Meetings - San Diego Gamblers Anonymous

This section provides more information about the different types of Gamblers Anonymous meetings, local meetings within the San Diego and South Riverside counties. It also provides a link to the official Gamblers Anonymous International meeting locator and FAQs to help answer any questions you may have about meetings.


Open Meeting

Spouses, family, and friends of the gambler are welcome to attend and observe the meeting.

Closed Meeting

Only those with a gambling problem, or those who think they may have a gambling problem, with a desire to stop gambling, are eligible to attend and participate.

Modified Closed Meeting

This type of meeting would be the same as a "Closed Meeting" but the members would vote to include certain groups such as health professionals, guests attending with first time members, and persons with other addictions in need of a meeting.

Combined Meeting

These meetings are a joint meeting with Gamblers Anonymous and Gam-Anon members in one room. Unless specified, this type of meeting is not open to the public.

Step Meeting

This type of meeting concentrates on therapy based on the 12 Steps of Recovery. Each meeting runs their step meetings a bit differently, as dictated by the conscience of the group.

Comment Meeting

This type of meeting allows short comments in response to a share.

To find a meeting outside the San Diego we recommend using the locator at www.gamblers anonymous.org. This locator will help you find meetings, both nationally and internationally.

Click here to be taken to our National Locator

Currently there are no announcements- picnic aug 4.

Are there special meetings for Newcomers?

Two Newcomer Meetings 90-Day Room (Su6) and Monday Newcomer Meeting (M3) meet at the Vista La Mesa Christian Church, 4210 Massachusetts Ave, La Mesa, CA 91941. The goals of these meetings are to:

1) provide help and hope for new members,

2) explain how to use GA tools, and

3) improve membership retention. This works if members with recovery attend and encourage new members, stress the importance of meetings, share how GA has helped in their recovery, and promote discussion during break or after the meetings.

Featured Speakers or Topics of Discussion may include Pressure Relief, Meeting and Telephone List, Page 17 of the Combo Book, Unity Steps, Recovery Steps, Sponsorship, GAMANON, GA Literature, GA Organization (I.S.O. and Intergroup), Trustees, and Personal testimony.

Are there any daytime meetings?

Yes. Specifically in San Diego county and surrounding areas (Area 3A), on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

Why are many meetings held in churches?

Gamblers Anonymous is a self-supporting fellowship. We do not have dues or fees, but we do rent space where available. Churches are usually willing to rent us this space a few hours every week, which the attending members help support through their own contributions at a minimal cost to its members. GAMBLERS ANONYMOUS IS A SPIRITUAL PROGRAM, NOT A RELIGIOUS PROGRAM... "Gamblers Anonymous is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution..."

Can I bring my children?

If absolutely necessary, Yes however, considering the seriousness of the problem of compulsive gambling, the discussion and emotions shared in the room may not be appropriate for children. Any "Open" meeting allows guests, but we ask that you use good judgment and consideration not to disturb the group. Also, each group/meeting is self-governing and may rule otherwise.

I went to Gamblers Anonymous a long time ago. Can I come back?

The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop gambling. Many members have had setbacks, as well. Shame, remorse, and despair often keeps us from returning, but members soon find the same welcoming and understanding when they return.

How long do the meetings last?

Unless otherwise specified, meetings in the San Diego areas generally last about 1 - 2 hours, depending on the size of the group, affording everyone the opportunity to share. Although attending FULL meetings is strongly suggested, members may come and go at the times they feel necessary.

What is a "Milestone Meeting?"

The Monthly combined Milestone meetings are a celebration of members recovery from all over the area, celebrating any milestone (be it 30, 60, or 90 days, 6 or 9 months, or any Anniversary of abstinence) during that month or since the previous meeting.

This is separate of any celebration that same member may have had at his or her regular meetings, and is intended to enhance the Unity of our members. All members are encouraged to attend, if just to support those that are celebrating. Guests are welcome and allowed to share.

What is a "Speaker Meeting?"

Speaker meetings are meetings where a guest speaker is asked to speak about his or her recovery in the program. The meeting is generally a one-hour non-comment open meeting. After the meeting readings, the scheduled speaker gets 20 to 30 minutes to share his or her gambling story. Afterwards and with time permitting, members are given time to share.

What is a "Bonfire" meeting?

Periodically there may be a Bonfire meeting that is preceded by a barbecue with pot-luck at Mission Bay, generally our annual picnic. This meeting is somewhat different, in that it is also something of a social event, and at the same time, provides a great atmosphere of serenity for a meeting. Guests are welcome and allowed to share.

Why don't you have anything closer?

The success of the fellowship is dependent on its members. As the fellowship grows, perhaps one day there will be more meetings to choose from. We are fortunate to have as many meetings as we do. In some areas, members travel hundreds of miles to get to a meeting.

What should I wear to a meeting?

There is not a "dress-code" in Gamblers Anonymous, but some consideration is prudent. Some members may find casino logos or certain sayings, for example, offensive or in bad taste.

Are the meetings "all men?"

As many women as we have in the fellowship, it would be highly unlikely to find yourself in a meeting with just men. This disease is non-discriminating, and affects people of all gender, race, age, or social standing.

What is a "Women's Meeting?"

A Women's meeting is a meeting where women are preferred. Since the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop gambling, it cannot discriminate against other members who need a meeting to attend, although most men in the fellowship will respect this preference.

"Open Meeting" "Closed Meeting" "Combined Meeting" "Modified Closed Meeting" -- What does all of this mean?

An Open meeting generally implies that anyone may attend the meeting. However, even so, each meeting may put certain restrictions upon this. For example, the Wednesday night Rancho Bernardo Meeting is an open meeting. However, guests (non-gamblers) are only allowed to share at birthday meetings. The Monday night Step-Study meeting is also "Open". Many professional counselors in training tend to attend that meeting. Therefore, the meeting established that only three students may attend at any given meeting. In any case, it is suggested that you check-in with the Chairperson or Secretary upon your arrival if you are a non-gambler.

Closed meetings, as opposed to Open meetings, do not welcome guests. In other words, you could not bring your spouse or friend, if they themselves have not admitted, or considering the possibility of being a compulsive gambler. This is usually to provide a more comfortable atmosphere for some members to talk about things they may not want to otherwise.

Modified Closed meetings are the same as a "Closed Meeting" but the members vote to include certain groups such as health professionals, guests attending with first time members, and persons with other addictions in need of a meeting.

Combined meetings are Gamblers Anonymous and Gam-Anon groups that meet together in the same meeting. The Milestone meeting is an example of this type of meeting. At EVERY GA meeting, we ask that professional mental health workers, Officers of the Court, and news-people report upon their arrival. The Secretary will ask the group if permission is granted for someone with this occupation to attend. In most cases, the answer will be "yes". However, many meetings will state that if any particular member wishes the guest to step outside while that member shares (speaks), that the guest be willing to do so. In some meetings, even one objecting member will deny these guests permission to attend. In ALL cases, neither recording devices nor notes are permitted.