Do you remember the insanity definition of all the twelve step programs? What do they say to everyone that attends their meetings?
The definition of insanity is repeating the same mistakes over and over again and expecting different results.
Well listen to this – this will blow your mind. I came upon this insight while talking to Richard, a homeless man in Atlanta, GA, while we sat on the curb people watching on the Fourth of July in Midtown AtlantaThe twelve step programs have only about a 10 percent success rate. So, 90% of the people who attend the meetings find it doesn't work. But the twelve steps are used again and again and again. Therefore, the twelve steps are insane because they are repeating the same mistakes over and over and expecting different results. Instead of looking inward, and saying, "well something is wrong here, we need to modify our steps if the overwhelming majority of our attendees find it doesn't work," they say, "well the twelve steps are set in stone, they can't be changed, it is the people's fault, they aren't attending enough meetings, they aren't following the steps with sufficient motivation." Now, how crazy is that?
The twelve steps start off by making you state you are powerless over your addiction. However this is contrary to Biblical teaching. Read Luke 17:20-21:
"Some Pharisees asked Jesus when the Kingdom of God would come. His answer was, "The Kingdom of God does not come in such a way as to be seen. No one will say, 'Look, here it is!' or 'There it is' because the Kingdom of God is within you."
Now, if the Kingdom of God represents God's perfect power as Creator of the Universe, and that power is within us, how can we say we are powerless? Telling all the addicts of the world they are powerless over their addiction is like sending troops into battle and telling them, "you are going to lose."
In the twelve steps you are taught that much of the problem with addiction is due to defects of character. But experience shows this not to be the case. Addictions take control and act in predictable, scientific patterns. The twelve steps are defeatist in nature. The most fundamental thing, the introduction at the weekly meetings, with each person stating, 'I am a compulsive gambler' is the most outrageous breach of common sense and logic. Why continue to reinforce in your mind what you are trying to get away from? Stating, "I am Not a Gambler" is the better way to recondition yourself to become what you are striving to be.
No more of this "I have a lifelong illness" stuff.
No more of this "I will have to battle this addiction every day for the rest of my life."
Gambling is something you got into because of identifiable scientific processes. Once you learn how, you can reverse the process.
The key is to realize that you are not 'morally defective.' You are not 'abnormal.'
Gambling is by its very nature addictive. So you got addicted to it. Well, duh. That is what it is designed to do: get you addicted.
Don't say, "I am a compulsive gambler." Why brainwash yourself to believe an untruth?
Say, "I am Not a gambler." Use the power of your mind in the way you are supposed to.
The most important discovery of our times is that you become what you think and what you say. Don't say "I am a compulsive gambler" unless that is what you want to be. Say "I am Not a Gambler" and become free… It is incredible that support groups all over the world keep telling people who are addicted to reinforce their addiction daily by reaffirming "I am a compulsive gambler" or "I am an alcoholic…" Such a small detail but so overwhelmingly important!When I got addicted to gambling, (lottery tickets), my family begged me to go to a Gamblers Anonymous support group at a church. I went to a few meetings. I did what I was told. I said "My name is XXX and I am a compulsive gambler."
They gave me a keychain with the Serenity Prayer on it to remind us to resist the temptation of gambling. I went straight from the meeting to the gas station on my way home and lost over $250 in tickets. I used the serenity prayer keychain to scratch the tickets. I don't think you are supposed to do that. I was pretty down.
Now, why did I gamble right after I went to the stop gambling meeting? The people there were wonderful. They were supportive, sincere; they gave out their phone #s and said to call anytime we had the urge to gamble and they would support us and help us. They were giving freely of their time. No one was profiting from this. It wasn't a scam; that was for sure. These people had the noblest and highest of intentions. I respected them all and appreciated them so much. But they were all gamblers, and according to their own definition, even though the group leader hadn't gambled one iota in over twenty years, he was still a gambler who could relapse at any moment so he had to keep going to the meetings every week for the rest of his life. I just felt something was wrong with their assumptions about addiction.
When I was in college I learned how to write like this:
"Based on the research, the data shows that there is a likelihood of possible trending toward the positive unless, as Jones, et al. in their seminal report from 1996, (Theory on the Likelihood of Possible Trending, Chicago, IL. Journal of all Journals), posits: "there is a definite tendency to lean toward the positive, unless of course, specific circumstances occur which may cause it to trend toward the neutral instead of the positive, or perhaps even to the negative."
Luckily, I didn't do so well in that class. I like to think in terms of hypothetical stories.
Now for a little story I made up to demonstrate what I felt like at the gambling meetings.
"All these things Jesus spoke to the multitude in parables;
and without a parable He did not speak to them…"
Parable of a self help meeting
Imagine if you will a world with everything exactly the same as it is now, but for one minor detail. Doctors had not yet discovered how to set and fix a broken leg. Ok, got that in your mind? Here we go.
One nice, sunny day you and a friend decide to go hiking in the mountains. Unexpectedly, at practically the end of your hike when you are approaching the place where you parked your car, you take a nasty fall and break your leg. Your friend helps you hobble down the rest of the way, gets you into the car and drives you home. You're feeling pain. It's not the end of the world bad, but it is worse than any other pain you ever had bad. Your friend calls his friend and asks what should be done. The friend's friend says, "you're in luck. There is a weekly meeting of the Broken Leg People's Support Group and there is another weekly meeting coming up in about an hour." What good fortune. Your friend drives you to a store and you buy a pair of crutches. You are taken to the meeting and escorted to an empty seat. You look around and observe that everyone else has a broken leg and crutches and one fellow has two broken legs and a wheelchair. He is the leader. The leader starts the meeting. "Ok, now we'll begin by everyone introducing himself or herself and we'll all get acquainted. My name is Leader, and I am a Broken Leg Person."
"Hi Leader," everyone responds at once. When your turn comes, you fall into step with the others. "My name is Newbie, and I am a Broken Leg Person."
Now that everyone has been introduced the Leader gives his testimony. "Listen, everyone. I know your pain. I have been there." He pauses for dramatic effect. "Twice."
Everyone in the group just stares ahead, mesmerized.
The Leader begins. "Now we are going to have a little group counseling, because we're all here for the same reason: we all have broken legs. And I am going to tell you from my own personal history, it does get better… eventually. I've been coming to these meetings for 22 years, and I know it is a lifelong affliction, and I have to live with the pain in my legs for the rest of my life. I am powerless against this affliction. But with the help of the wheelchair, and for all of you, the help of your crutches, and with my search for meaning and guidance from my Higher Power, I've learned to live with it. It's just an illness like diabetes or high blood pressure. And the pain doesn't get too bad as long as I don't ever try to walk. Every day I resist the temptation to walk because I know what a mistake it will be and how excruciating the pain will be. I don't run or jog or play with my children. I know I am not like normal people. I just go about my way in a life of quiet acceptance, because I know research has shown that in any given year, on average, about 1.5 to 2 per cent of the population succumb to broken leg syndrome. Now it is not really known to science why this is, but this group of the population just suffers from this strange disease called Broken Leg Syndrome, (BLS). It just afflicts them. It seems that their coordination is somehow 'haywire' and they just have more of a tendency to fall down and break their leg than normal people. They can't control it, and we don't really know why this is but we accept it because that is the way it has always been."It is bad at first and you'll be tempted many times to walk on your broken leg, but the pain will be excruciating. But by attending weekly meetings for the REST OF YOUR LIFE, you'll learn to accept that you are powerless against the affliction of a broken leg. You'll learn to accept your fate. You'll learn to rely on your Higher Power to guide you through the toughest moments, like when your child asks you to play ball with him. But just use willpower to resist the temptation of walking and running and jumping and being like a normal person. We are here to help. We'll give you support, peace and understanding, and acceptance of your affliction. You just have to admit that this affliction has you in its grasp and there is nothing you can do about it. You just live with this THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. But, don't worry, if you just follow the steps, and stick to the meetings, and do the plans which we suggest, you can live a life, even though you suffer from this disease."
Now, how would you feel after going to this meeting? What is wrong with this scenario? Well, the problem is that the Leader is just another person with a broken leg, (or two) like you. He is not a doctor. He doesn't have any scientific knowledge of a cure.
Of course we laugh at this story. When you have a broken leg, you just go to the hospital, have your leg set and put in a cast and in a matter of some weeks, you are cured and you go back to your life. Later, you may break your leg again and go back for another cast, but will the doctor say, "you have a moral defect, it appears you are a chronic leg breaker. Have you tried calling on your higher power?" No, he'll just fix it again. So why is gambling any different? That's the problem.
Gambling doesn't have to be an illness that affects you for the rest of your life. Gambling is a temporary thing once you understand it, once you break it down into what it is, once you understand the scientific knowledge of what it is all about. You can learn the scientific explanation of how you got into compulsive gambling, how you can undo it, with a reversal process, and find the guidance that will get you through those first two to three weeks of withdrawal, by knowing that the light at the end of the tunnel is there, you will have a freedom of life, a life of NOT being under the gambling addiction.
Why do people go to these meetings sponsored by these self-help groups and say, "I am an alcoholic," or "I am a compulsive gambler?" The brain does what it is instructed to do. It is like a computer in many respects. We need to say, "I am Not an alcoholic," or "I am Not a gambler." Condition our minds to believe what we want to become instead of what we were. We don't need to be stuck with this affliction for the rest of our lives.
This is a very important point. Hugely important. The first thing you have to know is what you fear.
This is what the compulsive gambler fears: That he won't be able to keep his promises about stopping gambling. Sure, he'd like to stop. He will promise anyone anything they want to hear. But he knows he won't be able to. That is why it is so hard. It is not the lure of easy riches, the chasing of the high or the rush. It is not the feeling of escape to a dream world, (although it may have been in the beginning). By the time you are an addict, the only thing you want is to not to have to part with your longtime companion, your gambling.
Here are new steps, for people who have tried the traditional twelve steps and found them to be ineffectual.
New Ten Step method to stop gambling:
1) Identify your enemy: Your enemy is your fear of not being able to quit.
Here is what the non-gamblers don't understand. They think if they talk about the odds, the difficulty it is to win the big score, the responsibilities of providing for your family, paying your bills on time, caring about your loved ones, caring about morality, etc, etc. then that will cause you to wake up from your dream world and get over the addiction. Bah. That is all garbage. Throw it out the window. The addict knows what he knows. He knows he has tried before to stop, but he can't. Gamblers are typically bright, responsible people. They know they have messed up. They have lost money. There is a sense of fairness about them and that dictates that they keep gambling until they even the score and win back enough money to recover their losses, and then they can quit. That's the illusion that is so hard to break free from.
2) State your Basic Assumptions about your problem: The only thing that is keeping you from breaking free from your addiction is that you can't stop. You just can't. Because you are addicted. Addicted to gambling.
Until you grasp the basic premise that gambling is just a bad habit you got into and that you can also get back out of, you will never be cured. If you believe you are licked by it, you will be. If you believe it will be a lifelong affliction, it will be.
3) State who you are: You are either a gambler or a non-gambler. The choice is yours and yours alone.
Who are you? "I am a compulsive gambler"
Who are you? "I am NOT a compulsive gambler"
Choose one (you can only choose one at any given moment) but you can go back and forth as often as you like throughout the day. If you're buying tickets, you're a gambler. If you're not gambling, you're not a gambler. You're not one thing or the other, you are what your behavior is proving you to be at that moment.
4) Learn how to identify a gambling opportunity, a moment of truth, whereby you can pause and determine if you will proceed to gamble or walk away: At the moment of purchase, right before you get to the counter, say to yourself the following (have this in writing in your pocket and read it to yourself). The reason the gambler can't stop gambling is because he just can't stop. He just can't. And why? Because he is addicted to gambling.
5) Ask yourself this question, "If I know that the reason I can't stop is only because I just can't stop, can I at least stop for just this one occurrence? I know I can come back later and gamble. If you can't, you simply just can't, that is ok, it just means you're not ready. Go ahead and gamble without guilt. If you can walk away and turn around and go home without gambling for that one episode then score yourself one successful moment of truth.
6) Keep a notebook and record each date and time of a successful moment of truth when you were able to walk away from that one encounter even though you may have gone back later and gambled.
7) Earn for yourself one hundred successful moments of truth. It may take a few weeks or a few months. It doesn't matter.
8) Figure this out: If, at a moment of truth, you turn and walk away, is it not true that you are indeed a non-gambler… at that moment? And isn't our life nothing more than a bunch of moments?
9) Think about the wizard of Oz, how when the curtain was pulled back there was nothing scary there after all.
10) Realize that the only thing between you as a compulsive gambler and you as a non-gambler is a brief one or two second moment in time when you place a bet. After practicing this technique of walking away over and over you will be helped by what the psychological literature refers to as extinction. You will develop the ability to stand up to a gambling opportunity and say to yourself, "That's not me. That's not who I am. I am Not a Gambler. I've proved it to myself over and over that I do indeed have the strength to walk away. I am back in control of my life. I no longer have to gamble because I am not a gambler." Chills will go up and down your spine when this breakthrough moment arrives. You'll realize that gambling no longer tempts you. The shackles that held you in chains for so long just slip away and melt into nothingness. Because that is what that awful, fearful grip of addiction was, and is – a bunch of nothingness. It was just signals in your brain that had been conditioned to believe that gambling was a necessary part of you and once you go through extinction the brain will relearn that you don't need to gamble anymore because you are no longer a gambler.
For more information visit www.iamnotagambler.com