On November 3rd, Miriam Bourdette passed away peacefully at home, surrounded by her loving husband, Phil, her two daughters, Rebekah and Naomi, her sister, Deborah, and one of her grandchildren, Olive. She was surrounded in love. We will be planning a celebration for her amazing life at some point. Right now we are just trying to pick up the pieces and reflect on the giant that she was. We thank everyone for all the messages of love and support throughout this time. Naomi
“Holding my breath, I dialed the number and after a few rings the phone was answered by a pleasant and intelligent-sounding young woman named Miriam Levine,(Miriam Bourdette)who I learned was there in New York accompanying her soon to be husband, Bill Crawford, one of the then four Directors of Synanon.
She listened quietly for a few minutes to my sad story and then with no apologies, interrupted and said, “If I were you I’d get over here right away. Do it as if your life depended on it.” Wasn’t that a clever thing to say? I had never met anyone like Miriam, not even in Daytop.
She didn’t play “therapeutic community games;” there was no trying to bait me, asking questions that would eventually lead to my looking like a fool. She did not call me a bunch of stupid assholes or tell me I was a loser. She didn’t act like she thought she was better than me or smarter than me or more “rehabbed” than me; she just talked honestly and frankly. I found it easy to answer her questions humbly and truthfully, sometimes nearly breaking down in tears, after all, I WAS so ashamed. Months later I learned that my interview had been an unusually gentle one, that some were downright harsh and brutal, in particular for those drug addicts who bopped into the environment talking out of the side of their mouth, obviously under the impression they were hot shit. I guess it was pretty clear and Miriam had the intelligence to realize it; at that point, I didn’t
think I was “hot” anything and could’ve been knocked over with a wet noodle.” Ann Lombardo