Our common welfare is based upon the desire
to stop gambling and to solve our common problem. Personal recovery depends
upon this common goal. When one maintains abstinence from gambling, we
improve our quality of life. We then see that our common good is primary as
we recover individually in unity with each other. A group that is troubled
due to personality conflicts, indifference to others, individual ambitions,
super egos, compulsive talkers, disruptive members and others who openly
indicate that group unity is not essential, will certainly be unable to
carry our message, and in time the group will cease effectively to exist.
Gambling can shatter and perhaps destroy the gambler but an individual who
gambles cannot destroy the Group. In the early days, we wondered if the
Group could survive the many individual relapses. Today, we know the Group
2. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they
do not govern.
Gamblers Anonymous relies primarily on group
conscience to keep it functioning. Leaders with the Fellowship are entrusted
to carry out the will and conscience of the group. They have assigned
responsibilities but they act only within the authority granted to them by
We shall be held responsible if we elect irresponsible Trusted Servants who
cannot serve the group in the manner determined by the "Ultimate Authority"
which is the spiritual concept of "Group Conscience". They are not elected
to command, order, demand, change, alter but simply to serve and express the
opinions determined by the group through a conscious consideration of
opinions expressed by all members of that group. Trusted Servants in each
group are rotated, so that each of us may be reminded and remember that we
serve for the good of all, without authority over anyone.
Ego and pride tend to become lost if one listens to the Group conscience.
Acceptance is the spirit and trait which can carry one through.
3. The only requirement for Gamblers Anonymous
membership is a desire to stop gambling.
Regardless of who a person is, or how grave
their emotional, legal or financial complications may be, Gamblers Anonymous
welcomes anyone who demonstrates a desire to stop gambling.
For membership, it is not necessary that one pay dues or sign a pledge.
Those who have returned to gambling are especially encouraged to attend
meetings and get help because it is the desire to stop gambling - not the
abstinence - that is required for membership.
Expressing a desire to stop gambling doesn't always mean that the member can
overcome the strong urge to gamble, but nevertheless, it is the desire that
is the requirement.
4. Each group should be self-governing except
in matters affecting other groups or Gamblers Anonymous as a whole.
Each Gamblers Anonymous group has great
latitude to conduct its affairs within the framework of the Fellowship. This
preserves the freedom of choice that is so important to the group
conscience. The conduct of each group is limited only to the extent that its
actions would conflict with the Guidance Code of Gamblers Anonymous.
What type of meeting, how long the meeting lasts, break or no break, etc.
affects no one but those at that meeting. However, the breaking of anonymity
is something that affects others and is not a group choice.
5. Gamblers Anonymous has but one primary
purpose - to carry its message to the compulsive gambler who still suffers.
Personal direction and purpose of life are
often different for each of us but hopefully we shall remember that the one
common bond of responsibility that we share on a group level is to carry the
message of hope to the compulsive gambler who still suffers. It should be
noted that the suffering compulsive gambler can be sitting next to you at
your meeting as well as those who have never heard of Gamblers Anonymous.
Reaching compulsive gamblers is a major goal around which the members of
Gamblers Anonymous gather in unity. The perpetuation of the Fellowship
depends on the practice of this principle.
The reason for this singleness of purpose is to maximize the efficiency of
the Fellowship's efforts to carry its message to suffering compulsive
gamblers, in or outside of the Fellowship. The gift of recovery works best
when it is shared.
6. Gamblers Anonymous ought never endorse,
finance or lend the Gamblers Anonymous name to any related facility or outside
enterprise, lest problems of money property and prestige divert us from our
Most fundamental at this point is the
constant awareness that Gamblers Anonymous is so willing to cooperate but
not "Affiliate" with any outside enterprise. Any other course presents the
possibility of controversy clouded behind the motives and direction of any
well-meaning group or individual, creating a diversion from the primary
purpose of Gamblers Anonymous. If we were to apply our energies toward any
"related facilities" would we then set aside time and attention required to
share with the suffering compulsive gambler? And would we then suffer from
internal strife as we argue over money, rules, requirements; frightening?
Yes. So we preserve the tradition of not lending the Gamblers Anonymous
Gamblers Anonymous works in large part because the program is kept pure of
outside interests. Energy, time and money would be wasted by supporting any
outside cause or organization. Such support would also be detrimental to the
public acceptance of individual groups or the Fellowship as a whole.
Endorsement of anything outside of the Fellowship would lead to internal
disagreement. For these reasons, Gamblers Anonymous also takes no part in
political causes or public issues.
This tradition warns us to stay within our area of expertise. One gambler
helping the other is the reason for our existence. We should confine our
actions to helping other compulsive gamblers for the maximum result and
without the possibility of offending anyone.
7. Every Gamblers Anonymous group ought to be
fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
In order to maintain the independence of the
Fellowship as a whole as well as individual groups, Gamblers Anonymous does
not accept outside contributions. This policy is sustained in order that no
undue control can be exercised over Gamblers Anonymous, from without or
within. By allowing outside contributions both groups and members would be
deprived of exercising responsibility over their affairs and their
obligation to the Fellowship.
If anyone were to be permitted to contribute to Gamblers Anonymous other
than its members, that person might expect the right to voice an opinion as
to the manner that we choose to run our Fellowship.
8. Gamblers Anonymous should remain forever
non-professional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
Gamblers Anonymous operates on the principle
that compulsive gamblers can best help each other recover without the use of
outside professional services. Gamblers Anonymous members believe that they
are the most qualified to conduct the Fellowship's affairs.
The validity of professional therapy is not in question. Gamblers Anonymous
members are free to seek outside help, if they so choose. However, if
professional therapists were to operate within the Fellowship, their views
might conflict with Gamblers Anonymous principles. By remaining
non-professional, Gamblers Anonymous avoids the controversies that would
It becomes quite clear there is a need to employ special workers to handle
the necessary functions of an office designed to fulfill certain
responsibilities to Gamblers Anonymous. However, the principle concept is
our responsibility to a new member- counseling, guidance, pressure meetings,
etc., as well as the need to create an awareness for others that there is a
recovery program through Gamblers Anonymous - should remain free of any
financial remuneration, keeping in mind that we must put back what we
9. Gamblers Anonymous, as such, ought never be
organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible
to those they serve.
Gamblers Anonymous is run by the spirit of
service and not the force of vested authority. In order to avoid the
problems inherent in the authority, Gamblers Anonymous is not organized in
the formal hierarchy. The Fellowship has no central autonomous leadership.
The service boards that have been created have no formal veto power and are
responsible to the will of the membership as a whole.
The International Service Office, Board of Regents and the Board of Trustees
have been set up by the membership of Gamblers Anonymous to administer and
guide the Fellowship. These groups do not have power within themselves but
they are responsible to each other, and to the entire membership.
At each and every level we assume responsibility, not authority, for there
needs to be some way to get the work done.
10. Gamblers Anonymous had no opinion on
outside issues; hence the Gamblers Anonymous name ought never be drawn into
The survival and proliferation of Gamblers
Anonymous is of far greater importance than taking positions on any issues
outside the Fellowship. To make public pronouncements on non-Fellowship
matters would inevitably split the group. Individuals naturally have
differing opinions and eventually these differences could erode group
solidarity. By engaging in outside issues, the Fellowship's concentration
would be diverted from a therapeutic purpose, which is to aid in the
recovery of compulsive gamblers. The association of the Fellowship's name
with public controversy would unnecessarily antagonize some portion of the
general public. By avoiding controversy, both individual groups and the
Fellowship as a whole are able to concentrate on the aims and principles of
We must always be available to assist others in obtaining information
concerning the problem of compulsive gambling without giving our opinion.
11. Our public relations policy is based on
attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at
the level of press, radio, films and television.
Gamblers Anonymous does not compare itself to
any other group, nor does it boast of its accomplishments and abilities to
the public. However, Gamblers Anonymous does make itself available to anyone
interested in the Fellowship or in the gambling problem.
In order to make the Fellowship visible, Gamblers Anonymous informs and
educates the public about the problem of compulsive gambling and about the
Fellowship itself. Personal stories of members in newspapers, magazines, on
radio and television, as well as spot announcements all help to spread an
awareness of Gamblers Anonymous. The Fellowship does not glorify the name of
Gamblers Anonymous or its merits as a group rather, it works to encourage
compulsive gamblers attend the Fellowship's meetings.
Personal publicity is always shunned, and anonymity is carefully preserved
because the Fellowship of Gamblers Anonymous is more important than any one
member. By maintaining this policy, any problems that accrue to an
individual member cannot harm the Fellowship. Similarly, any achievements
attained by individuals working in the program, benefit the group as a
whole. This step is a constant and practical reminder that personal ambition
has no place within the Fellowship's public relations program.
There is a need to present to the public an insight to the problem of
compulsive gambling, its effects and the program of recovery offered by the
Gamblers Anonymous Fellowship. This can be accomplished with respect and
dignity. In the meaning of this Unity Step it is not breaking anonymity if
we choose to relate to family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc. that we
are member of Gamblers Anonymous.
The Fellowship does not boast about our accomplishments or beat the drum for
new members. We do not promote the name of Gamblers Anonymous.
12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of
the Gamblers Anonymous program, ever reminding us to place principles before
The most simple expression of humility can be
considered our anonymity. As the 12 Recovery Steps deal with us on an
individual basis, the 12 Steps of Unity help us deal in working with others.
The 12 Steps of Unity repeatedly ask individuals to give up personal desires
for the common good. Thus, the spirit of humility, which is the basis for
anonymity, prevails. Members willingly sacrifice personal identity in order
to preseve the collective reputation of the Fellowship and the group.
In Gamblers Anonymous, the principles of the Fellowship are placed before
personalities, without exception. With the practice of anonymity, the
principles of humility is truly at work, and it is this all-encompassing
quality that permeates Gamblers Anonymous life everywhere.