Treatment Abuse, Behavior Modification, Thought Reform > Daytop Village


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Paul St. John:
It really was a shitty place to be, because you had no allies.  Always there lingered, fear.

.. the fear of being fucked over.. the fear of being screwed.... Objectivity was irrelevent, so you had little defense....

The people of status, and the workers there, were the ones that you could trust the least, and yet they were suppose to be helping you.

How do you win in such a place?

When I really thought about the place, I found it hard to believe that it existed, and yet somehow, it not only did exist, but also, I was there, and I couldn t get out.

I would have to be a player... playing everyday... always a battle... every day...

I feel like that some times to this day.  Things start to remind of that place, and I get all thrown off balance.. I go into war mode.. I become defensive and paranoid, and I fucking hate it..

Such a short period of time, in an entire lifetime, and yet still that shit effects me... I think because it is just an experience so far removed from the norm.

Still those assholes go on doing their thing.. all self-righteous, as though they are the saviors of society. They are the criminals... They are the crooks.  They are the  ones who cause unnecessary harm to others, and still they go on.  Still they operate as the choose... Daytop and similar programs..

and still those who speak out against them are labeled as " Fornits-people" even though there are many other sites all over the internet.  Still we are liars, or cult-like.... all suffering from some massive delusion.. We are program flunkies who didn t use the programs to our advantage,  or we are people who want to blame our problems on the program.

I knew that what I was experiencing was wrong, and I knew that I would speak out some day, the whole time I was there. I think it's great that so many other people are doing the same.. I give Wayne Kernochan the utmost respect for writing his Elan-book.

There's no law that says that anyone has to speak out at all. I commend those who do.

It was almost Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy sort of categorizing the program did in terms of looking at us, responding to us, and discussing us with their peers. I recognize that this is barely even a rough draft but it was something I was thinking of. I would sometimes feel like I had aphasia when they (staff) would start talking.


DAYTOP did me great harm in the long run.

Sekto I found your posts to be very articulate, thanks. Your experiences at Daytop and AA are so excruciatingly familiar with many here. I am beginning to see signs of this thought reform attempt in my past experiences with Marathon House and my short relationship with AA/NA.  There is one sentence from below I quoted. I found it to be mesmerizing for me. I keep reading it over and over. Maybe a little OCD, now I am reciting it in my head. Here it is, "
That's what it comes down to, doesn't it? Learned helplessness. Exactly what I need to hear."  "Learned helplessness", that is exactly what I was taught and as Psy said I reinforced this believe every time I came back to the group or a set of thoughts that kept me in this prison of "I am useless without you". No wonder I have this aversion to groups, why I have had problems fitting in throughout my life. I am very timid.
My comments came from this post.
Re: DAYTOP Did Me Great Harm in the Long Run

Postby SEKTO ยป December 1st, 2008, 9:51 pm

--- Quote ---Interesting you include "some other group". If you're referring to what I think you are, i'd tend to agree. Institutionalized 12 steppery performs a forced conversion function as a front group for the 12 step religion as a whole. You might find this chapter of this book (link) by Charles Bufe interesting.
--- End quote ---

No, I was not specifically referring to Bill (though he and I used to be buddies; DAYTOP would take us to Bills' place once a week or so), but groups in general, all kinds, whether religious groups, military groups, self-help/recovery groups, whatever. They are all basically the same. I got used to groups and got to the point of believing that that was a good and normal and even superior way to go about my life.

In a sense, if you've seen one cult, you've seen 'em all.

I have been in a religious cult, visited and mingled with several different religious communities and various communes, (some cultic, some not), DAYTOP, AND the Army (which I consider to be cult too, but at least you get paid and get some benefits) all in an effort to re-create the phony sense of "community" that I experienced as a teenager in DAYTOP.

That's what it comes down to, doesn't it? Learned helplessness. Exactly what I need to hear.

--- Quote ---    Must have been easy when you believed you were powerless. In my cynical opinion this learned helplessness performs a "return to sender" function: programming a person to self destruct without the group. You can only function as a member. Further, you naturally try to help others you see as who you were before the cult (everybody, since history is revised). They turn you into a deployable agent of the cult... a missionary of sorts.
--- End quote ---

The Daytop Philosophy, recited like a prayer or mantra every morning before Morning Meeting, programmed us to be group-dependant, taught us groupthink right away.

Paul St. John:
I remember that in my private reflection time, I felt so goddam empty.  My life felt so unimportant and irrelevant.  So naturally, I should have done something about that... made a change... but I couldn t .. The terms of my life were defined by an outside party.  They owned me. There was nothing I could do about it.  I watched them break the wills of so many.. It was usually quick, with like a "SNAP!".  They were breaking mine slowly, and painfully.

When I reflected on it, it scared me, and it felt like dying, and this wasn t just a feeling- thing.  I had logic to back it.  They were, in fact, bringing me closer to death.  I was regressing.  I was sufferring loss while under their care.  I was no longer happy.  I had nothing to look forward to on the horizon.. no purpose...just more Daytop.  

They were "theives of the mind", as I percieved them, and I was in their den.  In my personal reflections, it would scare me, because I knew that there would be consequences to my life, for the time that I had spent there.

I think for me, I know what my biggest issue with Daytop was, when all was said and done.. It was my shame. I was ashamed of having been a part of it all, and that shame grew greater, and less reversible every day.  I was wrong to have felt that way.  I was being far too tough of a critic on myself, and also only compromising my own ability to defend myself against them.

.. and as I write this, an interesting thought pops into my head-

* In order for Daytop or something similar to get you to accept their ideas, they don't have to prove to you that they are right, or even a little bit right.
* They only have to convince you that you are wrong, because if they can do that, you will naturally default, to the nearest, most readily available idea system, which, is, of course, theirs.

I don t know if i ever really thought about it quite like that before.  That makes their battle a very easy one.

They don t need to win the battle.  They only need you to lose the battle.

Makes sense- the key message that I always picked up , behind almost every thing that they did is - " You are wrong.  You're ideas are wrong."

Every thing a person said or did, that had even a little bit of assertion within it was always met with some form of negation.

Surely, the counselors offered some kind of Daytopian Absolution. They had to understand the principles involved.  They were too good at it.

How can self-growth come from self-denial? It can't.


 It's not about growth.  It never was.  It's about creating an illusion.


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