Author Topic: Where are the Synanon Ex-Members?  (Read 18657 times)

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Offline Antigen

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Where are the Synanon Ex-Members?
« Reply #15 on: February 12, 2007, 11:58:18 PM »
Yeah, the Elan site is like that. The just go about effecting the bum's rush a little differently. Ok, very differently! But it's about the same game at the root of it.

There's another good book, the Tunnel Back, that I just passed along. Can't remember too much of the content as it's been years since I read it, but it did give me some affirmation about the commonalities I thought I might be just imagining.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
"Don\'t let the past remind us of what we are not now."
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Offline Oz girl

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Where are the Synanon Ex-Members?
« Reply #16 on: February 13, 2007, 12:53:17 AM »
What books have been written on Synanon
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
n case you\'re worried about what\'s going to become of the younger generation, it\'s going to grow up and start worrying about the younger generation.-Roger Allen

Offline Antigen

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Where are the Synanon Ex-Members?
« Reply #17 on: February 16, 2007, 02:01:19 AM »
Book? Magazine? DVD?

Amazon Synanon links
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
"Don\'t let the past remind us of what we are not now."
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Offline Ursus

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Where are the Synanon Ex-Members?
« Reply #18 on: April 23, 2007, 04:28:55 AM »
Oh, my goodness!

From the Synanon website, History section, 1963:
# San Diego house opens
# IRS audit upholds tax exempt status
# First dissipation - hosted by Chuck & Betty in San Diego
# Milt Cooper donates hot stamping machinge (start of ADGAP).
# Betty and CED marry

And here is what I found, when I googled "Adgap":

http://www.adgap.com/particulars/history.html

The gift of a rickety pencil hot-stamping machine sparked the birth of AdGap in 1964.

We got our start in 1958 selling imprinted pencils to small business in order to support the works of a nonprofit community. From these unlikely roots, we evolved into a leading provider of integrated marketing solutions to Fortune 100 firms.

In 2002, we merged with Newton Manufacturing Company, one of the largest, oldest, and most respected promotional products distributors in the Nation. This has enabled AdGap to serve it's clients with even more resources.

Located in central Iowa, Newton Manufacturing Company was established in 1909 as a manufacturer of promotional products. We employ over 150 people who provide innovative marketing support, state-of-the-art technologies and premier service programs for nearly 800 sales representatives located in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Newton Manufacturing Company is an employee-owned organization where each employee-owner has a vested interest in building our success by achieving your goals. www.newtonmfg.com

AdGap's principal offices are in the San Diego, California area.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
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Offline Antigen

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`Scuse my madness
« Reply #19 on: August 30, 2007, 03:18:29 PM »
there's method to it, though. I was looking around for a place to bury a copy of this where it won't be very deeply buried, if ya know what I mean. It's just the best telling of such a common story that I don't want it to get lost.

Anyway, I came across this question and thought Anne's condensed life story offers one answer to the op's question. Where are they now? Taking over the world 10 - 50 thousand families at a time.

Quote from: ""Anne Bonney""

Thanks for the kind words, it's a little embarrassing to talk about my pain to someone who's lost a child.  I cannot fathom that.

Yes, I was forced into Straight in the early 80's.  They told me that if I signed myself in (this was after an 6 hour 'intake' in a small room surrounded by and being berated, shamed and belittled by other kids in program and staffers) I would only have to stay for a 2 week evaluation, but if I didn't my parents would have me court ordered for 2 years (a lie, they couldn't).  I ended up there 2 years.  The first 8 months were spent on "1st phase", shuffling from 'host home' to host home because I had to earn the "privilege" of returning to my home and my parents.  I made it up to 2nd phase and was set back to 1st phase shortly after for some insignificant rule infraction, real or manifested by them.  I eventually made it up to 4th phase and someone decided I wasn't "shining" anymore, so therefor I must be dishonest and hiding something.  I wasn't and said so.  I was tired.  I got virtually no sleep day after day after day.  Well, that means I'm in denial so the whole group confronted me for a few hours, spitting in my face, calling me a slut, loser, whore, bitch, cunt and whatever else they could hurl in my direction.  They started me over and that means started over.  I eventually began to 'progress' again and just did whatever I had to to get out.

After I got out it, I was required to go to 'aftercare'.  That lasted for about 2 months, and I did something wrong (again, some minor infraction of meaningless rules) and was 'terminated' from the 7th Step Society (the aftercare group).  No one was allowed to speak to me from then on.  Taht would have been great, but I started dating another 'termination', got pregnant (within 4 months of 'graduating').  I was pressured to either have an abortion or get married.  Pressure meaning that Dad followed Straight's advice adn pulled the 'tough love' crap.  I got married, had a baby, had another and decided to get a divorce.  I ddin't like being slapped around by a cokehead.  But....I was (((GASP))) drinking and smoking the occasional joint.  My dad and my ex's parents hired lawyers (Dad got one on the board of Straight) and took my kids.  Remember, I was trying to get out of an abusive situation, clear my head up, get my life together and when I asked for help I was given the 'tough love' speech.  The grandparents couldn't decide who would make the better temp parents, so they split up my girls.

I got them back 3 long years later (it was really difficult being on my own w/ no resources being up against my "dx" from Straight and THEIR lawyers), the grandparents continued to occasionally either take the kids again for some small infraction (like drinking) or threaten to do so.  during this time my ex husband had gotten a DUI manslaughter charge, went to prison, got out and joined AA.  He, off and on when he wasn't coked out, would clean himself up, go to AA, become the golden boy in the judges eyes (for the simple fact that he was in AA, even though eh was in and out and constantly 'relapsing').  I had a therapist tell me once that I lived in a constant and acute state of fear for almost 20 years.  It wasn't until my kids were old enough taht the grandparents and my ex lost power that I really began to heal.


Whew.  Sorry if that was long and repetitive for those who already know what happened to me.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
"Don\'t let the past remind us of what we are not now."
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Offline Anonymous

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Synanon survivor
« Reply #20 on: September 19, 2007, 01:02:37 PM »
I am a Synanon survivor. I was inducted in late 1976 at the age of 14. I was taken there by my mother. I had been getting into minor trouble, nothing serious and ditching school frequently. She caught me smoking weed one day and freaked. Her friend, who was from Santa Monica, had heard that Synanon was a fantastic and successful organization.

          The interview was brutal, with a half dozen or so people insulting and threatening me. They told me that right then I was a dope fiend and there was only one salvation-stay there for six months. They told me that if I ran away my mom would have me put into juvy. They proceeded to shave my head and made plans to ship me north to the Tomales Bay area. I was to enter what was called the "punk squad". I stayed there for several months.

           The schedule was grueling. Up at 5 am to run five miles. Then we ate breakfast-usually a dry unsweetened whole grain mix. Then it was off to work. I usually had landscaping duty, which meant clearing brush at the bay facility, some 15 miles from where I lived. I worked until it was too dark to see. Then it was 20 minutes of fast paced step aerobics and then dinner. We often had to go to a game following dinner, which is an excellent recipe for a belly ache. I did not see a day of school while I was there, and neither did any of the other "punks". NOT ONE DAY.  I have read some posts about Synanon kids going to school and was intrigued. Some of the kids from the school were occasionally sent to the "punk squad" for disciplinary reasons. These kids were usually more screwed up than the kids that came straight from the streets.
 
           Friendships that formed between us dissolved quickly due to the "cop-out" games. They would wake us in the middle of the night, put us in the usual game circle, and tell us that we to confess our sins and and tell the group the sins that you know others had committed. These games typically lasted  36 to 72 or so hours, during which time we were not permitted to eat or sleep. This was pretty effective at breaking the will of most people there. I was not easy to break and led them to believe that I had bought into their scheme. I had committed some punishable offenses there, in fact many. During my first "cop-out" game, which took place about a month after I had arrived, my friend and confidante ratted me out for smoking. We could not get any cigarettes, so we smoked the dried tops of dock plants. Dock is harmless and does not get you high. We both had to wear a large sandwich sign for a week that read "I am so stupid I smoked weeds". I never trusted anyone there after that. During the following "cop-out" games I would keep my secrets to myself and invent small infractions that I knew would not get me into much trouble just to appease my tormentors.

             I personally was never beaten at Synanon, but I had witnessed many beatings. Heaven help you if you were caught trying to escape. At about two months into my stay I saw a 14 YEAR OLD GIRL savagely beaten by adults. Two grown men took turns punching her in the face and gut. One of my friends was mercilessly beaten for 15 minutes for attempting suicide. These beatings were always public and the recipients were often stripped nude before the beating. We were always forced to witness these. We were always terrified but if it showed we were punished. Smaller scale violence was an everyday occurrance with us.

           I was transferred to Badger, California. This is where most of the real trouble started. There were two facilities there. On one of those facilities the founder, Chuck Deterich, lived. I lived at the other. I was rewarded for being such a good boy. I learned quickly how to disguise my true feelings. At the six month mark I was looking forward to going home and getting the hell out of there. They informed me that my treatment was not complete and they convinced my mother to keep me there another 6 months. I cried in secret for a couple of weeks. I figured that if I could somehow contact my mom and enlighten her as to what really goes on here I had a chance of getting out. I stole a stamp and sneaked a letter out. My mom told them about it. From that point on they pretty much knew how I felt about that place and those people. There were some stories in the LA times about child abuse. I went home nearly exactly a year after I went in.

              After having read some of the books here that claim that these "punks" were dealt with appropriately, I started thinking that maybe the main community was somehow sheilded from these crimes against children. We had games with the some of the elders and voiced our fear and disgust. Many were just as brutal as the sadistic bastards that were in charge of us. Most of those people in charge of us should have had criminal charges pressed against them. I specifically remember a man named Chauncey Davis. He forced one of the boys to give him oral sex and told him he would kill him if he said anything. This all came out when he split and was no longer a threat to the boy. The police were never contacted, of course, and that pervert walked scot free.

            I have read some accounts by former members that tell tales of great happiness and togetherness. I knew some of these people and I believe that they are telling the truth. It was very different for the "punks" and I'm pretty sure that most of the addicts that were sentenced there at that time had a very bad experience. I could go on for many more paragraphs about the horrors I experienced there, but I won't right now.                
         
              I am doing well these days. I have a  degree in environmental science and am gainfully employed. By the way, I still smoke weed. I never quit except for my stint at Synanon.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »

Offline Anne Bonney

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Where are the Synanon Ex-Members?
« Reply #21 on: September 19, 2007, 01:48:34 PM »
Wow, thanks for posting that.  A lot of us that were in descendant programs of Synanon have been aching for someone to post about some of the inner workings.  It all sounds so familiar.  Straight took its 'raps' and 'confrontations' directly from "The Game".  The 'therapeutic community' approach was borne there and has trickled down through to the mainstream.

Sad.  So sad.  So many lost souls.




I'll be vaping tonight in honor of victims of all programs.

 :smokin:  ::bandit::
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
traight, St. Pete, early 80s
AA is a cult http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-cult.html

The more boring a child is, the more the parents, when showing off the child, receive adulation for being good parents-- because they have a tame child-creature in their house.  ~~  Frank Zappa

Offline try another castle

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Where are the Synanon Ex-Members?
« Reply #22 on: October 05, 2007, 01:48:31 AM »
I have no idea how the fuck I missed this post, (I think it was close to finals for me in school) but thank you so much for writing about this. Synanon is still a bit of a mystery to some of us, because survivor testimony is so rare to come across.

Jesus, what hell. I'm glad to know you transcended all of that bullshit.
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Offline knightshot

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synanon member as a child
« Reply #23 on: December 11, 2007, 10:10:12 AM »
I am the moderator of a synanon kids list on yahoo that has been around since 2001. We invite those who lived in Synanon under the age of 18 for any reason i.e. they came in for drug and alcohol reasons, court ordered, or like me, they came in because their parents were looking for a communal life style and  :) got waylaid into Synanon and in the process often ruined the children's lives in the process. Som children lived there into adult hood or until the lights were shut out as we jokingly refer to the people that literally left only when the kitchen closed its doors and the electricity was turned off to the Badger facility where many of them resided to the end.

Many of the children committed suicide in later life. Some died early of cancer and heart attacks in their 40s; at ages much younger than they should have. Others became involved with drugs and are still facing their drug nightmares or died or drug overdoses. Others are in jail. Many many others are fine upstanding citizens and you would never suspect they were a former Synanon member.
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Offline Anonymous

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Re: Where are the Synanon Ex-Members?
« Reply #24 on: February 27, 2009, 06:17:30 PM »
I heard stories about Synanon being the most hardcore rehab of them all. From what I understand they shaved all women's and mens heads. They made you scrab walls in some courtyard or something for endless hours while someone was talking about their feelings over a PA. I never heard of anyone going out surfing there. The accounts given to me more described another Auschwitz.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »

Offline DannyB II

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Re: I was there
« Reply #25 on: September 18, 2010, 10:10:49 PM »
Quote from: "jeremiahleahy"
At sixteen years of age I was closer to death  than  life . For  reasons  that  have  substance but which  will  for  purposes  of  this  communication enain private, I  had  quickly progressed  in  an  addictive  abuse of  drugs to fully  qualify  as  a candidate  for  
what  turned  out  to  be  the  life  saving  experience pf  a  six  year   stay in  Synanon.

It  was  on  April 1, 1968 when I entered  Synanon . I  was  sixteen  years  od  and  one  of  a  small  group  of  teenagers that  had  managed  to  fuck  up  their  lives  enough  to  belong  in  this  hard  core  drug  treatment program .

When I  arrived Synanon was  a  Two  to Three  year program  from  which  residents graduated . The recidivism rate of these "graduates"was  high. So  high in  fact  that in  1969 Charles  Dederich, the  Founder of Synanon  declared  that  Synanon  was   no  longer  a  two  to  three  year  program but, rather  was  a  lifestyle  that  wasa    lifelong  for  anyone  that  wanted  to  enjoy  it;s  benefits ,  Thus  ,  an  addict  that entered  Synanon and  then  left  would  fall  into   a  status  of  persona non  gratis  and  would  be  subject  to  a series  of  humiliating  experiences  to  regain a  degree  of  acceptability. These  "splitees" never  really  regained  the  status  of   a  kind  of  citizenship  which  other  residents  enjoyed ..

For me , I  spent  the  first  year  or  so  of  my  stay  trying  to adapt  to  this  very  strange  way  of  life  and  attempting  to  understand  where ,  if  at  all, I  fit  in .  

That  first  year  was  difficult , terrifying  and  at  the  same  time
a boundless  amount  of  good  times and   discovery . I  spent  a  large  part  of  my  tine  in  the  water  of  the  Pacific Ocean  at Santa  Monica  California  surfing .  The  physical  environment  was  centered  at  a  Monolithic  beach  club  called  the  Club  Del  Mar  (before  Synanon  took  over) It  was  a  grand  old  hotel /club  complete  with  Ballroom  ,  several lounge areas   and  a  large living room  Their  was  an  indoor  olympic  sized  pool  and  a  complete  health  club

My  job (everyone  had  a job ) was  to  teach  the  children  of  the  older  residents  to  surf  .

I  was  ,  for  the  first  time  in  my  life ,  in  the  presence  of  extremely  charismatic people  who  had   risen  in  this quirky  place  to  positions  of  leadership .  One  such  figure  I  came  to  respects  and  admire  was  Jack Hurst. Jack  was  a  natural  born  leader .  He  was  smart , egocentric , and  xenophobic . Once  he  believed  in something  it  was  difficult  to  sway  him . He  was   and  remains  one  of  the  most  decent  men  I  have  ever  known .He is   gone  now  having  died  several  years  ago  but  I  will  always  remember  him  with  respect ,  He  was  a key figure  in  turning  my  Synanon  Experience  into  a  positive  thing .  Many  of  the  young  men  that  were  in  Synanon  at  the  time  I  was  admired  Jack .  So  much  so  that  we  would  imitate  his  mannerisms  in  terms  of  speech, dress, body language and posture . Odd,  but  we  did .

In  my  first  year  I  was  what  was  called  a  rage  rat .  I  and  many  just  like  me  were  full  of  generalized  rage .  We  cut  it  loose  in  the  Synanon  game ,.  So  much  has  been  written  about  the  game  that  I  will  defer  to  these  other  reports   rather  than  trying  to re-report  about  it . Suffice  to  say  that  the  game  sharpened  ones  communication  skills  ,  ability  to  think  fast  on  your  feet  and  your  ability  to  take  punishing  attacks  without  falling apart .  It  was  an  uncensored  conversation  that  was  frightening  and  fun , angry  and  tender , emotive  and  intellectual .

After  the  first  year  I  had  come  to  feel  generally  committed  to  Synanon's  view  of  the  world  . I  stayed  5  more  years  ,  got  married  and  eventually  came  to  work  as  a  kind  of  valet  on  Charles  Dederich's  personal  staff ,  I left  in  1974 to  pursue  a  college  education  and ,  to  eventually  attend  and  graduate  law  school

 I  did  these  things  because  Synanon  gave  me a  safe  environment  to  mature  in..  

After  I  left ,  Synanon  shifted  into  the  more  radical  behavior  that  got  it  in  trouble . Several  years after leaving  I  was  invited  back  to  visit . I  had  become an  Attorney  and  thus   a  kind  of  local  boy  makes  good . When  I  went back  the  adventure  was  laced  with  fond  nostalgia ,  but  also  was  rich  with  the  realization  that  you  cant  go  home  again .  I  had  grown  beyond  the  limitations  of  the  Synanon  Lifestyle .  I  will  never . however .  deny  the  incalculably able  help  I  received  from  having  lived   that  lifestyle  for  six  very  important  years .

I, actually understand fully. Not hard to trade one family for another, especially if the first was painful.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
Stand and fight, till there is no more.

Offline Shadyacres

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Re: Where are the Synanon Ex-Members?
« Reply #26 on: September 20, 2010, 12:01:23 PM »
I graduated from what I think was the first Synanon offshoot, in '95, it was called RAP and opened in D.C. in 1970. (  http://www.rapinc.org/index.html  )  Around 1980 they started an "Afro-centric" curriculum since most of the clients by that time were African American.  In '95 I was the only white guy there, I was a D.C. resident and that is where the court sent me.  When I graduated, they gave me an African name, can't remember it now.  One of my counselors was from Synanon, one of the funniest guys I ever met, Richard Haynesworth.  Unfortunately he was run down and killed on his motorcycle on his way home after leading a marathon rap, by two inebriated teenagers in a drag race in stolen cars.  Irony.
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Offline Shadyacres

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Re: Where are the Synanon Ex-Members?
« Reply #27 on: September 20, 2010, 12:52:26 PM »
Also, Daytop Village opened in '66 and Phoenix House in '67, both in NY, but I'm not sure if any of their original staff was from Synanon.  Ron Clark (founder of RAP) may have been in Synanon, can't remember.  Second Genesis, started in 1970 in Alexandria VA, might also be a logical place to look for ex-Synanon people, who would all be pretty old now in any case..
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Offline Ursus

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Re: Where are the Synanon Ex-Members?
« Reply #28 on: September 20, 2010, 01:07:48 PM »
Quote from: "Shadyacres"
I graduated from what I think was the first Synanon offshoot, in '95, it was called RAP and opened in D.C. in 1970. (  http://www.rapinc.org/index.html  )  Around 1980 they started an "Afro-centric" curriculum since most of the clients by that time were African American.  In '95 I was the only white guy there, I was a D.C. resident and that is where the court sent me.  When I graduated, they gave me an African name, can't remember it now.  One of my counselors was from Synanon, one of the funniest guys I ever met, Richard Haynesworth.  Unfortunately he was run down and killed on his motorcycle on his way home after leading a marathon rap, by two inebriated teenagers in a drag race in stolen cars.  Irony.
Shadyacres, I think RAP, Inc. deserves its own thread and I have started one here.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
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