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New to GA

Everyone in GA has had to attend their first meeting at some point and everyone feels nervous, scared and unsure as to what lies behind those doors.

You don't need to register or to book-in in order to attend a GA meeting. Simply show up at a meeting that suits you in terms of time and location.

When you get to the meeting try not to worry too much. No one will leave you standing in the corner all alone, you will be greeted with a smile and a warm welcome. Remember everyone in that room is there for the same reason – to get help, advice and understanding of coping with compulsive gambling.

Once you are in the meeting, sitting down still probably feeling nervous and scared, the chair (every week a member of GA chairs the meeting) will introduce themselves and then will go around the room and everyone will introduce themselves – first name only, so everyone’s anonymity is intact. If inclined, people may also say how long they are free of a bet. However, there's no pecking order between someone who's free an hour and someone who hasn't gambled for years. Gamblers Anonymous is a day-by-day programme.

By now your heart is still probably racing and your hands are still clammy, again keep reminding yourself, everyone is here for the same reason.


After the chair has delivered their therapy, the meeting is open to people in the room to share their own experiences. In terms of what you yourself share, this can be a short or as long as you feel comfortable. Remember that what is said within the meeting, stays within the meeting. Nothing that has been discussed will be repeated outside those four walls.

Hopefully by now you are a little more relaxed and as the meeting progresses you will begin to realise that you are not alone, every single person in that room has been through or is going through a situation similar or identical to yourself.

The one piece of advice that we can give anyone is to keep coming back. Give the meetings a chance, you won't know unless you try.

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