Charles E. Dederich — Synanon Founder

Every institution is the lengthened shadow of one man” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The Synanon Game began with an idea I had of getting people together in a room to pursue a conversation with a “line of no line.” I began to yell and curse and accuse and ridicule: I talked to everyone in the room as if he had a tail. Boy I felt great, and everyone else loved it too. The next week they all came back. That was the birth of the Synanon Game, which basically hasn’t changed at all since 1958.

“Before the days of Synanon nobody had ever told addicts to stop using drugs. People tried to love them out of it, reason them out of it, and motivate them out of it. We said to them: “Hey, KNOCK THAT OFF! If you shoot dope here we’ll throw your ass out.”

“Synanon came into existence because our society is composed of mama’s boys and daddy’s little girls who have been innundated by attempts to produce nothing but agreeable sensations in them. Character disorders, quite simply, are people who had too strong a dose of “mother love” and were never properly housebroken by fathers.

“The childish idea that money can accomplish something without people is rampant in our society. At the top, its always the manipulation of people — the people business — that makes for success or failure.

“I am proposing a counter-philosophy, a rather old-fashioned, commonsense approach to things: ‘Good boys and good girls get good things — bad boys and bad girls get bad things.’ This idea is the very basis of Synanon. We are a father principle phenomenon which rewards good behavior and punishes bad behavior.”

Synanon lasted from 1958 to 1991. It treated tens of thousands of drug addicts and alcoholics, but it also became a way of life for thousands, about half of whom had never abused any drugs.

Thinking About the Game

“For, the sense of being which in calm hours rises, we know not how, in the soul, is not diverse from things, from space, from light, from time, from man, but one with them”… RW Emerson I remember being in long, long, long ass games.  Listening to my friends and colleagues, lie.  Not only to…

Reid Kimball

‘No sir, I could not do such a thing. I could no more go to the docks with you and turn tricks, than I could use a book to prop open a window”

Many A Blunder and Foolish Notion

In a land of faraway and forgotten dreams, there once was a human circle, where there were no fatal words.  All words were free to be said or unsaid. No words were held sacred or held against the sayer.