Learn how someone can go from never gambling to the point where they are about to give up, get arrested, or commit suicide.
Learn how to lead someone out of the depts of compulsive gambling to freedom in Christ.
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Millions of people suffer the devastating effects of complsive gamblng. They fall into this trap without being aware of it. Sometime wat starts out innocently turns into a desperate effort to avoid financial ruin, keep their families, their jobs, and even their lives.
This book will give you hope as you see how Christ can provide a way of escape from seemingly hopeless circumstances. Dependence on Christ will bring victory over compulsive gambling and could even save lives. This book trains any capable Christian to lead a compulsive gambler through te steps to achieve victory.
Victory over Gambling
Leading Compulsive Gamblers to Freedom in Christ
1 Corinthians 10:13
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to humanity. God is faithful and He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation He will also provide a way of escape, so that you are able to bear it.
As Tom Grey mentioned in the Foreword, there are from 40 to 55 million people in the United States today harmfully affected by compulsive gambling. Gambling is still spreading. Every state except two has some form of legalized gambling. There is a waiting list for most treatment centers. The need for a program such as this one is great.
For years, I was not able to speak or write about the dangers of gambling. As long as I needed permission from casino general managers to enter their casinos and minister to their customers and employees, I had to be careful. They all knew how I felt about gambling, but by silent agreement, they did not ask and I did not tell them. They felt that I was doing them a favor by taking customers who had fallen to the Hopelessness Phase of compulsive gambling out of their casinos. Yes, these people made gambling look bad to the other customers who watched them. I also did the casinos a favor by ministering to their employees by helping them to lower the stress in their lives
The first week of my ministry in the casinos, a man came up to me and said, “I’m a Christian. What do you think about me working here?” I had no idea what to say. I asked God quickly to give me the words to say, and He did. I turned back to that young man and said, “God could have a reason for you working in this casino. It’s up to you to find out what it is or get out.”
He did! He quit! Yes, he quit seven years later. In those seven years he led 21 of his fellow-employees to the Lord, right there in the casino. Over the years, I made that same statement to many others. About one-third of them quit as soon as they could, about one-third did start witnessing to their fellow-employees, and one-third did nothing as they kept working in the casino. I do not judge them. I simply pray for them.
This is not just another book about gambling. It is not just another book about compulsive gambling recovery. It takes 14 years of my life and ministry and puts it together so others may use it to help compulsive gamblers and those affected by compulsive gambling to freedom in Christ.
This book describes how the two different kinds of compulsive gamblers become compulsive. It gives detailed, systematic instructions on how any competent Christian can lead a compulsive gambler to victory in Christ. The program uses hundreds of Bible verses to guide both the leader and the gambler through the program.
In my 14 years of counseling compulsive gamblers, I have worked with many suicidal individuals. Almost all the gamblers I worked with admitted to having had suicidal thoughts. One fourth of them had attempted suicide.
When I began working with compulsive gamblers, I found few programs to help me, and none of them was Christian. I took the certification course approved by the state of Illinois and over the years began to adapt that secular program to develop a Christian approach. The results of all those years of learning and applying came together in this book.
My prayer is that through this book Christ will save the lives, both physically and spiritually, of thousands of people harmfully affected by compulsive gambling.
The most difficult part for any compulsive gambler in quitting is the temptation or the urge gamble that hits them and controls their actions. This does not have to be. In 1 Corinthians 10:13 Paul was reassuring us that we will all face temptation, many times. The good news is that God will not let any temptation be more than we are able to take. The great news is that God will give us a way to escape whatever temptation comes our way.
Compulsive gambling is nothing but a series of temptations. If we believe God, then He will give us a way out of compulsive gambling as well as any other temptation that may come our way.
The goal of this book is to help as many people as possible to find that way out of compulsive gambling. All compulsive gamblers can achieve victory from compulsive gambling by turning their lives over to Christ.
If you want to help someone overcome his or her gambling problem, then this book is for you. The section “How to Use This Book” at the end of this introduction will tell you what you need to know to start. It will get you started on how to lead compulsive gamblers to freedom in Christ.
The Order of This Book
Part I, The Road to Compulsion.
Part I begins with a chapter on the three types of gamblers, then defines compulsive gambling, and briefly describes the two types of compulsive gamblers. It also lists some of the physical illnesses that a compulsive gambler may experience. Then it goes into some of the causes of compulsive gambling.
The next two chapters describe the early years for the two compulsive gambler types.
Chapters four through six describe how these compulsive gamblers go through the Reality Phase, the Desperation Phase, and the Hopelessness Phase.
Chapter Seven describes how gamblers slip into compulsion.
Chapter Eight describes the effects that compulsive gambling has on the gambler’s spouse.
Part II, The Road to Victory in Christ
Part II begins with a chapter on intervention, which guides the leader and the gambler’s family through a loving intervention designed to bring the compulsive gambler to a realization of the need for help.
The next five chapters are the Bible-based program that will bring a gambler to victory in Christ. The gambler will go through an assessment of his or her emotional, gambling, spiritual, and financial condition. Then the gambler prepares to make a decision for Christ. Either they will accept Christ as their Lord and Savior, or they will rededicate their lives to Christ.
The next big hurdle will be that of seeking forgiveness from all whom they have wronged and then forgiving all those who have wronged them.
Each chapter that describes how a gambler goes through a phase of compulsive gambling or a step out of compulsive gambling also show how each gambler relates to others in the following relationships.
Gambling: The different styles or methods of gambling
Relational: How they relate to family, friends, and occupation
Emotional: Compulsive Gambling affects the thought processes of the gambler in many different ways..
Physiological shows how the gambler may develop any of many different physical symptoms.
Financial: There are many ways that gambling may cause financial problems.
Legal: The Compulsive Gambler usually has legal problems in the Hopelessness Phase and sometimes as early as the Desperation Phase.
Each chapter will also end by trying to answer the following question: “How do you help the gambler to stop now before he or she goes deeper into gambling?”
Two case studies listed progressively throughout the book describe how two gamblers went through all the phases to become compulsive gamblers and how they went through the steps to find freedom in Christ. Butch is an example of a Gradual Gambler and Sue is an example of an Escape Gambler.
There is a Study Guide at the end of the book described in the section, “How to Use This Book.”
Terminology Used in This Book
This book uses the term compulsion rather than the harsher term addiction. Chapter Seven explains this decision.
Most compulsive gamblers fall into one of two types: The Gradual Gambler and the Escape Gambler.
Gradual Gamblers, sometimes called Action Gamblers do eventually seek action, but they arrive at that point after a long period of gradually getting deeper into gambling.
Escape Gamblers look for something to fill a void in their lives. When they find gambling, they usually get in over their heads rather quickly, much more quickly than Gradual Gamblers.
Those who work with Compulsive Gamblers have many different terms they use to describe the types and the phases gamblers go through to become compulsive. The terms used in this book are ones that are the result of 14 years of observation and experience while working with compulsive gamblers.
To avoid confusion, masculine pronouns will refer to the Gradual Gambler (which usually are men), and feminine pronouns will refer to Escape Gamblers (which usually are women). This does not imply that all Gradual Gamblers are male or that all Escape Gamblers are female.
Who Should Use This Book?
This book is for concerned Christians who want to lead compulsive gamblers through this Christ-centered program to a life free of gambling. Detailed directions guide you through each step of the program.
If you have no experience in counseling, you may still be able to follow the directions in Part II, which can prepare you to help your gambler.
I must caution you however that if the gambler is too close to you (such as spouse or child) you may want to enlist the aid of someone else to do the leading. Perhaps you could approach your pastor or another church leader.
Once you have determined that you are not too close to the gambler, you need to read and study Part I of this book to identify which compulsive gambler type you have. You need to familiarize yourself with the problems unique to your gambler as he or she went through each phase of compulsive gambling.
Next, you need to study Part II thoroughly so you are familiar with the procedure in order to lead your gambler along the path to a new way of life.
From this point, you will lead your gambler through the program using the systematic instructions found in Part II.
If you are a Christian pastor or counselor, you should have no difficulty in helping compulsive gamblers to achieve victory over their gambling using this program. You should already know not to try to lead anyone too close to you.
If you are not already familiar with the phases of compulsive gambling, you may need to read Part I too.
Please, no matter how much you have counseled, study Part II before you begin to work with gamblers.
Experience has taught that it is best for you not to look at any section and decide that you have a better way. These methods went through 14 years of testing with many compulsive gamblers.
How to Use This Book
Before you begin the program with a gambler, make sure you are familiar with compulsive gambling, the two types of compulsive gamblers, the phases that they go through, and how compulsive gambling affects the spouse,.
Make sure you know not only what each step of the program is doing, but also why it does it before trying to complete it.
It is important that your gambler complete each step in the program before going on to the next one. This is especially true, in Chapter Twelve, when asked to wait until the gambler has made a decision for Christ before continuing the program.
Remember that you and I are only instruments Christ will use to help your compulsive gambler. Christ is the only One who can bring about lasting victory over gambling.
The primary intent of this book is for one competent Christian to lead one compulsive gambler at a time to victory in Christ. Therefore, when using this book, you need to read and study Part I carefully before you try to go any farther. Then you need to read and study Part II until you are sure you can lead your compulsive gambler to freedom in Christ. Once you have done this, you are ready to start the program in Part II with your gambler.
There is a Study Guide at the back of this book, which may help you in your studies. It will help you bring out the major points of each chapter in your answers to the questions.
Before you begin any step with the gambler, please read all instructions carefully until you thoroughly understand them. Then read and study all Bible verses used in that step until you are sure of how to interpret them to your gambler. If your gambler is not a Christian, it will be more important that you explain each Bible passage to his or her satisfaction.
Please follow directions carefully. Do not let the gambler go to the next step until he or she has finished the present section. That means they must thoroughly understand what they need to do and why.
Make sure all involved commit themselves to regular, punctual attendance at every meeting.
Any group may use this book to help each member of the group to achieve an understanding of compulsive gambling. They may use it to learn how to lead a compulsive gambler to victory in Christ. A group could also study the whole book together.
The Study Guide in the back of this book will also work for group instruction or discussion. An informal group may use it as they work through the book together. A more formal group may use it with the questions used as assignments after each chapter.
I use the Study Guide when I lead workshops or seminars in implementing the program presented in this book, as well. I prepare a Study Guide handout to give each participant at the beginning of the meeting. At the end of each chapter, the entire group discusses each question, giving all participants the opportunity to fill in the correct answers. Then when the workshop is over, they will have the completed Study Guide for future reference.