Why was this website created?

One long time member of Gamblers Anonymous had attempted to work the steps with several sponsees using existing GA literature as well as literature from another 12-Step program. Over time he began to feel that the existing GA literature was limited. While there were GA workbooks available that focused on writing about the steps, there wasn't any literature that really explained the steps in a meaningful way. Consequently he developed a guidebook entitled "Working the Twelve Steps of Gamblers Anonymous" that he felt addressed the limitations of the existing literature.  Subsequently he developed a shorter version to be used in Step Meetings that permit non-GA approved literature. 

This website was created in order to distribute that guidebook and the step meeting guide to anyone at no charge who might find it helpful. In addition, member feedback is encouraged to share additional insights concerning the steps. 

Who created this website?

This website was created by Chris N. - a member of GA and the author of the guidebook.

Is this website affiliated with the Fellowship of Gamblers Anonymous?

No. Nothing found on this site should be considered to represent the opinions of GA. 

Is the guidebook or step meeting guide approved literature of Gamblers Anonymous?

No.  It should be noted that GA has no opinion on their use outside of the program.  It is the opinion of the author of the guidebook and step meeting guide that there is nothing in them which conflicts with any of the principles or guidelines of GA. 

If the guidebook and step meeting guide are not approved literature, how can members of GA use them?

Most GA groups have a policy that at meetings, they can only read from GA approved literature. This policy is certainly reasonable out of concern that some members may wish to read from their favorite religious text, other 12-step literature, or a pop psychology book etc. which may distract from our primary purpose and potentially be divisive. However, there are some groups that may choose to interpret Unity Step #4 “Each group shall be self governing” as providing the freedom to read from the guidebook at their meetings or even to create step meetings based on the guide. 

For groups that don’t permit non-approved literature at their meetings, they may simply hold a "step meeting" before or after their regular GA meeting which would be understood to not be an official GA meeting. They could certainly use the step meeting guide at these meetings. We are finding now that many on-line "Zoom meetings" which GA may not officially recognize are using this literature. 

Also, all GA members are free to use this literature outside of meetings when they meet with their sponsors and sponsees. 

If GA members are concerned about any issues regarding the use of the guidebook, they are certainly encouraged to consult with their GA trustee for guidance.  

How should the guidebook be used?

In the appendix, there is a suggested weekly schedule for working the steps. It is recommended that the book be read in order beginning with "Welcome to Gamblers Anonymous" on page 1. Members are encouraged, however, to modify this proposed schedule or use only the parts of the guide that they feel are most beneficial. The author of the guidebook never intended for this to be a dictate as the best or only way to work the steps. Indeed, he is looking forward to receiving feedback from members on what works and what doesn't in order to make changes to future editions. 

Who would be the primary beneficiaries of the guidebook?

  • Newcomers who a) have a desire to stop gambling and b) have the honesty, open-mindedness and willingness to follow some simple suggestions and work with a sponsor;
  • Old-timers who are worried about complacency in their recovery;
  • Meetings where they don’t have many members who have worked the steps themselves and the members there are looking for a suggested approach;
  • It might especially have value to members who chronically relapse and can’t get any significant clean time. In addition to just hearing “keep coming back”, they now have an option of doing something different - i.e. working the steps with a structured format.