Site materials are based on the research, theories and clinical treatment and organizational development strategies of Martin G. Groder, M.D. and Anastasia Rosen-Jones (formerly Marcia E. Rosen). The Groder-Rosen formal name for the "Dark Side" is the "Survivor Addict".

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Allies And Adversaries

As I reminded folks on a recent New Horizons’ Small “Zones Of Peace” blog, “A House Divided Cannot Stand.”  

How do we so often manage to forget this? And, still call ourselves people of G-d? 

I am not a Christian. My Bible does not lay out this principle in quite the clear words of the New Testament. Yet I know this code required of a dignified human life as well as I know my name.

Ben Franklin referred to this belief in his famous words "we must all hang together or most assuredly we will all hang separately."

What do you think he meant by this?

As quoted on the internet –
Benjamin Franklin said this famous line at the time of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in July 1776.  The meaning of the quote was that the signers of the Declaration, as well as colonists in general, had to help each other and support each other or they were doomed.
The line is, of course, a pun.  Franklin is using the figure of speech "hang together" to mean "stick together" or "support one another."  He puns that with the phrase "hang separately." 
By this, he means being executed by hanging. 
So he is saying that if they do not support each other, they will be executed.  By extension, he is saying that if they colonies as a whole do not support one another they will all be defeated by England.
We have both the Bible and Ben Franklin to remind us that we all need one another; so very much “hangs” on this one principle. 

What else do we need?  How about just good common sense>

Why are we minimizing the importance of this principle now?

If you haven’t already taken my “Where Is Your Dark Side Hiding/Survivor-Addict Inventory,” check it out now to find out what’s in your way of “hanging together.”

Why wait for another “9/11” or Manchester, England to bring yourself to unite with your fellow citizens?

We’ve got to get over this “enemies” thing! It is not helping! 

Polarization is only valuable for a time as we define ourselves and that for which we stand. Its usefulness is soon outweighed by its potential to tear us apart.

The Democrats are ranting today about their lost Georgia election. Tomorrow the Republicans will be at it again. 

I’m so glad I am neither. A mini-taste of heaven for me is now being a registered Independent!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The GAME Is On! A Modified New Horizons’ Truth Or Dare Game Seems To Be Coming To Capital Hill

New Horizons “Truth Or Dare GAME” was known formerly as New Horizons “Discount Derby”

Background of Martin G. Groder, M.D.’s GAME at Marion Federal Penitentiary that became New Horizons Truth Or Dare Game.

According to Wikipedia, the Asklepion Therapeutic Community, created by Martin G. Groder, M.D. was established in the late 1960s within the US correctional system. The Asklepion Foundation, the supporting organizational structure for the program, initiated therapeutic communities in the Marion Federal Penitentiary and other institutions that included clinical intervention, based upon Transactional Analysis, the Synanon Game, modified internal twelve-step programs and other therapeutic modalities. 

Some of these programs lasted into the mid 1980s, such as the House of Thought in the Virginia Correctional system. These were able to demonstrate a reduction of 17% in recidivism in a matched-pair study of drug-abusing felons and sex offenders who participated in the program for one year or more.

From these early beginnings, I, as Executive Director of the New Horizons Support Network, Inc., advanced Groder’s approach, also referred to as the Total Learning Environment model. New Horizons Truth or Dare GAME, which was originally called the Discount Derby grew out of this background.

This information is going to become more and more essential as I, through the three sites for which I write, take up the task, with my team of volunteers, of contributing perspectives – and – sometimes applications to help move our society forward and out of the swamp within which it has seemed to be sinking. 

If what I am SEEING bears out, we may be on the verge of important changes, depending on whether or not our national government can get all the way behind finding out the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Or as Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein like to say, "The best obtainable version of the truth."

I am feeling very hopeful. I certainly hope I am SEEING right. Let’s find out together. 

Just keep reading.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Beyond Political Craziness

I have long admired the organizational underpinnings of Alcoholic Anonymous. This is so as my twenty-five years of doing private practice psychotherapy centered on treating relationship and personality addictions. While these are addictions of the non-ingested variety, as opposed to the ingested  (i.e. drugs and alcohol), full recovery from these addictions follows along most of the same lines.  A particular focus in treating both is on the individual giving up ego-driven control.

The workings of the alternatives are complex to understand. In my three books, collected under the title "Anastasia’s Random House Trilogy," I have done a fairly decent job, especially in the first of the three, Surviving Addictions, to explicate the dynamics of the non-ingested chemical addictions in the relatively easy to understand language of Transactional Analysis, my home base theory for my professional psychological work.

One of the areas lacking somewhat in that book, or at least insofar as I have been able to present it, as a result of my losing eyesight, is the topic of the collusion between the aggressive addict and the passive addict.

Herein lies the essence of codependency.  And herein lies a major piece of the phenomenon that is Donald Trump in office; the collusion of the aggressive (power addicted) addict (i.e. Trump) and his adoring public (i.e. the passive addict) or those who are highly reactive to Trump’s brand of chaos (i.e. also, believe it, or not -- sometimes the media, depending on attitude, certainly often those addicted to the media/internet). Ask any long-term Al Anon member and they will, likely, understand the notion of collusion with the addict in a heartbeat. It is the center of personal derangement.

Now we are in a major crisis these days with Donald Trump in office as head of state. Noting the words of Charles Krauthammer, referencing “Trump Derangement Syndrome” in his article, “The President Can’t Govern By Id,”Krauthammer comes right up on the dilemma running rampant throughout our country. He offers --
“What distinguishes Trump Derangement Syndrome is not just general hysteria about the subject, but additionally the inability to distinguish between legitimate policy differences on the one hand and signs of psychic pathology on the other.”
Ask yourself, can you distinguish between these two that Krauthammer points out? If not, you may not be allowing yourself to support Trump where he most needs you. This can be as destructive as pushing back against him, aggressively or passively.

To understand what may, at times appear to the untrained eye, one simple trouble going on with Trump; his inability to get his policies operative, needs to be viewed, I strongly hold, by paying heed to a philosophy that has built the, almost incomprehensible success of Alcoholics Anonymous, A success founded on “principles before personalities. Trump supporters see this strength in him. Don't push them away, if you are on the opposing side with anger and reactivity. Rather lean in and be part of the team where warranted.

The American public, to weather the storm, we are now living in needs, needs more than any one thing I can see, to adopt this AA tenet. The goal, as in the Twelve Steps, is “recovery” of the United States of America, at its best, demanding that “we the people” stop colluding with Trump.  But also stop fighting him, just because you may not like him or his acting out ways.

It is important to note here that passivity, reactivity and anger are all corresponding roles responding to the aggressive/power addicted addict. Each is based on some form of “discounting.”

So be sure, whatever you choose to do minimizes passivity, anger and reactivity as much practicality as possible. In other words, do your best to stay calm, under the stress. Of course easier said than done in these times!

The three blog sites for which I write are designed to be linked with one another. Here is how to use them in this way.
All three of these sites have the principles of non-ingested chemical addiction recovery at their base, as developed originally by Martin G. Groder, M.D. and expanded by Marty and myself, as well as others that Marty mentored.
  • Please read carefully what is posted here and on my other blog sites from here forth, if moving beyond the craziness of our current political crisis is your intent. 
  • Remember, pointing your finger at Donald Trump will only get you so far in handling these crazy times. 
  • You need, also, to get yourself out of the chaos, out of the reactivity and find ways in which to hold to your own center of values and ethics and think practically. From a New Horizons perspective, we hold that “life is with people.”
  • That means "lean in" to others who are different, ethnically, from yourself or merely think differently than you.
  • This means active grassroots involvement as much as you can manage, not just talk. And, also not fighting just to fight.
  • All paths lead to one place, at their highest point; personal and collective transformation. 
This is what we are offering here to help us all move “Beyond Political Craziness” and be able to survive – as well as we possibly can --- this challenging time.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Swamp Draining As A Metaphor For Social Change

I had no intention, a few evenings back, of igniting a fervor. I had received a return call from a board member, regarding my needing to update said board member on the latest, developing plans for New Horizons, the non-profit organization I head. My update; the announcement of plans in the works to create a “Draining The Swamp Initiative" for New Horizons, along with a “Draining The Swamp GAME,” nonetheless, did set off a bit of a tension.

Oh my! Oh my!

A most apropos quote for the circumstances of that phone conversation, as seen on the internet, from Sheryl Sandberg, the morning after went like this  – 
“The people who have taught me the most in my career are the ones who pointed out what I didn’t see.”
If that wasn’t most apropos, I don’t know what else could’ve been.

I’m not completely certain I got the whole of what my board member wanted me to look at in that discussion. But I believe later, after I had had time to consider our talk, I did get the gist of it. She probably wanted me to respect the fact that the various activities of New Horizons are geared to improving social conditions. And, further, that New Horizons, as a non-profit organization, must always remain apolitical. “Draining the swamp,” on the other hand, was clearly, to her way of thinking, a political creed, most especially linked to Donald Trump.

Thus a wrong track for us.

We, at New Horizons, are seekers of solutions to problems of separation in our country. Polarization -- being the almost extreme example of our social problems (violence, of course, the worst).  “Draining the swamp” as a metaphor, currently touted by Donald Trump and team -- is about fomenting divisiveness in the way it is being used. Even worse bullying and deriding everything in sight Trump does not like, labeled as corruption by him, i.e. the swamp in need of draining.

With this thinking behind the phrase, darned if I didn’t spark a passion in both of us with my update. So much so that the reactivity in our conversation, along with the ensuing aftermath, managed to slip into my sleep that night, work its way through my unconscious dream state and be there to wake me up at 5:00 a.m. the next  morning.

After many long hours; too many interfering with the good seven/eight hours sleep I usually get – and conferring with another board member for input, I definitely SAW the Light Board Member #1 was prompting me to notice. As a result, with enhanced clarity, numerous win-win options to modify my original plan began to surface. They did not, however, quite ameliorate all aspects of the differences between she and I. 

Most significantly, my new, projected New Horizons initiative, if adjusted to accommodate her view; meaning discard my own, did not yet take into account how and why I came to the bright idea to take up that theme, “draining the swamp,” in the first place. And, why I still believed, in spite of my expanded perspectives that I, personally, needed to stand by my idea in certain ways. You see, I believe that swamp draining is an apt metaphor for the effort needed to rid our society of toxins both socially and politically.  So, obviously, Board Member #1 and I were definitely at odds, or so it seemed.

Where did this leave us? 

Well, fortunately we are good practicers of what we preach. So we both leaned in, involved ourselves in a dialogue and came up with, lo and behold, a “temporary” elegant solution. I would write about swamp draining as a metaphor for both social – and – political change on this site and my own, personal one, Anastasia The Storyteller, to my heart's content. 

That means, nonetheless, that swamp draining will not be used as a metaphor, at least for now, on actual New Horizons communications.

O.k. I can live with that! At least that plan doesn't interfere with my freedom of speech!

Next, it looks like time for a full board dialogue (not debate) to find some form of common ground on the issue of what to call our newest initiative.  (More on this later.)

So I leave you with this for now, by way of making clear the point of this missive  –

I hold that “swamp draining” can be used as a metaphor for social change. It is not necessary to relegate it only to politics; and particularly not Donald Trump’s version of politics!

What is your opinion?

I am asking this of you as the New Horizons Board of Directors wishes your input on whether or not “Draining The Swamp” is a superb, sparkly, brilliant name for our new initiative, as I believe.  

Or a very BAD idea as Board Member #1 thinks.  

Board Member #2, as usual, sees both sides of the argument. And the other board members have not yet been consulted.

Since our annual board meeting is not until mid-July. We will be considering the issue until then. When the issue will, also, likely go into discussion and then a vote.

Please either post your opinions on this issue on this blog site (or our other two, New Horizons Small “Zones of Peace” Project or Anastasia The Storyteller) or email me, directly with your thoughts at

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

"Draining The Swamp": An Interactive GAME Of Personal And Collective Transformation

How we transform the Dark Side at New Horizons and guide you on the adventure of a lifetime!

Whatever is wrong in Washington, you/we don’t need to keep it going! 

“Draining The Swamp” Is One Of New Horizons Unique Interactive Games
Based on “old” New Horizons "signature" program --
(originally the “Discount Derby” as created by Martin G. Groder, M.D.)

“Draining The Swamp” is an interactive game based on more than fifty years of New Horizons evolving community development principles and practices to create the most up-to-date group dynamic  strategies.

Do you believe that our Congressional representatives ought to --
  • Learn how to work cooperatively with one another, at least to some degree;
  • Learn how to establish some degree of win-win intention on behalf of American citizens;
  • Find elegant solutions to the collective challenges facing our nation?
If these ideals make sense to you, are you willing to develop the necessary skills, to practice, in your own life, what you preach?

If you believe as we do, that greater unity is a way to a healthier future -- then New Horizons “Draining The Swamp” interactive game is a great place for you to start taking some next steps!

The objective of New Horizons this “Draining The Swamp” GAME is to help participants clear away personal cobwebs that obscure the clarity needed for people to solve small and large social problems. “Draining The Swamp” aids players in developing enhanced communication and conflict resolving skills to help move beyond power struggles and abuses. It also facilitates participant’s development of strengthened community bonds.  

Our “Draining The Swamp GAME” might even assist some folks in developing artfulness in helping to reweave the fabric of our society and politics?

Date: TBA 
Next Day Long Program 

New Horizons Harpers Ferry Retreat Center

Bring snacks and a bag lunch. Stay for potluck dinner and campfire storytelling.

Space will be limited! 
Register early!

Fee: Donations encouraged. $100 suggested or --

Pledge time, talent or treasures to ---
New Horizons Coffee House Conversations Project

Contact: Anastasia 240.409.5347
Email: SuperSleuthDSW

Thursday, April 13, 2017

On Why Presidents Lie And Some People Believe Them

Originally posted on Anastasia The Storyteller

Because I had just recently removed myself from the D.C. fast track; or the swamp as it is being called today. Because I still had friends in key places in Washington who were deeply connected to the center of Washington society and politics, including Watergate.

Because the Watergate break-in had occurred and Richard Nixon was being investigated by the Watergate Commission as he appeared culpable. Because the hearings were being televised and people, including me were drawn to watching. Because I was a captive audience lying in a hospital bed waiting for a cornea transplant and had nothing to do other than watch these trials. And, because I saw people around me seeming to believe Richard Nixon while my unsophisticated gut told me not to.

This is why I took on my very first super sleuthing adventure. Because I was in my first year of clinical training as a Transactional Analyst, I could analyze the transactions going on in this drama with my newly developing analytical skills. It was an intriguing exercise for a budding clinician. 

I needed to know how the president of the United States of America could lie to the American people – and -- how so many of his constituents could seem to believe him. 

(Many decades later I would discover that this pass timing activity of mine had much deeper roots in my own personal history. But that came later.)

So I dug in and I dug in further and further until I developed a passion for searching out truth and developed a great deal of understanding and expertise in handling these issues -- 

These days I feel a particular imperative to share what I learned and what I have come to know out of my decades of investigating the Dark Side of society and politics in the U.S.A.. I want you to hear the stories I have to tell about my adventures having to do with this and on the subject above itself. 

I want you to tell me back your stories of Dark Side encounters and how you may have transcended or transformed them to a higher good. We absolutely must do this kind of coming together. Storytelling is one of the best ways possible to pass forward the wisdom of the ages on such things!

Let us join together, now, in telling our stories!

When I saw Alec Baldwin last Saturday, again impersonating Donald Trump – and – his play-acting devotees on Saturday Night Live, depicting believers of what many of us see as the dangerous manipulations of innocent people by Trump and team, my heart hurt and my gut wrenched. The faces of those actors called up memories for me of the disbelief and confusion people felt when Nixon’s behavior negated the esteem and trust people had placed in him. I felt sick.

Today, this anguish comes out of me in the form of my wanting to urge you to use me now! 

More than ever, after my forty plus years of building my life’s work and my life’s passion for sorting out the ills of Watergate -- and -- doing my best to deter their being repeated, I have discovered how to move past such transgressions, or at least cope with them. 

Whether these ills have to do with the Dark Side of politics, corporate manipulations, street violence, domestic violence or child abuse, let us to talk to one another and learn from one another, NOW!

Right now, coping may be the best we can do. That and activism. Other than these there seems little else to do these days to set things right in our nation.

So please do use me! I am one of your national treasures.  Perhaps we are all that for one another.

You might be asking “What the hell is going on here?” and “What are we supposed to do with this?”

I don’t have all the answers. But I do have quite a few where these particular questions are concerned. 

At the top of my list of answers is that we must hang together, now, more than ever to pull ourselves together as one nation, looking out each for each other.

Storytelling can get us started!

With love for humanity in all its frailty,

Anastasia The Storyteller

Friday, January 27, 2017

The Dark Side Warrior And The Issue Of Truth

Interested in getting to the core of the Dark Side? 

First, assess your own Dark Side Warrior functioning to find out what makes it run. Next, go on to where that of others is disturbing the Force in your life.

The center of what makes the Dark Side Warrior run can be narrowed down to three basic, related psychological concepts.  On the surface they make look alike and even seem to operate similarly.

The three concepts are:
  • Discounting
  • Denial
  • Lying
On this site we will be exploring all three in the coming weeks and months, especially due to the crisis of Donald Trump as president that necessitates our paying close attention to these three; how and why they operate as they do; the roles they play in our own lives. And what each of us needs to be doing to get ourselves out of the traps each creates in diminishing your well-being and those close to you.

Please allow me to alert you, if you have not yet come to know it this so far: As far as I can see (and seeing beyond the ordinary appears to be something with which I am gifted) if you are not taking care of the deceit in your own backyard, in yourself and your closest relationships, you are a part of the problem of divisiveness our country is now enmeshed in.

So now let's look a bit more deeply at the snare we are currently in. For starters, let us note the definitions of each: discounting, denial and lying.

The term discount is a term derived from the literature of Transactional Analysis (TA). The term is generally meant to be the act of minimizing or ignoring aspects of reality related to an individual, a situation or the solving of a problem. Discounting can be either conscious or unconscious.

In TA literature, discounting, is discussed as a rather intricate phenomenon associated with passivity. The subject is well worth investigating, learning to understand and apply. New Horizons has designed its most sophisticated program, the Truth or Dare Game, to teach people how discounting is affecting their lives, how to understand its destructive effects and how to reverse them.

Conscious discounting: An example of conscious or purposeful discounting of another person is choosing to tune out the distracting sounds of children at play in order to keep one’s attention focused on a task.

Unconscious discounting: An example of unconscious discounting occurred in a couple I was coaching when the husband of the couple kept ignoring the emotions his wife was expressing of fear over purchases he had made that went beyond the couple’s budget.

Denial, on the other hand, is less an ignoring and more of an internalized defense against unpleasant or uncomfortable truths or reality.

Although discounting and denial can appear to operate similarly, I have found it to be valuable to distinguish between the two in treatment scenarios. This tack has proven itself to be important in attempting to figure out strategies for managing interactions with people who are using either discounting or denial interactively with me, or others I am mentoring/coaching.

However, both functions: discounting and denial, are faulty modes of processing reality.

Lying: in my system of managing or guiding transformation is a deliberate withholding of information in order to exact power and/or control of others.

Many disruptive behaviors may include all three of these out-of sync with reality internal functions. For example a person who is bullying is likely to be ignoring or minimizing (discounting) the emotions and needs of others. He or she might also not be able to have a healthy grasp (denial) of the consequences of this behavior for him or herself or the victim being bullied.

Lying might also play a role in this kind of upset as the need for power and control in situations of bullying is a major factor.

Where does Donald Trump’s deceitful behavior lie between these three dysfunctional modes of dealing with truth and reality? And where might you and/others around you fall into these traps.

It is hard to know for sure what would account for Trump’s repeated deceit without having his willing agreement to assess his dysfunction. My own professional analysis from afar is that Donald Trump appears to me to be acting as if he is a narcissistic sociopath. 

The narcissism accounts for his seeming inability to do other than pay attention to himself as the center of his world. That would account also for his inability to do other than discount (i.e. minimize or ignore) the thoughts, feelings, viewpoints and so forth of others.   Obviously, Trump is over-focused on himself and under-focused on others.

The sociopathy might account for his being in denial (i.e. seemingly having little or no compassion or concern) for others with a significant lack of empathy. Sociopaths have extreme antisocial attitudes and behavior and a lack of conscience. This could account for Trump’s racism, sexism and radically disruptive notions about how to “make America great again.”

Of, course, Trump lies all over the place; his need for power and control of others is off the charts! But what about you? And those around you? Do you tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, always?

In lieu of their being any certainty regarding Trump’s internal psychological dysfunctioning, it is essential that our American constituency develop increased skillfulness in assessing their own personal reality and truth telling behaviors. And, find ways to cope with our now being subjected to leadership that is functioning outside the bounds of truth and reality!


More to come.