Sunrise Center Workshop

I just returned from the second Sunrise Center1 workshop, excited and hopeful about what we can do together as a group of smart, loving, cooperative humans.

Janet Foner2 led us brilliantly, relaxedly, confidently, and with good humor. She talked about the history of the Sunrise Center, and those of us on the board spoke about how working on this project has been re-emergent. It has made me feel more hopeful about having a future society in which people actively care about each other. I’ve also enjoyed using my mind and working together on something that is so important and challenging, in part because it has never been done before.

For the first time, two people came who were in the process of getting off psychiatric drugs. They were each assigned one of the Sunrise Center board members or fundraisers as a buddy to support them and their support team. The teams met together several times, including with Janet. And a class about building support and getting help was good for all of us.

Everyone has a drug story and needs to discharge about it. We have all been numbed and emotionally shut down as part of living in an oppressive society. Our drug stories can be about psychiatric drugs, street drugs, anesthesia or other medical drugs, nicotine, alcohol, caffeine. At the workshop I had many sessions on my drug history. I was motivated to do so in spite of feeling scared and embarrassed. I think this work will help me be more visible and connected.

There is never anything wrong with people who are on psychiatric drugs, and they are never to blame for the choices they have made. Many of us were forced to take psychiatric drugs, or were in circumstances in which we had no other choice.

We live in a world in which we are taught the myth that some people are okay and others “need to be fixed.” It is a lie that people need psychiatric drugs. (Many have successfully gotten off them, including people who have been taking them for over twenty years.) They don’t “fix” us, because we don’t need to be “fixed.” They only slow down or stop discharge. And they don’t create resource. Resource is being connected to others, receiving attention, and being able to discharge our hurts.

We get to say, “You can stop using psychiatric drugs. It can be done. It may be a big struggle, but it is completely possible to succeed. If you have been on drugs for a while, you can’t know what your mind will be like off of them until you stop taking them.” However, people get to make their own choices. We can back3 them whatever they decide and keep holding out, without any pressure, the possibility of their getting off the drugs.

People can discharge about the events that happened just before taking the drugs that led to their taking them. What was happening then? When did they feel like they “needed to be fixed”? They can discharge on any early hurts that made them feel like they needed the drugs. All this is the material4 that will come back up when they stop taking them. People can also work on any fears about what might happen when they stop the drugs.

People who support people to stop taking psychiatric drugs are often excited to help, because it is good for them, too. They get to feel more powerful by helping someone. They get to have lots of sessions about their own drug stories and re-emerge in that area. They get to connect with other people who are excited and hopeful about this powerful revolution we are making. We are not just creating a specific place (the Sunrise Center), we are also building a community—and it is starting out so well!

Joan Mackenzie
Asheville, North Carolina, USA
Reprinted from the RC e-mail discussion list
for leaders of "mental health" liberation 


1The Sunrise Center will be a residential drug-free recovery center based on Re-evaluation Counseling theory and practice. It will help people to free themselves from psychiatric drugs and will teach others to assist in this. Residents will be active partners in their recovery, in collaboration with the staff. It is expected that residents, after discontinuing the drugs, will go on to reclaim full use of the tools of RC and to lead rewarding lives. Before the center is established, the project is offering a series of workshops open to RCers who want to stop using psychiatric drugs or help others to do the same.
2Janet Foner is the International Liberation Reference Person for “Mental Health” Liberation.
3“Back” means support.
4“Material” means distress.


Last modified: 2019-05-02 14:41:35+00