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Bourbon and Bloodshed


Jun 24, 2020

The cult we’re talking about of course is Synanon, the drug rehab program turned cult founded by Charles Dederich, in 1958. Dederich was an alcoholic who had successfully completed AA where he saw that those addicted to drugs weren’t welcome into AA meetings due to the thought that drug addiction was so different than alcohol addiction. Because of this, Dederich decided to form his own group that would cater to the specific needs of those addicted to drugs. While it started as a 2 year residential program for drug and alcohol rehabilitation, by the 1960s it had essentially become a commune where people were looking for self-actualization. By the 70s it was known as the Church of Synanon and by 1991 it had completely disbanded after legal issues that ranged from losing their tax free status, to terrorism, to some of the members being charged with attempted murder.

Sources:

https://www.anb.org/view/10.1093/anb/9780198606697.001.0001/anb-9780198606697-e-1501294

http://www.paulmorantz.com/cult/the-history-of-synanon-and-charles-dederich/