The Double Bind of Therapeutics
A GAMBLERS ANONYMOUS MEETING is underway on the second floor of a small commercial plaza a few miles east of the Strip. A real estate agent in a maroon pants suit and a braided gold necklace tells the group that she leaves her home every morning unsure if she will gamble or not. “In between my appointments, something might push my buttons and trigger me to play at any moment. I’m not sure what would set me off. It feels dangerous out there.”
A middle-aged man in blue jeans and a sweatshirt picks up on this sense of danger. “I know the [GA] rules—don’t go to casinos, don’t be around [gambling] machines—but I live in Vegas, so how is that possible? I like to go to a bar to have a drink sometimes, but I can’t seem to do that without there being a damn machine there staring back at me. Hell, you go to the drugstore and they have them. Every time I fill my prescriptions I run the risk of getting stuck for hours at the machines.”
“The grocery store is open all night,” says a petite woman in her sixties. Gripping the large shiny purse on her lap so hard that her knuckles turn white around her rings, she admits how terrified she is to go shopping by herself when her husband, a successful banker, is out of town on business. She prays in the parking lot outside of Lucky’s supermarket, repeating to herself, I have to eat, I have to eat, then hurries past the video poker machines that flank the entranceway.