If Cutting Back or Stopping Gambling Was Your (or a Loved One’s) New Year’s Resolution, Read This

Millions of Americans partake in the annual tradition of setting New Year’s resolutions, but did you know that only 35% of those who made resolutions last year say they kept them all?[1] So, where do things go wrong? According to Psychology Today, the top four reasons New Year’s resolutions fail are not setting clear goals, feeling overwhelmed, feeling discouraged, and not being ready to change [2]. 

Though the most common New Year’s resolutions going into 2021 will sound familiar – exercising more, following a better diet, and losing weight; [1] Did you know that many among the hundreds of thousands of Floridians suffering from problem gambling made resolutions to cut back on or stop gambling? If you or someone you know is among them, know that recovery is attainable. You have completely confidential and 24/7 support in keeping (or reviving) your (or a loved one’s) resolution through the 888-ADMIT-IT Problem Gambling HelpLine.

Most people who gamble can do so safely. If you choose to gamble, it’s essential to have other forms of recreation that you enjoy to help prevent problem gambling. Did you know that January is National Hobby Month? This is the month where people are most open to trying new things and making new hobbies a part of their routines, from trying out a new sport to fit your fitness goals to learning to play an instrument to start an art project. “Taking up a new hobby” was also among the most common New Year’s resolutions going into 2021, cited by 14% of those surveyed![1]

Are you wondering if you or someone you know may be at risk for gambling addiction? Here are some signs of gambling addiction:

  • Do you find yourself reliving past gambling experiences, planning the next venture, or thinking of ways to get money to gamble?
  • Do you need to gamble with increasing amounts of money in order to feel the excitement?
  • Do you become restless or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop gambling?
  • Do you gamble as a way of escaping from problems or relieving guilt, anxiety, or depression?
  • Do you often return another day in order to get even or chase your losses after gambling?
  • Do you lie to family members, friends, your therapist, or others to conceal the extent of involvement with gambling?
  • Have you jeopardized or lost a significant relationship, job, educational, or career opportunity because of gambling?
  • Do you rely on others to provide money to relieve a desperate financial situation caused by gambling?
  • Do you attempt to control, cut back, or stop gambling but are unable to do so?

The HelpLine receives serious calls each January from gamblers and loved ones. Though many New Year’s resolutions are taken lightly, it’s an entirely different matter for those who are unable to control their urges to gamble. Gambling disorder can have serious impacts on the individual and also on an average of 8-10 people closest to the gambler. Difficulties faced include financial ruin, relationship problems, legal troubles, medical impacts, and suicidal ideation and attempts, among others. When a resolution related to overcoming gambling addiction doesn’t work out, there isn’t time to wait for the next New Year to try again. 

Even if you are not impacted directly by problem gambling, help raise awareness that help and hope are available and that treatment is possible. Florida’s Confidential and Multilingual Problem Gambling HelpLine can be reached 24/7 by phone at 888-ADMIT-IT, by text at 321-978-0555, by live chat at gamblinghelp.org, by emailing fccg@gamblinghelp.org, and by reaching out to the FCCG on social media.

 

[1] Ballard, Jamie. “Exercising and Sticking to a Healthy Diet Are the Most Common 2021 New Year’s Resolutions.” YouGov, YouGov, 17 Dec. 2020, today.yougov.com/topics/lifestyle/articles-reports/2020/12/23/2021-new-years-resolutions-poll.

[2] Ali, Shainna. “Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 5 Dec. 2018, www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/modern-mentality/201812/why-new-years-resolutions-fail.

[3]  24-Hour Problem Gambling HelpLine Annual Report., 2020 ed., The Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling, Inc., 2020, 24-Hour Problem Gambling HelpLine Annual Report.

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Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling