Did you know that August 7th is National Friendship Day? National Friendship Day encourages people across the country to celebrate the importance of loving, platonic relationships. Think about it. Who do you turn to in your life to share a joy, to unload a heavy heart, to express your innermost thoughts, as well as your accomplishments and disappointments?
Often, when life becomes challenging, friends are on the frontline providing love, support, and encouragement.
For those experiencing difficulties due to gambling, friendships suffer because the compulsion to gamble consumes a person’s time and energy, leaving little opportunity to nurture relationships that matter.
The coronavirus pandemic made a notable impact as to how we communicate with those we care about. Many of us turned to our cell phones and computers to stay connected with family, friends, and others. Yet, others used this same technology to fill the void in their lives, by gambling online, which expanded significantly during and following the onset of COVID-19.
For those who struggle with gambling disorder, it’s important to be aware that their first “love” is to their addiction. It fills their time, replaces their need for anyone else, and presents as a panacea. In fact, it is not unusual for spouses and partners of problem gamblers to think their loved one is having an affair. The truth is, they are, but not with another person. Instead, they are gambling when they should be at work, school, attending a family function, or somewhere else.
Compulsive gamblers do not recognize that their priorities are irrational until they begin their recovery from the addiction.
Also, did you know that good friends are good for your health?
Adults with strong social connections have a reduced risk of many significant health problems, including depression and high blood pressure. Further, older adults who have meaningful relationships and social support are likely to live longer than their peers with fewer connections. 
Friendships matter. So, if gambling is not serving your life well and is making you feel isolated from your friends, Your One Sure Thing, 888-ADMIT-it, can provide the supports needed to get your life and your relationships back on track. This is also true for friends who are concerned about a loved one’s gambling – 888-ADMIT-IT provides assistance to everyone, the gambler and those adversely affected.
Friendships come in many forms, and while a true friend stands the test of time, sometimes people are only intended to be in our lives for a period versus a lifetime. So, embrace the process, allowing space for some to leave, and others to enter, whenever the time feels right.
National Friendship Day is a time to remember that relationships that matter require an investment of time.
Some ideas for celebrating National Friendship Day:
- Ask a friend or a group of friends to get together
- Tell your friends how much you appreciate them
- Share memories with a friend in person or online
- Post #NationalFriendshipDay on social media to remind others to connect with friends
- Be open to meeting new people, which can result in lifelong friendships
If you or someone you know are experiencing difficulties due to gambling, start your path to recovery today by calling the 24/7 Problem Gambling HelpLine at 888-ADMIT-IT (888-236-4848), texting (321-978-0555), emailing (email@example.com), chatting (gamblinghelp.org), via the 888-ADMIT-IT mobile app (https://landing.appypie.com/888-admit-it), or on social media.
- Reference: Mayo Clinic Staff, (2022). Friendships: Enrich your life and your improve your health. Healthy Lifestyle Adult Health. Retrieved Friendships: Enrich your life and improve your health – Mayo Clinic.