I'm fairly new to TA but have enjoyed reading the discussions and hope to get some insight from fellow atheists.

I am really struggling with a gambling addiction. It's beginning to affect my life quite negatively and a psychologist I spoke with encouraged me to enter gamblers anonymous. I told her I was not interested in seeking treatment that encouraged using strength provided from a "higher power." She assured me that it is not a major point of emphasis, but it's a matter of principle.

Have any other atheists found any secular forms of help in overcoming addiction? I'm uninsured and therapy is hard to pay for (perhaps had I not gambled the money away....I know.) Any readings or personal input/advice would be appreciated!

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I know what you mean; I drink too much but the only therapy in Texas is AA, which is highly religious down here. There are secular recovery books and programs but the best thing would be a secular support group and that is hard to find. Stanton Peele's book has been a good resource for me; he regards all addictions as bad habits that don't necessarily need therapy to be overcome.
Drinking is another concern of mine. I appreciate the input and will definitely give Peele's book a read. Thanks!

Welcome Micheal!

 

   What kind of help are you looking for: group meetings, online forums, self-help books, or are you unsure of what you need? The therapist might be willing to look up some alternative organizations to help. I took a look at the GA page and I can see why you would want to avoid it as an atheist.

 

   That being said, it looks like Indiana does have services available:  http://www.indianaproblemgambling.org/HelpLine.cfm  

 

 

   They may have some good resources that are not GA (if your therapist doesn't), which would be a biiiig help. And from the rest of the information they may even help cover costs. Your usual doctor might also have some good leads and general information for you.

 

Also: http://gambling.supportgroups.com/

 

   If you want to talk with people directly, at the very, very bottom right of the Think Atheist windows there is a little person next to a red or green dot. Next to that is a square that will pop open the Think Atheist chat window. There is almost always someone on, and sometimes just having someone to talk to can really help.

 

   I'll check again tomorrow for anything I might have missed tonight.

Thank you VERY much, Kristen! I really appreciate the thoughtful, in-depth help. I will certainly look into those resources.

No problem at all. I've watched family deal with these sorts of issues, so I can empathize.

 

  You may want to talk to your therapist about anti-depressants as well. It seems that in certain cases SSRIs can reduce the urge to gamble by quite a bit, though it is more effective with cognitive behavioral therapy. 

 

The therapist may be more expensive, but if they can help you'll end up with less debt. 

 

The article on SSRIs and cognitive behavioral therapy:  http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/547765

Wikipedia has decent information as well: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Problem_gambling

 

 

Hi Michael.  This is absolutely in no way intended to be disrespectful... and is only my personal experience and opinion.

 

As someone who has grown up with a violently alcoholic father, and many more family members with addiction issues (including myself, sober for 10 years, cocaine) it is my personal opinion that one cannot quit without first wanting to for oneself and no other.  That being said, I personally do not believe in the disease concept of addiction.  If one wants to quit, one should just quit.  Bottom line. For me, it was that simple, I said to myself "I don't want to do this anymore" and I didn't.  Sure there were days when the urges and cravings were there.  That's inevitable I think.  No therapy, no medication. 

I think that talking to your family and/or friends, or more specifically those who will love and support you (emotionally) will be profoundly helpful.  I know that I could not have gone through quitting my 'addiction' without a support system.  (Which in no way included a support group or religious organization.)  No one can do it alone.

Anyway, like I said, these are just my own thoughts, but I wanted to share.  Good luck!!!   :)

I appreciate your input, Jackie! I have very little psychological education and appreciate the new perspective. I think it could be very likely that I'm simply not giving enough of an effort.

I love that the TA community is really interested in helping each other out.

Micheal,

I'm currently a recovering alcoholic for the last 26 years and went through AA as an atheist.  I signed myself into treatment (very few people do, most are court ordered) because I KNEW I had a drinking problem and that I couldn't stop it on my own.  I was in treatment for one thing, to quit drinking period!  I was willing to do whatever it took to reach that goal and if that meant listening to those who used god as their high-power so be it.  Just for the record, I picked a wall as my high-power LOL  Not sure why, guess when the counselor explained that we needed a high-power and it was up to us to pick what that might be, I was looking at the wall at the time and just said "Why not...I don't believe in a high-power so I might as well pick a wall!"  

Anyway, back to my treatment, I went though the steps while in treatment for 3 weeks until one day when I was sitting on the edge of my bed it all hit me at once, I wasn't EVER going to drink again, I couldn't, not for a birthday, not at a holiday event, EVER or I'd be right back to where I was before treatment.  It was that day that I realized just how serious it all was; I mean from the age of 14 drinking was a part of my life and by 18 I don't recall a day that I didn't drink.  So to be there on the edge of my bed and have reality sink in, I believe that's the day I really understood that I was an alcoholic and that I'd never be "fixed" from it. 

I'm thankful that AA was there for me and for that, I donated my time for the first year of my sobriety to the treatment center that I was in, because without the staff and the other alcoholics that were there, I'm not sure if I'd be around today.

Whatever your choice is, I wish you the best results!  Just focus on today and don't give up.

 

New updated, from the NA blog: http://www.thinkatheist.com/profiles/blogs/1982180:BlogPost:705173?...

http://friendlyatheist.com/2011/06/04/secular-alcoholics-anonymous-...

It has a list of secular groups for addiction issues.

I hope you're doing well!
Thanks Kirsten! This is a great help.

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