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Messages - SEKTO

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496
Daytop Village / Re: DAYTOP Did Me Great Harm in the Long Run
« on: December 01, 2008, 11:07:38 PM »
Yep, that's pretty much it, pretty much what happened to me.  They had me convinced that I was a lot worse off than I really was before I went into their program, and then after I left it, within a couple years' time I turned into an actual monster pothead, me and all my Daytopian friends.

And then, I subsequently turned to one group after another in an effort to get well and stay well...I'd become convinced that I could not function as a healthy an autonomous human being, that the only way to survive was as part of some group.  Basically, I got to a point to where I had lost pretty much all sense of personal identity and defined myself in terms of whatever group I was visiting or aligned with at the time.  And I have been around a lot of them: JPUSA, the Twelve Tribes, a small group in Dallas you've probably never heard of, ISKCON...believe me, I have made the rounds of the fringe religious groups.  

Most of these communities I never really intended to join; I was simply "checking them out" from the point of view of a researcher.  I just simply enjoy researching cults.  It helps me to understand my own experience and I simply find it fascinating.

Sheez, this discussion is really helping me.  It'll take a while to process it all.  Thanks for your time and help here.

Have you ever heard anything about DAYTOP having ties to, or being funded "under the table" by, organized crime out of NYC?  When I was around DAYTOP back in the day, there were rumors floating around that kids coming back from Millbrook would tell of.

497
Daytop Village / Re: DAYTOP Did Me Great Harm in the Long Run
« on: December 01, 2008, 10:36:48 PM »
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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.

Can you elaborate as well on this point a little please?  "...naturally try to help others you see as who you were before the cult (everybody, since history is revised)."  I do not quite take your meaning here.

498
Daytop Village / Re: DAYTOP Did Me Great Harm in the Long Run
« on: December 01, 2008, 10:24:55 PM »
So, you were a part of CEDU?  I that the group you were part of?  If not, may I ask what group you were a part of?  Just cannot help but wonder.

Also, please expand on what you mean by The general tune is the same: Thought reform + origin + group power structure.

What do you mean exactly in using the word "origin"?

Elaborate please?

499
Daytop Village / Re: DAYTOP Did Me Great Harm in the Long Run
« on: December 01, 2008, 10:03:36 PM »
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Many programs on this site recruit from within. My guess is that they were grooming you for staff. Did Daytop recruit staff from within?

Bingo.  They most certainly did.  Most of the staff there were DAYTOP grads themselves.  There were some that were not grads, but the organization certainly did recruit potential new counselors from among the persons going through the program.  The director of the place even offered to fly me up to NYC to go through DAYTOP internship and counselor-training and the whole nine.  I went to college instead.
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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. It's a controversial viewpoint that some are very opposed to but personally I think it makes a lot of sense.

Hmmm, I'll study this out and will get back with you with my thoughts on it soon.  Thanks.

500
Daytop Village / Re: DAYTOP Did Me Great Harm in the Long Run
« on: December 01, 2008, 09:51:02 PM »
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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.
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.  

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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.

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

I am here because there is no refuge.
Finally, from myself.
Until I confront myself in the eyes
and hearts of others, I am running.
Until I suffer them to share my secrets,
I have no safety from them.
Afraid to be known, I can know
neither myself nor any other, I will be alone.
Where else but in our common ground,
can I find such a mirror?
Here, together, I can at last appear
clearly to myself not as the giant
of my dreams nor the dwarf of my fears,
but as a person, part of a whole,
with my share in its purpose.
In this ground, I can take root and grow,
Not alone anymore as in death,
But alive to myself and to others.

501
Daytop Village / Re: DAYTOP Did Me Great Harm in the Long Run
« on: December 01, 2008, 09:05:22 PM »
Two things about DAYTOP I remember quite well:

First, I'll tell of a Jewish lesbian "counselor" (DAYTOP grad from NYC and unqualified armchair psychologist) and self-described "diesel dyke" (that is not a homophobic comment from me, that's actually how she described herself to us) who we had there that I'll call "Marcia."  I used to dread going into the encounter groups that Marcia would run, as she was especially confrontational and vicious in her approach, to the point of being sadistic about it.  She'd encourage us to scream at and verbally abuse one another. She'd make fun of me relentlessly, telling me how phony and plastic and shallow that she thought I was.  She'd encourage the others to pitch in and tell me how weak I was too.  I remember when I made it to "coordinator" (the top of the DAYTOP chain of command) and she was teaching me how to conduct "haircuts" she'd tell me I that I was "too soft" with my counseling approach and encourage me to yell at people with the intent to shame and humiliate them.  She, in effect, was teaching me how to verbally abuse my peers.  She once humiliated me in front of the entire "DAYTOP family" in morning meeting by making me dance around in a silly fashion  while everybody laughed at me.  And all in the name of helping me to "overcome my issues."

The second thing that I remember really well was the periodic visits by The Monsignor, and how we'd all have to meet together and he'd pat us all on the head, one by one, like little kids or pets or something.  He'd never walk up and shake your hand like a grown-up, he'd pat you on the head like you were a cute four-year-old.   I always found that to be weird and inappropriate.

They'd verbally abuse and humiliate us, a bunch of teenagers, and teach us to do the same to one another.  Incredible.

If there are any good things I remember about DAYTOP they'd be: the fact that I made friends for life there; two of my best friends are DAYTOP grads and they're doing well, we used to party like mad but they are sober now with wives and kids and good jobs.  Also, at least in DAYTOP they taught me how to identify, get in touch with, and appropriately deal with my feelings.  It was genuinely therapeutic and beneficial in some respects.  So it wasn't all bad, just mostly bad, and the residual effects of all that verbal abuse and degradation and groupthink indoctrination remain with me and negatively impacts my psyche to this day.  It took me fifteen years or so to figure out that DAYTOP, the "drug treatment program" was a  front for an abusive cult group.  It blows my mind.  

Can I tell you anything about DAYTOP in those days?  Any questions or comments?

502
Daytop Village / Re: DAYTOP Did Me Great Harm in the Long Run
« on: December 01, 2008, 08:34:25 PM »
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Judging by the language you've used, I'm guessing you probably already know a lot of this. Does your therapist have experience with cults/cultic groups and understand how they work, of have you had to do most of the research on your own?

Sadly, your experience as you describe it is hardly unique. Indeed, the influence of similar cultic groups seems to be growing rather than shrinking.

Both.  I am a serious researcher of cults and new religious movements, and my therapists are two of the foremost experts in the area of abusive and controlling relationships in the US.  My therapists have a huge amount of expertise and experience with cult-trauma survivors.  More later.  I'd like to keep this chat going if it's OK with you.  I find it very cathartic.

503
Daytop Village / DAYTOP Did Me Great Harm in the Long Run
« on: December 01, 2008, 07:54:12 PM »
My name is B and I graduated from a DAYTOP outpatient facility (located in what was called the "Dresser building") in Dallas TX in 1993.  

Back when I was a senior in High School, my parents caught me smoking grass and tripping on acid and put me in DAYTOP on the advice of my guidance counselor.

Fifteen years later, I am just now starting to see that DAYTOP is nothing but an abusive cult disguised as a drug treatment program.

And it blows my mind to start to realize what happened to me there.

I am beginning to consider myself a victim (yes, a VICTIM) of the early-90s Troubled-Teen Industry hysteria.

The DAYTOP program in general is certainly a thought-reform environment, whether at the outpatient or residential level.  

In retrospect, knowing and understanding what I now know and understand about abusive groups, it was definitely very cult-like.

The way they broke down my boundaries, controlled my thoughts, emotions, and behavior, shamed and humiliated me before my peers and re-defined my personal identity amounts to psychological torture that was inflicted on me; in some groups/cults, they'll call the confession sessions "Hot Seats," but in DAYTOP, they are called "Encounter Groups" or "Marathon Groups," which were run by a bunch of thuggish fools with no training in psychology whatsoever.

It has taken me years to even understand what happened to me there, to even begin to recover from my experience in DAYTOP.  

That place was as traumatic as the eleven months that I later spent in Iraq in '05.

Their approach is very confrontational, very emotionally traumatizing to a kid:  "WE'LL SCREAM AT AND HUMILIATE YOU UNTIL YOUR WILL IS BROKEN AND YOU'LL WANT BE SOBER FOREVER!!!"

Their goal is to make you dependent on DAYTOP (or by extension, on groups in general) by reinforcing your identity as an addict and generally "broken" person.  

They'll make it so you are dependant on DAYTOP, or else some other group.

Later on in life, I spent time in a religious group/cult in an unconscious attempt to re-create the "therapeutic community"/groupthink environment to which I was accustomed in DAYTOP, and which I mistakenly began to see as a good and healthy way of living life.

After I got out of that place (it took me a year and a half to graduate) me and all of my Daytopian buddies all fell off the wagon together big-time.  I never partied so much or so hard in my life as I did with other Daytopians.

So I am a DAYTOP graduate, an ex-member of an abusive religious group (DAYTOP is abusive and cultic, but not so overtly religious to my recollection) and an Army veteran.  That's three groups.  

DAYTOP got me started in the unhealthy groupthink mentality.

I am a little angry with my parents for putting me in that place, but they didn't know.  We thought that it was a good thing at the time.

It all started with DAYTOP.  I can pinpoint it to them now.  I am starting to understand how profoundly detrimental an effect that place has on my life.  And it grieves me.

What are your thoughts, readers?  I am in intensive psychotherapy now for trauma and PTSD-related issues and am only just now beginning to come to terms with all of this.

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