Arnie Wexler's compulsive gambling spiraled out of control....after forty-plus years in recovery, he's become a nationally known expert on gambling addiction.
Wexler's life as a gambler began on the streets of Brooklyn, New York, flipping cards, shooting marbles, and playing pinball machines. At age fourteen he found the racetrack, a bookie, and started playing the stock market. His obsession with gambling accelerated until a fateful day in 1968 when it all came crashing down.
Wexler's gripping narrative leads us through the dungeon of a compulsive gambler's worldchasing the big win and coming up with empty pocketsand how his addiction drove him and his wife, Sheila, to the edge of life. With help, they managed to escape, and together they have devoted themselves to helping others with the problem they know so well.
All Bets Are Off provides a revealing picture of how the often hidden addiction of compulsive gambling ravages the lives of both the addict and those around him or her. It is a brutal cautionary tale, and also an inspiring story of hope and healing for anyone affected by problem gambling.
. . . All Bets Are Off offers an honest, open, frankand at times opinionatedpersonal reflection on the devastation and deception of the disease as it manifests in gamblers and as it impacts those who love them. As a friend of Arnie’s and a career Employee Assistance Professional, I relished the role that Jerryhis new boss at Jonathan Logan Dressesplayed in 1968 when he confronted Arnie about his gambling, pointed him in the direction of a twelve-step program, and ultimately set the wheels in motion for Arnie’s walk into the sunshine of recovery and his life of the past forty-six years free of the stranglehold of his gambling addictionall the while with his beloved Sheila at his side. My hope is that All Bets Are Off may be the catalyst and way forward for many similar journeys.”
Bernard E. Beidel, M.Ed., CEAP
Director, Office of Employee Assistance, US House of Representatives
All Bets Are Off exposes the raw reality of friends, relatives, colleagues, associates, fellow classmates, and just ordinary neighbors who get caught in the trap of addiction . . . gambling addiction. Denial, deception, depression, and delivery from thoughts of suicide stare you in the face when you read Arnie’s story. This is not for the weak of heart. It is real.”
Former Director of Intercollegiate Athletics
University of California, Riverside 19992011
Steve Jacobson is what’s known in baseball and journalism as a seasoned pro, a man of credibility, conscience, and caring. Arnie Wexler? There’s a reason why, for the last thirty-five years, he has been the news media’s go-to guy on issues of addicted gambling: He has saved at least as many souls, including his own, as Mother Teresa.”
Sports Columnist, NY Post
Arnie and Sheila Wexler had the courage to share their story to bring awareness of how problem gambling affects families. Decades have passed, but their story still rings true with many of the same familiar themes in the present-day lives of those afflicted by gambling. We learn and understand the effects of gambling and from this we can bring awareness and prevention; but most of all it gives a sense of hope that we can help, make positive strides, and be nonjudgmental.”
Judge Cheryl Moss
Las Vegas, Nevada
I have known Arnie Wexler for over twenty years. He is a kind and giving man whose story touches a nerve for anyone with an addictive personality. We all know someone who has reached his or her limit; Arnie fought his way back and lived to tell about what it takes to recover and reclaim your life.”
CBS Sports/YES Network/Westwood One Radio
Here, at last, is a testament that gives life to the idea that gambling is not a true addiction. Largely state-sanctioned gambling allows us to engage in high-risk behavior that we have come to see as an acceptable activity. It continues to grow. It has become an American industry to the point that we now believe in family gambling’ as a good thing. In this intensely personal story, Sheila and Arnie bring home the reality of the dangers inherent in gambling when it becomes an addiction. Gambling, by any and all measures, qualifies as a real medical problem. The more we encourage it the more addicts there will be. More importantly, Sheila and Arnie clearly offer a way out of the hopelessness that strikes at the heart of all addicts. Read this book. See if there is anyone you know and can lead on the way to recovery. This is an important treatise that finally brings this hidden problem to the public’s eye.”
Allan Lans, DO, FASAM
Assistant Professor in Psychiatry, Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons
Just because something is legal, it is not necessarily good or safe. Alcohol is legal, and the misuse of alcohol is responsible for much human misery and humongous losses both in life and money. This is equally true of gambling. Many people are vulnerable to compulsive, addictive gambling, which has resulted in incalculable misery. The compulsion to gamble is one of the strongest drives, ruining families and leading to criminal acts to support the gambling habit. Gambling is not only tolerated socially, but is actually promoted politically. Children are very vulnerable to becoming addictive gamblers, and our culture is paving the way for them. No one knows the ins-and-outs of compulsive gambling better than Arnie Wexler, who has helped literally thousands of people to break loose from this deadly addiction. This book is a must read for everyone. The epidemic of compulsive gambling feeds on ignorance. The more we know about compulsive gambling, the more we can protect ourselves and our loved ones from this malignant condition.”
Abraham J. Twerski, MD
Medical Director Emeritus and Founder, Gateway Rehabilitation Center
. . . I first met Arnie in Nevada in 2006 at a presentation I gave about sports books; he was my validation of my training! I was then fortunate to be a student of both Arnie and Sheila at another conference. I have the deepest respect and admiration for both of them, not only for the help they provide to people, but for allowing me to be both instructor and student.”
Deneen L Hernandez
FBI Forensic Examiner