Falling Phoenix

A survivor of a cult-based “Therapeutic Community” coming to terms with her past and telling the whole story.

Latest from the Blog

Here’s the story…Phoenix House/Synanon/Navy

Strange Roots Synanon, also known as The Church of Synanon was a cult started by Charles “Chuck” Dederich in 1958 when he developed the belief that Alcoholics Anonymous wasn’t able to adequately treat those addicted to drugs. Chuck had attended Alcoholics Anonymous daily for a period of time, but as he became more popular in…

From Synanon to Hare Krishnas?

While I was at Phoenix House Descanso (San Diego) from ‘92 to ‘94, they began allowing “outside mentors” to come and chat and befriend and talk to us. The most memorable was the group of Hare Krishnas that would come up weekly and chat with us, in groups and individually. One young Hare Krishna, whom…

The Game

You can read about my first experience with an encounter group and a description of what Synanon and Phoenix House’s “The Game” is like from inside the circle in a previous blog post, but I’m going to share some receipts today, too. These are pages from the Phoenix House Handbook as it stood in 1992.…

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