4th ed.). New York: Author.|
|Alcoholics Anonymous World Services (AAWS), Inc. ( 1981). Twelve Steps and twelve traditions (3rd ed.). New York: Author.|
|Brown, R. I. F.. ( 1986). Dropouts and continuers in Gamblers Anonymous: Life-context and other factors. Journal of Gambling Behavior, 2, 130–140.|
|Brown, R. I. F.. ( 1987a). Dropouts and continuers in Gamblers Anonymous: Part 2. Analysis of free-style accounts of experiences with GA. Journal of Gambling Behavior, 3, 68–79.|
|Brown, R. I. F.. ( 1987b). Dropouts and continuers in Gamblers Anonymous: Part 3: Some possible specific reasons for dropout. Journal of Gambling Behavior, 3, 137–152.|
|Brown, R. I. F.. ( 1987c). Dropouts and continuers in Gamblers Anonymous: Part 4: Evaluation and summary. Journal of Gambling Behavior, 3, 202–210.|
|Browne, B. R.. ( 1991). The selective adaptation of the Alcoholics Anonymous program by Gamblers Anonymous. Journal of Gambling Studies, 7, 187–206.|
|Browne, B. R.. ( 1994). Really not God: Secularization and pragmatism in Gamblers Anonymous. Journal of Gambling Studies, 10, 247–260.|
|Brubaker, Michael. . ( 2004, August). Similarities and differences between GA and AA. Paper presented at the Midwest Conference on Problem Gambling and Substance Abuse, Kansas City, MO.|
|Ferentzy, P.. Skinner, W.. ( 2003). Gamblers Anonymous: A critical review of the literature. Electronic Journal of Gambling Issues: eGambling, 9. Available at http://www.camh.net/egambling/issue9/research/ferentszy/|
|Ferentzy, P.. Skinner, W.. Antze, P.. ( 2006). Rediscovering the 12 Steps: Recent changes in Gamblers Anonymous. Journal of Groups in Addiction and Recovery, 1 (3/4) - in press.|
|Gamblers Anonymous International Service Office (GAISO) ( 1984). Sharing recovery through Gamblers Anonymous. Los Angeles: Author.|
|Gamblers Anonymous International Service Office (GAISO) ( 1999). Gamblers Anonymous. Los Angeles: Author.|
|Glaser, B.G.. ( 1978). Theoretical sensitivity: Advances in the methodology of grounded theory. Mill Valley, CA: Sociology Press.|
|Kurtz, E.. ( 1979). Not-God: A history of Alcoholics Anonymous. Center City, MN: Hazelden Educational Materials.|
|Lesieur, H. R.. ( 1990). Working with and understanding Gamblers Anonymous. In Powell, T. J.. (Ed.), Working with self-help (pp. 237–253). Silver Spring, MD: NASW Press.|
Keywords: addiction, gambling, Gamblers Anonymous, mutual aid.