The Synanon Fix

The Synanon Fix

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The Synanon Fix story of cults seems like a mythological tale but cults are alive even today. A group of people usually under the charismatic leadership of one self-appointed person who controls every aspect of their lives is what makes up a cult. That is exactly what happened with The Synanon, originally established as a drug and substance abuse treatment centre.

This four-part HBO Documentary uncovers the story about people who were members of a drug rehab that became a thriving community eventually ruled and abused by its leader – Charles “Chuck” Dederich. Harrowing tales from survivors themselves as well as those who grew up in such an environment form part of this series.

Santa Monica, California, USA saw the birth of the Synanon movement back in 1958, which mainly focused on drug rehabilitation programs at first. The organization continued bringing more individuals suffering from different addictions and even some celebrities openly associated themselves with it during that era too. However, over time they started attracting non-addicts looking for sense belongingness through attending meetings held there frequently.

When watching episodes titled The Synanon Fix: Did The Cure Become A Cult?, victims speak about horrible things done by Chuck Dederich to keep them clean off drugs forever. One clip included showed an actual meeting held at their community shown within this documentary series itself where various original recordings can also be seen throughout each episode.

Another thing attempted by game called The Synanon Game was featured and explained in show to viewers; it’s described as being attack-therapy games played during meetings among members themselves or between staffs & patients (though staff participation was mandatory). Clips from these games revealed how far Chuck went with these people already battling addiction problems making them insult others within same room until tears run down each other’s faces.

These final two episodes tell us more about this man named chuck whose treatment facility turned into a dangerous brainwashing cult; we hear all sorts of horror stories from former insiders including mandatory vasectomies & abortions as well as constant abusive behaviour coupled with military boot-camp-like environment maintained by him where many members died due mainly neglectful care received during such rigorous regime they were subjected under. 

However, one episode features different former cult member’s testimonies who say that he forced them leave their partners so they could remarry within his organization – something which still haunts those who went through such experiences today not knowing whether it was worth it or not having been part of the same community before. The ninth and final hour centers around a 25-year-old Californian housewife named Frances Winn who joined because she was severely depressed at time of joining Synanon; her 9 day kidnapping is told here.

We also get see how Chuck reacts when sued over kidnappings and negative press coverage surrounding Synanon becomes too much for him bear emotionally causing him become mentally sick again then later passing away in nursing home after rekindling relationship with alcohol that had plagued most his life.

Once these people realize what happened to them while involved with this religious leader and his organization, they will have no choice but accept their exploitation by such individuals thus leaving little room left for personal growth within oneself or society at large. The Synanon Fix: Did The Cure Become A Cult? is an infuriating watch filled with heartbreaking stories from survivors turned advocates against abusive power which ends up making it must-see docuseries.

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