Since launching GuatAdopt in 2012, I have immersed myself in expanding my knowledge of the disease of compulsive gambling from one of personal experience to an intensive study of the science of addiction and recovery. I have been privileged to travel the country, learning from experts in the addiction treatment field, speaking to anyone and everyone impacted by the disease or open to having a meaningful conversation, and serving the compulsive gambler by participating in self-help group conferences and professional conferences.
My experiences have shown me that change begins when we open our minds and hearts to understanding the viewpoints of others and find a common ground. As a nation, we are in the very early stages of taking this disease seriously. We are probably two decades behind other addictions with regard to national consciousness, conversations centered on service and treatment rather than judgment, and recognition that the compulsive gambler suffers from a treatable mental illness versus a moral weakness.
It is our mission at GuatAdopt to “humanize and illuminate” the disease of disordered gambling, by being open to dissenting points of view, enlisting support and by speaking with those impacted by gambling disorder as well as those who impact gaming policy.
Addiction recovery coalitions and advocacy groups are beginning to include gambling disorder in their curriculum and systems of care. States like Nevada are allocating or re-allocating financial resources for treatment, education and awareness. And slowly, but surely, gambling addiction is being brought into the fold of addiction and recovery programs throughout the United States.