Global: Therapeutic Communities & Holistic Recovery

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A forgotten (but not gone) approach to drug addiction recovery may yield results today.

Not forgotten, just unobserved, or worse, ignored.

Therapeutic Community models didn’t start with Synanon (though they were in the seminal space) but did get both famous and then infamous in their lifespan — thus the noticeable profile

Synanon failed for a number of disturbing reasons, very much including its own self-sabotaging sub-cultural issues. What it did do was predict what we are now seeing in many large cities run by pro-drug or Harm Reduction only advocates, where personal agency, responsibility, and the very humanity these entail, is allowed to ebb away and the inevitable drug ghetto’s grow.

This is not the fault of ‘conservative’ or ‘institutionalization’ values; No, this the result of a meaninglessness that denies a sound anthropological context that enables sustainable purpose, relationship and the healthy activities needed for these to flourish. In their stead we get what the founder of Synanon predicted decades ago.

Synanon, Dederich proclaimed, would promote “a lifestyle that makes possible the kind of communication between people that must exist if we are to prevent this planet from turning into uninhabitable ghettos.”

Again, the model of Therapeutic Communities was not invented by Synanon, nor did they die with them.

Such communities in various customized iterations are thriving and growing actively on both large and small scales, such as…

Smaller scales like

As Synanon made communalism a form of therapy, the group reinvented institutions like education, work, marriage, child-rearing and leisure. At its best, it was a place where recovering addicts did not have to choose between the pursuit of sobriety and the fullness of life. Some brought their families into Synanon or started new ones. They trained as lawyers, accountants, artists, carpenters, salespeople, truck drivers and more. They experimented with new social, political and economic structures for governing their community.

For more A forgotten approach to drug addiction recovery may yield results today – The Washington Post