I was set up to inherit my grandmother’s diamond ring when I turned 21. At that point I was drowning in my heroin addiction, and despite my deep love for her and swearing to myself that I would cherish it, my ex talked me into pawning it, swearing up and down that we’d buy it back and it would only be temporary.
Sure enough when it came time to pick it up I didn’t have the money to get it back. Panicked and ashamed I called my mother and told her what I did. She came through and bought it back, but wouldn’t let me have it. I didn’t deserve it, my illness would’ve had me back in the pawn shop a week later doing it all over again.
My birthday is tomorrow and my mom surprised me with my ring. I’m sitting here wearing it and thinking of how far I’ve came. I still feel that shame and embarrassment that I got to that place to risk such a treasured heirloom for a fix.
I don’t know if I believe in an afterlife but if there is one I hope that she’s looking down on me with pride that I made it.
Communication. It’s the first thing we really learn in life. The funny thing is once we grow up, learn our words, and really start talking, the harder it becomes to know what to say. As babies we were easy. One cry meant we were hungry; another we were tired. It's only as adults that we become difficult. We start to hide our feelings and put up walls. It can get to the point where we never really know how anyone thinks or feels, even ourselves. Without meaning to, we can become masters of disguise with only surface level relationships -- void of true connection or intimacy. I think this is something all humans tend to experience, addict or not. In addition to overcoming this obstacle, being an addict doesn’t lend itself well to the making of friends – maybe because life and mortality are in our faces all the time. Maybe because in staring down death every day, we’re forced to know that life, every minute, is borrowed time. And each person we let ourselves care about is just one more loss somewhere down the line. For this reason, I know some addicts who just don’t bother making friends at all – I was one of those people for a long time. As I got older and slipped deeper and deeper in my addiction, the more I distanced myself from loved ones. The only new connections I really made were drug connections. Since I usually had ulterior motives, I assumed everyone else did as well – so I kept people at a distance, not really trusting anyone.
A brain study revealed that when placed in an MRI, our reward center lights up when another person sits in the room. Neurons fire when we talk to someone or think about someone – and they go haywire when we hold someone's hand. Our brains and bodies are programmed to seek each other out and connect. In prison, the worst possible punishment (arguably equivalent to death) is solitary confinement. Human connection is such a basic need that even innocent prisoners would rather interact with rapists and murderers than be alone. In fact, the brain is so ill-adapted to isolation that it drives people mad. Prisoners in solitary confinement become anxious, angry, prone to hallucinations and wild mood swings, and unable to control their impulses. If so many activists and psychologists consider solitary confinement torture, then why do so many of us self-isolate and convince ourselves it’s “because we prefer being alone?” Why do we often run for the hills when we feel the slightest connection? Why do we feel compelled to fight what we're hard-wired to do? Maybe it's because when we find someone or something to hold onto, that feeling becomes like air and we're terrified we're going to lose it. And trust me – you can get pretty good at being alone. But, most things are better when they're shared with someone else. We’re supposed to feel. We’re supposed to love. And hate. And grieve. And break. And be destroyed. And then build ourselves again. That’s life – that’s the entire point of being alive. We can’t avoid it or extinguish it. At some point, we have to make a decision.
Some people make it look so easy, connecting with another human being. It’s like no one told them it’s the hardest thing in the world. But now I’m making it my job to move that line, to push each loss as far away as I can. Because just like we need food and water, humans need each other. I lost both my best friend & my boyfriend to this disease, among countless other friends. Despite the deep pain & grief that accompanies death, not for a moment have I regretted the close relationship we had and letting them in. In fact, I wish I didn’t waste so much time putting up walls and making them work so hard to tear them down. The only thing that haunts me is at night is wondering if they truly knew how much I loved them. What I'm learning in recovery is that these walls don’t keep other people out, they fence me in. Life is messy. That’s how we’re made and how it’s supposed to be. So, I can either waste my life drawing lines, or live my life crossing them.
that time come the end of the day where you are hyper-alert (though that is probably not the best word for it) to the time of the evening, and consider the time that the alcohol selling stores close. “Crunch time” refers to the back and forth I go through in my head about whether or not to go buy alcohol before it is too late (ie. the stores close). On most days I am lucky to ride that back and forth out until it’s “too late”, knowing it’s for the best. But not always.
Day one and two of this journey however, I was lucky enough.
I will say, now that the grocery stores need to stop selling at the same time as the designate liquor stores, this has become somewhat easier. Otherwise, when I initially said “no” but later changed my mind, I had options.
Survivor / Ex-Counselor Testimony. Originally posted OnTheEmmis.com Oct. 2004
in my case, i was a true believer. i did the things that i did, because i was fully convinced that my actions served a greater purpose; although, it was a greater purpose that i never fully understood. at that time, i believed that i just didn't possess the spiritual aptitude to fully "get it." i remember, shortly after one particularly brutal purpose, i came to the realization that bob, clint, dl, and others were just better men than i. i just wasn't born with whatever they possessed. i was lucky just to have a wife, job, etc.
moreover, i realized that i might ultimately lose these things because...why should have them, i didn't deserve them.
meehan and his wife continued to drive this point. any time that my self image began to improve, they trumped up some kind of charge and put me back in the hot-seat.
i didn't have a poor self-image when i met bob. i was an honor student, an accomplished musician, and I had reached a number of personal goals in my early recovery. i had planned to become a journalist. however, meehan began chipping away at my confidence shortly after i met him. he was highly skilled at this form of abuse. incidently this is the primary reason, in my mind, that the "rape analogy" fits so well.
in any event, by the time i was fully in the phx mix, i was expending all of my energy attempting to "get it." at times, i thought i did "get it." then i would go talk to bob and joy, they would inevitably berate me and send me away crushed.
in addition to destroying my self-image, they destroyed my reputation. over the years, bob and joy created a dark profile and attached my name to it. they then systematically sold it to the entire icecap staff, as well as many of the parents and group members. they branded me a "woman-hater" (which i have never been), a "control-freak," and a "cult-leader". sound like anyone we know.
they convinced people that innocent playful acts were really "attacks, " insidious attempts to harm people and take control. every move i made had a deeper meaning, somehow designed to control, intimidate, and harm others, especially women.
they convinced my wife of these things, as well. at one point, i had to make amends to a young staffer for removing some excess salad dressing from my daughters salad after she had accidently poured on too much. why the amends? because this was obviously an act of terrorism against my wife (who was also at the dinner table). therefore, the staffer, who was eating dinner with us, had been the victim of poor role-modeling and this legacy of abuse would surely be carried on to his children some day. this was a serious matter which required my being harshly abused for at least 2 hours at meehan's kitchen table.
these kinds of scenarios were never ending. once my daughter asked to take a picture of my wife and i together. of course, i was seen as a vicious culprit in this scenario. clearly, i had "set-up" my daughter to ask for the picture in an attempt to "manipulate" my wife into bonding with me, when she "needed" to pull away from me.
every question i asked, every statement i made, if i worked too much, if i didn't work enough...these things were always under scrutiny. anything i said could and was used against me.
i wasn't angry at bob and joy; i knew it was my fault. i was "toxic", as one former icecap director had put it.
that said, there came a point in time when i began to realize that meehan was acting, at the expense of others, in his own self interest. this happened in part because meehan began to confide in me. "we take care of our own." "it's about the money." i began to realize that the harm that had been perpetrated upon others--i wasn't thinking of myself as having been harmed--were not acts attached to a higher purpose, but acts designed to make bob's life, and the lives of the rest of "us" better.
prior to that time, i had also believed that people who were mistreated--not my term for it then--were being acted upon in ways that would ultimately help them.
meehan knew i had a high degree of compassion and empathy, he would not have allowed me to believe others were being harmed, until i had connected with "my true sociopathic male self" (meehan's words). his awareness of my compassion was also the reason he chose to brand me as a woman-hater, an effective way to destroy my self-esteem.
when i realized that we were harming others, i decided to leave icecap. i could have walked away right then. i almost did. i knew i would lose my wife and daughter. i knew they would marry-off goody 2 shoes as quickly as possible, and i knew that my daughter would grow up calling some other guy dad. i even had a short-list of whom they would choose to marry my wife.
i decided to take-off and not look back. i was literally on my way out of town. i didn't want to leave my wife--who was my true love--but i didn't even recognize her anymore.
the thought of leaving my daughter broke my heart, as well. then i thought i could leave, fight meehan, shut him down, and get my family back. but, i realized they would probably have 2 shoes married, and possibly pregnant, in order to avoid this scenario.
maybe i should have left. perhaps that would have been the right thing to do. instead, i chose to stay and work on getting my family out with me. subterfuge became my game.
that decision meant that i continued to participate in icecap and continued to harm others--though i made a concerted effort to try to get an anti-mind-control message through, especially in the training classes i taught.
i stayed for another year and finally left with my family intact...somewhat.
I see friendships the same way you do and actually think that equally prioritizing romantic and platonic relationships is a rare virtue, one that I seek out in the people I invest my energy into. Too many ppl drop or neglect their friendships when they're seriously dating and it's usually to their detriment.
I just don’t wanna be the way I am but the only way I can be the way I wanna be is when I’m using drugs and I can only make that last for a little bit at a time before it ruins everything
Survivor Testimony Originally posted OnTheEmmis.com Feb. 2005
I "bailed" from Cornerstone almost two years ago now. I left because I had a problem in my life that had nothing to do with drugs - and i went to my counselor for help because i trusted her. She couldn't help me. She had no idea what to do, so she denied my problem. I lost all support from people that were supposed to be my friends, and i was completely alone. Everyone told me that i was just making up some elaborate story to get attention. So i left. I got through one of the roughest obsticles in my life without the group and without any friends. I did get high when i left. However, i found my way back to sobriety and happiness. I am able to do things today that i never thought possible... I just recently graduated from highschool instead of getting my GED like suggested in the group, I am in college, and i hang out with whoever i feel like-whether they get high or not. I make my own decisions in life today, i don't ask permission to do anything. I make decisions based on my own judgement- not what someone else thinks is the right thing to do. I don't get horrassed if i miss a meeting and i'm not scared to get out of bed today because i might get ripped off for something i did the day before. Cornerstone taught me a lot. Mostly it taught me what not to do, and how not to be. As far as i am concerned, the only positive things about that program are all things that they have ripped off from AA. Today, I am able to walk through my fears and live my own life the way that i want. Not to say that my life is perfect now, i still make mistakes, but at least they are my own mistakes, and it is my life.
Survivor Testimony: Staying Sober After The Group. Originally posted on OnTheEmmis.com circa 2005
I want to start off by saying that I wish to remain anonymous on this website for the time being as there are a few potential real-life consequences to my being exposed in here and I ask that if you think that you might know me that you not expose my identity publicly in this online forum. If you wish to contact me, please shoot an e-mail to the address that I have provided and I will gladly respond. Now that I've got the self-centered paranoid disclaimer out of the way, I'll tell you why I'm here. First, I want to thank tremendously whoever launched this website, I think it is a great service. It really reaffirmed for me that I wasn't the only sane person who thought that all was not necessarily right in that place. I am posting my story here because I want anyone else who finds themselves in a similar position as mine was early on in sobriety to seriously consider the ramifications of joining the group, getting a different perspective on the matter, before making any such decision. I was offered sage advice early on, but I chose to ignore it.
After a brief exposure to AA in 1998, without any real tangible practice of the program in my life, I quickly decided that I wasn't alcoholic and went back out - only to suffer more self-inflicted torture from the hell that is alcoholism. After several months and some tremendously painful life experiences, I sheepishly crawled back to the program of AA, determined that I needed to stay sober at any cost or that I would die. About the time I had 90 days, I felt the same disillusionment that I had felt in my first AA experience, but I was at the painful jumping off place - I knew that I couldn't live like this anymore, but I also knew that drinking wasn't a viable option either. In my return to AA, I had latched on quickly to some fresh graduates from an ICECAP program, and I was very attracted to their apparent enthusiasm and zest for life - I desperately wanted whatever they had. Seeing the emotional pain that I was in at three months sober and the struggle I was experiencing, one of the graduates suggested that I try out the ICECAP program for 30 days. Secretly, I had already had the inclination to check it out, but due to my own self-loathing, I was too scared to inquire about it. But as soon as the validation came from a graduate that I might be a suitable candidate, my eyes started to glow, and the future looked bright.
After a few weeks of ICECAP meetings, functions, "wedging," one-on-ones, hugs from attractive girls, and a wild Round Robin, I was sold. Well, almost.
I still hadn't broken off totally from AA yet, and there was one person in particular fighting to keep me out of the ICECAP group, a girl who had spent some time in there a few years before and had some tremendous resentments and hostility towards the group. She prophetically advised me that if I went in that we wouldn't be allowed to be friends anymore and that my Higher Power would become the group, that I would be resigning my will over to the group for the direction I would take in my life. I thought she was being hysterical and making up wild black-helicopter, Branch Davidian type claims about this seemingly very pleasant and loving group. They seemed far more rational than her (keep in mind, I was barely sober), and she was so angry with me that it was not hard for me to dismiss my friendship with her when I decided to be a part of the group exclusively.
I don't have any dramatic horror stories to describe about my experience in the group over the next 2.5 years, but I remembered everything my AA friend had told me before I went in - that I wouldn't be allowed to go to concerts, that I would have no control over my own dating situation and when given permission to date, that the group would decide who I would be allowed to date, that I would be discouraged from contacting any old friends, even completely normal ones with good jobs and college educations, that I would have no sort of independent social life, that my status on the social totem pole would be dictated totally by the whims of SC and the staff, and the list goes on ad infinitum. I thought she was insane, that nobody could possibly exert that amount of control over me. But all of these things and more came to pass, because I let them. My entire sense of self was dictated by how the group and the staff perceived me, and even though I often questioned my desire to remain a part of the group (I never once questioned my alcoholism), any real dialogue with which I attempted to engage with a sponsor in the group or a counselor was always spun to make me feel as if I was spiritually bankrupt and that if I decided to leave that I would probably wind up getting drunk, even though my intention had always been simply to return to AA meetings and to find an AA sponsor.
Leaving the group before getting the "official" pat on the butt to go from the director was not approved of under any circumstances, based on my experience. If you were in OG, any desire to detach from the group would invariably mean that you would be homeless if you lived in an apartment (with five or six other people, lying to your landlord about the number of tenants completely with the endorsement of the staff, even though this is illegal), that you would lose any romantic relationship if your boyfriend/girlfriend was still in the group, and that you would be ostracized by the group at the subtle suggestion of staff (they would never blatantly tell anyone to shun those who "bailed," but they had no problems letting you know that they thought that people who bailed were "pieces of sh*t"), that you may lose your job if it was obtained through someone in the group or someone in parent group, and that if the staff had gotten in deep enough with your parents, that you may face homelessness at the suggestion from the counselors that your parents should exert "tough love" and not let you live with them. Because I was too much of a chicken sh*t to break free, I stuck around until they let me graduate, because I was terrified of the social consequences of leaving sooner. Hell, they even threw me a bone and let me be on SC for a little while after I showed enough devotion to the cause. During that wonderful period of my ICECAP experience I had the joy of sitting through those meaningful purposes where someone invariably got called out as the "f*cked-up" one and it would quickly turn into a big sobbing mess. I was too timid to ever get myself into that hot seat, so I just shut up and did what I was told - but it wasn't because I was doing so much better than the others - I just hid my stuff well enough that no one could ever really call me out on it. But I witnessed it all the time. I was terrified of being "that guy," so I never challenged or questioned anything - but in my gut I did all the time. Because of my tremendously low self-worth, the staff always knew that I would be a loyal servant and fall in line with whatever the direction was and never question anything - in truth I questioned a lot, but I was way too insecure to ever voice my sentiments.
Since having graduated a few years back, I've discovered 2 kinds of graduates - those who have serious resentments towards the group, and those who are in denial about their serious resentments towards the group. At first, still being the highly sheepish type, I clung to my fellow graduates and some prior graduates that were still "loyal to the cause." It wasn't really what I wanted, but I was so socially retarded by living in the pretend world of the group that I didn't know what else to do. During the graduation process, we were advised that there were many people in AA who, not having had the privilege of our "more sober than thou" experience, would be ill qualified to be anything more than casual acquaintances at meetings. We were told that most AAs lack real depth of "principles" - they go to concerts, hang out in the city, associate with people who may have an occasional drink, don't like G.W. Bush, don't need to go on four dates to hold hands, share romantic feelings, become involved in outside activities, pursue non-treatment related careers, talk to licensed psychologists, etc. - these people were shallow and lacked a "real" program, we were told. Their sobriety was "unattractive," and we should avoid them at all costs. We should stand in judgment of them from our moral high ground. We were "first-class citizens." What a load.
With some time and experience in AA, I've slowly started to let go of a lot of the old ways of thinking that were burned in for two and a half years. Much of the resentment has subsided, though not entirely. I have learned a lot about myself through all of this, and haven't had to drink over any of it, though I was close at times. I've watched as most of the people that I graduated with have slipped out of the program - some because they realized that they weren't alcoholic, some because their alcoholic resentment toward the group pushed them to drink. I don't feel sorry for those who left out of resentment towards the group, because AA offers a wonderful program to help overcome resentments, if one chooses to follow it. And those who discovered that they weren't alcoholic and who choose to drink occasionally are no less moral than me. Most will just go on and live their lives - some very productively.
As far as me, I hope to stick around the tables of AA for some time to come because I definitely think I belong here. I've got a great AA sponsor who has never had any affiliation with the ICECAP groups and is totally willing to let me fall flat on my face without passing judgment on me - he's a man who shares his experience, strength and hope with me and shows me how to work the steps of AA (not some twisted hybrid), but never expects anything from me whatsoever. And he is clear to let me know that anytime I want out, I am free to go, no love lost. So today, sobriety really gets to be my choice. I still have a lot of ties to a lot of people from the group, and even a degree of affection for some of the people still in the group and even (gasp) on the staff. Some of my fellow graduates are more detached from the group than me, some less, and our feelings about the group are pretty varied - the general consensus for most of us, however, is one of gratitude for the fact that we're here and not there anymore. I'm still learning a lot about people, AA, the Steps, life in the "real" world, and how to trudge the road everyday. I'm also still unlearning a lot of things like judgmental thinking, comparative sobriety, racism, arrogance, and closed-mindedness. I've got a new Higher Power that doesn't sit in judgment of me when I occasionally flirt (ICECAP translation - "game") with a girl or choose to occasionally indulge in less than pure thoughts. I've got new friends, both in and out of the program, who have no connection whatsoever with the ICECAP groups. I'm going to a fairly liberal school which is showing me perspectives and ideas that I never even knew existed. And I've finally gotten enough balls to go to a concert again - the laughable irony about that is that most of the people that I'm going with are also graduates of the program who have solid amounts of time sober, and whose principles, in my esteemed opinion, are entirely intact.
Pretty soon, a fresh crop of graduates will get pumped out into AA, the ones not quite "gnarly" enough to go to training. Within a few years, more than half of them won't be in AA any longer for whatever reason. The truth is, in my humble estimation, for all the so-called "silver platter" sobriety one gets in the group, once they come into AA, they have about as much a shot at long-term sobriety as anyone else out here, which is not much at all. The disease of alcoholism is cunning, baffling, and powerful, and any sort of band-aid one tries to use to avert the pain will only be temporary - as my sponsor says, eventually we must stop trying to go around the pain and just simply go through the pain. There is a sober life after ICECAP if you want it - and it will be awkward, embarrassing, humbling, and sometimes painful - but it gets a lot better. And you get to live your life without wondering who's watching all the
Survivor Testimony circa 2004. Originally posted OnTheEmmis.com
I began the program in 1988 at Crossroads in St. Louis. I remember those being the most fun days of my life. I still love those memories. I met some really great people. If only I would have stopped there!!!!
Clint Stonebraker called me in 1991 and asked me to come be a counselor at Atlanta Insight. It took me about a millisecond to accept. This was my dream. I thought I could never be happier.
I learned some serious life lessons in the years to come. I never realized how much of a luxury food, electricity and toiletries were. Looking back, I really can't believe we were convincing people that true happiness included living in poverty and turning your back on your family.
I moved around to Houston and Phoenix. It was all pretty much the same story. We actually did start getting a little bit of money, though. After none at all, it seemed like a fortune!
Well, 1997 rolled around and I was extremely burnt out. I truly realized that I was not happy. I was terrified to leave. Here I was 24, no education, no money, no skills. ( I never even had the privilege of the ICECAP training). The worst part is, I truly believed that everyone else in the world was f-ed up in the head. I was convinced that these people in the program had the only answers to happiness. I was hopeless because if I can't survive being truly "happy", then my only choice was to self-destruct.
I moved home to St. Louis. Go figure, my family, who I had completely alienated and treated like crap, welcomed me home with open arms.
I began drinking immediately. Within two months, I was smoking crack. I was angry, had no self esteem and often contemplated suicide. I got completely plastered one night and walked into a liquor store with a 9mm. Thank God that I did not kill anyone. I was arrested and was facing up to 10 years in the Illinois State Pen.
Thanks to my Dad, who I didn't talk to for 4 years while I was in the program, I received some pretty good representation and I got a suspended sentence. I have a very boyish look and I don't think I could lasted too long in the Pen.
It took the death of the most beautiful soul I have ever known to straighten me up, my mother. She wrecked her car in 1998 and died of a chest injury. God, I want to throw up when I think of the things the program made me believe about my beautiful Mom. I miss her so much.
As devastated as I was, I chose to deal with it by fixing my life. I met one of former co-workers from Atlanta and he introduced me to three other friends who, literally, saved my life. I stopped drinking and smoking. I even started working out, I had ballooned to over 200 lbs!!!
I expected my new friends to tell me exactly how to live my life. I would talk to them constantly about everything in my personal life and I was so afraid that I was ?spiritually unfit'. I'm sure sometimes they thought I was crazy, I guess in a way, I was.
My life is pretty simple now. I truly believe that as long as I don't hurt myself or anyone else that whatever I do is pretty much OK. And if it isn't, I'll learn that. I talk about my problems when I WANT TO. I tell people what I WANT TO TELL THEM.
When I was new, one the ol’timers told me: “You’re going to have to learn to take a whippin’ like a horse.” Meaning, I was going to have to realize that life is supposed to be throwing challenges my way. It’s baked in to the process. It’s natural.
I spent years “rounding off” the hard corners of life with drugs and alcohol. Running from responsibility and pain. Had I not done that, I would have been well adjusted to harder parts of human existence.
In early sobriety, on the ‘10 scale,’...everything was an 8, 9, or 10. Didn’t matter what it was. Broken shoelace or death of a loved one...8, 9, 10. Most people in this world don’t escape pain and difficulty through intoxication. I did. So, when I got sober, everything was a stress-point of emotional frustration.
The good news, is that if we continue on the path of sobriety and walk through discomfort to the other side, these things eventually find, and shake down into their proper number-grooves.
Today, a broken shoelace barely makes a 1, and a death of someone close to me is right around a 5.
No 8, 9s, or 10s for me anymore.
I had to learn, it was right to take that whippin,’ and accept the fact that it’s natural for adults to face these things - and not soften them with substances.
At six months sober, I was talking to my sponsor about all of the problems life was throwing my way. He listened to me go on and on, without interruption. When I finally finished with all the fussing, he said, “Well my friend, it looks like it’s your turn in the barrel.”
- Joe, alcoholic
For Today --
Most things break, including hearts. The lessons of life
amount not to wisdom, but to scar tissue and callus.
-- Wallace Stegner
Burn the idea into the consciousness of every man that
he can get well regardless of anyone. The only condition
is that he trust in God and clean house.
-- Alcoholics Anonymous, page 98
When one door closes another door opens; but we so
often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed
door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.
-- Alexander Graham Bell
FAQ Originally posted on OnTheEmmis.com circa 2004
I know Meehan's approach to drug rehabilitation is controversial, but aren't his programs far more successful than traditional treatment programs?
Meehan's claims, in regard to successfully treating drug abusers, are grossly overstated. He has never participated in any longitudinal outcome studies and has never kept sufficient records that would allow review of his work. Those that are active clients, as well as active staff members and Meehan himself regard him as a miracle worker. However, when one speaks to former clients and staff they are likely to get a different picture altogether. It seems that teens who enter his programs generally do well in the beginning. Often, they demonstrate a dramatic change for the better. In most cases their parents are elated, because their teens have stopped using and dropped their old friends. These parents of newly sober kids are Meehan's most valuable marketing tool. They are his primary referral source. Those who saw him as a miracle worker when they were in the program (or working for it), more often than not regard him as a con-artist after they have left. Most do not stay clean and sober on the long term. Many feel as though they were, manipulated and abused by the program. Almost all former staff members despise Meehan and regret ever having worked for him.
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Is Bob Meehan really a racist?
Yes. Meehan openly an unashamedly bashes Africans, Hispanics, Jews, Christians, and Muslims in front of his staff. He bashes homosexuals as well. Although he never shows his racism in public forums, anyone who has worked closely with him has seen this side of him.
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The program staff seems so committed, if Meehan is such a bad guy why are all these bright, committed young people working for him?
The program staff are victims of mind control. That is, they have been systematically manipulated, through a variety of classic mind control techniques, over an extended period of time. Most of them came in to the program at a young age and learned to interperet their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors (as well as the world around them) on the basis of assumptions and premises contained in Meehan's dogma. In the beginnig they drop their old friends, as required by Meehan's Step 2 (of his revised version of AA's 12 steps). Later, this step is used to convince them to completely break ties with the world outside of the program. Most staff members eventually break ties with their families. They become wholly and entirely dependent upon the program in every aspect of their lives. Every friendship and romantic relationship they have, is with someone else in the program. The program becomes their source of spiritual guidance as well. Staff members also go through intense psychological abuse at the hands of senior staff. They live in constant fear; though they learn to hide it well. They know that at any time they could be thrown out with no education or resources; that their romantic relationships--even marriages could be torn apart by Meehan; they could be demoted or sent to another city; or all of these things could happen to them at the same time. In addition they have been programmed to believe that they could never suvive without the program.
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Are there any adolescent drug treatment programs out there that work?
Yes. There are a number of programs that seem to be effective for teens. As a rule, we do not endorse drug treatment programs (though we are aware of several), but with a bit of research good programs can be found.
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When I was a member of the Parent Group, I noticed that none of the program alumni (neither parents nor young people) ever returned to visit the program or speak at any of the meetings, banquets, or Round Robins. How come?
That is a good question. The reason program alumni don't return is because nearly everyone who "graduates" or leaves the program wants nothing to do with it once they get out. For the most part, clients of the program either become staff members (if they can afford the training) or leave the program (graduate, walk away, or get thrown out). When they leave, most return to drug use. Those who don't, almost always harbor feelings of bitterness and betrayal, because they begin to realize that they were used, abused, and lied to. Some just go on and on, continuing to feel as though they somehow failed to "get it." Most who leave are also seen by the program powers as being spiritually corrupt. This is especially true for staffers who leave. Though they (the program powers) may not show their real feelings about ex-members to the general population of the program, they don't want former members coming around and corrupting the "positive spiritual energy." It's interesting to note, however, that if someone leaves and becomes visibly successful, Meehan will talk them up and take credit for their success, especially if they are in show business. He often drops the names of famous people that used to be involved with him (such as, Carol Burnett, Tim Conway, and Frank Beard--of ZZ Top), yet these people no longer endorse Meehan; they want nothing to do with him.
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About Bob Meehan. Originally posted on OnTheEmmis.com circa 2004. CW: Explicit Language & Slurs
***WARNING--EXPLICIT LANGUAGE, Some readers may find Meehan quotes offensive.
First, most professionals believe the basic concept of teenagers helping teenagers is a good thing. Young people often feel lost in traditional support groups such as AA and NA. The idea of a staffed peer-support group, which Pathway, Insight, Cornerstone, and Crossroads claim to be, is a good one.
Secondly, most genuine, credentialed drug and alcohol counselors are not opposed to the idea of encouraging and even urging young people, who are recovering from drug dependence, to avoid peers who are active drug users. Many practitioners feel that this may be the single most important step that a newly recovering teen can take.
Third, Palmer Drug Abuse Program as it operates today, is a legitimate and much needed organization. Furthermore, there appears to be no indication that they currently meet criteria that would designate them as a destructive or cultic organization.
Now, here is a little information on Meehan and his organization.
Meehan currently sits at the head of a group of several devotees, who call themselves the International Coalition of Enthusiastic Chemical Abuse Programs (ICECAP). The ICECAP "Board" is fully controlled by Meehan. ICECAP operates several facilities in Arizona, Georgia, Colorado, North Carolina, and Missouri.
"Technically", members of the ICECAP board independently own the facilities. Bob Meehan, possibly under the name JAD (for Joy Ann DeFord his wife's maiden name), LLC , owns a licensed residential facility called Step Two Recovery Center, as well as, another residential facility called Step One Recovery Center. At the time of the last investigation Step One was unlicensed, operating under the radar. Step Two costs $16,000.00 for a 6-week stay, and to our knowledge uses no credentialed staff in it's "therapy" sessions.
He recently opened another Step Two facility in Forsythe County, Georgia. As of the time of this writing, both facilities are operating illegally, as they are not propely zoned.
His son in law, Michael "Clint" Stonebraker, "owns" Pathway Drug Abuse Program in Tempe. Pathway may operate a chapter in Tucson as well. Pathway provides free support groups for teens and parents. In addition, they have an outpatient treatment program, which charges a fee of about $7000.00 for 6 weeks of group counseling. Stonebraker also "owns" a program in Atlanta called Atlanta Insight, and a third in NorthCarolina. There is a program in Colorado operating under the name Cornerstone. It is "owned" by Frank Szachta Jr. Finally, there is another program in St. Louis called Crossroads. It is also "owned" by Frank Szachta. Both Cornerstone and Crossroads are identical to Pathway in that they offer free support group meetings and a fee based outpatient.
All of these support groups serve as feeders for Step Two and Step One Recovery Centers. In addition, Meehan holds seminars for each of these programs on a regular basis*. All parents and teens are expected, pressured, and even manipulated into attending the seminars at a cost of $30 to $50 per person. Up to 200 teens and parents may attend the 4 to 6 hour seminars over a weekend. Meehan keeps all the money. He pockets the cash, which can be a substantial amount.
Meehan also operates a counselor training program under the name Meehan Institute. It is a non-profit, tax-exempt 501 (C) 3. Meehan charges about $4000.00 per person to go through the 6-8 week training program. All of the students are clients, referred by the ICECAP programs. In most cases, their parents are happy to pay the tuition because they are convinced that becoming an ICECAP staff member will help to insure that their child doesn't return to drug use.
The training program is a sham. Courses, titles, and outlines have little to do with the actual content of many of the classes; The course outlines are created to insure that the courses are accepted by certifying bodies such as ABCAC and ICRC/AODA. In reality, many of the courses are simply half-day sessions where students are subjected to various new-age type philosophical lectures given by Joy Meehan (who has no training or experience as a counselor and is not a recovering addict), Meehan himself, or some other Meehan devotee.
Nearly all former trainees who have left ICECAP report that, as a regular part of the Meehan Institute curriciculum, Meehan teaches a course on his personal feelings about "niggers" and fags" (Meehan's words). They report that the young trainees are expected to adopt Meehan's intolerant views and that his opinions are presented as truth, couched in psuedo-science. Those who don't adopt Meehan's views can hardly be expected to succeed in the organization.
In addition, Meehan uses the money from the Institute to pay staff that refer clients to Step One and Step Two. All of the staff who are paid by the training program are also required to work in any capacity that Meehan wishes, including ways that benefit him financially.
The training is ultimately useless outside of ICECAP because the trainees would need a college degree to become certified alcohol and drug abuse counselors. I know of no treatment facility outside of ICECAP that recognizes Meehan Institute training. Most importantly, this tax-exempt organization is taking young people who have been through Meehan controlled programs, charging their families for counselor training, and using the training as part of the client/student's indoctrination to insure that they themselves will go on to refer clients into Meehan's fee-based for profit programs.
Meehan is technically a voting board member--in reality he fully controls the board--and he is financially benefitting from the institute. Therefore, Meehan is once again guilty of the same conflict of interest that got him in trouble in 1980, when "60-Minutes" exposed him for taking money from for profit hospitals while sending them, clients of the non-profit organization he ran.
Those that are "fortunate" enough to be hired by an ICECAP program are overworked and often paid sub-minimum wages. Any staff member is on call at all times. If they work for any ICECAP facility they may be called to work at another ICECAP facility at any time. Staff may be uprooted and moved to another city with little or no notice. They may be demoted at any time on trumped-up charges or for alleged "spiritual" impurity. No one is permitted to seriously question these kinds of decisions.
Meehan expects total loyalty from staff. They see their employment as a part of their recovery and are indoctrinated to believe that they can never make it without the program. Staff members have no real relationships outside the program. Many have been manipulated into severing ties with any family that is not in the program. If one family member leaves or is thrown out, others in the program are encouraged to partially or completely sever ties with the individual who left.
Meehan and his upper echelon (referred to as "The Family") determine when an individual is ready to enter into a romantic relationship. Staff relationships, even marriages, are set-up and managed by Meehan and "the family" which consists of his innermost circle.
For a staff member, there is no such thing as a private matter. Sex, relationships, thoughts, fears, past history, family matters, and money is discussed with and even managed by superiors. As outlandish as it may seem, it is actually a seamless, natural progression for the client, who becomes the student, and then the employee. Staff members, even those with years clean and sober are, handled as though they were clients in a Synanon-type therapeutic community. Incidentally, these clients-turned-staff are not hard-core street addicts who have no hope of a normal life. They are young people, mostly middle-class, who are generally in the early stages of drug dependence (if drug dependent at all) when they enter treatment. If released from the program early on, most could go on to college. Those who have a desire to help others could get an education and become counselors for a legitimate agency.
Staff members are completely dependent upon Meehan and the program. If they leave or do something to offend "the family" they lose their jobs, friends, recovery resources and possibly their families. Usually, they live with another staff member in which case they lose their home.
The active staff is very difficult to penetrate. They are taught that it is acceptable to lie to outsiders. However, total honesty is expected within the group. They are paranoid. Meehan is terrified of the media. If the media, for any reason, contacts anyone in the program, a special meeting may be called to determine how it should be handled.
The same tactics that are used to control staff are used, to a lesser degree, to control clients. Clients may be blackballed or ostracized. A young person who leaves the program stands a good chance of immediately losing all of his or her friends. Romantic relationships and even some friendships are managed by staff. Anyone outside the program is considered a drug user who should be avoided. During treatment at Step Two, teens are allowed only limited contact with family, usually short phone calls once a week with a staff member present.
Meehan is a bigot. He refers to Muslims as "towel-heads". He refers to Jesus as a "dead Jew-boy on a stick", offending both Christians and Jews. Africans are referred to as "niggers" and staff is taught that Africans are less evolved than whites. Hispanics are called "wetbacks" or "spics." Women are bitches. Gays, according to Meehan are "queers" or "faggots" who "suck their own shit off other people's dicks". These are Meehan's words.
Meehan sits atop this empire yet he has no education, no training, no license (as a clinician), no certifications, and no degrees. To my knowledge he has not attended a single training class in his 30+ years as the "Father of Drug Intervention". He knows nothing of pharmacology, cannot state the 12-core functions of substance abuse counseling, and has never completed any type of supervised practicuum. He is simply an ex-convict who claims to have a better understanding of addiction and recovery than anyone else in the world.
* It has been reported that Meehan has stopped giving seminars for young people and is only providing seminars for parents new to the program. We have no information in regard to the current cost for attending these seminars.
There are some admirable things about about the Palmer Drug Abuse Program, some questionable things, and not a few incomprehensible sides, and I think that is the point of this story, and I think that is the way we should preface our interview with the hospital folks and with Meehan.
Structure and organization:
At the top is the National Office, with Ed Leach as Director, and Bob Meehan as Founder, who co-runs the whole thing. There is a comptroller, a director of training, a parents coordinator (Meehan’s wife) and several other people. The National office has a national board of Trustees, made up of prominent people. Carole Burnett and Joe Hamilton will become trustees shortly. The National office is funded partly by assessments on the Central offices of the 12 cities in the program, and partly by donations from individuals and large corporations and the National office supervises the training of new counselors.
Each city in which the program exists has a central office headed by a Director, and under the central office are the neighborhood programs, called satellites. They invariably operate out of churches which have donated space. Each satellite has a Senior Counselor and a Counselor. Each satellite must be self supporting and is assessed to support the City central office. At each satellite there is a parents group which largely supplies the money to support the Satellite.
The Satellites are divided into age groups for PDAP members... up to 16 and 17 above. The younger groups meet one night a week, but their satellites are open during the day, and the meeting nights are staggered so that kids often go to other satellites on other nights. The older group satellites generally operate all day five days a week, and in the older groups are many kids who are not in school or working and who spend most of their time at the satellite. For both groups there are many weekend activities, parties, dances and the like.
Both groups have parent groups which meet separately the same night the satellite holds it’s weekly meeting. For both groups the basic document is the 12 step program, patterned after Alcoholics Anonymous.
When a kid comes in, or is brought in by parents, or referred in by probation or some other source, the counselor tries to get a commitment for 30 days of chemical free life... no dope, no drugs, no booze. If he stays off for 30 days he gets a “fist” at a meeting, with an elaborate and moving presentation. The fist is plaited leather square at the end of a leather necklace, the traditional monkey fist made at the end of nautical lines that are thrown for help from one boat to another or to the shore. It is on the honor system, and there are reports that not all “fistees” are so honest.
During the thirty days the counselors and peers really start putting the pressure on, in a small meeting, and small and large groups... the pressure not only to be chemical-free, but also to commit your life to the 12 steps, to be open, to love, to put faith and trust in God and in fellow PDAPers. Meetings are a cross between mass group psychotherapy and Baptist witnessing, and AA “I need help.” There is a lot of cheering and hugging and hand holding and I love you’s, all of which we have recorded beautifully on film.
During this initial month starts the “life is in the group - death is outside” message. And as the months go on the counselors try to see who is rising to the top, which people seem to have leadership qualities. Those who do are selected out to train as future counselors, and it is clear that one’s goal in life would be met if he could get a job as a counselor and work 7 days a week for PDAP for a modest income.
In short, what PDAP says is that kicking chemicals is not enough. You must be reborn into the greater society of PDAP.
1. PDAP, which started out as a peer-centered, innovative, relatively modest program to get kids off drugs has turned into a religious experience, a way of life, a somewhat paranoid, us vs them organization led by a charismatic character, some would say con-man, who’s motto is “stick with winners.” Winners are those in PDAP. See attached sheet of comments.
2. What was undoubtedly a fulfilling experience for Bob Meehan - not only rising from the slough of drug and alcohol addiction, but founding an organization to help others do the same - now appears to have gone off on an ego trip. He loves the central, guru role, loves to be accepted in polite society (trustees and fund givers) while behaving outrageously. He is unabashed about making money and hopes to make a lot more. He volunteered the fact that the hospital PDAP sends kids to pays him a 50,000 dollar consultant fee (see hospital pages attached) and sees absolutely nothing wrong with it. He is, by his own admission, the country’s leading expert on drug abuse. He is absolutely, totally convinced that his way, PDAP’s way, is the only way.
There are those, though, who just as firmly believe that PDAP will collapse id Meehan doesn’t go. It is in danger of being destroyed by overly fast expansion (particularly since the Burnett stories), of having a hierarchy that has become an end in itself, and which has obscured the original aim of getting kids off drugs. There is too much administration, too much of an overlay on business, on fundraising, on rock bands, on I can do no wrong.
It is clearly a program aimed at the middle class and above. A black or chicano face in the staff or membership is an oddity, and observers say that is because Blacks and Chicano’s cannot provide the financial support now needed to pay for the size staff it now has, no do they have the kind of insurance that will support a hospital stay.
Meehan says PDAP is based on AA, but there is a major difference. AA has systems, but no hierarchal structure, and that is the reason it has survived. PDAP has lost sight of that, and that, and the emphasis on all life inside the group, is the reason PDAP will probably fail if it doesn’t change.
3. Statistics, success and costs:
They boost that they have a success rate of 70%, and that they only spend $300 per year per kid in the program. What they mean is that 70% of the kids who walk in the door stay sober for 30 days and get their fist. Even that figure I believe to be hyped, but long term statistics are nonexistent, and perhaps 15 or 20 percent stay sober for a year. As for the 300 dollar per year figure... Obviously a hype based on the number of people in the program, a figure to believed to be grossly inflated.
Besides, even if you accept that figure the average should include the staggering cost of the hospitalization of a large number of kids... 8 to 12 thousand dollars per times at least 5 or six hundred kids. Even though PDAP doesn’t pay that, someone does.
In addition their bookkeeping is bad, and accounting firms who audit their books imply there are a lot of contributions that are not recorded.
They recently got an outfit in Dallas to work up a system for keeping statistics on the success rate in the Dalles program. I’ll discuss that separately with you. It’s full of gaping holes.
4. The Hospital
As you will see in the attached research on the Deer Park Hospital, that whole system functions as an arm of PDAP, is by and large unnecessary for the needs of most of the people who go there, and is really used as a way for PDAP to get it’s message across in a controlled and isolated atmosphere. The hospital pages tell more.
Comments from others:
Once you get into the program there’s no easy way to leave it. You can get in, get straight, learn those things, but there’s no easy way to get back to regular living, being in society.
They make it sound that if you leave, no matter how long you’ve been off drugs or alcohol, you’re just going to die, to fall apart.
There was never an effort to get people out. The ultimate job in the world was being on staff. There was no other job worth anything.
Not more than 10 or 15 % of the people who come into PDAP are serious drug users.
At Deer Park Hospital most of the people I saw didn’t have to be there. Most of the people where were in there so PDAP could make a big impression on them right from the beginning. It was the trouble makers that ended up there... a lot of them were just little kids just having fun. They were brainwashed from the very beginning... to get nothing but PDAP for six weeks.
There was a simplistic evaluation about parents. Your parents were good if they got involved with PDAP. If they didn’t, you were told not to pay any attention to them.
They don’t look at it like you’re coming into this program to recover and move on. They look at it like you have stepped into a better way of life than everybody else in the whole world has. That’s the problem. And if you want to leave, there’s something wrong with you... Bob Meehan thought I was going to be in the gutter with a needle in my arm because I was leaving. They really think that way. To them, when you get to PDAP, you have arrived. Your not working toward working back to be a regular old guy in society. You’re there, man.
The kids were told constantly that if they left the program they would die. The only end result would be that they would go back to drugs and die. The only reason they were alive was because they were in the program.
They never graduate from the program... they’re told that thinkin’ is stinkin’ thinkin’s what got you here in the first place. You let us make all the decisions in your life for you. We don’t want you worrying about problems. You’re not capable of making decisions.
The patient load at Deer Park Hospital was around 90 when I visited a few weeks ago. Dr Baron says, and Kotzen confirms, that his is in overall charge of the patient treatment, supervises the therapists and therapy, but competent medical authorities, including Linda, who has broad experience in mental hospitals, say there is no way one Dr. can do this for so many patients. Baron told me he sees every patient every day (and bills for it accordingly) but when asked specifically how he has time with 90 patients he said that he does group therapy... with 15 or sixteen patients at a time. There is no way that can be therapeutic, and even a as method of checking progress that is ridiculous.
We have had several first person accounts from parents, and from former PDAP people that patients actually saw Dr. Baron only three or four times over 35 days in the hospital, that he often was not at the hospital (he claims he works 7 days a week...) yet the bill for daily visits continue to be sent out.Baron’s justification for this is (made to a parent who complained about the bill) was that since he was medically and legally responsible for the patients treatment he was entitled to bill every day the patient was in.
The PAASA (PDAP) program is not based on individual estimate of patient needs. Rather the progress (see attached schedule from a Dallas program) is assumed to be needed by anyone PDAP refers in. Patients, or their parents, are told they will be in a minimum of four weeks. (So far as we know, though, they are not told upon admission that Baron will be billing every day regardless) By Kotzens statement, the PDAP referral comes complete with a “book,” or description of the kid which, initially, at least, forms the basis of the managements decisions.
Though Kotzen says that he maintains 10 free beds (total) at hospitals in Houston is company manages, at least one of the criteria for PDAP referrals is whether the kids parents can pay, or have sufficient medical insurance to pay. There has been a recent problem with Blue Cross / Blue Shield in which they have refused to pay on the ground that the kids are not psyohistorically ill within their definition, but that may have been straightened out, or at least is in the process. Sometimes the kids, it is reported, have been given more severe diagnoses than is accurate solely so that insurance will cover.
The staff is acutely aware of the insurance aspect. While I attended a patient management conference the discussion of one patient centered around the fact that his insurance only covered 30 days per calendar year, so they were planning to discharge him on the 26th and readmit him on Jan 2 or so.
The PDAP counselors who work at the hospital are paid by PDAP, like all the other counselors, but the Hospital reimburses PDAP for their salaries (plus the usual 10% training fee.) In addition the hospital employs psychiatric technicians (techs,) or orderlies, all of whom are active PDAP members. They pay the techs directly.
This represents a kind of conflict of interest... both the repaying PDAP for the counselors, and the employment of the PDAPers as techs. But Kotzen feels not. He says the presence of the PDAP counselors at the hospital adds immensely to the total program, and that PDAP as a source of techs helps the hospital since they are hard working and understand the needs of the patients. Nonetheless paying personnel from the organization that gives the most of their referrals is not considered good management.
A larger conflict of interest is that Contemporary Health also pays Meehan an annual consultants fee, currently at the rate of 50,000 per year. Kotzen did not mention this when I spoke with him, but Meehan freely told me about it. Meehan says he consults with them on “hiring, on how to interview perspective employees, and on standards for therapist and psychiatrist.”
Contemporary health also pays consultant fees to many of the PDAP city directors. Amounts have not been absolutely confirmed but we believe in the neighborhood of 6000 per year each. (Bill Parker will tell us that, in essence, the fees to the city directors are to keep referrals coming. That when the patient population goes down, the word is put out that the “census is down” and in a few days the wards are full again.)
To sum up:
1. Most of the kids in Deer Park shouldn’t be there (medically speaking.)
2. There is no diagnostic interview or outside consult before PDAP counselors refer kids, and rarely is any referred kid not admitted.
3. The hospital is clearly an unofficial arm of PDAP.
4. The hospital’s relationship with PDAP clearly represents a conflict of interest, both financially and medically.
Footnotes: the absolute minimum Dr. Baron is billing is 450,000 per year, based on an average of 50 patients a day x 25 dollars per day. My guess is that his billings in 1979 were close to a million. He generally is paid partly through insurance, and if the parents won’t pay the rest he turns the bill over to a collection agency. One mother, who was outraged by the size of Barons bill and the fact that he rarely saw her child while he was in the hospital, refused to pay what was left after insurance coverage. The agency threatened to sue. She said she would welcome a suit since that would expose the truth about Baron’s phony billing. She never heard from them again and has not and will not pay. Another couple reported they were not told, when their child was admitted to Deer Park, that they would have a problem collecting under Blue Cross / Blue Shield, and got stuck with a huge bill from the hospital and also from Baron. They report Baron’s collection agency, one Jerry Sieger, has repeatedly made harassing and threatening phone calls both at work and home, and has threatened to turn the couple in to the IRS on a pretext, all of which is in violation of the law. They also report that Baron never offered a sort of progress report on their child while he was in the hospital.
Baron has contributed money to PDAP, as is listed as a public contributor in their fund raising brochure. There is also a letter from Baron in that brochure which praises PDAP. No mention of his connection with the hospital.
One father notes: We were told by management, and Bill Parker will confirm, that the word would be passed down when the patient census at Deer Park (and other PDAP affiliated hospitals) fell, and within a few days the PDAP counselors at the satellite have referred enough patients to get the census up.
1. It seems absolutely clear, from everything we’ve seen, from many people we’ve talked to inside and outside PDAP, that may, most of the kids that come in here do not need a hospital stay in the generally accepted psychiatric sense... they are not addicts, they do not need to detoxify. Yet you think staying here for 4, 6 weeks is valuable... PDAP thinks so. What do your patients get in here that they can’t get outside at less cost?
3. What role do the PDAP counselors play in here?
9. You know very well that there a number of people who think that your operation here is really just a fancy hustle. You’ve created a system first, then you’ve looked for bodies it fill it up... Daddy will pay for it, insurance will pay for it whether the kids need it or not.
2. You yourself told us, just a few weeks ago, “most of the kids PDAP referred here are ‘normally abnormal kids’” and that not more than 15 percent are acute enough or addicted enough to need de-toxification.
4. Your company, Contemporary Health Services, which runs this and other hospitals, pays Bob Meehan a consultant fee. He told us it was now 50 thousand dollars a year. What does he do for you to rate that kind of retainer?
5. We are told, by people who have kept the PDAP books, that Contemporary Health Services also picks up a substantial amount of Bob Meehan expenses...
7. The hospital reimburses PDAP for the salaries of the nine PDAP counselors who work here at Deer Park. Do you consider that a charitable contribution? If not, what medical services do they preform that your own staff doesn’t, or can’t?
8. You know, there are those who would say that your relationship with PDAP has a considerable degree of conflict of interest... on the surface, at least. You pay Bob Meehan a consultants fee, you pay a number of the city directors of PDAP a consultants fee, you indirectly pay the salaries of the PDAP counselors who work here... and PDAP supplies your profit-making enterprise, this hospital, with patients, almost all of whom appear to be admitted solely on the basis of a PDAP referral...
6. You also, we are told, pay consultants fees to a number of the City Directors of PDAP. What do they do for that fee?
Hospital questions... Baron
1. Dr. Baron, correct me if I’m wrong... you, in effect are the medical director of this hospital... that is, you supervise the therapists, you are in charge of patient management?
2. And you are the admitting physician of record, is that so?
3. I’d like to go over a few criticisms we’ve hear from persons who admittedly are not part of this program.. perhaps even hostile, but nevertheless seem to us to require an answer.
Firstly, that patients are being and have been admitted to this hospital without having been seen and evaluated by anyone other than a PDAP counselor... that, in fact, patients have been admitted here with your name as admitting physician on occasions when you were not present and have never, in fact, seen the patient...
Is it not customary for a patient to receive an evaluation from a physician or at the very least from a certified clinical psychologist before he’s admitted to a psychiatric hospital?
(Insert here followup, if necessary, from Sunday interviews.)
4. Now, you are in charge of the patients program, so to speak, but if I understand it correctly you are not an employee of Deer Park Hospital?
Are you affiliated with other hospitals?
Now, I understand that you charge for your services not through the hospital but independently, is that correct?
And how much do you charge per day?
That’s ____ per day per patient. And I understand that the average number of patients per day here at Deer Park has been ______. And if I can do a little fast arithmetic that comes to about _________ per year. That seems quite extraordinary to us. Especially since some noted colleagues of yours we have consulted tell us there’s no way one psychiatrist can supervise the treatment of that many inpatients and do it effectively...
Unless, of course, a good number of the patients... perhaps most... don’t really need to be in here?
Dr. Baron, there is a letter from you which is part of a fundraising brochure PDAP is using in which you say “I have worked closely with PDAP over the past several years, and I have found it to be the most effective drug abuse program that I have ever come in contact with in my professional career. PDAP’s results are outstanding.”