We recieved our 501(c)(3) non profit status!

Now that RDT is an official 501(c)(3) Not for Profit organization, we can focus on new material for the website, while searching for our local meeting location, as well as building the RTD program structure. We are planning some fund raisers and would encourage any and all donations, which will go directly to our initial site rental. We are applying for grants and urging friends of RTD to make comments on the site. I thank all who have supported us thus far and hope to involve all who are interested in our community based recovery center. Please check the site from time to time for new and interesting stories and testimonials. Our mission is to help those who are dealing with the struggles of addiction and alcoholism who can in turn help others. More to come!

Hopelessness to Usefulness

Although we at RTD do not follow any specific religious dogma, we welcome comments like this one from our friend in Bombay. Our friend had many struggles in his life and discovered his usefulness through his journey which he willingly shares with us. Willingness, honesty and open-mindedness are the foundation of 12-step programs.

by anonymous “Bombay”

Born into an orthodox Hindu Brahmin family with ‘priestly’ lineage, my God-fearing parents gave me the appropriate grooming and outlook on life. I was an average school student, college life eluded me. I did odd clerical/office management work and landed an advertising job early on. I soon discovered a penchant for writing and excelled in copy writing. I was quickly promoted to Client servicing and introduced to the glitzy world of entertainment, get togethers, outings and, importantly, gender-mixing. I took my first drink in 1969, becoming an alcoholic in about 3 years when I lost my first job in a blue-chip agency, all because I didn’t turn up to work for about 2 months!
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Thoughts on Treatment

Treatment per se has never been attuned to the addicts social interaction. Addicts and alcoholics are immature and actually don’t know how to handle the problems of everyday living. For example, job counselors wouldn’t be considered for a two year old, nor would an addict or a two year old be expected to understand and learn to cope with the problems of everyday living by seeing a psychiatrist or therapist 1-3 times a week, yet this is offered as salvation for the addicted individual.

Treatment of an addict should be considered as dealing or treating an emotional “infant” to assure any level of success. In conventional treatment facilities, addicts an alcoholics are subjected to the rigors of group therapy and one sided opinions of how to stay clean by those who are not skilled or empathic enough to be teachers which leaves the addicted personality numb and confused. Addicts are then discharged into a world where they are expected to be responsible and procure “real” work as an adult. This is indeed ludicrous if one ponders it. To judge and to treat the addict using techniques for the adult neurotic is doomed for failure. A therapeutic emotional climate must be created in order to remove the cloak of the acting-out defenses of an addictive personality. The addictive personality is not adult.

Synanon Scene magazine 1968

click image for full pdf

Another pamphlet copied from our visit to John Stallone. This one documents some of the ideas Dederich was into in 68. Specifically here he was taking Bucky Fuller’s progressive engineering concept Tensegrity and applying it to planned social systems (such as Synanon).

“Directors and others attending this Stew lecture on Tensesgrity learned that the square building blocks they used as children gave them a fundamental misconception about the nature of the universe and may account for man’s insecurity and alienation.”

…Chuck certainly had a tendency toward wild conjecture, but interesting nevertheless.

A ring of truth..

I had the good fortune of working with the poster Psychdoc, who posted the reply to the Marcia Angell article below, for several years. I was a substance abuse counselor at the time and acted as a co-therapist in encounter groups and family therapy sessions. He is one of the few psychologists that I have the utmost respect for. -BadRad

…From Psychdoc
This is a very well written article by Marcia Angell and I would like to comment on this article; but as a doctor practicing in mental health for the last 25 years, I would like to keep my moniker anonymous. These are my own comments and in no way represent ideas of the AMA or APA.

It is agreed that mental illness diagnoses and treatment is on the increase. There are a number of variables that may account for this. Is it because professionals are better trained to look for issues, the constant barrage in the media for medications, take a pill for this or that and you will get better, or take medication before you try to handle things on your own.

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Synanon Oral Histories

We found these Synanon Oral History Interviews of various important Synanon members organized by Jady Montgomery and the UCLA library to very useful:

An introductory note:
The collecting of these life-stories is a project of The Synanon Archive Trust. The conversations are part interview, part reflection, part witnessing, part truth telling. The goal of this project is to preserve a representation individual stories that make up the larger story of the Synanon community and organization. Our focus for beginning has been to hear from those who joined the organization in the early days. I wish to thank all these storytellers for their willingness to share their recollections and truth so that we all may listen, learn and reflect.
Jady Dederich Montgomery

Depression as a learning process

In an article submitted by Al Galves The Value of Depression at “Beyond Meds: alternative to psychiatry” by Giannakali, Dr. Galves address the value of depression.

The biggest problem with the conventional wisdom about mental illness is that it encourages people to ignore the meaning of the symptoms that are used to diagnose them. That is a problem because it deprives people of vital information that can help them live more the way they want to live.

The conventional wisdom about mental illness is that it is caused by genetic factors, chemical imbalances and brain abnormalities. If you believe that, you have no interest in exploring the meaning of the symptoms or listening to what they may have to tell you. Rather, you are encouraged to get rid of the symptoms as quickly as possible and pay no further attention to them. But what if those symptoms had important information for people, information they need in order to lead healthy, fulfilling lives?

Evolution of the Therapeutic Community

During our recent trip to California to research therapeutic communities, Ray and I had the pleasure of meeting with John Stallone in Petaluma, CA. John had several pamphlets from the historic Synanon community he let us photograph. Being fans of some of the group therapy techniques like “The Game” being used by the founder Chuck Dederich and the gang in the very early days of the group before their behavior became unstable*, we hope to post some of the Synanon material we find here. First is a short piece by two sociologists on the history of the therapeutic community. See the pdf here: The Evolution of the Therapeutic Community.pdf

*keep in mind there are thousands of versions of Synanon history, both positive and negative, and all are valid.

THIQ and The Disease Concept of Alcoholism

Kobe Kemple wrote an interesting article on THIQ at T.H.I.Q. — Biochemical Culprit:

“T.H.I.Q. was discovered in brains of alcoholics in  Houston, Texas by a scientist named Virginia Davis who was doing cancer research. For her study she needed fresh human brains and used bodies of homeless winos who had died during the night and were picked up by Houston police in the morning. She discovered in the brains of those chronic alcoholics a substance that is closely related to Heroin. This substance, known to scientists, is called Tetrahydrolsoqulnoline or THIQ. When a person shoots heroin into their body, some of it breaks down and turns into THIQ. The Alcoholics studied had not been using heroin so how did the THIQ get there? When the normal adult drinker takes in alcohol, it is very rapidly eliminated at the rate of about one drink per hour. The body first converts the alcohol into something called Acetaldehyde. This chemical is VERY TOXIC and if it were to build up inside us, we would get VIOLENTLY SICK AND COULD DIE.”