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The long goodbye

Discussion in 'Life After Scientology' started by johnAnchovie, Sep 21, 2019.

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  1. johnAnchovie

    johnAnchovie Still raging

    The lovely Sallydance, aka Glenda told me the board would close. It was she that encouraged me to express my thoughts here. So, here are my thoughts.

    ESMB provided me a kind of Halfway House experience as I sought to grapple with the bewildering world that I encountered upon cutting ties with Hubbard and his evil, deluded minions. Having just spent twenty plus years as a fervent and fanatical minion of Hubbard myself, this was an understandably traumatic transition.

    For some years I was a fervent and fanatical member of the EX Community. Equally blind. suffering the same bifurcated dysfunction as I had in my previous incarnation. My gradual divergence away from this board as it seemed to morph, over time, into something of a polarized, hysterical echo chamber was less traumatic by magnitudes. I put that down to the abundance of thoughtful, kind and free thinking individuals comprising much of the Ex Scientology diaspora.

    I am painfully aware that It goes against the grain of much of the cognitive therapeutic guidance I engaged in as I transitioned away, but to this day I cannot make peace or find any positive outcomes from my years in the cult. Those were wasted, stolen decades where much was lost and nothing of value was gained. I can and do, however, find immense benefit from having been so deeply immersed in the broader Ex community and specifically with ESMB. It was genuinely healing for a time. The space I needed to talk out an experience that no one else could possibly grasp. A world that was utterly foreign to all but those who lived it.

    Over the course of some years, writing, traveling, going back to university for four years. Falling in love, step-fathering kids, dogs, cats and living, I began to shed the old me. It took time but I eventually became an XXL. Ex Scientologist and Ex- Ex Scientologist, if that makes any sense.

    Over the years we mingle and immerse ourselves in the secular world beyond the Hemets, PACs, Saint Hills, Jenberger Strassas and AO Anzos. We mostly outgrow and evolve beyond the halfway homes, these message boards or FB groups that provided psychological succor over that initial period of decompression. I for one eventually found that those clothes simply did not fit me anymore. I kept trying, but blood was constricted and tears began to appear. Tight shoes can damage your feet.

    I wold not for a second criticize or seek to knock Emma and the wonderful job she has done. Commendably helped and supported by the magnificent towering genius that is Mick Wenlock. Emma has been the perfect House Mother. Bighearted, patient, thoughtful, warm and quite willing to rap knuckles or spank bottoms as circumstances and pigheadedness demanded. Emma was the perfect schoolmarm. She is a hot looking sheila too. Something us boys appreciated to no end.

    For a considerable while I was an ESMB addict. That came home to me when I experienced acute withdrawal symptoms when I took the girlfriend and kids on what should have been an otherwise idyllic two week driving holiday through northern and western France. I don't blame ESMB. I blame it on my cowardly unwillingness to man up and face the catastrophic psychological landscape that I brought into Scientology. The one they promised to fix. They lied. They - those that carried out the administration and the 'tech' - succeeded only in providing an exacerbated condition that, for a while, bordered on acute bi-polar disorder. Might as well have tried to fix the Grand Canyon with a band-aide. Cure a headache with an hand-grenade.

    That same psychological dissonance that I excelled at maintaining while in the Sea Org served me just as poorly as I became a card carrying, and sometimes celebrated, proud member of the Ex Scientology Community. I distinctly recall realizing that a number of the broader movement's luminaries were quite psychotic. Some were sociopaths and quite a number were fundamentally narcissists. Then there were the hoards of damaged and needy hangers on. Many of whom, in a more ideal world, should be in full-time care.

    As part of the Ex community fragmented in acrimony and disarray it hit me that I had forgotten my OSA indoctrination. Those edicts thumped into our skulls during mammoth word-clearing sessions and incessant executive face-ripping. Forgive my paraphrasing, but it goes like this.

    Infiltrate enemy groups. Make liberal use of Third Party Tech, undermine opinion leaders, create havoc and take over the enemy group's levers of power from within.

    There is little defense against that form of campaign. If you can't identify the moles, you are done for. The KGB famously ran that pattern on MI6, who pretty much went on and did Yuri Andropov's job for him. Ripping themselves to shreds looking for moles and defending themselves against accusations and imputations.

    We in the Ex Community ignored important lessons. Now we have a fragmented mess. It is all very predictable. OCMB and ESMB have served their purpose. Old clothes. Time to move on. But I will say that it is a tragedy of Shakespearean dimension that so many kind, thoughtful and genuine people got caught up and bruised in the mess. Characters were disparaged. Feelings were hurt and enmities rose up and the boards stopped progressing. Many distanced themselves and others cut ties completely.

    As far back as 2014 I experienced a deep sense of fatigue. At the same time I became terribly ill. A frightening brush the big C and a related autoimmune disorder that knocked out white blood cells by the billion caused all kinds of ugly problems. The outcome being that I could barely function for some years. I became an awful grump and out of necessity, selfish. My ongoing frustration and impatience with decade long circular Hubbard pro-con silliness didn't do me any favors either. I was emotionally and physically exhausted. I realized I had to call it a day.

    I stayed in touch with the Irish ex grouping for a while. I attended protests and did the odd interview. But my heart was not in it. Bitter Internecine warfare, gas-lighting and never ending acrimony that led to open animosities put paid to my involvement with the Irish Exes too. But something still niggled, some unfinished business. Was there some unaddressed emotional need the community filled? Something had to be done before I finally excised - exorcised? - the grip the subject had on me. It was Janice Gillham Grady that provided me both the impetus and tools to get my act together and finish it.

    Back in 2008, I promised myself that I would revisit every location that I once slaved at as a Sea Org member. I would reclaim that space as a free and self determined man. I had gone a long way toward achieving that goal - most notably spending a lovely mid summer week in East Grinstead and the gorgeous countryside surrounding the old town. But PAC Base, 6331 Hollywood Blvd in Los Angeles and the Int Base near Hemet continued to elude.

    Janice invited me to the Las Vegas convention, gathering thingy. Her crew bought my flight. Now I have, in Orange County, some dear and darling family members and in-laws - I am now more in love with my adopted Vietnamese family than I am with the Irish crowd of reprobates and wasters -. The have a roomy place just up the road from Hunting Beach. They enjoy indulging in the odd mad weekend in Sin City. I could crash with them for a month. So it was that on September the 11th, that fateful day in history, I found myself Los Angeles bound.

    There is a much feared and oft maligned prescription drug called Oxycodone apparently swamping all levels of American society. However, it is not at all bad if taken as a single dose with a glass - well, over the evening, a bottle, those massive fuck off bottles you get in Costco - of wine while soaking in an Orange County Jacuzzi on a balmy early Fall night. This all accompanied by a vaped THC or some such Hashish based product and hours of easy relaxed conversation with people I love and trust.

    It became something of a weekly ritual. The Oxy seemed to dissolve this ineradicable social anxiety I carried around with me since forever. Particularly acute since re-immersing myself in the world beyond Scientology. The combination repeated each weekend proved to be deeply therapeutic.

    I was given a spare spanking new Hyundai Ionic to toddle around in. These latest generation hybrids are astonishing. I spent at most $40 in fuel dollars getting from Orange County to the Grand Canyon's North Rim via Las Vegas and the weekend book convention. That adaptive cruise control is straight out of a star-trek future fantasy. I am finally a hybrid convert.

    The four weeks I spent in the US in 2018 profoundly affected me. Changed me.

    It was a combination of things. That four days and nights in Sequoia National Park, one of them in the midst of a breathtaking thunderstorm replete with forked lightning, floods and snow. I gazed in wonder at, and in some sense communed with, those thousand year old red giants. I Hiked the high trails and chatted with gophers, ground squirrels black bears and various deer that seemed intent on leaping out at me on tight bends next to sheer thousand foot drops. Deer sense of humor I suppose.

    I braved the LA clogged and hysterical highways 405 and 101 and some others to get to Hollywood. Lynn Fountain Campbell graced me with her lovely company as we sat having a pleasant coffee and brunch in what years ago was Scientologist owned New York Georges. It is now comfortably secular. We watched silly Sea Org folk scurrying around like demented dervishes or neurotic ants. Dashing in and out of that massive big blue monstrosity that sprawls like a parasitic fungus at the Vermont end of Fountain Avenue. We then drove by CC Int, but didn't linger. We had a more important date with a glorious Pacific sunset at a beautiful spot somewhere between Malibu and Oxnard. On another day we did a rendezvous with Tory at Bob's Big Boy Burgers in Burbank. I finally got to meet the irrepressible Tory Magoo in her native hunting grounds.

    The book convention in Las Vegas was a revelation. The rather intimate association and mingling with Indies, a demographic that I have to admit to being allergic to. But Janice is a powerful lady. I liked her but could not find any warmth beneath those perfect TRs. It was a story repeated with the other Indies. Most disturbing was a former Messenger proudly parading in her original CMO uniform replete with heavy lanyard and something of the superior and disdainful attitude of the undeservedly privileged.

    Then there was the huge, comforting, proactively brilliant presence of Michael Laws. He could easily sub for Saint Peter at the pearly gates, and would surely do a far better job of welcoming newcomers than old Pete will ever do. I met Nancy Many, Jeff Hawkins, Mark and Claire Headly and a host of wonderful others. Never-ins, hard-line anti, mildly pro or undecided and ultra hard line Indies. It was ESMB in 3D or 4D or something. It was for me an astonishing experience. A good experience. It was the culmination of the journey I set out on in October 1985. It was the end of Scientology for me.

    My Vietnamese/Irish family had booked the long weekend for gambling and debauchery, securing a number of luxurious suites in the Venetian hotel/casino. A forty or so minutes drive from Sunland and the convention. It was almost a distorted simulation of my exit from Scientology in 2006. One minute I am in the ex Scientology world mingling with exes and the next I am in the hedonistic midst of Las Vegas, America's playground. Much alcohol and some illicit substances were imbibed and fun was had and burn money burned at card tables and slot machines. We baked in the crowded oven that is the strip at midnight in September. I was a wog again and relishing the contrast.

    Come Monday my LA family drove home and I drove north on the I-15 cutting off into Bryce Canyon and winding my way across Utah toward and maybe into, Colorado. I parked up in that velvety pitch darkness that tells you that you are one hell of a long way from the madding crowd. And after the overwhelming crush of greedy materialism that describes Las Vegas, this dark silence was deeply refreshing. The air was distinctly autumnal. It had been a long haul up, but I was finally here, my goal, the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

    I hiked up to the top end at 5am and caught the magnificent sunrise as it spilled a billion tons of golden light into that breathtaking, gouged out chasm. There were rocks down below me that matched in weight and height the tallest mountains of Ireland or even Scotland for that matter. I crouched down in that cold dawn and I wept. I poured my tears, my shame, my anxiety, my fury, my hate and my lost loves over the precipice. I filled that canyon with my rage, I filled it with my grief, I filled it with my endless capacity for credulity. I filled it with that fake politeness that blocked me from ever speaking out and calling out bullshit when I saw it. I filled it with the lies I told and the lies I bought. And the sun rose higher and filled the canyon all the way down, Colorado, Utah and spilling out into the desert land of Arizona. And all that I poured in there washed down and burned up. And I drove out later that day, down off of the highlands and deep into the deserts of Utah, red deserts of blasted rock and cacti. And I felt clean.

    So Emma, so ESMB and all those that people its pages. I bid thee farewell, I thank you and, well, just that, fare well.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2019
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  2. Emma

    Emma Con te partirĂ² Administrator

    Thanks John. It was a pleasure to have you on ESMB.

    I'm going to be in Ireland next year. Can we catch up for a pint? I'd love to meet up with you and find out about your life in Ireland.
     
    Enthetan, johnAnchovie and Lurker5 like this.
  3. Lurker5

    Lurker5 Gold Meritorious Patron

    Elegant writing JohnAnchovie. Thank you for that heartfelt farewell. :wave: :rose:
     
    freethinker likes this.
  4. Alanzo

    Alanzo Bardo Tulpa

    Very moving, John.

    Good to see you here.
     
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  5. JustSheila

    JustSheila Crusader

    Beautiful, @johnAnchovie . :heartflower:

    You have such a gift, to take what is in your heart and soul and put it to words like music. :biglove:
     
  6. Glenda

    Glenda Crusader

    Thank you John. For everything over the years. For being such an inspiration. For these tears that are pouring down my face and which I can't explain with sequences of words.

    With love & peace
    Glenda :rose:
     
  7. Free to shine

    Free to shine Shiny & Free

    John you are a true poet.

    I also know what it's like to be physically and emotionally exhausted, and very, very sick, after escaping the nightmare and then the aftermath of trying to find out who I really was and what was best to do. Unfortunately family ties bind me to the subject in ways that sometimes blindside me, and it will probably always be that way until the last one is out and knows who they are.

    The last few years I took to sit still, to learn to relax and stop the programmed monkey chatter, to let go the grief, to find myself and the beauty in life is what I refer to as "smelling the roses". I hope everyone here could experience the difference it makes.

    Thank you so much for your wonderful words and I wish you every joy. :heartflower:
     
  8. lotus

    lotus stubborn rebel sheep!

    Beautiful moving post John.:flowers2:

    May you find peace and joy you deserve on your path.
     
  9. He-man

    He-man Hero extraordinary

    That was so nice to wake up to. :heartflower:
     
  10. exbritscino

    exbritscino Patron with Honors

    Thank you for that John. A lovely bit of writing.

    I wish you peace and happiness for the future. And thanks for writing "The Complex". I've still got it at home.......
     
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  11. johnAnchovie

    johnAnchovie Still raging

    Please do! Can you find me on FB or email?
     
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  12. He-man

    He-man Hero extraordinary

    Id love to hook up as well for a chat next time I'm around Dublin or Cork, just saying! :cheers:
     
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  13. johnAnchovie

    johnAnchovie Still raging

    By all means, mate. Can you message me on FB?
     
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  14. He-man

    He-man Hero extraordinary

    doen!
     
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  15. SanDiegoMember

    SanDiegoMember Howard Dickman

    John;

    I appreciate your story, but I take exception to the above paragraph.

    Janis is the correct spelling for the exceptional lady who put this book convention together. I was one of the people at the registration table as you first walked into the meeting room. Janis has a heart of gold, I'm sorry you could not perceive it.

    The lady wearing the Sea Org outfit did it as a joke and as far as I know she was never in the CMO. We owe her a huge debt of gratitude as a lot of pictures from the Sea Org days were taken by her. She is a gas to spend time with.

    That's all; peace be with you.

    Howard Dickman
     
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  16. Lurker5

    Lurker5 Gold Meritorious Patron