For the first time in over a decade – Fort McMurray has a gamblers anonymous program.
It was brought back by Troy Siemers, a local resident who’s struggled with a gambling addiction for 25 years. He tells Mix News the wildfire played a big part in his relapse – also sparking his interest in bringing back the program.
“It’s one gambler helping another.”
Over the past year, Siemers believes he’s lost between $30,000 – $40,000. In the last 20 years, he notes he’s lost around $200,000.
So far, two meetings have been held but both times Siemers was the only one in attendance. Instead of sitting in silence, he says he told his story out loud – a moment he hopes he can share and help others in the same situation.
“It’s not going to be an overnight change, with that time comes more and more clarity and more and more purpose.”
Fort McMurray offers both narcotic and alcoholic programs but Siemers notes these aren’t placers for gamblers.
“Despite the similarities in addictions and every addiction counsellor will tell you that they are innately the same but the thing is a person who suffers from a gambling addiction will not go to an alcoholic anonymous meeting and alcoholics won’t tolerate you going into their meeting discussing that addiction.”
“The 12 traditions of alcoholic anonymous are fundamentally the same in gamblers anonymous, they are tweaked individually.”
These meetings are held every Wednesday night. More information can be found at albertaga.net.
“There is help but you have to admit you need it.”