© SEPT 2018

This is the 2nd of series on Claire Clark’s apologetic book “Recovery Revolution” which I have fondly entitled “Spring time for Dederich.” If you have found this and are interested in reading it I recommend that you 1st read part 1 at

The summary of part 1 is that Mr. Clark had written an “apologetic” book that alter s and hides history. She has emailed to me an admission that she intentionally left out crimes and abuse by Synanon and its Founder against anyone who got in Synanon’s way. She hid fact it was most violent cult in America history.

Her position was that she believes everyone knows this– as it had been written about so much, an answer that is far from sufficient from a want –to- be historian. This is many generations later and most of the public has never heard of Synanon. So when she writes alleged history leaving out or brushing by kidnappings, beatings, murder attempts, forced vasectomies, forced abortions and forced changing of spouses by claiming she is only writing about a short part of Synanon history in the 60s and states of the 70s only that Synanon changed in order to “prepare for its enemies,” as if what was done was necessary, she misleads the public concerning its need for the State to prohibit brainwashing and not to allow certain practices in drug rehabs. It could be called a journalistic crime against History.

It’s like writing a book called “Dune bugging in the Desert with Charles Manson,” writing nothing but the fun they had playing war games. Or “Life in a Montana Cabin with the Unabomber” leaving out how our hero Ted killed and maimed.

Further her description of Synanon in 60’s was wrong, and in my case her comment on reasons for change in 70’s is defamatory — Synanon classified me as an enemy and attempted to murder me, an incident that resulted in 3 separate convictions for conspiracy to commit murder. One of the convicted is Ms Clark’s hero, Charles Dederich. In fact, Synanon had no enemies, just critics. At deposition, Dederich admitted he made up his “boogeymen”—the state, press, etc. who wanted to destroy Synanon—to bind his followers in early Sixties when he knew it was the public’s support that kept them funded and thriving.

I pointed out in Part 1 while probably the only accurate information in her book was the 1st paragraphs that said that older persons can get free of addiction without help, yet she missed that the original Synanon members pre-1960 were age 35 to 60. These people not only changed the course of their prior life, but were prepared to dedicate by choice to spending the rest of their lives helping other drug addicts recover. In my mind, this small group consisted of the real heroes. Others similar came. Unfortunately, in early years, the Founder, a lifetime alcoholic, Charles Dederich, then got get rid of his original Board of Directors and by his own admission, which Ms. Clark is aware of but did not write, replaced them with “Dummies that I can control.” He alone made every decision in Synanon history and he eliminated anyone who got popular or gained a following within the organization, or was not completely loyal. Dederich testified he missed no one removed or split more than mere seconds.

Synanon did not keep records and most of the people who followed that original 1st group of members, failed, particularly the younger ones. By 1961 Charles Dederich had read Robert Jay Lifton’s book on Thought Reform (Chinese brainwashing) and admittedly employed brainwashing techniques on Synanon members. Clark knew this as it was in a book she read by Lew Yablonski but concealed it.

It is said history consists of two truths. The first is what is presented by those seeking only the truth—As Deep throat said to Bernstein and Woodard: follow the money–and the second “truth”– that created by those with political or other agendas to which truth must be distorted to fit (Donald Trump). That is the essence of brainwashing. Synanon was a propaganda machine and Dederich admitted they did it all with “words” changing them to suit each situation. Clark all these years later jumped in like a brainwashed follower.

To get the non-addicts to join Synanon and turn over their money in mid-60’s, not in Ms. Clark’s book, Dederich set up admittedly weekends –The Trip–where people would have their identity attacked, sleep deprived, and lead to believe that Synanon was their sole salvation.

All this caused a great debate amongst professionals as to whether Synanon was a miracle that would stop crime and drugs as it seemed to for the first dozen or was going to evolve into a cult that did harm and sought only to make Dederich rich. In the end, but Clark never lets you know, there was no longer any dispute. Synanon’s own records reveals that Synanon’’s donated charitable money was being transferred from the nonprofit to the private Dederich family and Synanon had physically attacked its “enemies” over 88 times, forcing hundreds of hospitalizations and 3 attempted murders.

Why was so much of this blood lust in their own documents? Because those in Synanon competed to prove who was the most dedicated to Dederich, just as is done in North Korea, and would compete to prove loyalty by complying with his directions to get out the message that if you messed with Synanon “you can get killed dead, physically dead.” You can hear that speech at

In Synanon’s early days both the pro and contra were passionate in their positions. But after Charles Dederich was convicted of operating a hospital without a license and practicing therapy without a license and out of zone, in 1961 Gov. Brown Senior signed a law exempting Synanon from the definition of a hospital, removing from it any State control on its practices. This lone exemption to licensing laws is the lesson that should be learned from Synanon, i.e., that you cannot turn over the obligations of treating the ill to private sector without having a state’s role as a watch dog for abuse. For a history on this see

If this bill had not been passed, Synanon probably would still exist today and be an organization that benefited society. But instead it was led by a megalomaniac who sought to destroy anyone who got in his way. In her book Ms. Clark did not tell her readers, a scene she read that described where Dederich has a woman on her knees while he berates her for not telling the press how she owes her life to him.

The actual undoing of Synanon is really from the beginning, i.e., the surrender of all decision-making to one man and by 1964 the taking in of non-addicts to build businesses to make Synanon rich and the start of pressure on people seeking help to never leave so that they can work for free in Synanon Industries. By 1967 this became a written rule– no one should leave Synanon (Welcome to Hotel Californiia).

Ms. Clark knows this. It’s in the materials she read but she refused to really disclose it. She omits the key to the Synanon system involved the cutting off of all connections with people outside of Synanon and not leaving property without permission. Additionally it means that you participate in a Synanon world with Synanon people and do not have contacts with the outside world or the people in it. This is far worse than Scientology’s disconnect policy which is employed to prevent contact with people speaking negatively; with Synanon it applied to everyone.

To make Synanon people look different, and thus ease their separation, they all were eventually directed to shave heads and wear overalls. This in turn caused identification to Synanon and to others of being in a cult separate from the world in general. At this point you have the perfect storm, as many critics described, for Synanon to make all members dependent on it for life, control every aspect of their existence, submit to harm and participate in harming.

Since my writing Part 1, Hillel Aron, in contrast to Ms. Clark’s fable, wrote a very complete history of Synanon in Los Angeles Magazine, following the same trail open to Ms. Clarke. See

Now I pickup with a paid by page breakdown of her book:


“Selling Synanon” is an accurate description of Synanon 1960s. Without any data to support its claims, it sent out members to lectures and sell the miracle of Synanon in order to retrieve donations. Dederich often bragged that he “did it all with words,” changing them to meet the needs of each audience.

Truth was not of concern.

And while the original disciples were over 35 years of age sincerely wanted to build a drug rehab, it was not working when the youth despite some very fiery speeches by Dederich telling everyone that if they would “act as if” he was right they would transform. People want to obey without question.

Clark says Synanon opposed AA’s gentle method and approved the attack therapy. That was putting it mildly. Synanon dished out horrible punishments, the notions and hanging humiliating signs on people to motivate them with the promise that they could obtain respect by just doing what Synanon demands of them. Dederich said AA was born out of love and Synanon was born out of hate. He thought the latter worked better and was wrong. He forced 90% out the door.

How far Clark was going to go to distort the truth appears on page 18 where she says that Synanon admitted being a cult by the end of the 70s. Dederich actually used the term as early as 1960. But she tries to explain this as Dederich’s cult morph was result of divine inspiration and for that she cites Dr. Richard Ofshe who concluded she says that Dederich’s management choices drove the organization development. Ofshe did say that. But his point was Dederich drove it into a terrorist organization. Ofshe’s theory was that Dederich was “evil.” And the plan—he pointed out– was to eventually raise the money under the guise of rehabilitation, “squeeze people out like rotten fruit” and then have the Dederich family steal the charitable funds.

Ofshe, who studied Synanon extensively, wrote in 1972 that Synanon was “the failure that gave birth to an industry.” He was Dederich’s worst critic having lived in Synanon to observe it and then wrote articles on Synanon and brainwashing. He was an “enemy of Synanon” who was sued several times by Synanon but ended up wining his cross-claims. All this is left out of Clark’s book. By omission she falsely suggests he was a fan.

2. On page 19 Ms. Clarke errors by saying that Synanon’s move into a cult environment began in late 1977. It began at the start. I was a religion by 1974. She writes that it had open marriages. That was on the horizon but never occurred. She left out actual truth which is after Dederich’s wife died he interviewed for a new wife and then decided that everyone should take a stranger as a new spouse and ordered all couples in Synanon to break up and take strangers as partners as he had. Dederich was basically by this time totally insane and it was only a small stretch from the crazy things he had been doing in the 60s with witch boards and black magic, with occasional LSD, to violence and desire to kill.

3. The mere fact Ms. Clark sets forth that the clones that followed Synanon obtained such great results is incredible proof of her absurdity. 1st those that followed Synanon’s worst results, know some of the brutality and violence in clones was like Synanon on steroids. There was however– starting with Daytop in New York– facilities that took the idea of cooperation and compassion, eliminated the harshness of the Synanon game, established a graduate program, provided therapists, and with that move actually became the model for the more successful drug rehabs today while Synanon and the clones she praised went down the sleepy slope to law suits and oblivion.

That is not to say that many old time dope fiends did not want to stay in Synanon and sincerely help others and obtain successes. But by 1967 Dederich was into smashing these people emotionally and making them totally dependent on him and unable to make decisions other than he directs.

By example, as compiled by Dr. Ofshe, who Clark takes out of context, in 1961 all Dederich reported was that 70 out of 176 addicts had stayed for five days. Ofshe further pointed out Dr. Casriel who wrote the first Synanon book also reported similar short-term stats: 102 stayed three months and most who stayed longer were gone within a year. Dr. Casriel in 1963 reported that of 62 people located of 160 entries, 19 were graduates, while 43 remained inside Synanon. No one knows the actual final fate of the 19. In 1964 a New Jersey Drug Study Commission opted not to give Synanon any funding after reviewing rehabilitation statistics supplied by Synanon Foundation. Out of 1,180 addicts who had entered Synanon in its first five years of operation, only 26 had graduated, without known follow-up results. Yet it was from this, Ofshe noted, that the “Miracle” was proclaimed.
Clark read Ofshe but did not report this. Clark goes further and misleads re Ofshe.
Per Ofshe, former President of Synanon Dr. Elizabeth Missakian’s own study of Synanon records (she so testified in the Fagel case) found that during the first two years 90 percent had departed within one year. And while in 1978, Ofshe noted, Synanon publicity reported 20,000 people had gone through its doors, but they were exiting at even a higher speed. And that number of entrance was highly inflated by injection of squares—non addicts– and children born to addicts and squares alike.
By 1971 Dederich would submit that while 10,000 to 12,000 people had gone through Synanon only about 10 percent stayed free of drugs for as much as two years, which was similar to the statistics everyone else concluded (except Clark and Janzen—but they did not in my view seek truth) and were the same as results at Lexington Hospital when Synanon was founded in 1958.
In 1971, Dederich stated, as Ofshe noted: “…the idea of ‘graduate’…was a sop to social workers and professionals who wanted me to say that we were producing a ‘graduate.’ I always wanted to say to them, ‘A person with this fatal disease will have to live here all of his life.’ I knew damn well if they got out of Synanon they are dead. A few, but very few have gone out and made it. When they ask me, ‘If an addict enters Synanon, how long will it take,’ my answer is, ‘If he is lucky, it will take forever.’” Despite having read Ofshe, Clark and Janzen keep this out of their fairy-tale books.
In 1973 professionals stated that Synanon’s absorbing members was retention, not rehabili-tation, a result found unfortunately in many of the Synanon clones, which Synanon bragged 2,400 existed. Ultimately, as stated above, Dederich would testify in 1981 they never knew how to cure a dope fiend and nobody does. All he knew was that if someone stayed they didn’t do drugs.
As stated above, if Dederich truly believed leaving meant dying, his squeezes and toss outs—like of old timer Bill Crawford for refusing to change spouses—were then equivalent to willfully sentencing one to death for CED’s ego and financial gain. The Old Man would testify that, except for 2 people, he never gave a splitee more than 15 minutes of thought from the mo-ment each left. This is all typical of an antisocial personality.
Worse, when others, like Dr. Casriel who formed Daytop, decided to use the Synanon ap-proach modified, they did not understand the effect of age and desire in the Synanon flashes of success and further did not understand the danger of its approach as described by Simon and Friedenberg. A belief system based upon coercive persuasion is expected by all who have stud-ied it to be largely abandoned when the pressures are removed. But Lifton noted the system does have some lasting effects, some positive. Janzen said brainwashing did not exist but admitted to me he did not know what it is. Clark knew of its use but hid it.
In one of his many papers on Synanon, Ofshe noted that it is doubtful that all the therapeutic communities that cloned themselves after Synanon would have done so if they heard Mr. Dederich testify as he did in 1979 of Synanon’s rehab days:
“…it’s always a mistake to let anyone into Synanon…Anybody. Every time we let some-body into Synanon we assume an enormous liability and this is done consciously. We let, we let crazy people into the door and we don’t discriminate. Any dammed fool who wants to come in and say I’d like to live with you and we let them in. That’s the nature of our business. We either do that or we stop. Now, if it is not very God damn profitable, I would go into another business. But it is a calculated risk we take. It’s a calculated risk. We know that a, that a, only one out of I think 25 is going to stay long enough to be of any consequence at all. What was it one in 25 days for two years?
“It’s still such an embracing business that I would like to stay in it. I don’t have to stay in it anymore. I’m rich. But I, it’s a marvelous business to watch these assholes come in and fall all over themselves and try bite me in the ass. You know its great fun, to watch that. It’s like, it’s like the story I’ve always told you, you know about the warden standing up on the, looking out the window of his office and down in the big yard and saying, ‘Come here, George, watch ‘em…’ they’ll all fuck each other pretty soon, you know, we, we, we most of the people who come into our house and say I would like to live here and turn out to be very, very real crazy people…real crazy people. I suppose if they weren’t why I’d have to find another business.
“There just a, lots of them down in the Bank of America building in San Francisco, Pacific Union club, various law offices throughout the country, the streets, the ghettos, the penitentiaries. It’s a real field day.”
Yet by 1968, to justify ending graduation, if Dederich was correct, there was little success in curing addicts. By then only 1,000 out of the 12,000 claimed to have entered were there, and leaving was defined as failure. And, as stated, many of those who left were purposely ejected or forced out by Dederich “squeezes.” Indeed, that same year Dederich, in his “The Wrath of God” speech, accused addicts of stabbing him in the back by failing to negotiate an apartment complex purchase, threatened to get rid of all of them and replace them with squares.
After saying staying in Synanon is the addict’s only chance for sustained life, in 1976 Dede-rich said that in five years there would be “no room for the kind of people you are now. You won’t be here. No one will be mad at you. It’s wonderful. Good luck. God bless you. But there won’t be any room for the kind of people you are now. Now there’s a little room for you now. Five years from now we won’t need people like you.” In essence, believing they would die, he intended in sentencing them to death.
Rather than a commune wonderfully promoted as reforming criminals as stated by Clark, it made criminals out of non-criminals and took formerly reformed criminals to a higher level of criminal violence.
Yet at the same time for many older long time addicts truly seeking reform it was a success; probably in spite of Dederich’s processes. Many did re-learn a morality; one so strong they blew the whistle on Synanon—the family they loved and had cared for them—to stop the violence and brainwashing.

4. Clark states that Synanon was a charismatic leadership and fails to see that this will always lead to failure. (She doesn’t yet get Trump)When people become depended upon the charisma of the leadership there is nothing to protect them when that charisma goes insane. And human’s treated like gods and given absolute power get their faster. That is the lesson of Synanon and not this horrible written book by Ms. Clark.

5. Contrary to Ms. Clark’s proclamation that Synanon obtained legitimacy that never quite happened. There was during the 60s a very powerful and compassionate debate over Synanon. The majority believed the selling of Synanon and when you look at the 1st dozen members there was certainly reasons for hope. If the Government had done its job and established licensing rules and oversight, the “charisma” of Dederich would never has sped down the slippery slope to attempted murders and mayhem. The entire community would not have become obsessed with bloodshed.

6. Clark prescribe’s Dederich’s LSD experiments as morphing him into providing promising psychiatric treatment. What occurred was that Dr. Keith Ditman proclaimed his LSD experiment a failure and became an opponent of LSD. Dederich himself used on his followers keeping them awake without sleep long enough to go into a LSD type schizophrenia in which they were open to being taught new beliefs. Dr. Dtman himself testified to this at the trial of Leslie Van Houten of the Manson family. And his is only one hopefully good example – – Synanon – – was to become a Manson like family bent on murder, mayhem and revenge. None of this was mentioned in Clark’s book.

And while it is true that Synanon from 1958 to 1968 sold many on its system, there was equally just as passionate professionals that were denouncing it as a cult, brainwashing and harmful. But Clark only cites the favorable, not the unfavorable. I refer you to my book “From Miracle to Madness” on Amazon which left out nothing. Everything said favorable and unfavorable appears so that the reader can judge the debate and from the events that occurred can judge the outcome.

7. Clark, cites Steve Simon. Simon, a student at Harvard who was persuaded by Dr. Abrahan Maslow – – the founder of the Human Potential Movement – – which was responsible for the rise of cults in the 1970s – – to go study at Synanon. Simon did his dissertation there and in it declared that there was a danger of being a participant observer because the Synanon system was brainwashing as defined by Dr. Robert Jay Lifton and other writers in the field and that there were pressures to tear you down and make you except their beliefs. Clark does not note this, but only parts about his complements about Synanon.

She leaves out that ultimately Simon lectured on violence and ran a criminal conspiracy to destroy Synanon tapes and documents that showed it had become a terrorist organization and finally, Simon went to prison. Yet Clark’s cites him with glowing praise. Even Maslow, before he died, revoked his Human Potential Movement as a mistake that had arisen out of a dream of Utopia and his hatred for his mother. He said people should not give up their ability to think, which is exactly what Synanon and other cults of the 20th century preached.

8. Clark describes Walker Winslow having written several supporting articles on Synanon. Most were published in the Manas Journal. She leaves out that the Journal finally wrote of Synanon’s failure and turn to crime. Winslow, like most pro Synanon writers, saw facts that would verify such beliefs, but made the fatal mistake of all in failing to differentiate between old timer Synanon addicts seeking help and Charles Dederich seeking riches power and to rule.

9. Clark writes of many Synanon experimentations in prisons, as I did. However the results we write are in opposite. Clark suggests they were successful by just leaving out the facts. All ended in failure. Sitting around in a circle and playing a game does not cure any one not ready to be cured. And if you’re ready to be cured, you do not need to sit around in a circle and listen to war stories and people telling you that you been messed up all your life.

10. Walter Cronkite on Synanon is quoted suggesting it led to transformation’s but transformation as to what? Famously, Walter Cronkite referred to the murder attempt on my life by a Rattlesnake as “bizarre by even cult standards.” But of course this does not appear in Clark’s book.

Clark also quotes that typical Synanon’s statement the “idea of crime, like dope, is an addiction to stupidity.” It’s a great line and helped with many leaving that life. The problem, is in relationship to Dederich, it is an oxymoron. Once in control, having brainwashed them, he led the entire organization to devotion to lying, crime and attempting to murder. The morality Clark speaks of has being spoken had had in fact been accepted by many, and it was so successful to give them the power to take the stand in the court room and testifiy to Synanon’s crimes. It was not easy to have to tell the truth about the organization that many believe had helped them improve their lives; also their former friends still resided within. But that morality spoken of in the early days of Synanon did internalize and did direct these former members to tell the truth.

Telling his memories, that society itself was sick, Dederich induced his followers to remain forever and never leave. They were also to be absolutely loyal and follow all of Dederich’s directions without question (Again, Trump). For once Clark had alleged Behaviorist wrote a truth, but it appears her motivation was her failure to see the horror of what she was writing. How can therapists, judges, probation officers recommend addicts use a system to cure addiction that has as its core believes the addict will never leave it and serve it forever.

And it was that decision, for people still to refer others to Synanon for help, that doomed them to returning not to what they were but into something far more fiendish.

If I was Clark I wouldn’t offer my services to the FBI behavioral unit. She just doesn’t get it.

This was part 2 of the critique to her book in effort to keep before the public accurately what occurred in Synanon. You could take the shortcut and just by my book “From Miracle to Madness”—soon to be a TV series– or just research Synanon on your own. If you have any journalistic skills and/or therapeutic training you will conclude Clark has little.


So hear is a deal. Robert Port and Eddie Barbini decided to do a documentary serirs. I have 6 documentary companies to choose from including a paid offer from the BBC. But I’m giving them free option exclusively and I want to convince them it’s okay for you to do the script they may even want to produce it. They are Oscar documentary winners for documentary on /911 I’m going to give them your John and Yoko script and tell them that if you haven’t sold it they would be crazy not to produce it.

Here is what I need from you please, is the idea for the documentary and/or your film that I wrote and that Johnny Depp could play either role of the me or Charles dederich or just otherwise narrate the thiing. Tell him I’ve watched “When You Are Strange” 8 times. Then either give him chapter 7 which I can email you, plus the pitch I have enclosed. And/or have him Google Los Angeles magazine May 2018
Synanon and go on my website Paul which has 4,000,000 hits and palisades the Palisades post is searched. That will give you the April story on my life or just haven’t read Wikipedia. He can probably in your movie play me at 57 when I discover I am ill seriously from the Rattlesnake bite

Most important, you tell him that regardless of any past problems I believe him. Like 10-year-old Natalie Wood said in the close of “miracle on 34 Street”: “I believe. I believe … It’s silly. But I believe.”

At that moment I will have him in my hand.