Why the Gordon Moody Association?
Why Gordon Moody (formerly the Gordon House Association), why a specialist provider of residential treatment for addicted gamblers? Gordon Moody Association believes that a severe addiction to gambling, although having some parallels to a substance-based addiction, needs an inherently different approach to treatment. This is not so much due to differences in the various addictions themselves but due to the associated behaviours.
Living the life of an addicted gambler means most of the waking day is centred on the avoidance of creditors and wheeling and dealing to manipulate others to create the space to gamble in and the cash to do it with. Unlike those dependent on a substance-based addiction, such as drugs or alcohol, there are no limits to which the gambling addict is able to subject themselves or others. An alcoholic's body will eventually stop the ingestion of alcohol and there will be physical signs to indicate their state; they will stagger, fall down, slur their speech, smell of alcohol etc. Others will be able to recognise the addict's problem without the assistance of that addict. However a gambling addict can carry on indefinitely with no outward signs that they are addicted; it is a hidden addiction, others may never know that an addict even has a problem let alone what the problem is. Therefore the addiction can continue and develop to an extreme state without being detected.
If a drug addict steals money from their mother's purse, to buy drugs with, they know it is a one-way street, the money is gone and will be missed; if a drug addict takes the day's takings from their place of work, they know they will never be able to replace it. However addicted gamblers, having stolen money and lost it, will persuade themselves that they need to steal again in order to win back their losses so as to replace the money they stole. They will persuade themselves it is the only way of not being detected. They are even able to excuse the gambling of the money needed to buy food for their own child, by claiming it is the only way they can provide further food for that child. It is self delusion, but allows an addicted gambler to go far further in the abuse of the trust of others than substance-based addicts are normally able, or willing, to.
An addicted gambler's life is not based on reality but on avoiding reality. Therefore those who started gambling heavily at an early age sometimes lack some key social and survival skills; they may never have cooked or cleaned; they may never have had a significant relationship or taken the time to fully mature. Once they no longer have their gambling activities to concentrate on, and hide behind, we find that commonly faced for the first time with the actual reality of their situation and the issues they need to address, clients can experience severe anxiety and panic attacks. Some cannot deal with this reality on their own, seeing the route to recovery too daunting and seemingly impossible. Being with others who have 'been there', but have moved through the stabilization process, is of particular value at this stage to a new resident who is struggling to come to terms with their situation. However we frequently find ourselves working with clients 'rejecting' treatment, or those working with them, in a misguided attempt to protect themselves from reality by finding an excuse to hide again within their gambling behaviours.
The Gordon Moody Association works only with the most severe gambling addicts, therefore new clients will almost certainly have been severely abusing the trust of others to support their habit. They will have been living in a fantasy world divorcing themselves from many of their day-to-day responsibilities. Research suggests that every one of them will have severely affected the lives of at least 15 others in order to support their gambling.
It is calculated that around 80% of the waking day of a severe gambling addict is spent planning how, when and with what to gamble, or actually gambling. The removal of this activity therefore leaves a great deal of time for reflection and thought. This reflection and thought often gives rise to an acceptance of the reality of what they have done to others in order to support their gambling which, in return, often results in severe bouts of depression brought on by guilt. Effectively the 'Cold Turkey' for an addicted gambler is this boredom and depression. Therefore the Gordon Moody Association provides an extremely high level of support to clients early in recovery. Those in residential treatment are provided with support workers who help them budget and avoid those places, and situations, that led to their gambling in the past. Over the time they remain in treatment they are 'weaned' off this high level of support as, with the help of the others in treatment and their therapy sessions, they build their own support networks and develop their own personal relapse prevention strategies.
For those awaiting residential treatment, those for whom residential treatment is not an option and those who need transitional support as they leave one of our residential centres and move back into the community, the Gordon Moody Association provides an Outreach Support Service and an Internet Counselling Service.
The Outreach Support Service provides an individual face-to-face service in the home of the client and group support sessions at each of the residential centres for those able to travel. The Internet Counselling Service is hosted on the Gambling Therapy Website and provides confidential individual face-to-face counselling for those with access to the necessary computer equipment or text service to those without such access or those requiring total anonymity. There are also 'chat rooms' where trained counsellors can answer questions and membership groups, e.g. ex-residents, where they can seek, and give, support.
Why then Gordon Moody Association? Because Gordon Moody Association has over 40 years' experience of providing specialised support and treatment to acutely addicted gamblers. This has allowed us to develop treatment interventions that are purely gambling focused and address the extremes of associated behaviours. Because we specialise in gambling we create therapeutic communities that consist entirely of addicted gamblers, unique 'forums' wherein clients can discuss and learn to deal with the reasons why they compulsively gambled and the extremes to which they have gone to support their gambling, without it being 'sensationalised' or misunderstood.
Registered Charity number 1124751