Author Topic: Synanon and current-day rehabs.  (Read 7020 times)

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Offline try another castle

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Synanon and current-day rehabs.
« on: February 11, 2007, 05:03:04 AM »
Anyone been to George Farnsworth's site?

This is what it says on the front page:

Quote
NOTE: Synanon is no longer in operation. If you need help -- try these links: Narcotics Anonymous, Delancey Street, Walden House, Samaritan Village in Brooklyn, Amity Foundation or Phoenix House  all staffed or run by former Synanon residents.


 :o

Okay, I already know that Phoenix house is a huge sketch fest, but does anyone have info on these other places? Can anyone establish a connection?

My ex worked at Walden, and I'm gonna ask him about it. I doubt he knows anything, though. I remember some of the shit he used to write about the place, though. The main thing I remember is how they were mostly concerned with filling the beds, and that was his job, to fill the beds. Probably has a lot to do with retaining funding, since if you don't have full beds, the city will make cuts to your program. Anyway, he used to get a lot of shit if he didn't get someone he was doing "intake" with to actually enter into the program. There were several points where he thought he was going to lose his job because he wasn't making "quota".

I know that rehabs are a bunch of crap, but aside from the stepcraft connection, I had no idea that there was a possibility of a connection with a full-blown cult like Synanon.
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Offline try another castle

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Synanon and current-day rehabs.
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2007, 04:35:47 AM »
Here is my ex's response from today:

Quote
Synanon was constantly mentioned. I believe Walden House was founded by people who had gone trough Synanon. Funny you should mention Phoenix  House. I applied there but they didn't hire me. Sounds like it was  possibly a good thing.
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Offline try another castle

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Synanon and current-day rehabs.
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2007, 05:54:52 AM »
I was considering doing a cold call to Walden.


Frighteningly, it seems that a large proportion of these guys are still drinking the Kool-Aid. I can't get into George's site, because I need to have been a member of synanon.

For what it's worth, my ex is kind of naive. He finally pulled his head out of the ass of 12 step, thank god, and he's introducing RR to his clients. Hopefully he won't get fired, now that he's got some sense about him.

My friend and I used to say that he was the perfect type to get taken in by a cult. (Besides 12 step, that is.)
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Offline Anonymous

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what's RR
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2007, 10:06:09 AM »
WHat's RR?
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Offline try another castle

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Re: what's RR
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2007, 11:30:21 AM »
Quote from: ""Guest""
WHat's RR?


Rational Recovery.

www.rational.org

I'm kind of annoyed by the for-profit tone the place has taken. For profit is fine, within reason, but Jack is selling DVDs for hundreds of dollars. And now you have to pay membership to register. Didn't have that crap when I quit.

Worked for me, though.
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Offline Antigen

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Synanon and current-day rehabs.
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2007, 11:46:47 PM »
Castle, it has always been thus. So much of drug rehab lingo goes right back to Synanon it's silly. The word "empathetic" has actually made it into the dictionary by that course. I know a dude who's about my age and spent 17 years in a PA prison. They made him take rehab because he confessed to having smoked pot. WTH, gets ya outa the day room for a few hours, right? He and I can carry on a whole conversation w/ program hooks and buzz terms and completely lose everyone else in the room.

Yeah, it's rampant! In 69 or 70, Bobby DuPont as head of NIDA was tasked with finding The Remedy® for the expected wave of heroin addicted Vietnam vets. He toured Synanon and came back with the formal recommendation to replicate it across the at Federal, state, local and private expense. The Seed got over a million a year of that, and I only know that because it's spawn, Straight, fucked w/ a man who's right adept at that kind of research and he snapped out of it and started doing that research!  

Sooner or later, someone similarly motivated and talented will do the same chores wrt the CEDU line of Synanon programs. I seriously believe at this point that it'll come back to a psyops connection w/ x-ref to Jim Jones and the clams. But I'm no investigator, I'm just a mad clown gypsy, pickin and grinnin at the crossroads trying to pique the folks who will do that thing.
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Offline try another castle

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Synanon and current-day rehabs.
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2007, 12:43:57 AM »
Yeah, I'm not much of an investigator myself. I'm at a loss on what to do with my video.

A CEDU connection to Jim Jones? Hmm. Well, I can definitely see a possible connection between him and Synanon, since they were both in the same part of the country. And of course, CEDU is connected to that. (I as of yet still have to find a definitive answer on what Mel's role was in Synanon. I know he had one. Someone said he was what was known as a "square", which means nothing to me.)

As for the clams, I remember the first time I heard about scientology I thought "fuck, that sure sounds like CEDU."


They just re-played the South Park scientology episode last week. Too funny. And that show is normally hit or miss with me, but I think that one, and the one about 12 step (bloody mary) were brilliant.
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Offline anythinganyone

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Re: Synanon and current-day rehabs.
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2009, 03:02:24 PM »
Quote from: "Antigen"
Castle, it has always been thus. So much of drug rehab lingo goes right back to Synanon it's silly. The word "empathetic" has actually made it into the dictionary by that course. I know a dude who's about my age and spent 17 years in a PA prison. They made him take rehab because he confessed to having smoked pot. WTH, gets ya outa the day room for a few hours, right? He and I can carry on a whole conversation w/ program hooks and buzz terms and completely lose everyone else in the room.

Wait, are you stating the origin of the word "empathetic" is from Synanon?  I'm confused :(
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Offline try another castle

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Re: Synanon and current-day rehabs.
« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2009, 02:06:53 PM »
Quote from: "anythinganyone"
Quote from: "Antigen"
Castle, it has always been thus. So much of drug rehab lingo goes right back to Synanon it's silly. The word "empathetic" has actually made it into the dictionary by that course. I know a dude who's about my age and spent 17 years in a PA prison. They made him take rehab because he confessed to having smoked pot. WTH, gets ya outa the day room for a few hours, right? He and I can carry on a whole conversation w/ program hooks and buzz terms and completely lose everyone else in the room.

Wait, are you stating the origin of the word "empathetic" is from Synanon?  I'm confused :(

It's  not, actually. It was introduced in Oxford English in the late 1800s, if memory serves.

Still, I prefer to use empathic.
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Offline Inculcated

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Re: Synanon and current-day rehabs.
« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2009, 03:44:27 PM »
Quote from: "try another castle"
Anyone been to George Farnsworth's site?

This is what it says on the front page:

Quote
NOTE: Synanon is no longer in operation. If you need help -- try these links: Narcotics Anonymous, Delancey Street, Walden House, Samaritan Village in Brooklyn, Amity Foundation or Phoenix House  all staffed or run by former Synanon residents.

 :o

Okay, I already know that Phoenix house is a huge sketch fest, but does anyone have info on these other places? Can anyone establish a connection?

My ex worked at Walden, and I'm gonna ask him about it. I doubt he knows anything, though. I remember some of the shit he used to write about the place, though. The main thing I remember is how they were mostly concerned with filling the beds, and that was his job, to fill the beds. Probably has a lot to do with retaining funding, since if you don't have full beds, the city will make cuts to your program. Anyway, he used to get a lot of shit if he didn't get someone he was doing "intake" with to actually enter into the program. There were several points where he thought he was going to lose his job because he wasn't making "quota".

I know that rehabs are a bunch of crap, but aside from the stepcraft connection, I had no idea that there was a possibility of a connection with a full-blown cult like Synanon.
NarcAnon aside, all of the others have in common that they are remand options.
Each of the programs recommended above makes considerable coin off of government funding for the rehabilitation of convicts.

The article excerpted below shows some research flaws of the short term memory variety (It reads as its written, as a sell for Amity)  mentions Amity, Walden House and others along with Synanon and of course David Deitch.

Clean Break The battle for drug treatment in California prisons By Joe Domanick
In a state with an astounding prisoner-recidivism rate, repeat offenses are often linked to drugs. In 1997--when more than 17 percent of the state's former inmates were sent back to prison for committing new crimes, and a staggering 51 percent for violating parole--most of those returnees tested dirty for drugs. Several recent national studies, in fact, have pegged the percentage of prison inmates with a serious alcohol or substance-abuse problem at somewhere between 75 percent and 85 percent.

OVER THE PAST TWO DECADES, drug arrests and a $100 billion war on drugs have replaced America's War on Poverty, and California has helped lead the way. In 1980, about 7.5 percent of California's 23,000 inmates were incarcerated for drug offenses. Today, of California's 158,000 inmates, over 25 percent of the men and almost 35 percent of the women are imprisoned solely for drug offenses. And almost 60 percent of the prison population has been sentenced for nonviolent crimes frequently related to drugs. To put it another way, the number of California inmates imprisoned for assault with a deadly weapon or for other assaults and batteries at the start of 1996 was approximately 11,500. More than three times that many were incarcerated for drug offenses.
"Substance abuse is one of the major issues we deal with in the parole population," confirms Devon Johnson, manager of the Department of Corrections South Bay parole office. "Most of the people in state prison have substance abuse problems, and when they come back [to society], they still have them." In Santa Clara County, the revolving door is very real, he says.
(Here’s a memory lapse…)
'THERAPEUTIC communities," where addicts work to help each other reinvent themselves while quitting drugs, had been tried in prisons as early as 1961, when one was established at New York City's Terminal Island correctional facility. But the more modern roots of today's movement began in the late '70s, in New York, with a program called Stay N' Out. After that program spread to Delaware, its success began catching the attention of a small number of law-enforcement professionals as something that was working. Then, in 1987, Amity began an experimental program in a Tucson, Ariz., jail.

Schuettinger's prominent role in Amity reflects the program's genesis, when it and other therapeutic communities arose out of the philosophy of Alcoholics Anonymous. In the late 1950s, Charles Dederich Sr., a self-destructive alcoholic of gargantuan appetite, started his own A.A. group in his small beachfront apartment in Los Angeles. He was a garrulous former salesman for Gulf Oil, a man so full of himself, as the story goes, that he was thrown out of his local A.A. chapter because he wouldn't stop talking and give anyone else a chance. Soon, drug addicts joined the alcoholics at the meetings and stopped using drugs--something that was then unheard of. Until that time it was generally thought that alcoholics could clean up, but not junkies. The two federal hospitals dealing with addicts--at Lexington, Ky., and Fort Worth, Texas--had been dismally unsuccessful in trying to cure them.
Out of those meetings grew a community known as Synanon, established when Dederich and the others bought a little storefront and started living together. The group's fundamental philosophy was the same as A.A.'s--when addict A helps addict B, addict A, the helper, gets better. He gets his life together by helping others. Synanon differed from A.A., however, in that people were now living together, and in a confrontational atmosphere. The order of the day was to tell someone they were full of shit when you thought they were full of shit, and demand total honesty.
The original members of Synanon were a rough crew--chronic junkies, hookers, ex-cons--whose efforts succeeded, though the group itself eventually disintegrated into a dangerous and scandal-plagued bunch. From them, the concept of therapeutic communities grew into a movement during the rebellious counterculture of the '60s. An exploding rate of drug addiction had become a hallmark of the times, and the medical and psychiatric establishments--which had so utterly failed in the treatment of addiction and alcoholism over the preceding 40 years--continued their irrelevancy.

In that vacuum, a new therapeutic-community movement developed, using the early years of Synanon as a model. Many of its pioneers were recovering addicts, who insisted that the leaders emerge from within the community itself. The philosophy broadened beyond the precepts of A.A. and group confrontation, and took on elements that Dr. David Deitch* (himself an early member of Synanon, and now a clinical professor of psychiatry at UC-San Diego and a consultant to a newly established therapeutic community in the bloody state prison at Corcoran) describes as "humanistic and behavioral psychology, the Essenes and other early religious sects, the Methodists, Calvinists and Zen." The movement's broad goal was far more ambitious than mere freedom from substance abuse; it was personal transformation through the development of self-reliance within a supportive, humane community. This was to be achieved through personal and group encounters, seminars, psychodrama, community rituals, and written and oral exercises. Each member would progress individually, from one benchmark to another. Once healed, the ex-member was obliged to be part of a wider social transformation. Out of the congealing of all these aspects grew the now universally accepted drug-treatment methods used by such therapeutic communities as Daytop, Phoenix House, Walden House and the Amity Foundation.
Rod Mullen, now Amity's CEO, was once a Synanon student volunteer. A veteran of the free-speech and civil rights movements in Berkeley in the '60s, Mullen became deeply impressed with Synanon's racial harmony, the concrete changes it made in people's lives and its model of addicts aiding themselves by aiding other addicts.

EVERYONE WHO WORKS for Amity has been through the Amity program

ANOTHER HALLMARK of that "alternative culture" has been the program's racial harmony, strikingly at odds with the racially charged atmosphere of most prisons. The Amity community is about 40 percent black, 40 percent Chicano and 20 percent white. Making that diversity work took a lot of time and effort, according to David Deitch. "You can bet that when they started, every prisoner was watching for any hint of favoritism. If you're a counselor in this kind of program and you spend more time with black guys than others, that will be noted. Convicts have nothing but time to watch and calculate." (Deprogrammed was right this guy is everywhere)

Oh and *David Deitch is also the brother-in-law of this article's author. (lol)
http://www.metroactive.com/papers/metro ... -9923.html
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Offline Ursus

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Delancey House, Marvin's Corner
« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2009, 04:26:42 PM »
Delancey House in San Francisco was founded by John Maher, and was a direct descendant -- perhaps copy -- of Synanon. They didn't feel compelled to change much, though their guru may have been a bit saner than Chuckie D. I've read that they had something like Elan's boxing ring there, but not enough press to tell whether it was the same thing.

Right now there is a place trying to get off the ground in Florida (hoping to expand to Baltimore) called Marvin's Corner. Founder John Robert Schmidt (aka Jon Schmidt from some sources) had been a resident of Delancey Street for about 5 years, and is modeling his program after it and Synanon.

Marvin was allegedly also a Delancey Street resident, who waited for Schmidt every day as he got home from work. At some point Schmidt made a promise to Marvin that he would found a rehab just like Delancey Street. Marvin has since deceased, but Schmidt is keeping his promise.
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Offline Ursus

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Marvin's Corner
« Reply #11 on: August 20, 2009, 04:40:28 PM »
• Here is a "Miami-Dade Connected" news clip which aired May 14, 2007. Jon Schmidt and co-founder discuss Marvin's Corner: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EAXhVTS8eY0

• Here is a lengthy clip where Jon Schmidt talks at length about "the program":
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfKNWIpy02U
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Offline Ursus

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Break The Habit - join Marvin's Corner
« Reply #12 on: August 21, 2009, 10:10:32 AM »
MIAMI New Times News
Break the Habit

John Schmidt will save Danny. Come hell or a good high

By Francisco Alvarado
Published on July 03, 2007 at 2:06pm


Danny is an addict. "He first experimented with marijuana and nitrous oxide when he was thirteen," says his ex-girlfriend Jessie, a petite, curly-haired brunet with a tender voice. "He graduated from cocaine to crack in his late teens and hasn't stopped since."

Since 1999, Danny has been arrested six times and convicted thrice for felony cocaine possession. That doesn't count at least a dozen other felony and misdemeanor arrests and convictions.

Four months ago, Jessie relays, Danny and a hooker ran a scam in Overtown. "She would pick up johns, make them rent a motel room, and once inside, she would steal their money. While the guy was in the bathroom, she would run out of the room and get into a car Danny was driving."

They were bankrolling $300 to $700 a night. But then a mark chased the prostitute from the room with a hatchet. Danny tried to fend off the angry john. He escaped after his right knee and both forearms were horribly hacked.

Danny was taken to the emergency room at Mercy Hospital. He ignored doctor's orders to stay put, and within hours of being stitched together, he headed for Overtown to buy crack, Jessie says. "He'll call me at 5:45 a.m. to beg for money because he knows I get up early to get ready for work," says Jessie, a schoolteacher. "When he is jonesing, he gets physically violent."

Jessie has known Danny for more than two decades, since they were in middle school. They were a couple for about a year until their breakup this past January. "He's really got a great heart," she says. "It really tears me up to see him the way he is now."

So this past May 3, Jessie decided to cure Danny. Around 4:00 p.m. she climbed the cracked front steps of his father's run-down two-bedroom house near NW Third Street and Tenth Avenue, in a rough section of Little Havana. After his 64-year-old father admitted her, Jessie walked toward the rear, where Danny's room was located. The roof was caving in from rain damage.

Jessie didn't knock; she just opened the wooden door. Danny, a six-foot two-inch, gangly, dark-skinned 33-year-old with a goatee, was asleep on a twin bed. He wore dark cargo shorts and no shirt. His arms were covered in bandages.

She shook him by the shoulder. "Hey, I brought a friend over who wants to help you," she said.

"I'm not going to fucking talk to anybody," he replied. "Dude, just fucking go. Bye-bye."

She walked out. Waiting for her outside the bedroom door was John Schmidt, a 51-year-old drug interventionist with wispy strawberry blond hair and a mustache, dressed in a blue button-down shirt and navy slacks. "He's just letting himself die, and he's taking pieces of you too," he said.

Then they left.

But it wasn't over. Schmidt, a drug counselor with three felony busts, five marriages, and a mission to cure the lowliest addicts, was determined to transform Danny's life.

John Schmidt was born and raised in northeast Baltimore, where he was diagnosed with epilepsy at an early age. "The epilepsy haunted me," Schmidt says. "I was ashamed of the seizures. I felt like an outcast, like I didn't fit in with the normal kids in my neighborhood."

By age fifteen, he was injecting heroin. His first taste of the drug is still etched in his mind like a movie still. "I was sitting in the passenger seat of my friend Terry's brown four-door sedan," Schmidt says. "I had great veins, so I didn't need to wrap a belt around my arm to make them pop out. When I injected the heroin, I felt like the top of my head had just blown off."

A year later Schmidt and Terry Sakellos, then a twenty-year-old marijuana and heroin dealer, went into business. "We got high together several times, and eventually I began to front [Schmidt] drugs, and he would sell them to his friends and acquaintances," Sakellos recalls. "John did well and always paid me for the drugs I had provided him."

In 1973 Sakellos and Schmidt went down on unconnected drug charges. Sakellos was found guilty on federal drug conspiracy and sentenced to nine years in prison.

Schmidt was busted with 4997 hits of acid and speed in his house, Baltimore County court records show. He was sent to the Maryland Correctional Institution in Hagerstown. After leaving jail, he stayed sober for a few weeks, enrolled at the Community College of Baltimore, and landed a full-time job. But then he fell apart. "Pretty soon I was shooting heroin again and snorting a gram and a half of coke on a nightly basis," Schmidt says. "So much for cleaning up."

In 1974 Schmidt was popped for possession of one gram of heroin. He was convicted and sentenced to four years at a state correctional facility in Jessup, Maryland. A year and a half later, Schmidt went before the Maryland parole commission, which gave him the option of entering a drug rehabilitation program in exchange for his freedom.

So he headed for Delancey Street Foundation, a San Francisco-based drug rehab facility, which would shape his later work trying to reform stubborn addicts like Danny. There his head was shaved and he was introduced to a treatment therapy called "The Game." Schmidt would sit in the middle of a circle of Delancey Street members who would verbally assault him. "They called me a piece a shit and a fuckup," Schmidt recollects. "I mean they really broke you down."

In 1979 he left Delancey Street and returned to Baltimore. He moved to Miami a year later, living in relative anonymity while working sales jobs and staying sober.

One of those jobs was selling wholesale flowers for International Dateline Corp., a Clearwater-based flower importer. On August 22, 2000, Schmidt was arrested on five counts of grand theft. Peter Wertheim, IDC's owner, alleged Schmidt had stolen $13,497 by asking eleven clients to write out checks in his name.

Schmidt quickly admitted the crime, according to Miami-Dade Police Det. Robert Perez. In his report, Perez wrote that Schmidt said "he had deprived IDC of monies due to them. Mr. Schmidt advised he was having financial difficulty and could not provide for his family on his salary." Schmidt denies he confessed to Detective Perez.

On October 22, 2001, Schmidt pleaded no contest to the grand theft charges and was placed on probation for one year. He was ordered to pay Wertheim $18,200 in restitution. The probation was extended three times in as many years because he failed to repay Wertheim. In 2003 he owed $14,089. A year later, he was still in the hole for $12,860.

And Schmidt had other problems that would seem to make him an odd savior for drug addicts like Danny. First there's his marital history. According to court records, Schmidt has had at least five wives. In San Francisco he married Esther in 1979. They split a year later. On January 8, 1994, Schmidt and Maria Nelly Orrego became husband and wife in Miami. They were divorced before Christmas. On December 20 the same year, he tied the knot with Lilly Picardo Praslin. They stayed together until September 9, 2003, Schmidt's 48th birthday. Fourteen days later, he wed Elizabeth Pulido. That union lasted two years. On March 27, 2006, he married his current wife, Bertha. The couple has two young daughters. Schmidt is reluctant to share much about his failed marriages. "I was not mature," he says. "I made bad decisions."

In 2004 he was diagnosed with Crohn's disease, a rare illness of the small intestine that can be disabling. In an attempt to end his probation, Schmidt informed then-criminal court Judge Ivan Fernandez that his age and disease were preventing him from holding a steady full-time job so he could pay back what he owed. "No one wants a salesman who is going to the bathroom 15 to 30 times a day," Schmidt wrote in a July 26, 2004 letter to Fernandez. "And at the age of 48, your honor, I am not that much in demand anyway."

The judge lifted his probation. Schmidt claims he has since repaid most of the money to Wertheim, who didn't return three messages from New Times. "It was an embarrassing situation," Schmidt admits.

By the following year, Schmidt had rebounded, landing a job as a counselor at North Miami-based Holistic Addiction Treatment Center. There he began what would become his life mission: treating down-and-out addicts. He'd take late-night calls from desperate users and talk them through a morass he knew well. He'd also advocate for addicts in court. "Confronting and letting an addict know he or she is full of shit comes easy for me," he says. "I've found that they can relate to me and listen to me."

In January 2006, Schmidt resigned from Holistic to launch his own program, Marvin's Corner. He named it after his late friend and ex-drug addict Marvin Tovin, who died in 1984. "Marvin saved my life by taking me to Delancey Street," Schmidt says. "I promised him I would do the same for other people like me."

Since then, Schmidt has counseled more than two dozen addicts from Miami to Chicago. He specifically works with indigent drug users with criminal records. Not only has he performed drug interventions and other counseling services, but also he has found for needy clients free beds at long-term treatment facilities that normally charge tens of thousands of dollars. Schmidt charges a nonrefundable $2000 fee that he collects up front. "I won't do it without the money," he says. "This is my only source of financing, so there is not a huge amount of faith there."

Peter Gallagher, a 57-year-old recovering coke addict, says Schmidt taught him that accepting treatment was better than being locked up. In March last year, Gallagher was awaiting trial on a felony coke possession charge when he met Schmidt outside circuit court Judge Jeffrey Rosinek's courtroom. "He convinced me to take a plea and enter rehab," Gallagher says. "I have been clean for over a year thanks to him."

Danny proved a more difficult case for Schmidt.

Jessie was thirteen years old when she met Danny. In those days she was a spirited tomboy with an affinity for the Sex Pistols, Metallica, and the Circle Jerks. They attended middle school in Miami's Shenandoah neighborhood.

She would accompany Danny whenever he went skateboarding with his friends. One of their hangouts was Shenandoah Park, where Danny and his skate crew built a half-pipe. "Danny was a daredevil, a total maniac," Jessie recalls. "He'd do tricks that no one else would do ... like 360-degree spins."

Danny's promising skate career never took hold. He says, "Since the city made us tear down the half-pipe, and my dad was always putting me down for being a skate punk, I decided I'd rather steal cars and do drugs. For me, being clean means only smoking pot, popping Ecstasy, or doing shrooms."

For more than thirteen years, Danny has robbed people and sold drugs to support his habit. On July 16, 1993, he was arrested for grand theft auto. He was convicted and sentenced to one year probation. On March 30, 1994, he was busted on six counts of felony burglary and grand theft. Again he received one year of probation. He scored three convictions between 1998 and 2001 for felony coke possession.

On August 8, 2002, Danny was arrested on a strong-arm robbery felony. According to his criminal court file, he snatched a woman's purse on Flagler Street. A year later he was sentenced to two years in county jail. While incarcerated, Danny would make collect calls to Jessie, who was married at the time, but she wouldn't take them. "Until one day I got curious about what inmate was making collect calls to my house," she says. "When I picked up, Danny was on the other line. He told me everything. How he was on crack and how he kept getting into trouble."

When Danny was released, Jessie was the first person he visited. By then she had divorced. "We started hanging out every single day," she says. "Two weeks later we were together. Six months later he moved in with me."

Jessie, who had never tried hard drugs, would take Danny on drives through Overtown. "I'd go looking for crackheads," Danny says. "I wanted to remind myself of a place I did not want to be again. It was self-therapy."

He'd warn Jessie to stay away from cocaine. "Dude, coke is the white devil," he told her.

Soon Danny and a friend started an air-conditioning installation company. "He did the blueprints," Danny says. "I provided the labor. We made decent money."

When the partnership fizzled, Danny went to work for a construction demolition firm. "That lasted about six to eight months," he says. "I was even supervising work sites."

But Danny admits he was never entirely clean. He couldn't resist the urge to occasionally trip on mushrooms or roll on Ecstasy. It didn't help that Jessie sometimes used her after-school hours to experiment with him. "For me it was something I did once in blue moon," she says, adding that she got high with Danny less than five times. "Danny didn't know how to have a good time unless he was high," she says.

This past January, Jessie and Danny broke up. He moved back in with his father. Soon Danny was selling cocaine in his old neighborhood. "Dude, I was selling the best shit I had ever seen," he says. "So I started snorting some of it. It didn't take long for me to cook it up and smoke it."

A month later Danny sent Jessie a text message blaming her for his return to crack addiction. "I was shattered," she says. "I was bawling immediately over the sense of guilt."

On February 23, Danny's birthday, Jessie went to see him. He had lost more than 30 pounds. Then, after he was hacked up in early March, he went to her for money. Jessie estimates she gave him at least $1000 so he wouldn't steal from people. "There was emptiness in him," she says. "His eyes were zombielike. It was very distressing."

In late April she began scouring the Internet for treatment centers. "Most places wanted between $10,000 and $25,000," Jessie says. "Then I found Marvin's Corner. So I called up the number and that's when I first spoke to John Schmidt."

She hired Schmidt to find a treatment facility for Danny. He charged her $1000, half the amount of the nonrefundable retainer. She placed her faith in the ex-con reformed junkie to save her Danny. He had done it with many others.

Schmidt incorporated Marvin's Corner and set up his Website in January last year. One of his first clients was Mark Brown, a 39-year-old battling addictions to crack and alcohol. He had never held down a steady job and had been incarcerated at least five times on drug-related charges. Brown had just finished a 60-day stay at Holistic Treatment Center when he relapsed.

"I tried getting back into the program," Brown says during a recent telephone interview from his Sarasota home. "But they wouldn't take me. They would not even help me find a detox. John jumped right in."

Brown's 64-year-old mother, Mary, says Schmidt found her son a short-term rehabilitation program and continues to counsel him on a regular basis. "He set up the appointment and met us there," she says. "He was extremely instrumental in helping Mark."

She says her son has been sober ever since. "He is definitely on the mend," Mary insists.

Schmidt wants to make Marvin's Corner into a treatment center with at least 200 beds. He's taking cues from Delancey Street; clients will be subjected to therapeutic humiliation and military-style discipline. "I firmly believe you have to break addicts like me down to build them back up," Schmidt says.

And like Delancey Street, Schmidt explains, Marvin's Corner will be self-supported. Clients will work for the treatment facility's business enterprises, from janitorial services to telemarketing.

In January 2006 he hired former TV news reporter, now lobbyist, Ed O'Dell, to lobby county and municipal leaders for public money to buy a building. Schmidt says O'Dell was also supposed to land contracts for Marvin's Corner. He paid O'Dell $1500 per month for six months. "It almost made me go broke," Schmidt complains. "I worked a lot of nights and borrowed money from friends. Nothing happened."

"I talked to a lot of different people about the possibility of raising public money for Marvin's Corner," O'Dell said recently. But aside from introductory meetings with county Commissioner Dennis Moss and Homestead Mayor Roscoe Warren, not much materialized. "John has a solid idea," O'Dell added. "But we could never get off the ground for a variety of reasons."

Between June and November last year, Schmidt opened a small version of Marvin's Corner in a condominium at 1800 NW 24th Ave. "At one point I was packing ten people into a three-bedroom condo unit down the hall from the apartment where I lived," Schmidt attests. "We did it quietly for six months with the blessing of the owner, until he passed away and his son sold the building."

Every time he brought in a new client, he would shave the addict's head and hand him a broom. "I made them sweep everything," Schmidt says, "even the sun off the sidewalk." Among the people Schmidt helped was Mike, a recovering crack addict who was homeless when he went to Marvin's Corner. "For two years I slept anywhere I could in Overtown and Liberty City," he says. "John taught me discipline and self-respect."

Schmidt would wake Mike and the others at 6:00 a.m., feed them breakfast, conduct group counseling sessions for an hour, and then hand out chores. At night they would play "The Game" -- the system of therapeutic abuse Schmidt learned at Delancey Street.

Since establishing Marvin's Corner, Schmidt has earned the trust of some of Miami's leading drug addiction specialists. "When I first met John [this past August], I had reservations," says Jim Hall, chairman of Miami-Dade County's addiction services and a nationally known figure.

But he was intrigued by Schmidt's tale of recovery. Over the past year, Hall estimates, he and Schmidt have conducted 20 to 30 interventions together. "One of John's most powerful tools is his frank honesty," Hall says. "He realizes sharing his story is good for his credibility with other addicts."

Schmidt's approach is particularly beneficial for drug users with criminal records, Hall adds. "He gives a lot of hope to individuals who are quite hopeless," he says. "Where some programs are not confrontational, he comes from an old school of therapeutic sessions that believes you have to break down the person before fixing them. That is not what is typically seen today. But for some addicts, it is the only type of treatment they respond to."

This past May 21, Schmidt is sitting inside a Starbucks in Coral Gables. As usual he is wearing a light blue dress shirt, navy slacks, and dark loafers. He sips a tall iced coffee and reads the newspaper. He looks out the window when Jessie and Danny come strolling up the sidewalk. Jessie bursts out in a huge grin and waves at him. Danny, dressed in a T-shirt and jeans, shows no emotion.

They enter and sit down next to Schmidt. Danny doesn't seem interested in being there other than to appease Jessie. Over the next 45 minutes, Schmidt gauges Danny's sincerity about seeking help. Danny claims easy access to drugs in Miami is part of his problem: "I need to get out of here, as far away as possible."

Schmidt tells him there's a two-year program in San Francisco, but then the crack addict reveals he's afraid of airplanes. "I'm not flying," he says. "You get me on a bus or a train."

Schmidt shoots a disapproving look at Danny. "If you are that scared, we can sedate you for the entire flight," Schmidt offers.

Danny continues to balk. "I'll go wherever you want me to go, but as long as I don't have to get on a plane."

Then Schmidt offers Danny a place at Pompano Beach-based Spectrum Programs Inc. "I want you to give me one day sober," Schmidt says. "You give me that, call me tomorrow morning, and I will get you in."

Two days later Danny telephones Schmidt, apologizing for his tardiness. They agree to meet May 24 for a group session Schmidt has coordinated at a friend's place in Coral Gables.

But three hours before the meeting, Danny phones Schmidt. "Yeah, I'm not going to make it to Coral Gables. Can you meet halfway, closer to my crib?" Danny asks.

Schmidt refuses. "It's not fair to the people who are coming in for this session," he says.

"Listen, man, I'm not going down there," Danny complains. "I don't have any money, and I don't like riding the bus."

Schmidt doesn't budge. "You've had 48 hours to get clean and save up three bucks to ride the bus," Schmidt says. "I'm sure you spend at least $100 a day buying crack. Now I'm not going to go to your place in the hood. And I'm not going to ask my friends to go to you either. This is the second step. You have to make the commitment to get clean and come to me. I'm not going to you. It doesn't work that way."

Danny loses his temper. "Well fuck you then."

Schmidt: "Fuck you it is, Danny. You have to do this on your own. I'm not going to take you there." He hangs up.

On May 26, Miami Police arrest Danny on grand theft auto. According to the arrest report, he was driving a stolen car on Flagler Street and SW 44th Place. When he was pulled over, Danny explained to the officer he had borrowed the car from a friend.

Schmidt still has hope. On June 7, he secures a six-month to two-year stay at Spectrum for Danny if he agrees to stay in jail until his June 15 arraignment. Danny refuses. Three days later his father bonds him out for $500.

He has not been in contact with Schmidt since.

On June 15, prosecutors drop the charges. Outside the courtroom, Danny is with Jessie. He informs New Times he doesn't want anything to do with Schmidt. "All John had to do was give me a ticket into a program," he says. "That's it."

Asked why he didn't call Schmidt the day after they met May 21, Danny is blunt. "I didn't call him back because I was smoking crack."

Then Jessie reveals she is beginning to doubt Schmidt's sincerity. "I'll be happy when I see [Danny] in a program or at least I get half my money back," she says. "I think it would be unethical of John to take all of my money and Danny doesn't go into a program."

Schmidt is annoyed. "The problem is Danny's lack of cooperation," he says. "He can't go on a three-day crack binge and then call me to tell me he is ready. There has to be some measure of sobriety."

He is adamant that he'll place Danny in rehab once the crack-smoker demonstrates he wants to sober up. "He has to crash and burn on his own," Schmidt affirms. "But as long as Jessie keeps enabling him, I can't help him."

A week later Jessie is sipping a latt' in the caf' at Barnes & Noble in Coral Gables. She is still taking Danny's calls, and she is still waiting for Schmidt to place Danny into Spectrum. Since he left the pokey, Danny has been telling her he wants to start a new business putting up fences. "I'd buy him the tools, but I am not handing him any more money," she says, not realizing Danny would pawn the tools for cash. Despite her drama with Danny, she cannot explain why she keeps putting herself through so much grief. "I don't know why," she says. "I analyze it over and over. I feel like I am the only person he has."

Schmidt, on the other hand, has moved on to other drug addicts. Since meeting Danny, he has placed five people into Delancey Street, Ocala-based Phoenix House, Spectrum, and St. Luke's Recovery Addiction Center in Miami. And he still hasn't given up on finding a property to accommodate 100 to 200 resident addicts.

"There are a lot of people in Miami who can do what I do," Schmidt says. "But they don't have the experience with therapeutic communities like Delancey Street that I do. I don't want to be a mental health professional, and I don't want to be a certified addiction professional. It is not necessary. I am an ex-addict who knows addicts."


© 2009 Village Voice Media
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
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Offline try another castle

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Re: Synanon and current-day rehabs.
« Reply #13 on: August 21, 2009, 03:19:22 PM »
Quote
But it wasn't over. Schmidt, a drug counselor with three felony busts, five marriages, and a mission to cure the lowliest addicts, was determined to transform Danny's life.

Sure, that's exactly the type of person I want to transform my life: a loser ex-junkie who is filled with self-importance because he has no real life skills at anything, since he wasted all of those years getting wasted.

Should have fucking wrapped that belt around his neck instead of his arm.

Otherwise: tl;dr

Not sure why journalists are so hell bent on telling a story in several pages that could have been revealed in about two paragraphs. What journalism school do these people go to? Should have been a novelist.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »

Offline Ursus

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Welcome: Marvin in Miami
« Reply #14 on: August 21, 2009, 05:35:02 PM »
Quote from: "try another castle"
Anyone been to George Farnsworth's site?

This is what it says on the front page:

Quote
NOTE: Synanon is no longer in operation. If you need help -- try these links: Narcotics Anonymous, Delancey Street, Walden House, Samaritan Village in Brooklyn, Amity Foundation or Phoenix House  all staffed or run by former Synanon residents.
NEWSFLASH: That has now been updated. It currently reads:

Quote
NOTE: Synanon is no longer in operation. If you need help -- try these links: Narcotics Anonymous, Delancey Street, Walden House, Samaritan Village in Brooklyn, Amity Foundation, Marvins Corner  in Miami or Phoenix House  all staffed or run by former Synanon residents.

Note the addition of Marvin's Corner to the list of Synanon alternatives. Their website: http://www.marvinscornertherapeuticcommunity.org/

    In fine print at the bottom of the page one discovers that
George Farnsworth is the Webmaster of this site. It is therefore perhaps not surprising that Farnsworth maintains a mirror of it as well:
http://www.gfarnsworth.com/corner/index.html[/list]
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
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