It is very interesting that your response triggered a review of the post that you responded to…which occasioned me to reconfirm the concepts in the original piece. Yes, I own a fully functional website (well, almost; there are a few tweaks that I want to implement) but it feels like a dead horse because there are only a half dozen people using it, all of them refugees from Open Salon, the blogging site that parent Salon.com murdered because it was pulling hits away from Salon itself. (I tried to buy it from them but they wouldn’t even talk to me. They wanted it dead, not under new management.)
In the meantime, I am working with a nonprofit called HopeUnite.org that is attacking the same problem from another angle, addressing suicide prevention from a rather unique angle, spreading positive messages through the metaphor of giving out “Rose Cards” telling people that they matter.
To counteract the expanding alienation and isolation that the internet has inflicted upon us individually and collectively, we need to promote actual, real, face-to-face contact by getting people to open local chapters where they can provide mutual support to each other. The pandemic has both exacerbated the problems of alienation and isolation, and accelerated the increasing erosion of the social connections that people require to thrive.
I am not a fan of 12 Step programs because the first thing they tell people is that they are powerless against the addictions that have taken over their lives. As an expert in the treatment of addictions, I know from experience that the first step is really to tell people that they can succeed in overcoming them…but, aside from the unfortunate rhetorical constructs, the fact remains that the model of group meetings along similar lines to the Anonymous structure really does work because they provide mutual ongoing support for those people who can tolerate the program.
What it needed but does not exist is a 12-step program for the rest of us, for people who do not have a life-crushing addiction (mine was gambling, by the way, not drugs or alcohol, but I only gambled on the markets, not cards or dice.) We are now in a state where we all need this kind of structured support, but you can’t look to religion for it because religion itself has become dichotomized due to the disparity between the teachings and the behaviors, to the point where the (negative) behaviors are displacing the teachings.
But I am going on, one of my problems. I type so fast that I often type faster than some people can read….a result of having grown up, figuratively, in the city room of a major metropolitan newspaper.
The trick is to figure out the strategies and tactics and then recruit partners, which could take the rest of my life. At 73, that’s a short leash.
Over to you.