It had to happen. It was just a matter of time.* The phenomena of addiction to psychics finally reached the point in our society where the fabled Twelve Step Program stepped in to fill the need for support groups. The brand of fellowship once previously reserved for wayward drunks and speed freaks is now preaching to a whole new choir. Thanks in part to the twisted badinage of the likes of Dr. Phil and Anderson Cooper, there are now thousands of lost souls who have found their lives taken over by an uncontrollable urge to get a psychic reading. It sounds like a SNL skit, but the sad truth is a new wave of Psychic Junkie support groups are springing up, and it’s no laughing matter.
Adopting the tenants of Alcoholics Anonymous by trading out the word “alcohol” for “psychic readings,” Psychic Junkie chat groups, meetings and websites are becoming all the rage. Welcome to the natural outgrowth of the paranormal glut we are living in. Too much of everything mystical is starting to take its toll. America’s insecure mind has become as obese as its spreading torso and our craving for something sweet in the form of a fuzzy shoulder to cry on or a calm voice to get “spiritual” advice from has reached epidemic proportions. In a New York Times article about Sarah Lassaz, the author of “Psychic Junkie,” a psychologist tells us;
“If psychic addiction is a budding epidemic, Ms. Lassez is well out in front of the scientific curve in exploring it, said John W. Welte, a psychologist and senior research scientist at the Research Institute on Addictions at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Dr. Welte said he had never heard of any research on the subject or of the subject itself.
Still, he did not discount the possibility that one could develop the same patterns of emotional dependence on the supernatural as others develop with behavioral addictions like gambling: overpowering urges to chase a brief but powerful high, followed by increasing tolerance, thus the need for the subject to increase the dose continually to get the same effect.”
More here on that :http://www.psychicjunkie.net/html/nytimesarticle.html
I found out about this disturbing new development through an email exchange and telephone call. My reality is often stranger than my fiction. And no, … I’m not lying or making this story up to anger or incur the wrath of the troll skeptics out there. These kind of conversations actually occur when your work involves contact with people who want to believe in impossible things. In this case I can’t reveal a name because of the “anonymous” nature of the Psychic Junkie group he is active in. I’ll call him Dave.
Dave told me when he found himself spending a thousand dollars a week on psychics, he began to suspect he might have a problem. When he hit eleven hundred a week, he contacted Lassez’s group and began to “detox.” He was lucky. I have had interviews (ABC “Good Morning America” 05/08/10) and met individuals who have spent far more. One woman I worked with on two separate programs admitted she lost over $150,000, her home, her business and a long term marriage that ended in divorce. After I interviewed her about her addiction, she asked me for a tarot reading.
Yep. That’s what it’s coming down to.
“Ms. Lassez acknowledged that most people’s embarrassment about the behavior keeps them even from disclosing it, let alone seeking help. She said she found it absurd that a belief system so at odds with critical thinking could gain so strong a pull in her life. “I really believed in it, even though most of the predictions weren’t coming true,” she said.”
I fully realize many reading this blog will respond with comments like, “Who cares, those ignorant people deserve what they get,” or “Why bother?” or “Why waste your time? If they are stupid enough to throw their money away, it’s their own fault,” and so on. The problem is, the more we see this kind of gradual eroding away of common sense, (and degree of humility towards those less fortunate in terms of rational thinking) might I suggest that in doing so we may forget that impressionable people can eventually take a dramatic toll in all of our lives when they begin to affect areas such as medical and emergency services, when they lose jobs or homes, become addicted to other substances, commit suicide or decide to go on a rampage with automatic weapons. I may be stretching my point a bit – but not much.
As with alcoholism, this psychic epidemic has no social boundaries. Psychic dependence is not a special sub-set isolated to the uneducated or underprivileged individual. The average “seekers of psychic knowledge” are not idiots or mentally unstable feral humans standing on the outskirts of the shopping mall drooling on themselves. Far from it. They vote, have children and pay taxes just like everybody else. They are your next door neighbors. Psychic belief affects everybody in all levels of society. In the case of the aforementioned Californian woman from “Good Morning America;” she once owned a successful art gallery in Beverly Hills, a palatial home in Brentwood and had three successful grown children.
Doubt me? Google “Psychic Junkies” or take a quick look at one of many interesting “projects’ dealing with psychic addiction:
The Psychic Junkie Twelve Step Program may be a step in the right direction for some who have no where else to turn. From my talk with Dave, I heard in his voice the seeds of a new skepticism – and that was a good thing. However slowly and painfully it happens, I’m encouraged that some people are being forced by circumstance to wake up. In the long run, this news may help inculcate new skepticism in other areas as well. As with alcoholism, the addict has to want to change his or herself. You cannot convince a drinker to stop drinking until they are ready to accept how cunning and baffling alcohol can be. The same is true of psychic readings.
Perhaps we are now seeing the beginnings of the psychic dependence dilemma becoming a public health issue?
Although I’m neither surprised nor particularly happy about it’s necessity, this new burgeoning direction bears watching. Like the myriad website and paranormal groups that promote the “sciency” approach in their mission statements but have little or no scientific grounding, my fear is as with any panacea, there will no doubt be a surplus of copy-cat systems, false programmers and predatory instant gratification promises that will blossom in this fertile new environment of “psychic self-help.” My skeptical mind says watch out; supplanting one addictive behavior for another is never a cure-all answer. It would not shock me to hear witch Dr. Phil capitalizing on this trendy redress any day now.
The core issues and root causes remain.
Expose the psychic blight we see on every street corner for the greedy unscrupulous vermin they truly are.
* For more, read my previous blog on Psychic Junkies here in my skepticblog archive from Sept. 5, 2009.