The holiday season is upon us. What better way to commemorate the closing of a decade, and herald in the new, than to seriously take a look at what it means to give during the “Season of Giving?” With the commercialization of the upcoming worldwide celebrations, it can be easy to assume that the spirit of generosity is reliant upon financial offerings.
We don’t need to tell you that there is more to what can be given during this season, as Mother Teresa famously said, “Let us not be satisfied with just giving money. Money is not enough, money can be got, but they need your hearts to love them.”1 #GivingTuesday is a global movement that asks people to transform the world by giving back to their communities and this year, we would like to encourage you to embrace this aspect of generosity.
That’s why the Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling (FCCG) asks that this #GivingTuesday, you give thought to the issue of problem gambling. It doesn’t cost a cent to learn about an issue that plagues over five million Americans2 including nearly two-hundred thousand Floridans (according to the most recent prevalence studies) and learn how to best show your love and compassion to those in your life who may be struggling with this widespread addiction.
How You Can Give Thought to the Issue of Problem Gambling Today
STEP ONE: EDUCATE YOURSELF ON THE ISSUE
The majority of people that gamble do so recreationally, and without any adverse effects or consequences. However, for some this leisurely pastime can turn into a dangerous compulsion.
Here are important signs to watch out for – in the past year, have you or someone you know…
- Needed to gamble with more and more money to feel the same excitement?
- Become restless or irritable in attempts to cut back or stop gambling?
- Made repeated unsuccessful attempts to control or stop gambling?
- Been preoccupied with thoughts about gambling?
- Gambled when feeling distressed?
- Continued gambling to try and get even after a previous gambling loss?
- Lied to your family, friends, or others to hide the extent of your gambling?
- Jeopardized or lost a significant relationship, job, or opportunity because of gambling?
- Relied on another for financial bailouts caused by gambling?
You can educate yourself further on this issue by visiting gamblinghelp.org.
STEP TWO: BE MINDFUL THIS HOLIDAY SEASON
Being mindful of the gifts you are buying this holiday season can be a great way to give thought to this issue. If you suspect a loved one is struggling with compulsive gambling, please avoid gifting scratch-off tickets or hard cash. This could be detrimental for someone going through recovery. Also keep in mind that, according to state law, a person must be 18+ to gamble. Just as you would not give a minor alcohol or drugs as a gift, so too should you refrain from using scratch-off tickets as stocking stuffers for minors.
STEP THREE: GET HELP FOR OTHERS OR YOURSELF
If you or someone you know may be suffering from gambling addiction, call Florida’s 24/7, Confidential, and Multilingual Problem Gambling HelpLine: 888-ADMIT-IT (236-4848), the HelpLine can also be reached by texting to 321-978-0555, by starting a LiveChat at gamblinghelp.org, and by reaching out to the Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling on social media. You are not alone, and gambling addiction is treatable.
1 Great Thinkers Great Thoughts. O ! Publishing, 2012, www.books.google.com/books?id=uaHkBgAAQBAJ.
2 Problem Gambling Solutions, Inc. 2016 Survey of Problem Gambling Services in the United States. National Council on Problem Gambling, 2016, http://www.ncpgambling.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/2016-Survey-of-PGS-in-US_FULL-REPORT-FINAL-12-19-2017-1.pdf