When it comes to addictions, and especially porn addictions, there are many people and groups scrambling to define the cause(s). I have recently come across an article from Huffington Post that I believe really nails it on the head! You can read the article here.
Essentially, the article is making the case that the likely cause of addiction is lack of human connection. It makes a very strong argument and one that I’ve found to be true in my own life. A nagging, sad loneliness always seemed to push me to seek unhealthy ways to feel better. As I look back through my life, I realize that there have been many, varied ways that I have tried to cover up the pain of loneliness that just didn’t seem to ever disappear (except temporarily). There were drugs. There were relationships with girls. There was porn. There were less obvious things like music, activities, pursuits. All of my attempts to find satisfaction in life always ended with the same result. They didn’t work and often ended up hurting me even worse!
We truly do live in a society and culture that has grown more and more lacking in human connection. Sure, we go to work and have conversations and even fun interaction with coworkers. We may have thriving social skills at school, work, or wherever we find ourselves. But, we often lack genuine, heart-felt interaction–true connection–with others. This lack, I believe, brings about loneliness even though we may be constantly surrounded by others.
Just the other day, I was at a restaurant with a couple friends of mine. There is nothing more irritating to me than when people have their cell phones out during a social engagement. I sat there at the table, all alone, while my two friends checked their Facebook, texted their “significant others”, and perused the news, etc. I thought to myself, “how important AM I to these people? I’m sitting right here–in real life–being completely ignored while they are having some kind of virtual interaction with an online social life!” So, I brought it up. I told them to look around in the restaurant. Notice how those over the age of about 35 don’t have their phones out. Instead, they are actually engaging each other in conversation. I’m 42 and my friends are 31 and 25. We sit on two sides of a generation gap. A terrifying gorge in my opinion. People under 35 can’t seem to engage. They have lost their ability to focus and to embrace human connection in real life! My two friends are already showing symptoms of this new disease. They are both obese due to addictions to binge-eating.
I can only imagine the devastation that is coming upon our society as we grow even more and more disconnected in these younger generations. I thought my generation was bad. We were duped into excessive T.V. and Video Games and self-absorption. We didn’t really have cell phones and Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Snapchat. We became lonely addicts. The new generations are sure to suffer even more exponentially as the disconnect skyrockets!
So, what can be done? I’ve found there is a loophole. You don’t have to get suckered into the human disconnect if you don’t want to. You can skirt the popular trends of isolation. All you have to do is decide to be intentional about it. First stop, Meetup.com! If you haven’t experienced Meetup.com, it’s time. Meetup.com is the flip-side to the isolating online media. It is one of the only places online that pushes real engagement with real people in real-life scenarios. It is an online tool to help you meet people with like interests and then put down your cell phones and computers and get-together to interact face-to-face. I have joined a lot of different groups on Meetup and have met people in my community and have made genuine friendships. I have even started my own Meetup groups to draw in friends more specific to the types of people I especially enjoy meeting. My current, and favorite, group idea was to form a group for couples in their 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s who want to hang out and do fun things together. My wife and I are meeting very interesting couples in our community in this way and we feel like we’ve found the answer to life’s loneliness in this way.
What I find interesting is that there are so many others in our community (and most likely yours as well) who are seeking interaction beyond Facebook and Instagram. There are still people (even younger ones) who want real relationships with others. One group I formed has almost 400 members in it–all people just seeking to connect.
As you get to know people, I’m finding that it is also important to find ways to engage on a deeper level. You might host a game night or something and pick a game that brings out more of a personal aspect. One amazing group I’m a part of has a monthly couple’s circle where you and your spouse gather at the home of the host and are guided through a series of activities and questions designed to get you talking to your spouse and to other couples in deeper and more engaging ways. Yes, it takes some commitment to open up to others, but it is truly worth it! It is so invigorating and empowering! Once you start to experience it, you will want more and you will begin to see just how much all of these artificial social networks are lacking.
So, there you have it… why you need to make some new friends and how to do it. I hope I’ve inspired you to get out there and do it and I hope Meetup.com will provide you with the tools to find some new, meaningful interaction in your life. Get started today, friends!