There’s a reason the History Channel has produced hundreds of documentaries about Hitler but only a few about Dwight D. Eisenhower. Bad guys (and gals) are eternally fascinating. Behind the Bastards dives in past the Cliffs Notes of the worst humans in history and exposes the bizarre realities of their lives. Listeners will learn about the young adult novels that helped Hitler form his monstrous ideology, the founder of Blackwater’s insane quest to build his own Air Force, the bizarre lives of the sons and daughters of dictators and Saddam Hussein’s side career as a trashy romance novelist.
Tue, 22 Jun 2021 10:00
Robert is joined by Paul F. Tompkins to discuss Synanon.
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Hey, Robert here. It's been like two months since I had LASIK and I'm still seeing 2020. All I had to do was go in for a consultation, then go in for a maybe 10 minute procedure and then my eyes have been great ever since. You know, I healed up wonderfully. It was very simple, couldn't have been a better experience. So if you want to explore LASIK plus I can't recommend it enough. They have over 20 years experience in the industry and they performed more than two million treatments right now if you want to try getting LASIK plus you can get $1000 off of your surgery when you're treated in September, that's $500. Of per eye, just visitmylasikoffer.com to schedule your free consultation. Hello, I'm Erica Kelly from the podcast Southern Fried true crime. And if you want to go from podcast fan to podcast host, do what I did and check out spreaker from iheart. I was working in accounting and hating it. Then after just 18 months of podcasting with Spreaker, I was able to quit my day job. Follow your podcasting dreams. Let's breaker handle the hosting, creation, distribution, and monetization of your podcast. Go to spreaker.com. That's spreaker.com. Hey there, it's Ebony Monet, your co-host for the San Diego Zoo's Amazing Wildlife podcast. In this special episode, we're speaking with Doctor Jane Goodall about the fascinating journey that led to her social discoveries on chimpanzees SO4-O months, the chimps ran away from me. I mean, they take one look at this peculiar white ape and disappear into the vegetation. Bing wildlife on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts. In Media res opening to a podcast. Uh, like we were having a fun conversation that we just let you in on halfway through good times. Ah, I'm Robert Evans. This is behind the ********. Easily our best opening yet. My guest again. As is always my guest when I actually nail an introduction. Mr Paul F Tompkins. Paul. Hello everyone. Did you enjoy that absolutely. Real conversation that we let let the audience in on halfway through? I haven't had a conversation like that in such a long time. And it's it's refreshing. It reminds me of my humanity again. So thank you. Yeah. You you really bared your soul there. And and yeah, you made it easy. I feel honored. I feel honored, Paul. You are. We had when we had you on last time for our Rush Limbaugh episodes, somebody in the subreddit was like, I didn't initially recognize his name and then I looked him up. And realized that he had entirely shaped my generation's ideas on comedy. Which is? I feel accurate to you because you've you've you've been in so many like so many like missed your show. You did a a bit for The Daily Show back in the day. You did some comedy Bang Bang stuff you were on did the Dead authors podcast, Bojack Horseman. Obviously also you just just just a just a an incredibly accomplished comedian. So thank you for dining to be on our show again. All the start us off. I got a question for you. Hmm. How do you feel about drugs and alcohol? Hmm. I think that in, uh, when used responsibly, that ain't nothing but a good time. Sure. And you know, obviously sometimes people have problems. Sure. Or alcohol and. And what would you say about the idea? Like obviously, very reasonable for a group of people, you know, especially if they feel like the medical system may have let them down to come together and work together as like a Community to try to deal with their struggles with drugs and alcohol. Perfectly reasonable, right? Absolutely. I know many people who are in such programs and it works very well for them. It usually does. Now, Paul, I have a question for you that relates directly to the subject of the article. If a group of people were to do that, how large of Marine Corps do you think they would need to punish their enemies? Ooh, hadn't thought about this before, I my my instinct is to say. They wouldn't need one at all. They wouldn't need one at all. You think most addiction recovery programs get by without a Marine Corps? That's my I mean, look, I don't know about all of them, but to my knowledge, they seem to be doing just fine without them, as far as I know. Yeah, yeah. I would say that's accurate and obviously we're very pro people getting recovery here. We're talking however today about an addiction rehab program that when is off the rails as it is possible for one of those things to be. This is like the 20 year journey of a guy who wanted to help people get off of heroin and eventually built his own army and attempted to take over large chunks of California. So. Have you ever heard of Synanon? SYNANON? That name sounds familiar to me, but I don't know why. It is not the first addiction recovery program, but the first, probably the first large organized narcotics recovery program, right? And for everything kind of that happens in this episode to make sense, we're going to travel back in time a little bit to talk about kind of the history of human understanding of addiction and addiction recovery. Obviously, people have been doing drugs longer than we've been doing anything else, including like even being friends with dogs, like we've been getting high forever. It's just something we've we were doing it. You know, back before we were people, people like getting wasted. Sure. Yeah. And primitive science meant that it was pretty hard back in the day to have the kind of addictions that we have now, right? If all you have is like beer and watered down wine, alcoholism is going to be less extreme than when you have ever clear. And you know that kind of **** right? 151 rum means it's a lot easier to have, like, a serious problem. Likewise, you know, the way indigenous tribes in North America, Central America, used to bacco it, it wasn't really unhealthy. If you're doing it occasionally as part of a religious ritual, that's not nearly the same as as burning 2 packs of Marlboro is a day, right? We're talking about a wildly different kind of thing. People obviously had drug problems 5010 thousand years ago, right? But it was a lot less noticeable and it was less noticed because, especially in civilization, everyone was buzzed a lot of the time because, like, water was deadly. And especially if you're in a city, right? Like you're living in ancient Rome, you don't want to drink that ******* water coming through the aqueducts. You're gonna you're gonna pour it into wine so the wine will kill most of what's bad, and you're not going to be wasted all the time because it's actually there were people that like you talk about like ancient Roman mores around intoxication. It was considered kind of like gauche to be too drunk. Like, obviously there were times celebrations, festivals, but most of the time everyone was just kind of a bit buzzed, right? And the same thing with beer and other cultures and other parts of of Europe. The first documented use of distilled liquor in Europe didn't come around until the 12th century, and that was not something you would have drank for fun. It was part of an Italian medical school textbook. Obviously, liquor has a lot of medicinal benefits. Like just for like, you can sterilize **** with it, you know? There were there's debate over who the first kind of successful distillation where it was. Some people say that it was in first or second century China. There's evidence of that. The earliest like recognizable still, and I think it was kind of similar to a modern reflux still, was probably developed in the 8th century AD by an Arabic alchemist named Abu Musa Yibir Ibin Hayen. Now, whoever you give credit for the first distilled liquor, it didn't become a common recreational product until the 1600s. So pretty recent, right? People have not been drinking liquor all that long, and is this before beer and wine or beer and wine were first? Ohh, beer. We've had beer and wine forever. Beer. Beer dates back to the the very first human civilization. There's anthropologists who argue that we started building cities to brew beer. People would make beer as part of these, like when people were nomadic tribes to have these, like big festivals. But beer is a complicated product. You would need to make bread because the first bread, the first beer was made with a kind of bread called bapir, as like the basis of the beer. And it it requires a lot. There's a lot of, there's a logistical tale to making beer. And so one of the arguments. Anthropologists will make yeah, that's no, no, you're a straight wine guy. Just some rotten grapes I don't want, I don't want to make my own stuff. Yeah, well, that's why people started making cities, so that it was easier to have someone else make the beer and you just have plenty of it. That's an argument some anthropologists will make, but yeah, it goes back a while. Liquor much more recent, because you have to, like, have no head to do some science to make liquor. You got to have, like, a still. They're not. It's not. I mean, it is pretty as I used to make liquor, and I was always wasted when I was making liquor caught in my kitchen on fire five or six times, which is why stills are illegal. It would just be spurting. Ever clear basically out of these light gaps in the welds? Because we we welded it Weld drunk and yeah. So yeah, 1600s, we get liquor and it takes off. People are real big fans of liquor. I I'm sure that's a surprise to anyone who, I don't know, lives in California where you can buy liquor anywhere you can buy a scratch off ticket. This is not like a a Barcelona story where one guy did this one thing and then everybody else did it to be cool. This was immediately it was popular with everyone at once. It was popular with everyone. And it also immediately becomes a problem. Like, as soon as there's liquor you have for a long time, people don't. There's not really a mass cultural conception of alcoholism as an issue. Then liquor comes around, and by the 1700s, people are talking about alcohol addiction as a serious social problem. Like, it's that quick. The first alcoholic recovery program were sobriety circles. That's what they were called, which were kind of alcoholic mutual aid societies. So communities of sufferers working together to deal with and try to get over their addiction. And they seem to have been created first by members of various Native American tribes, right? Alcoholism becomes a serious problem. It's introduced by Europeans, becomes a big problem with indigenous tribes. And so the first organized attempts at addiction recovery were indigenous in nature, and they would often use traditional indigenous healing practices. Both like natural medicine, both like indigenous medicine, but also like rituals to kind of treat alcoholism. Now in in 1784, the first kind of European White, I don't know, whatever you call it, physician, Western physician to acknowledge alcoholism was Benjamin Rush or he not the first to acknowledge it, but the first to call it a disease, right? Which is basically our modern understanding as opposed to like a moral failing. This is an illness that a person has. His work helped to create the modern temperance. Movement, which, why the early 1900s had evolved into the prohibition movement now, throughout the 1800s. In the early 1900s, society gradually gained an understanding that drug abuse of all kinds could be problematic, right? That it wasn't just alcohol, you could be addicted to a bunch of **** and virtually every like Western attempt to treat drug and alcohol addiction was horrible. And up until the modern day, those indigenous sobriety circles were probably like the still the most reasonable program ever created. One common treatment for addicts was to throw them into facilities patterned off of insane asylums. Basically, they were like, OK, drug addiction is the same as being insane, so we'll just, we'll lock you in a prison. That'll solve it. What for like forever? Or was it like until you dried out, you went through the all the horrible detoxing on your own, and then you were fine to leave? I think it would depend. Some people certainly didn't get out. And also we're talking the 1800s, so a lot of people. Died there of diseases due to the horrific conditions, you know, because a prison is basically a Petri dish. I mean, still is, yeah. New York State Inebriate Asylum opened in 1864, and that was like the first. Yeah, I know, right? Not great. Other doctors treated addiction with a variety of snake oil medications, like Doctor Keely is double chloride of gold. Cure for drunkenness. Take some gold. That'll stop you from drinking. They did not know about Goldschlager. I'm sorry that that's just not work. So in the 1880s, Sigmund Freud turned his genius mine to the problem of alcoholism and morphine addiction, and he eventually came up with a genius solution for treating both of these addictions and want to guess what it was? Oh, locking people away, I don't know. What would Freud's approach be? He he gave them huge doses of cocaine. That's right. Forgot he was a cop, you know? Yeah, that's the drug that has no addictive potential. Cocaine. The least addictive drug ever. Miracle drug, absolutely. Yeah. Cocaine the drug with no problems. So by the 1890s, the worm had fully turned. And like Benjamin Rushing on, the 1700s is being like, this isn't this is a an illness. By the 1890s, they're like, now, this isn't a ******* illness. This is a criminal behavior, and it needs to be punished as such. Inebriate homes and asylums closed, and Alcoholics were sent to drunk tanks or foul wards of hospitals. Foul wards. I know, right? Why everything was so. Everything was titled So mean Back then they were real *****. Back in the day, really were. You don't have to say you have to call it the foul ward. Now it is the 1800s. We are going to be ****** about everything. Now of course, these kind of treatments, the insane asylums, the the prisons, the foul wards, these were where were you sent poor addicts. If you had money and an addiction, you would go to the first celebrity rehab facilities. And the very first celebrity rehab facility was the Charles B. Towns Hospital, which opened in 1901. It treated Alcoholics with belladonna, which is a poison. What was the dose? What was the? They must have known it was a poison back then. Like what? Yeah, yeah, I I don't know. Maybe there maybe it just they were trying to make you sick enough that you drank it with the alcohol in it. I didn't do enough research into belladonna therapy, but I don't recommend taking belladonna. And it was again, this was for really rich people. It costs $350.00 a day in 1901, which is about $5600 a day in modern currencies like Betty Ford Clinic type **** right? Like, like, I don't know if it worked or not, but you're not going there if you're not rich. Now, one of Charles's most frequent patients was a fellow named Bill Wilson, who would go on to found an organization called Alcoholics Anonymous, which you could drive Direct Line and, you know, Alcoholics Anonymous. There's a lot of really valid criticisms of the organization I know. A lot of people who say it saved their life, too. I'm not going to make a determination one way or the other on it, but you can draw a real, Direct Line between the basic idea of A and those indigenous sobriety circles, which I do find interesting. This basic idea that a community, a communal environment, is the best way to deal with addiction and support probably is, exactly. And support, yes. Empathy. Someone knowing just just you. Knowing that someone else understands what you're going through and that they've been there themselves. Not institutionalization, not criminalization. At a community support? Yeah, yeah, and maybe not poison and maybe not belladonna. Maybe. Maybe that's not gonna help. Now, by the time A was created, and it wasn't just Bill Wilson, I think we were four or five guys who who started it. It was created in 1935, and at that point, the criminalization of addiction was at a very advanced stage. In the 1910s, U.S. states had started passing laws that legislate that legislated the mandatory sterilization of Alcoholics and addicts. Yeah, one of the fun things this is you're going to get out of this, Paul. This is this is fun, some fun history. Real, real good yucks in this this bit of history after World War Two, when they found out about all of the horrific crimes of the Nazi concentration camps and they were starting to try to punish people. One group of people they didn't punish were the Nazi doctors who would sterilized the mentally ill and drug addicts. Because that was being done in the US too. So they were like, we can't punish these guys. We're doing the same thing a lot of Nazi doctors got off Scott free don't love them because yeah, it's it's it's history. It's always been the lesson is, well, we're not going to stop doing that. We yeah, we're looking at monsters and seeing what they do. Yeah, we also do one of those things. So we're just going to look the other way rather than stop. So we're just gonna we're fine with that part. I mean, it is. It is kind of like the fact that. When they were liberating the concentration camps, in a lot of cases they didn't free the homosexuals because that was still a crime and the societies that were freeing the concentration camps anyway. I mean anytime you should never be looking at the Nazis and saying even a broken clock. Yeah, exactly. If you're thinking, well, maybe they had a point about that, maybe that I agree with, yeah. So, Umm, 1910s, you know, states are sterilizing Alcoholics and addicts and doctors at asylums and prisons. Where actually the way this was phrased is that doctors had the authority to a sexualize individuals with drug and alcohol abuse problems. That's what they called it, a sexualization. Now, Alcoholics Anonymous was in many ways I, as I said, a throwback to these sobriety circles. Well, were those were kind of very based in Native American religion and medicine. A was based around the Emmanuel Movement, which was a psychologically based approach to religious healing that started in 1906. The primary thrust of Emmanuel movement treatments and thus a were individual and group therapy. A in particular came to reject the clinical and institutional treatment for addicts in favor of a bottom up structure that the founder, Bill Wilson, described as quote benign anarchy. The thrust of this was that the individual branches of a were all self governing. They didn't have to report back to a Home Office, they didn't have to follow identical treatment methods, and they didn't have to have leaders. Usually when, especially when you have guys in this prime like refer to something as anarchy, they're kind of getting it wrong. In this case he's not because he is saying we're trying to dissolve power relationships. We don't think that the right way to treat an addict is a situation where a bunch of people are in power over them and they're incarcerated or they're kind of under the thumb of the state. We also don't think that there should be. Leaders of this it should. Everyone should be working together, you know, it's a community effort. So really he's not wrong when he when he says that this is when he uses that term. And his stated reason for this bottom up approach was to prevent the formation of cults of personality, which were very common in alternative medicine at the time and also now. Unfortunately, in practice this did not work. Today, one of the main valid complaints against a is that it can act as an incubator for strong men. And gurus who often engage in profound mental, physical and sexual abuse of their group members. This is a problem that has been noted on a number of different occasions in different AA groups, and today the focus of our episode is going to be on one of those gurus, a man named Charles Deaderick. Now Charles Edwin Deaderick was born in Toledo, OH on March 22nd, 1913. He was named for his father and was called Chuck by his family. His namesake dad was a horrible alcoholic. Died in a drunk driving accident when Chuck was four years old. When he was eight, his younger brother died of influenza. Charles felt guilty and responsible for his brother's death. I think it was their survival guilt thing, and it was noted that he was never able to bond with children again, even his own kids. Which rough upbringing here, there's not an easy set of cards to draw. So when he was 12, his mother, Agnes Koontz, married a man that he despised. Now, Agnes was. Agnes was a prominent singer, and I don't think the family had huge financial issues as a kid. Like they seemed to have gotten along OK, Umm, but he's really unhappy with this guy. She marries and he's also stifled by his upbringing because she is a devout Roman Catholic and she raises him that way, he later recalled. Quote I believed literally that I would go to hell if I didn't go to church on Sundays. So. When he was 14, Charles comes across a copy of HG Wells's the outline of history that had been owned by his stepfather. Are you familiar at all with this book? No, I've never heard of it. It's an interesting it's an interesting book. It was an attempt by HG Wells to chronicle the entire history of the world, from the Neolithic period up to World War One now. In the book, Wells claimed quote the history of mankind is a history of more or less blind endeavors, to conceive a common purpose in relation to which all men may live happily, and to create and develop a common stock of knowledge. Which may serve and illuminate that purpose. And it's so it was kind of a it was an optimistic but also atheistic look at human history, right? Like he's not looking at this through a religious lens and he's, I think it it still was a Eurocentric lens, but I don't think he was trying to look at it that way. And one major theme of the book was the development of free intelligence, which he credited originally to bards common to all the quote Arian speaking peoples who extended the power of the human mind by travelling and thus expanding the development of language. This book has a huge influence on Deaderick, who later later claimed that after reading it he quote became a militant atheist almost overnight. So he reads this book and it just it it pills him to use the parlance of the time and. The downside of this is he starts drinking almost immediately after he reads this book, right. He kind of goes whole hog against his upbringing, right? Yeah, I'm an atheist. Time to get ******. That's that was sort of how I went, too. I think what I what? I think, yeah, but I think about it now. It was it was a little slow, it was a little more gradual, but definitely that was the line. No, I mean, within about six months of realizing I was an atheist, I was taking hallucinogens every weekend. So I I can relate. Yes, it's not this. Yeah, exactly. At this point. He's a thoroughly sympathetic character right now, yeah. Let's remember, this is the show that it is, Paul. Yeah, let's let's just stop a moment and really enjoy this time with this guy before we continue. Yeah, and you know, Paul, let's stop a moment while we're enjoying this time before the horrible **** happens and also think about products and services. Because Paul? You know what else is the result of human beings engaging in more or less blind endeavors to conceive a common purpose in relation to which all men may live happily? Robert, I wish you would tell me the products and services that support this podcast. That's what they all do. All. Hmm. 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I went in, I had my consultation. They told me I was a good candidate and then I went back in a couple of days later. But a Bing bada boom, you know, my eyes were perfect. So LASIK Plus is a leader in laser vision correction in the United States. They have over 20 years in the industry and more than two million treatments performed. If you want to start your LASIK plus journey, you can get $1000 off when treated in September. That's 500 per eye. So visit my LASIK offer. Dot com to schedule your free consultation now. Ah. We are back. And, Paul, before we get back into this story, there's a matter of serious importance that I have to discuss with you, OK? Have you looked at your Wikipedia page recently? Ohh no I have not. I there's a photo of you from 2012 on it, and you look a lot like Burt Reynolds. And I mean that it's the highest possible compliment I can possibly give someone. Is it the is it the turtleneck picture? Yeah, yeah, turtleneck. And yeah, it's one of the best pictures ever taken of me. And God bless whoever decided that should be my picture. It's a really good picture. We should all be so lucky to be immortalized, looking like Burt Reynolds. Alright, so we're talking about the upbringing of Charles Dederick deadrich whatever. I never do quite as much research as I should do on how to pronounce things, but what are you going to do? Listen to another podcast that exists? Not me, boy it. So, Charles, one of the men who is most thoroughly chronicled, Charles Dederich credits the fact that he started drinking and the fact that he became an atheist less to this HG Wells book and more to his mother's second marriage. Right. So he says, I read this book and it led me to both of, you know, to be an atheist, and I kind of started drinking not long after. Other people who have chronicled disciples say, well, he was really angry at his mom for marrying this guy. His mom was super religious, so he rejected her religion and, you know, drinking. That's pretty normal part of teenage rebellions. He's an unhappy teen. It it I either way, it's probably a mix of things. You know? Why why not both dot GIF. Yeah. Why not both. Right. Yeah. Whatever the case, he very quickly developed a serious drinking problem. He's once again, you know, it's a disease. He's one of those people who. It's not just heavy drinking, it's immediately like life destruction kind of drinking. He was extremely bright. And in fact in high school he earned admittance to Notre Dame. But once he graduated and started college. Flunked out very quickly because he just couldn't couldn't keep his **** together. You know, he was he had a he had a problem. He next got a job with the Mellon family of Carnegie Mellon fame, but he lost it in several other good jobs, again due to his his, his his horrible, horrible alcoholism. He got married, but his abusive, drunken behavior destroyed that relationship, too. In the early 1940s, at age 29, he caught meningitis, which nearly killed him, and left his face partly paralyzed. He would spend the rest of his life with a droopy eye and a facial. So by the time this guy is 40, he's had a rough life. Yeah, you know, not not doing great. And he kind of decides that since his life in Ohio was a disaster, he should probably **** *** to California and become a beach bum, which is a reasonable decision. Absolutely perfect career for an alcoholic. Yeah, yeah, we've we've all made versions of this decision, yeah. And everyone who moves out West is like, well, ****** not working here. Maybe it'll be better where there's an ocean. And it is. I love the West Coast, but so he moves to Santa Monica because back in those days you could afford to move to Santa Monica if your life was a complete **** show, as opposed to needing to be a rich person whose life is a complete **** show to afford the rent now. He got a job at a hardware store, which, again, you could afford to live in Santa Monica, working at a hardware store in the 50s. Wow. Yeah, and he remarried, but he kept drinking, and his second marriage fell apart, too. At one point, a friend found him passed out on the kitchen floor and told him, Fatso, if you don't go to Alcoholics Anonymous, you will die. I don't know if that's necessary. Doesn't that really necessary? You play it back in your head later, like, yeah, he said I was going to die. Oh, he also called me fatso. He also called me fat. That did not need to be in there, yeah. So about hey, my friends, what he did? You don't stop drinking. You're going. Hey, buddy person I care about human anything. Well, it was the 50s, so they hadn't invented the concept of male friendships yet. It was still justice. Yeah, fine. Hey, buddy. Old pal. What's wrong with that? Eat. So that's what he did. He goes to AA, and I'm going to quote from LA Magazine here, quote. He floundered for three years in the ocean breeze before walking into his first meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous. Partway through, Dederick marched to the podium and shared with the group. People listened. They laughed, they applauded. Detterich was hooked. I went from one AA meeting to another every night, he told psychiatrist Daniel Carcillo, one of a number of social scientists to write books on Synanon sent and on in the 1960s. That's all I did. I was the first one to speak, and I'd speak all night. Unless they stopped me. O. What you're seeing here is a couple of things. Number one, this guy's mom is a is a very successful performer. He clearly is a good performer, right. He's an engaging. He's able to like talk for hours at these meetings and I assume some people are bugged, but a lot of people just like listening to him. He's got that thing, you know, that that that performers and cult leaders have. Yeah, there's not as, not as. There's a thin line between being a good stand up comedian and having what it takes to be a cult leader. I mean, not every entertainer is a cult leader, but every cult leader is an entertainer. Hmm. And every entertainer has to do at least elements of cult things which are not inherently bad, right? There's good aspects to it. Yeah, a good party is a cult that ends at midnight or so, you know, or you know, two or three in the morning. So yeah, he becomes an and and what Charles does. This is the thing you also see with some people, including some people who credit a with saving their lives. He gets addicted to the program, right, which is sometimes necessary. Sometimes you have to replace one addiction with another before you can, you know? And even though, like, a is really what saves him, he's still open to other treatments for his disease, and he's still experimenting with other things. And in 1958, UCLA offers him another path to recovery. LSD. See the late 50s. Through this wonderful era, there's all this gleeful experimentation with acid. They're trying it for everything, and it just so happens that LSD has been shown to have a serious, documented efficacy at treating alcoholism. One analysis of studies conducted in the UK in the 1960s suggested that 59% of patients who took LSD showed reduced levels of alcohol misuse, and it was very durable, like lasting six months or longer. There's a lot of theories that multiple, like just doing LSD once or twice a year, could be like a an effective long term. Solution? Which, again, I'm a big advocate of the medical use of psychedelics. There's some incredible stuff there. Doing LSD once or twice a year sounds very pleasant and reasonable. Yeah, yeah. It's a very healthy way to it's like to live, I think. Yeah, especially when you compare it to crippling alcoholism. You know that? Tripping twice a year and ******* I don't know, putting on some king Crimson? Much better. So in the in 1962, Charles called taking LSD quote the most important single experience of my life. Now interestingly though, he didn't credit it with curing his alcoholism, because I think a had really is what he credited with that and he doesn't. I mentioned how effective it is because I don't want to be making it like LSD is a very promising treatment for alcoholism. That's not what it does for Charles. He doesn't. It doesn't cure him. He credits it with unlocking a new person. Basically, fundamentally changing him. He says that it it create, it helps him like unlock new confidence in himself. Quote I became a different person, really and truly everything that has happened to me since Synanon, everything dates from that point. And interestingly, Charles did not suggest or allow his later followers to take LSD. He considered his reaction to the drug to be unique as a result of the fact that he was better than people like ordinary people, right? He had a special LSD experience that other people couldn't have because he was special. In 1961, one of his followers, somebody who talked him about his experiences on acid, wrote this quote. Chuck was an atypical patient and that he experienced no regression, no sensory enhancement or hallucinations during the active. LSD intoxication. His normal traits merely appeared in a sort of caricature. One phrase that came into his mind impressed him. It doesn't matter, but at the same time it matters exquisitely. He would go to his room and give way to tears for an hour or more every day. Even with the seeming grief there was euphoria. Which is, I hate to tell you Chuck, a very normal acid experience. I used to do that a couple of times a week, buddy. You're not special. Umm. But he is convinced that his reaction to LSD is unique, and he's it also, you know, it can change your personality. I have had trips that I walked away from a fundamentally different person. Not every, not most trips like I've had one or two in the hundreds of times that I I can credit to fundamentally altering some aspect of myself. But this happens with Chuck, and in this case, it's not a good thing. So the combination of Alcoholics Anonymous and Chuck's newfound acid given confidence had a profound impact. As LA Magazine writes quote after the acid experiment in 1957, he was one year sober at the time. I also hear 58, I don't know one of those years. Derek became a voracious reader, voracious reader of philosophy and psychology, looming especially large, with a nonconformity espoused by Emerson and self-reliance and the utopian notions put forth by Thoreau and Skinner. Dederick was living on $33 a week unemployment checks, and he began to taper off from. A when other recovering Alcoholics checked up on him, Detterich would engage them in impromptu meetings, equal parts grad school symposiums, and combative group therapy sessions. Those get togethers became thrice weekly affairs. Then one day, a young heroin addict named ****** Walker, fresh out of prison, joined the group. As he began inviting other dope themes to the mix, the language grew coarser, the crosstalk more aggressive. Dederick loved it. The sessions became known as Synonyms, a portmanteau of symposium or perhaps seminar. And anonymous Deaderick who provided couches for people to crash on as they kicked heroin would come to believe that addicts weren't full-fledged adults and shouldn't be treated as adults. The younger adults took to calling him Dad. So what happens here is very interesting to me. You have a a starts as, OK, this institutional approach where you just have a couple of doctors or wardens just completely controlling the lives of addicts and treating them like criminals. That's a horrible way to get people clean. What you need is this bottom up, leaderless approach and deter. It comes out of that, takes the language and some of the methods, and then turns it to a situation where he is in charge and the addicts are children. Like it's yeah. You know what this leaderless approach needs? A leader. A leader? Yeah. It's almost perfect. The leaderless approach is almost perfect. Almost perfect. It's just missing a single guy in charge of everybody. That they called Dad. Yeah. Yeah. It's amazing how often this happens in history. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I mean, it's this is basically 1917, but on a smaller scale. Umm. So now when it comes to like where the name synon came from and. Obviously LA Magazine says it's a mix of symposium and seminar. I've heard different theories. I don't know which is true. Paul Morantz, who's probably the number one expert on the cult, claims the cult changed. The name was chosen because an addict slurred the words symposium at seminar together. So not a conscious portmanteau, a guy who was ****** ** and like screwed up while talking. I've also heard that it was supposed to mean sin Anon like sins anonymous, and that that's how it was more often referred to. I don't know which is the case. I've heard all of these stories and **** that I've read about this. Even if this is true, it's worth noting that Synanon was not initially affiliated with Chuck's Addiction Recovery program. Its original name was the tender loving care club. Loving care club. Yeah, of the club. Yeah, that's like the Saturday morning cartoon Roundup. It's it's it's 9:00 AM, it's time for the tender loving care club. There's a block of programming that's all very positive. Hmm. And you will be treated like a child by the tender loving care club TV block too. Yeah, lot of Transformers getting sold during that. So Charles Dederich rented a rundown storefront in Venice, which at that point was like a shady, crime riddled neighborhood, and you could like buy **** there very cheap because people didn't want to live in Venice again. Los Angeles was a really different city at this point in time. When you're talking about Venice is like, like the the **** part of town. That's. Ridiculous to me. So they they get this, like, crappy little storefront in Venice and they're all broke as hell. Like, when he starts this, he basically buys this storefront and they start living there kind of illegally. Like he and a bunch of addicts that he's trying to, like, help get clean. They were all broke and they survived by begging for stale food from catering trucks and taking donations from local prostitutes. Like a lot of how they stay alive is local sex workers give them money, which is awesome, right? There's like a a really cool story. Here of like a community of people on the outskirts of society taking care of each other. At this point it's still a pretty good story, but we are starting to see some troubling aspects of Charles too. Their shower was a hose that ran through the window. I'm pretty sure there was stealing water. You know, it's very punk rock. Actually. On the on the wall of the building was a life saver like you know, the like the things on a boat that she had you throw out that they called the USS hang tough while life was difficult. And they endured many privations. Charles urged everyone to pull together and stay, promising that a great future would emerge for the group. And the system he developed seems to have helped a lot of addicts. The the accountability, the constant surveillance of a community, the fact they were all always together is kind of for people with really serious addictions, one of the only ways to stop someone from relapsing right. You need that 24/7 accountability, because if you go away for a minute, you're going, you're going to start using again. But what Dietterick saw is the most powerful tool of the group, and his most brilliant innovation was what he called the game. And I'm going to describe what the game is to you from a write UN Cabinet magazine. I'm sure it's not sinister in any way. No, no, no, no, no, of course not, of course not. It's just ominously called the game the game. It sounds like it's not what you. It's not what you would title a Jordan Peele movie about a cult that murders people. Absolutely not. The game consisted of a dozen or so addicts sitting in a circle. One player would start talking about the appearance or behavior of another, picking out their defects and criticizing their character. But as soon as the subject of the attack tried to defend him or herself, other players would join the barrage, unleashing a no holds barred verbal onslaught. Vulgarity was encouraged, talk dirty and live clean, said Deaderick. And so the other Members would accuse the defendant of real and imagined crimes, of being selfish, unthinking, of being a no good, ugly, diseased, **** ******. Who was too weak to go straight and was too much of an ******* junkie? Crybaby ************ to admit it. Faced with this unrelenting group assault through, a symbiote would eventually have little choice but to admit their wrongdoing and promise to mend their ways. Then the group would turn to the next person and begin all over again. The first time it hits you, it absolutely destroys you, remembered a former game player. No matter how loud you scream, they can scream louder, recalled another. And no matter how long you talk, when you run out of breath, they're there to start raving at you. And laugh it emotional catharsis was the aim. There were only two rules, no drugs and no physical violence. It was vicious, but it actually seemed to work. One cannot get up, remarked deadrick, until he's knocked down. I you know, I I know that a lot of people subscribe to the theory that you you must break someone down in order to build them up, but I feel like there has to be a better way. Also, in terms of games, yeah, don't really get the game aspect. Yeah, not really a game. It's just a Parker brothers board that says call your friends **** *******. Scream at each other for our better games out there. There are better games out there. At least make it a charade where you have to guess what the person is saying that this horrible thing that they're saying about you. Hmm. Yeah, I mean it is like there's A and again, you can see like the elements of like, I have dealt with addiction at various points in my past and I've had moments where friends were like, you're doing what you're doing is stupid and you're hurting yourself and you need to ******* stop. And like, yeah, sometimes you do need that kind of straight talk. There's a difference between straight talk and saying you're a no good **** ******* ***** ** **** right? Like that's not straight talk, that's just abuse. But also I blame it on the fatzo guy. That's the facts of that he started this path. Umm. I think there's a line to be drawn by why this works and what this works at doing. I think what's actually happening here, why this contributes to keeping people sober, is not that the game. Encourages sobriety. The game encourages. Cult like group behavior, and that discourages drug abuse. It keeps the group because trauma bonds people. Even trauma that you're inflicting on each other can bond groups of people together. It's it's a codependent relationship, kind of. And they've also been instructed to do this by Dad? Yes. Yeah, by dad. Would Chuck participate in the game? Oh yes, you would lead, and you did not insult Chuck. That's what I wanted to know. OK yeah. Yeah. No, no, no, no. Chuck is not getting insulted alongside everyone else. Chuck was just there to say now you go, now you go. And to yell at people. He was very good at screaming at people. And it's some. I also think there's a line to be drawn here between what they're doing and kind of how the military basic training at least used to work. I don't know now, but like I know friends who have described particularly Marine Corps based training as a game. It's a game. And when you understand the rules, you understand how to do it and like what you need to do in order to like, get through what kind of and it bonds, what are the things that bonds the the unit together is how ****** the experience is. And that's I think, what's keeping people off of. Drugs. I don't think it's any magic about the game. It's just you put a bunch of people together, you traumatize them, and it it they kind of can't exist outside of the group. But if the group is committed to sobriety, they'll stay sober. You know, that's what I'm reading from this. Yeah. I mean, speaking as a person who has been insulted in my life, it has not helped me. It does not know it. It has not helped me, no. Derrick had invented the game by mixing A's teachings with **** he vaguely remembered about psychiatry from articles he'd read and about yeah, so you know, it's good. And also a bunch of parts of Ralph Waldo Emerson's 1841 essay self-reliance. Now, the core of his philosophy was to fix people with tough love to make them comfortable by first making them very uncomfortable. Over time, he developed a catch phrase, which he used to greet addicts on their first morning in the house. Today is the first day of the rest of your life. He's the one who invented that. Wow. Yeah. How weird. Right. And it's you can you can see there's both a very optimistic recovery angle to that. Like, your life starts again now. You don't. You're not bound to your past. You're not bound to make the same mistakes, but also that can be very culty. It can go either way as. And now you have a new life with us as part of this group and you'll never. Yeah. Yeah. So it can mean both things. In 1958, Dederick incorporated his facility as a nonprofit. Over the next two years, a standard routine evolved. New members were asked to quit drugs cold Turkey, and as they got over being dope sick, they were gradually welcomed into the communal life of the club. There was hard labor, but there was also constant mutual support. in Group therapy. The game was played three times per week. Members were forbidden from any drugs save coffee and cigarettes, which were available in unlimited quantities. At all times. They're just. I think has been, for most of the history of addiction recovery, pretty common. People smoke and drink coffee ******* constantly. Yeah, you know, yeah, whatever you get to do. Oddly enough, peanut butter sandwiches were also always available, and I think it's just because Charles Dederich liked them, so obviously they must be good for addicts. This will be the beginning of a pattern. Umm. Fairly quickly, Chuck proved to have a peculiar genius for marketing the term. Synanon had been used internally for a while, and he decided to adopt it as the name of the group. To its early members, Synanon was a very real lifesaver. In the late 1950s, drug addiction had become a sort of a matter of national concern, similar to how the prohibition movement had taken over the country. At the turn of the century, newspapers and radio broadcasters warned constantly about the dope monster ravaging the United States. The Governor of New York. Nelson Rockefeller claimed that 50% of crimes in his state could be linked to drugs. Whether this was true or not mattered less than the fact that people believed it. State lawmakers followed the public outcry with a raft of narcotics bills aimed at criminalizing drug users. Most recommended mandatory minimum sentences to try and discourage drug addiction. This did not work, but it kept being done. In the mid 1950s, California's Department of Corrections started building facilities for narcotics violators for people who wanted to get cleaned. There were basically no community. Resources. Your only option was one of two kinds of incarceration. You could get convicted and sent to prison, or you could get sent to an asylum. So obviously, alcoholism has started to get an understand. Now there's a nothing like that existed for narcotics, and that's becoming a problem. So Synanon kind of blows up because it's really the first organized attempt someone has to dealing with, with the problem of narcotics addiction. One early member of Synanon was Lena Lindsay. She was a dope addict, and before she found Synanon, she spent time in jail. It also spent time in Camarillo State Hospital, one of the first facilities to open an asylum for addicts. You couldn't just check yourself into Camarillo, though. You had to go to court, admit you were an addict and be sentenced or admitted to the hospital, which is not ideal, making drug addicts go to court before they can get treatment. But Lena did. She had enough of her problem. She was like, **** it, I'll go before a judge. And she got sent there for 90 days and it was not a great program quote. I didn't think it was a rehab place. I just thought it was a place for me to get clean. That's where my mind was. I just wanted to get clean. Camarillo was fine. I think I stayed loaded more than anything else. So she continued to get high. They kept me in the admitting ward. I helped with new people who would come in to me. That was a nuthouse. I had no expectations. I'll put it that way. There was no program. I helped them with other patients, remember? I was on the admitting ward and I helped them with other patients. I helped them give shock treatment and I stayed loaded while I was there. My boyfriend would come to visit after 30 days. You could have visits and my boyfriend would come, me and another girl. We were on the ward together. Our boyfriends would sneak US drugs. I don't think the staff knew what they we were doing. It was different than being in jail, that's for sure. There was no place in my time. There was just no place for drug addicts. None at all. So not a great drug addiction program if you can, you know, get heroin there. And I mean, I guess. Because at this, at this time, narcotics are definitely seen as a moral failing across the board. Yeah. There's nobody that's saying people are somewhat more understanding, understanding of alcoholism than they are started to be. Yes. Yeah. So Lena first heard about Synanon through the television via local news broadcast. She described her first impression of it as quote, this place on the beach that was supposed to be helping dope friends. And by the way, that's what they called each other. And Sinon, they called each other dope friends. Over the months, as she struggled with her addiction and went into and out of treatment, other addicts she knew started talking about Synanon, saying stuff like they give you cigarettes, they feed you. When Lena first showed up, Chuck took her around and then told her to leave. His attitude was addicts should get a tour, see what the place had to offer, and then be sent back to their disastrous lives so they would hit rock bottom again and realize how important it was to get straightened out right. That was the standard procedure, but she convinced Chuck to let her join straight away, and Lena became the first black member of Synanon. The organization quickly grew to be significantly more integrated than mainstream American Society at the time. This is one thing I haven't heard any allegations he was racist. They were actually really ahead of their time in terms of it was a fully integrated program and eventually kind of a fully integrated version of society. And as ****** ** as the game sounds, Lena found it useful and she explained to an interviewer quote. It was in the game that I started learning how to tell the truth, because US drug addicts, we believed our own ******** in order to do what? He did. And live the lifestyle. I guess we had to believe the mess that we told ourselves. It was after one of the games, big heavy games. I went to my room. I went to bed and I started thinking about what they talked to me about in the game and how I defended it and I was lying. And that's when I started learning how to tell the truth to myself, to thy own self, be truthful. That was one of my favorite concepts the old man Deaderick gave me to thy own self. Be truthful. When I was in my bed by myself, I copped to myself what a liar I was. And in my next game I copped out on myself. That started me to telling the truth. I didn't tell the truth all the time. It had to get to be a habit. You know, this type of thing. I mean, people can I guess the the relationships that you form within a a, let's say. People can. They're allowed to call you out. Maybe not in a meeting in front of everybody, but you know, if you have a sponsor, can call you out if you're spinning some ******** and without it being, yeah, like a complete breaking down of you, just somebody keeping you in check. Yeah. I mean, and that's, that's hugely important. And I don't think, Lena, you know, I think there's very abusive aspects to the game, obviously, but for people who had never had anyone to call them out because maybe all of their friends are also addicted, everyone's an enabler. I I can see why that would be a value, even though it's there's also clearly toxic aspects of, I mean, because part of being an addict, a big part of being an addict, is lying. You have to constantly be lying to other people, to yourself. You have to be justifying what you're doing at all times. Yeah. And you have to be able to lie to yourself. Before you can convincingly lie to other people, that's like the most important aspect of doing that. Yes, you have to make it so that the lying to other people is that, well, they don't under they'll never understand. So I have to just gloss over this because they I just can't make them see why this is necessary for me. Exactly. And I am, you know, it's one of those things. Again, we've talked about like how kind of abusive aspects of the game is. It's also probably fair to say this is the best narcotics addiction treatment available to people in Southern California or anywhere in the country really at this period of time. But there's not really a lot of options. So folks, you know, do what they can. And yeah, you know who else does what they can, Paul? I bet it's goods and services that provide exactly the goods and services that support this podcast are, you know, obviously now we have a solution to all kinds of addiction, and it's capitalism. 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In 1962, Chuck Dederich moved Synanon from the CD storefront in Venice to an empty National Guard Armory in Santa Monica. He had about 65 members at this time. They were immediately unpopular among the NIMBY types who lived near the facility. Yeah, right. You know it is Southern California. It hasn't all changed. 10 days after moving in, he was arrested for operating a hospital without a license, which I agree that should be a crime. Yeah, but also, they work. I think it was kind of ********. Like he he wasn't operating a hospital, he was doing something no one else was really doing anyway. He was convicted. The court offered him probation if he would agree to move out of the Armory, and as an act of protest he declined, and he went to jail for 25 days instead. Now the news picks up on this, and Synanon had started to generate a significant amount of buzz. Over the last couple of years, and his decision to go to jail for his beliefs rather than moved was the best buzz marketing he could have done. He becomes a hero all across California, a brave trailblazer fighting the scourge of dope addiction and an out of touch court system. Governor Edmund Brown signed a bill into law that gave Synanon specifically a special exemption from health licensing laws. So this becomes a big enough that the governor signs a bill into law to allow this specific program to exist. So under the bill, the Medical Board of the State of California was supposed to establish special rules for Synanon to follow. They never got around to doing that. Umm, they were supposed to, though. Sure. Yeah. Now Chuck's time in prison had made him a martyr, and the fawning media attention had made him into a national hero of the dope epidemic. Donations started to flow in. Wealthy celebrities began dropping by, some for treatment and others just to explore the new sober society that Chuck Dederich was building in his facility. Leonard Nimoy made a habit of stopping by to play the game with ex addicts, so you can imagine Leonard Nimoy just like screaming **** ****** and a bunch of dope feeds and say, wow Santa Monica. Well it makes me sad to think that somebody would be yelling mean things at Leonard Nimoy. I don't think anyone yelled at Leonard Nimoy. I have trouble believing that. Yeah, he took a sort of more of a Chuck roll in the game when he played. Yeah, I'm guessing he was more of a Chuck in this. I just can't imagine anyone yelling at Leonard Nimoy aside from Bill Shatner from let me ask you this. So, so at this point, at this point no one leaves Chuck once they get into the program, right? They they are. They are. It's kind of up, he claims, an 80 to 100% success rate. There are people who will say that never more than 70 or 80 people graduated. But some people are graduating, but a lot of them don't want to graduate. A lot of them want to stay in this community, and we'll talk about that in a little bit here. So a number of very prominent jazz musicians also became members because obviously jazz musicians do a lot of drugs. When they wanted to become clean, they would go to Synanon, and they would start playing music there. And they actually formed a Synanon jazz band and cut an album called The Sounds of Synanon. Their band played on the Steve Allen Show. So like, yeah, they're like, this is like a big cultural thing at the time. Now, one reason for Synanon's popularity was that, you know, the the civil rights movement is starting to become popular with the Hollywood set in the early 60s and send it on is fully integrated. And I I haven't found evidence that he was. As he was certainly, for his time, very progressive on race, in 1959 a black sex worker and dope addict named Betty Coleman came to Synanon for help. Betty later told an interviewer. I think I stayed those first two or three days just out of total fascination, she said of her first encounter with Sinon in 1959. I was sick as a dog. I was going through the usual withdrawal symptoms and everything, but I was just fascinated. I had never been around addicts and such a motley lot of you know, people. It was a weird scene. I got caught up in it. So Betty leaves and relapses a couple of times, but she keeps coming back. And eventually, in the early 60s, she stays for good. And she and Chuck get married, and she becomes like, the Co leader of Synanon with him. So there's a very progressive, like, and again, another one of these things is that, like, cinnamon, I don't care if you were a sex worker. I don't care, like what you did. There's no judgment here other than the judgment that you're a dope addict and not an adult. You know, like, it's it is this, like, maybe will, we will continually judge you on that. Yeah. For the rest of your life. And also less than society outside will, which you do have to keep in mind at this point, you know, right? And the fact that everyone except for Chuck is getting judged equally harshly, I think there's a kind of radical egalitarianism to that that was, again, to people on the margins of society, very compelling. So Synanon starts holding massive weekly parties with a jazz band and lots of cigarettes, but no drugs or alcohol. And again, celebrities would drop by all the time, James Mason, Jane Fonda, Milton Berle and Natalie Wood were all guests of Synanon. And multiple points, Ray Bradbury and Rod Serling gave lectures on site. So this is like a big deal. Like, those are some ******* names. The only one that's weird to me, honestly, is Milton Berle. Milton Berle, right. The idea Milton Berle is saying, you know what I got? I got to explore other belief systems. Like, yeah, this is this is my one time. It's let's see what's going on. It's weird that he that he was there. Yeah, yeah, that Milton Berle and Leonard Nimoy might have wound up screaming **********. A bunch of junkies is a weird thing that could have happened. By 1965, Synanon was a bonafide phenomenon. It reached its apex of relevance and tried and true Hollywood fashion with a major motion picture. Columbia Pictures debuted. Yeah, baby. And the trailer for this is ******* great. Columbia Pictures debuted Synanon in 1965. Edmund O'Brien played Chuck Deaderick and Eartha Kitt played Betty. Wow. Yeah, Eartha Kitt. I kinda want to see the movie. I've seen the trailer. Yeah, and I love Eartha Kitt, right? Like she's ******* red. Yeah, the movie tagline was dope Fiend screamed the truth about the house where they lived together, love together while they fight their way back. And it was from the trailer. I think it was a very ***** movie. Like as ***** as you could be in 1965. Sitting on also earned praise in the halls of power. US Senator Thomas J Dodd declared in Congress that the program could, quote, lead the way in the future to an effective treatment for not only drug addicts, but also criminals and juvenile delinquents. He called Synanon the miracle on the beach. The psychologist Abraham Maslow also praised Synonms no crap therapy courts started sending addicts to Synanon as a condition of their parole. So. Yeah, this is all going to be great. So by the mid 60s, at the height of its popularity, Synanon had turned the art of keeping junkies clean into what it considered to be a science. Their first rule was that new addicts had to detox without any kind of medication. We're talking pure cold Turkey here. They generally be left on a couch or a bed to suffer through the shakes until they were well enough to partake in communal life. Because the real trick of cinnamon it wasn't the treatment. It wasn't even the game. It was the fact that Chuck Dederick was offering his members an entirely new vision of life. He had created a miniature society with its own social mores, in its own ways of policing behavior. From Cabinet magazine quote. As long as people worked washing dishes, waxing floors, ironing laundry, painting walls, picking up food donations, they never had to leave. Synanon was also self policed. You were expected to report those breaking the rules. Those who slacked off or who failed to tell someone else were taken to task in the game, those who smuggled in contraband. We're given a haircut, a private dressing down from a senior member. Repeated infractions led to banishment. Put a pin in that haircut thing. So far, not bad, right? You do bad **** you get a private perfectly healthy. But they're running on the honor system. Well, there's some other things that are wrong there. But perhaps send it on's greatest innovation was realizing that addicts knew more about addiction than medical specialists. The dope fiend, as Deaderick insisted they be known, was painfully familiar with the tactics of denial and evasion that their colleagues used. What's more, they shared the same language. There was no we they in Synanon, if you spoke about caps and binnies, turf and horse, everyone knew what you were talking about. As for Dederick, he was never coy about his role. I am considered a megalomaniacal nut, he declared. Of course this is true, but I'm not so crazy. He freely admitted to populating Synanon's board of directors with recovering addicts whom he could control, but no one doubted that this was wise and canny thinking. After all, those were dope friends, and Deaderick was entering uncharted territory. Dederick predicted that within three to five years at Synanon, a dope feen would be ready to graduate back to the outside world. No one doubted Dederick sincerity. No, worried about the ambiguous undertones to his most famous maxim, the one he told to those to each new arrival at Synanon, today is the first day of the rest of your life. Now. What's interesting to me is that he's very open. He calls himself megalomaniacal. He basically says I am the dictator of dope friends. But hey, American Society in the 60s, you know, these people are mental children. They have to have a dictator, and that's me. And this is good for society. And everyone says, yeah, that scans yeah. I wonder how much of this is because he was. Like the in like the hierarchy of addicts that maybe an alcoholic outranks a dope. Yeah. That he's looking at these. I mean because he's not he's because this is is it is it exclusively narcotics that people are coming to no. To seek the treatment he it's it's drunk but it's mostly a narcotics. Yes. Most drunks. You know there's other things for them. It's mostly narcotics addicts people primarily. I think heroin more than anything else. And yeah, I I suspect that is maybe an aspect of it is that he, uh, he thinks these people are easier to control. You know, a dope addict is easier, is easy for someone like him to manipulate. I think that's probably his attitude. And it's certainly the attitude like, out again, nobody thinks this is weird or abusive, what he's doing, right? Well, yeah, of course, of course, the only thing for addicts is fascism. So from the beginning, graduation was very rare. While Synanon claimed like an 80 to 100% success rate, Chuck was increasingly reluctant to declare anyone cured. And again, a today it's really hard to get good information on who actually how long people stay sober. It's the same thing for all rehab, right? Rehab programs in general, super sketchy about giving you solid numbers, about relapses and whatnot, and it makes sense that Chuck wouldn't want to declare anyone cured. Because they cured person can relapse, and that might throw the wisdom of your methods into question, right? For another thing, if people get better, really better, than they'll leave Synanon. And in Chuck's head, Synanon was already an improvement on and a replacement from mainstream society, so he doesn't want people to get out. And so when it seemed like his members were on the path to recovery, Chuck would warn them that they were still addicts. Now, this isn't necessarily unreasonable, right? There's certainly an attitude, you'll see. I don't think it's universal. You're like, well, you're always an alcoholic. You're always an addict. And that's not necessarily, that's not to, like, talk down to somebody. It's to keep in mind that, like, you always have to have an eye on this, this part of yourself. Right. I don't think that's an unreasonable thing necessarily. But Chuck was prone to more unsettling outbursts. He would tell Members that as long as they still loved their mothers, they would never get over their drug problems. He would urge them to avoid family and was adamant that members must. Yes is an interesting angle. Well, here's your yeah. This is innovative, yeah. He would urge them to avoid family, and he was adamant that members must follow his instructions to a tee and stay in the group to have the best odds of staying sober. He frequently said that quote. Giving freedom to think to a dope addict is like giving a gun to a baby. Ooh, that's great. So we've hit the point where it becomes problematic, right? It's a it's a mixed bag, maybe even more bad than good. And by the late 60s, the worm has started to turn a bit. By 1968, ten years after its founding, Synanon had at least 1100 members and and again 1100 people who lived there. Thousands more have done some aspect of the programs right, right, and it was receiving about two and a half $1,000,000 a year in donations. This is the modern equivalent of about $19 million. The program expanded massively, buying up an additional 7,000,000 in real estate in Santa Monica, West LA, San Diego, San Francisco, Tomales Bay, Reno, New York, NY. City, Detroit and Puerto Rico. So this becomes like an empire. Like, yeah, he owns a lot of Southern California now since addicts come from every strata of society, Synanon members included gifted entrepreneur. There's a lot of people who are like homeless who were, you know, sex workers. There's a lot of people who were wealthy businessmen, lawyers. And he sets these folks to work buying up and using their money to buy up for the for synon a string of gas stations. This eventually leads to him in the late 60s, opening the door up to professionals, even those without drug addictions, who were interested in this new version of society that he was crafting. All they had to do to join if you weren't an addict was transfer your assets to the organization, and a number of people do this. This might be where it's become a cult. Wow. Yeah. Wow. I mean Jesus, just like that's that's I mean that's one of those situations where I'm out. Like if they. I mean you say that, Paul. I'm starting my cult. And if you are a wealthy businessman, you can live on the property that I buy with your money. If you give your money to me. That's that's the behind the ******** guarantee now. Will that property get rated by the FDA? Will our compound be burned down by an FBI, FDA assault? Of course, of course. But that doesn't mean you can't help me own a string of gas stations. This is what I love about cult people is that it's always the the point where it goes a little. They get a little too greedy, where it's like, guess what? If you just had the string of gas stations. That's not bad. People need gas bad, you know, passive income for you. Where do you wanna go buy gas? Well, let's buy gas from the the the the addiction recovery program that for some reason owns a bunch of gas stations. Yeah, why not? But no, they things go wildly off the rails very quickly at this point. So by early 1964, Synanon had started advertising itself not as an addiction recovery program, but as an alternative society. Dederick would draw in people by emphasizing that Synanon could help them live a quote self examined life. He started using some of the 1,000,000 they'd accumulated to build their first city in Marin County. The end of the 1960. And by the way, if you're building a city for your cult, you could do. I mean, Marin counties, wonderful location for absolutely I do. Way better than Waco. I mean, pricier than Waco, but less flammable. So the end of the 1960s and the summer of love brought about a mass fascination with the idea of communes and of communal living. And this is all tied into when, you know, Synanon makes this turn. So this era gave us, I don't know, the city of Eugene OR. But it also was a huge boost for Synanon. People who weren't addicted to anything started being allowed to Join Now, not just professionals. Anybody who like wanted to join Synanon, basically as long as you were willing to, like, have hand them a bunch of money. Non addicts who joined were called squares. Now briefly Chuck toyed with the idea of so you've got squares and dope friends, that's what they call themselves. And Chuck briefly toyed with the idea of letting his addict members leave Synanon facilities and live in. Dependently, as long as they worked jobs and sent their money back to the organization. But he wound up dropping this idea because it's hard to control people who don't live inside the cult, you know? So by the end of the 1960s, Synanon had fully crossed the bridge from new Age addiction treatment program to cult, from Cabinet magazine quote. When Members stepped out of line now, the haircuts they received were literal ones, with men shave having their heads shaved for bad behavior and women being forced to wear stocking caps, whereas sex was rampant and cinnamons early days. Now, members had to ask a Synanon elder for permission to date, and were forced to follow a strict and celibate courting ritual. Glut raids were routinely run on residents rooms to confiscate excessive personal possessions, and detterich and his elders would instigate arbitrary new rules, such as the 24 hour day in which half of Synanon would go to work at night while the other half worked. During the day, a Synanon police force patrolled the nearby streets looking for members who might be breaking the rules. You know your cults doing well when you got your own cops. That's the wild, wild country **** right? It's exciting to know that glut raids but prefigured Marie Kondo. Yeah, it is. It is nice, right? Yeah, he's it's amazing. Like what a mix of Marie Kondo, Scientology and like Maoist China, this cult becomes. So Charles Alverson was a journalist and novelist and a square who spent six months living at a Synanon center. In an interview with the Fix, he said that during his time there in the late 60s, he saw synonym as mostly positive, a way to help addicts get control over their lives again. But he also saw evidence that it was starting to head in a very dark direction. Quote, I recall being rooted out of bed about midnight, to witness a long term member sitting in a garbage can with his head shaved because he had been caught using this was quite common and an indication of that. Some of the cured weren't quite so cured. Despite the egalitarian veneer of Synanon, Detterich was always the father figure, Big Kahuna, boss of bosses. At mass meetings, new Synanon triumphs were announced in new enemies were denounced, such techniques kept, the wagons circled. The game evolved from being primarily a therapeutic tool to being an instrument of social control. Members were increasingly forced to confess to misdeeds during Sessions. Secrets were not allowed in. The information members gave up about themselves provided the organization with blackmail material they could use if they later tried to leave. Scientology does the same thing. It's really like a very similar to like the auditing sessions and stuff and night, except for it's you're in a huge group too, which is an interesting wrinkle. In 1967, Charles Dederich decided to end the concept of graduation. Entirely. His justification was that most ex addicts would revert to using once they left. Now, this is still a problem today. Relapse rates for addiction within the first year of people who go to modern rehab facilities are between 40 and 60%. Chuck considered this unacceptable, and the best way to ensure no one relapsed was to ensure that no one ever left rehab, he told one follower. We're getting out of the dope fiend business. Now, now, the goal of Synanon was not to perform addicts, to get them cleaned, to help them take control of their lives. If you entered the program, you were expected to never leave. The goal was no longer sobriety. The goal was to build, with the guidance of Chuck Deaderick, a new utopian world order, destined to take the world by storm. Now fully a cult leader, Chuck began to insist to his followers. This is the kind of revolution that moved the world from Judaism to Catholicism to Protestantism to Simonism. This is a total revolution. Game. Remember, he started his addicts trying to get off dope. He's really going for it. He's really going for it. I have to say, if you're going to do something, do it right. He's really going all the way. Yeah, he's this is the first cult leader since L Ron Hubbard, who at least is like, yeah, you know what you committed, ************? No one can take that away from you. You went all in on this ****. Ohh Paul. You got any plegables to plug? Well, sure, I always like to plug things. Get a life. Simple joys. I have a I have a handful of podcasts happening right now. I have the stay at home begins with that I do with my wife, Janie Haddad Tompkins. I have freedom, which I do with Scott Aukerman and Lauren Lapkus. I have Star Trek the pod Directive, which is a the official Star Trek podcast that I host with Tony Newsom. Those are all free wherever you get your podcasts. And then if you have a little extra money at the end of the month, the neighborhood listen will be coming back. That'll be on Stitcher. Premium before it becomes free at some point in the indeterminate future. Well, I am glad since you do a Star Trek podcast that I was able to give you this fun fact about Leonard Nimoy which I did not believe not know. I cannot wait to tell Tony this is really. Well, this has been behind the ********. You can find us various places online, but what you should really do is is check out my new podcast, the audio book of my novel after the Revolution. Wherever podcasts are sold, you can also find the ebook, which is being announced. You know, coming out three chapters a week on a trbook.com that's a trbook.com it's free. Check it out, check out Paul's podcasts, and, I don't know, start an addiction recovery center that buys up most of Southern California. Create some police force. Or don't. Maybe they should. Maybe you'll do it nice this time. Maybe you'll maybe you'll be the one who figures it out. That's part one. Hey Robert here. It's been like two months since I had LASIK and I'm still seeing 2020. All I had to do was go in for a consultation then go in for a maybe 10 minute procedure and then my eyes have been great ever since. You know I healed up wonderfully. It was very simple, couldn't have been a better experience. 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In this special episode, we're speaking with Doctor Jane Goodall about the fascinating journey that led to her impactful behavioural discoveries on chimpanzees. It wasn't until one of the chimpanzees began to lose his fear of me, but I began to really make discoveries that actually shook the scientific world. Listen to amazing wildlife on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts.