Summary of “Expelling Demons in Nevada”

To much of the outside world, gambling is a vice not worthy of mercy: It is a symptom of recklessness, of compulsiveness, of greed.
Compulsive gambling is also an addiction-one that affects some three to four million people in the United States alone.
Between the first row of pews and the chancel, a group of five adults, none of them younger than 50, read aloud from a pocket-sized yellow handbook: “We learned we had to concede fully to our innermost selves that we are compulsive gamblers. This is the first step in our recovery. With reference to gambling, the delusion that we are like other people, or presently may be, has to be smashed.”
The group continues: “We have lost the ability to control our gambling. We know that no real compulsive gambler ever regains control. All of us felt at times we were regaining control, but such intervals-usually brief-were inevitably followed by still less control, which led in time to pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization.”
Compulsive gambling is also an addiction-one that affects some three to four million people in the United States alone, and causes suicide attempts in one-fifth of those afflicted.
He’s lived in Las Vegas for the last 37 years; for the last 18, he’s been attending Gamblers Anonymous meetings across the city.
Meetings have supplanted gambling as the object of his addiction-he estimates he attends around eight or nine meetings per week, sometimes three in a single day.
There’s the way she would sneak out of the house in the wee hours of the morning, while her husband and four children were still asleep, careful to let the car roll down the driveway in neutral, lest the engine wake anyone up; the extra shifts pulled in secret, to allow for some extra gambling money that wouldn’t pull directly from the family bank account; the relapses in the casinos, and the shameful calls to her sponsor that would inevitably follow.

The orginal article.