Arnie Wexler article in the October issue of Keys to Recovery!! Check out Arnie Wexler article in the October issue of Keys to Recovery!! All Bets Are Off! had a gambling addiction that started at age 7, and by age 14 I was already
addicted, and stealing to support that addiction. My addiction lasted until I was 30
years old, and I went to my first 12-step meeting for gambling addiction. My last
bet was 4/10/68 opening day of the 1968 baseball season.
Compulsive gambling is a progressive disease, much like an addiction to alcohol
or drugs. In many cases, the gambling addiction is hidden until the gambler
becomes unable to function without gambling, and he or she begins to exclude all
other activities from their lives. Inability to stop gambling often results in financial
devastation, broken homes, employment problems, criminal acts and suicide attempts.
The gambler is eventually able to remove them selves from reality, to the point
of being totally obsessed with gambling. Eventually, they will do anything to get the
money with which to stay in “action”. They will spend all their time and energy developing
schemes, in order to get the money to continue gambling. Lying becomes
a way of life for the gambler.
They will try to convince others and themselves that their lies are actually
truths, and they will believe there own lies.
As with other addictions, it is not unusual for compulsive gamblers to have
cross-addictions. They may have switched addictions early on, or they may have
been cross-addicted throughout their history. It is also important to note that they
may pick up new addictions, while trying to recover from their gambling problem.
After they hit a real bottom they will have to do something, if they want to try
to recover. Most gamblers at that point will want to stop, but can’t (they wont be
able to).
Most, even at that point will keep gambling, some will end up in jail, some will
attempt suicide, some will die from their addiction, as they will not take care of their
health or the stress will kill them. And a small group of addicted gamblers will seek
and find real help.
Many people go for treatment for drugs or drinking and have a gambling problem
also, but it’s never addressed in treatment. As in most cases gambling is not
asked about in treatment, or they don’t have someone on staff that understands
gambling addiction. So the client goes home and keeps gambling, and then soon
they are back with a relapse of their other addictions. And soon will be looking for
treatment again, hopefully the client will at that point want to address the gambling,
and maybe they might end up in a treatment center that knows something about
gambling addiction.
The real trick is to get in to real recovery. Not just abstinence. By the time the
gambler comes for help, they have broken brains (Meaning their brains don’t work
like they used to when they were not in their addiction).
To get real recovery the gambler needs to work on themselves, one day at a
time. And find someone to do there thinking for them, who has been in recovery
some time, and who’s brain is working right (a sponsor). After some time in recovery
the recovering gambler’s brain will start to work again. They will be able to
get and keep their jobs, become better parents and spouses, and learn to live an
overall more productive life.
Recovery is a process and does not happen without a lot of work on oneself,
and making a moral and financial inventory. But people can recover and do.
We need to not let our addiction define us, but have our recovery define us.
Arnie and Sheila Wexler have provided extensive training
on Compulsive, Problem and Underage Gambling, to more
than 40,000 gaming employees (personnel and executives) and
have written Responsible Gaming Programs for major gaming
companies. In addition, they have worked with Gaming Boards
and Regulators, presented educational workshops nationally
and internationally and have provided expert witness testimony.
Sheila Wexler is the Executive Director of the Compulsive Gambling
Foundation. They also run a national help line (888 LAST
BET) – email: Check
out their new book All Bets Are Off: Losers, Liars, and Recovery
from Gambling Addiction by Arnie and Sheila Wexler and Steve
Jacobson, available on
by: Arnie Wexler ICGC &

Malzberg | Arnie & Shelia Wexler discuss Arnie’s new book, “All Bets Are Off:” – YouTube

We need to not let our addiction define us, but have our recovery define us.