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".

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Harvey Weinstein And The Losers’ Paradigm

Also see The Winners and Losers Paradigm

I have always been attracted to the words of Joseph Campbell, author of The Hero With A Thousand Faces, describing Darth Vadar as “an unformed man,” the antithesis of a true hero. 
"Whoever is not aware of
this force...

How paradoxical is this contrast between what people often consider heroes and what just might be hiding beneath the surface, especially when we witness the fall from an apparent pinnacle of success of Harvey Weinstein. And the others like him, such as Bill Cosby, who have also taken this plummet from a peak, extolled as the heights of achievement, into a Hell hole of one’s own making.

Yet, once the scales fall away from this fiery dragon of a man, Harvey Weinstein, who could and did make and break the fortunes of untold numbers, the unformed man, as Campbell described Darth Vadar, is revealed for all to see, but the most jaundiced.

The fact, as reported by numerous media sites, that Weinstein has now already left his first foray into rehab, after only one week, vividly displays the absence of human substance, depth and determination to face up to his problems, as he more comfortably seeks return to his familiar turf. 

“Traditional rehab would require Harvey to disconnect and part with his phone and he's not able to do that,” we're told. 

Instead Harvey is ".. still figuring out his next move," an insider shares, "but would like to stay in the business. He loves making movies and is convinced he will find people that will work with him."

This, dear readers, if you hadn’t already figured it out, is the stuff of the Loser Survivor, not, at all, that of the Serene Survivor. 

Here is my assessment of Harvey Weinstein, in current motion, as represented by my Loser Survivor table. I hope you find it edifying and a tool to help your own thinking/feeling/assessing keep clear as an aid to mucking out the waste such poor examples of humanity create for the innocent and unsuspecting.

Loser Survivors Do These Kinds of Things. 
My comments, regarding Weinstein’s particular representation, are offered below.

Avoids dealing with full reality; 
If you’re in the business of fantasy creating, why bother with reality?

Stubbornly holds on to being right; 
Why not, if you’re holding all the chips?

Invests in defending him/herself; 
Well, a bully stands on top and doesn’t have much need for actual defending, when he can buy and sell almost all, out from under others.

Sabotages the well-being of self and others; 
Obvious when applied to others. But not so easily recognized by such as Weinstein and Cosby, until YOU guys, get royally caught!

Avoids taking risks related to being fully honest with self and others; 
Full honesty not required when you can control and buy almost anyone and anything. Lying and denial are critical elements of the game.

Shuts others out/keeps others distant; 
Now, what was that you were saying about Harvey Weinstein and his wife and the quality of their relationship?

Invests in illusions; Same as #1.

Holds grudges and resentments; 
What’s that we hear about Harvey and his work with his therapist? Something about the tip of the iceberg. 
“There were things that triggered [Weinstein’s] anger and our job was to help him recognize where it was coming from and how to control it. …. It was an appropriate display of anger.”
And, about the various times he has actually beaten up others who angered him, including his brother?

Avoids full involvement in life; 

A fantasy life doesn’t usually make much room for the trees and the birds, the sunshine and clouds. And how much genuine involvement can one truly have, even in one’s own family, when a guest visiting one’s home is taken into a next room to satisfy lustful demands. (See Lupita Nyong'o.)

Makes excuses for personal stagnation; 
My goodness, “it all was “consensual,” he said.

Exploits personal fears to justify hiding; 
What else might it mean when a man whose life and all he has built is totally collapsing but "He is still figuring out his next move."  Experts would suggest this is optimum denial.

Avoids or breaks commitments; 
Here again we can come back to his wife and children. But that’s only for starters.

Avoids valid emotional pain; 
At this stage of my life, after years of dealing with the survivor/addict in me, I would know for sure that I am terrified of what lies ahead and would deeply feel the pain of all that is happening, including how I could be the perpetrator that caused much of it.

Avoids necessary grieving; 
Same as #13 above.

Avoids personal responsibility; 
Personal responsibility carries with it a great deal of #13 above. But that’s only for starters in digging into the fallout. Years and years of self-examination, accountability and amends. Ask any recovering addict!

Lies to self and others; 
Here we are back to one of the key elements of how the game is played.

Encourages addictions in others; 
This one isn’t all about Harvey. It’s about the surrounding survivor/addict culture. The same one, with our unique variations, that you and I are also living in.

Holds on to controlling others; 
“Oh, please, don’t let me go, everyone. I’m sorry and I will make it up to you and get right back in it all again with you!,” said Harvey.

Avoids acknowledging limitations; 
Now where was that “I’m sorry?

Instead of learning, repeats mistakes; 
Here’s one blatant example. “Traditional rehab would require Harvey to disconnect and part with his phone and he's not able to do that, we're told.” But we won’t need to look far for others.

This is the Campbell’s “unformed man,” for sure. The Dark Side in motion.

One main thing can save Harvey besides himself, I promoted it in my article on The power of GRAD. It’s the power of people speaking out “truth to power,” pain and outrage. 

In a democracy the many voices of the collective can almost move mountains.  And, Harvey and others like him can be almost as big as the mountains, if they are in your life.

Been there, done that!


Monday, August 28, 2017

How Anastasia’s GRAD Theory Offers Hope In These Troubled Times

Do you wonder, these days, how we, as Americans, are ever going to get through these troubling times with Donald Trump in office?

It would be hard to be fully present to what is going on around us, day in and day out, under Trump’s administration and be completely at ease. 

But I am here to tell you, with all my many years of experience working with individuals, couples, families, groups and organizations, added to more than forty years of research and strategic intervention development, based on what Watergate taught me, that we, the citizens of the U.S.A., our Congressional representatives and our courts, are on the right and proper track.

Do you want to know why I believe this, so wholeheartedly, even though I, like yourself, am struggling most days to remain “tranquil”?

The bottom line for me can be found in the almost bottom line of my GRAD theory.

Interpreted it goes like this: The Dark Side (i.e. addictions and/or any other manifestation of the RSC) cannot hide out, indefinitely in a community. Community life will not sustain it!

The reason being:  Over the long haul the character aspects (of the Dark Side Warrior) are antithetical to community life – and – humans are, by nature, communal animals. Thus, in a democracy, to go against that which builds and sustains communal life cannot sustain itself, indefinitely. The weight of the majority will not tolerate it.

Trust in this! And, do your best to be the best you can to be a part of the healthy whole!

To the end of strengthening your resolve  -- and – your efforts to hold on to your hope, your highest ideals and your everyday commitments, today I am editing and adding to my description of the GRAD theory to provide you with highlights and guidelines to help you navigate this challenging era.  

The Power of One is what I am stressing, added to the power of the many.

Please use what I am offering! 

Apply the tenets laid out, as best you can. And contact me at:, if you need further assistance.

Together we can weather this storm, as people are doing, this very day, in surviving Hurricane Harvey in Texas.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Winners And Losers: A Paradigm For Each

Winner Survivors* Do These Things

Scroll down on Winner and Loser lists for new additions, today, August 6, 2017
  • Confronts and deals with reality;
  • Strives to live in the Light;
  • Lets go of resistances and defending;
  • Avoids trying to control others;
  • Is consistently open to learning from life's lessons;
  • Sets intentions to learning from others;
  • Is determined to succeed at all levels (body, mind and spirit);
  • Takes risks to improve relationships with others;
  • Resolves conflicts with others, including managing anger in healthy ways;
  • Takes responsibility -- is transparent and accountable;
  • Participates fully in life, daring to be all one can be;
  • Uses fullest capacities;
  • Makes and keeps commitments;
  • Always tells the fullest truth of their knowing (Except when genuine threats to survival are present.) Added October 29;
  • Experiences, fully, reality-based pain and other emotions;
  • Grieves losses fully;
  • Expects others to be transparent, responsible and accountable;
  • Acknowledges limitations;
  • Learns from mistakes;
  • Allows self to be inspired and empowered by nature (fresh air, sunshine and the great outdoors); Added 8/6/17
  • Attends to nutrition, exercise, physical, emotional and spiritual health; Added 8/6/17
  • Seeks to find joy, appreciation and inspiration in others (Quakers call this "Looking for the G-d in every one); Added 8/6/17
  • Is loving, caring and compassionate toward self and others.

Loser Survivors* Do These
  • Avoids dealing with full reality;
  • Stubbornly holds on to being right;
  • Invests in defending him/herself;
  • Sabotages the well being of self and others;
  • Avoids taking risks related to being fully honest with self and others;
  • Shuts others out/keeps others distant;
  • Invests in illusions;
  • Holds grudges and resentments;
  • Avoids full involvement in life;
  • Makes excuses for personal stagnation;
  • Exploits personal fears to justify hiding;
  • Avoids or breaks commitments;
  • Avoids valid emotional pain;
  • Avoids necessary grieving;
  • Avoids personal responsibility;
  • Lies to self and others;
  • Fosters personal survival-based addictions;
  • Encourages addictions in others;
  • Holds on to controlling others;
  • Avoids acknowledging limitations;
  • Often seeks out and/or creates chaos; Added 8/6/17
  • Often complains and holds grudges; Added 8/6/17
  • Instead of learning, repeats mistakes;
Which of these paradigms are you living in? 

Which one is you being all you aspire to be? 

Which one is you doing all you would like to see yourself do?

Check these out to see where your strengths and weaknesses lie.

The Survivor Addict Inventory and the Catalogue of Survival Driven Behaviors are tools that can help you with this assessment.

* Use this link to read how the "mysterious capability" of our biological survival instinct plays a critical role in our being "winners" or "losers." It's a matter of choice, more than anything. But nature and nurture do play important parts.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Leaving The Dark Side Behind

My collection of "Leaving The Dark Side Behind" articles are all about "what to do" rather than the "what not to do" path of the dark side.

Donald Trump and Company are wonderful gifts, if you can allow yourself to open to that possibility. Every day they are depicting themselves as extreme and perfect examples of "what not to do," if you want a truly beautiful life.

Here is a post, Beyond The Darkness, that I just wrote that has guidelines on "what not to do" and how to achieve that gorgeous state of Dark Side LIBERATION!

Good luck with it.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

A Defiant, Rebellious, Angry Man-Child Now Rules Our White House

What to do? What to do?

The White House seems so far away and yet so close these days.

It is not “our” house. Yet it is “our” house, this White House that shelters the titular leader of our country, Donald Trump. With Trump in residence, disorder reigns in this house and throughout our country.

What to do? What to do?

Some of the greatest wisdom I have come across, out of the mid to late twentieth century is the collective principles that grew out of Alcoholics Anonymous. My Beloved mentor, Marty Groder, M.D. attempted to improve upon them in his meritorious work at the Marion Federal Penitentiary at Marion, Illinois.  I do not believe he succeeded with this, although other of his ground breaking efforts, indeed were worthy of acclaim.

For a while I tried to emulate Groder’s “instead of  AA approach.” But eventually, having personally invested some time of my own, experiencing a Twelve Step program, I “came to believe” that a better mouse trap was unlikely to be built. So “why reinvent the wheel” when the one you have already rolls along just fine.

Groder’s Survivor Addiction theory that eventually became the GRAD theory (the Groder Rosen Addiction Development theory) incorporates all that Groder taught me about healing addictions. These are truly synonymous with learning to transform and transcend the “dark side” which is a genuine work of a lifetime, almost impossible to achieve, 100%, but is well worth the effort.

Having spent most of the decades of my life on this healing path of dark side transforming, on behalf of clients, as well as following the motto, “Physician heal thy self,” I am finding Trump in the White House to be one of the most challenging, as well as disturbing, dark side confrontations I have ever faced. His presence in office takes the disciplines of forgiveness and detachment, systematically representative of Al-Anon, to a whole new level.

What to do? What to do?

One of the ways I am approaching this trial is right here on this blog site. By my reviewing the questions presented on the Survivor/Addict Inventory, I remind myself, almost as if Groder were alive today to prompt my intellect, that in Trump we have as near an embodiment of the “dark side” as the U.S.A. has ever had in office.

What to do? What to do?

I keep reminding myself what that man, from what we can observe, must, by logical assessment, be carrying inside himself. And, it isn’t pretty. “What to do? What to do?” to keep myself and my loved ones sane in this insane place, has now become a daily mantra.

Want some guidance from what my many years, professionally and personally, have taught me, with a heavy dose of lessons learned from Watergate? Run through this inventory, as if you were taking it as Donald Trump.  See what you discover.

It might just assist you in better understanding and managing the insanity we are now living through. At the least, it might help you in finding creative ways of staying outside of your dark side as you attempt to avoid influences of others in this nasty game we are now in.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

The Media Wants Your Attention. Donald Trump Wants Your Attention. What Do You Want?

Get out of the GAME! Get on with your life!

(Coming soon, GRAD GAME theory, or how to lead a great life!)

Consider yourself a hostage, if you are led by what others want and are without clarity about what you want.

Think about it! Is codependency with politics what you want for yourself for the next four/eight years? Another possibility is to make this a time of growth and even transformation for yourself, along with others for whom you might care. In other words, choose to live this time of stress and trial wisely so you can come through it well.

Being bound to what others want for you, without a discernable definition for yourself – of your self, is one of the main characteristics of codependency. 

Being snared in this trap, in and of itself, is a sure warning to me, if and when I find myself subjected to this GAME to get myself out of it! Staying in ensures a diminishing of the health and well-being I strive so arduously to maintain on a daily basis through nutrition and exercise, tending to my relationships, spending time in nature etc.

How about you? What, where and how do you finally come to realize that you are being led like a sheep by the politicians, the media and the internet, along with whatever else you are being pulled into– and – thus not leading YOUR OWN LIFE?

Add to that minimizing of your true personhood, being a follower of a gang of others who are intent on fighting (i.e. Republicans and Democrats, the media and other special interest groups) and you have made a deal with the Dark Side.

Do you not yet realize you do not need to fight what is now touted as he war now going on in our society and politics?

Now why would you want to do that, unless you do not value the days of your life?

Look again. Here is a place to now re-read Jonah Goldberg’s article, "Trump’s Relationship With Media is One of Codependency,” to help yourself see if you are also in the GAME, or not! 

(I have found a number of other articles on Goldberg’s same theme; the craziness surrounding our political climate that hooks all of us in with it through abuse of our news outlets (i.e. what the media is doing to itself as well as how it is being used nefariously by others) that we depend on for the NEWS we truly need to connect us with the world and our place in it. I will post them too, as I locate their links.

Here's one by Ben Shapiro, Addicted To The Apocalypse.)

Beware politics and the media are addictive activities, seeking your undivided attention; your dependency on them for your daily sustenance like a drug!

So who is in control of your life?  If it’s not you, is that something you truly want?

Giving up oneself to be led by others is a Survival Driven activity; in other words this giving up of self is an addiction, a manifestation of living your life in darkness. Check it out!

It puts you in the position of living like sheep, mindlessly

Here are some things to learn, or remind yourself of, to get out of the codependency trap of our current society and politics.
Bottom line: detach from the drama, get lots of support from healthy people and healthy living, find workable intervention strategies and/or GET OUT, if the going gets too tough);
  • How co-dependent personalities intertwine their passive addictions with the power/aggressive addict to foster a whole multitude of problems. For example: sleepless nights worrying about our political state of affairs, high anxiety about same, excess amounts of time obsessing about what you hear or read about politics, politicians, the media and/or entertainment such as comedy that keeps you still in the GAME.
(Bottom line: All types of survivor addicts indulge in varieties of psychological game playing. Check here for a catalogue of psychological games. If whatever does not produce health, get out of it!)

Bottom Line Here: 
  • Get out of the GAME! Get back in charge of your life;
  • Survival driven behaviors; those that are yours or that you attach yourself to; take you down into darkness; 
  • Find light! Your Light is essential, especially now! 
Here are some tips for getting out of the GAME today!
Get Out of The Game!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Survival Games Power Addicts And Co-Dependents Play

Note To The Winner Survivor/Compassionate Warrior

The main objective of this developing series is to facilitate YOUR getting out of the codependent cycle YOU are likely also in with the political chaos going on.

Here's how it works:

1. Stop being all caught up in the Trump-media drama. If you are in it, that is YOUR addiction, not theirs;
2. Focus your attentions, while also staying vigilant, but not hyper-vigilant, on those closest to you; family, friends, neighbors, you local community;
3. Lean in, lean in, lean it -- build bridges of understanding to overcome polarization anywhere and everywhere you can;
4. This is a critical pathway, slowly but surely, for eradicating the toxicity surrounding us now in society and politics;
5. This is a pathway for bringing more calm and peace into your own life;
6. This is also a pathway for eventually bringing fresh, new leaders into our government. 
7. By living, now, in integrity in your own life you will have a better understanding in the future about how you choose leaders and what you will want from them;
8.This is a pathway for role modeling to the younger generations how our country can best move forward.


I want to make a handful of points here in beginning what I hope will become a useful series of articles to follow as soon as I can prepare them. My hope is that these just might have the substance and clarity I wish for you to have from my efforts to write my many blog posts, designed especially for your edification -- and --- your transformation

(For inspiring my idea for this series I thank Jonah Goldberg of the National Review for his wonderful article, Trump’s Relationship With Media is One of Codependency.)

To accomplish this I am starting off with my end point: 
If you wish to find a modicum of peace for yourself in these troubled times, socially and politically, winding your way through the sometimes arduous task of taking my “Do You Have A Survivor/Addict Personality? inventory can be a useful tool (Also named the Where Is Your Compassionate Warrior Hiding? Quiz.
Two different names for the same inventory, designed for you to see the two different angles intended for exploring from this quiz; the first name focuses on the problems to be identified while the second, “the Compassionate Warrior” quiz suggests that there is treasure to be found in areas of challenge.
If you make a serious exploration of either of these two, content identical quizzes, framed somewhat differently to help you best make use of them – and – if you make your way through to the scoring, you will soon discover that the lowest possible scores tell you what the highest potentials of human functioning look like.

Thus the scoring you will see tells you --  

If your score is: 25 - 35, your Dark Side may no longer be actively destructive. You may have come through the tempering process of a journey similar to mine and returned a Compassionate Warrior whose strength is combined with gentleness except in extreme emergencies. In other words, if you scored in this range, you have, most likely, learned the art of merging head and heart. 

In this mode you value strategic planning. If and when you choose to activate your Inner Warrior, it is always with a sound dose of it being for the good of the whole. Here integrity rules the day above most other things. 

You can also check out the Serene Survivor Inventory to further explore the dominant ways of the Compassionate Warrior in relationships. High scores on this inventory offer a baseline for identifying optimum Compassionate Warrior behaviors. Use it to guide your development of living in a transforming manner.

Now, getting back to my main focus for this article, “Survival Games Power Addicts And Co-Dependents Play.” One further aside; sometimes, when I am feeling particularly happy and resilient, I experience a moment or two of gratitude for Donald Trump and his outrageous team of cohorts. After all, I had been investigating the social and political dynamics of the Dark Side and its enabler, the co-dependent, since Watergate

I was quite certain it would now be time, after Election 2016, to share fully what I’ve learned. So I was intent on that mission. But without Donald Trump in office to portray a real live Dark Side in motion, on a daily basis, ad nauseum, who might I have drawn from for “case study” examples of some of the worst possible manifestations?

Only Darth Vadar had seemed to be an apt example previously.

Now to return to my main point, “Survival Games Power Addicts And Co-Dependents Play.” 

If only, if only people could tune into the level of excessive survival-driven behaviors Trump and Company are promoting – and – find their way through that darkness to the Light, oh how wonderful it could be, on the Fourth of July as well as the other 364 days of the year.  

(Michelle Obama offers an idea of how to do this in her statement, "When they go low, we go high." Do it!!!)

With that end in mind, I offer you this --

As a registered Independent I give myself the leisure these days of reading all types of online media, other than the irredeemable extremes of the dark side. In the process of this exploration, I have taken a liking to the National Review, founded by William Buckley Jr. Often times, these days, I find some of the commentary posted there as the only sane place, still with a bit of thought-provoking zest, to help me sort out the mental gyrations Donald Trump and his team are intent on provoking.

Jonah Goldberg has become one of my favorites on this site. And today, his article, "Trump’s Relationship With Media is One of Codependency,” gave me so much that I want to share it with you as a homework reading assignment for the teachings of this site.

So, instructions Number One, read this article.

Instruction Number 2, return to this site for some Dark Side transforming lessons based on the interweaving of Jonah Goldberg’s article and the principles of this site. 

(I mean transforming within yourself along with doing your best to transform the Dark Side wherever you see it, near or far. See this link for a further exploration of Dark Side and Compassionate Warrior principles.

Caveat: Be mindful that attachments to changing others, outside of managing how you handle yourself, lead you right into survival/addict functioning!)

(Hopefully I will not run afoul of any copyright infringements in doing this. I have requested an official okay but am going forward as intended, unless some other upheaval distracts me, once again, as often happens.)

Details on the way.

Happy July 4!!!

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