"The Weekend uses men's genuine pain and suffering in a dishonest way"

By a Sterling Graduate

I spent a weekend in July with Sterling and found your "Open Letter" pretty much accurate. The weekend offers some pretty intense activities without much preparation for re-entering the outside world except for the promise of continuing in the Men's Division. The activities included pretending a partner was a female against whom you had some anger, and screaming at him "Fuck you for..." (all the reasons); this was done at 2:00 AM Sunday. Another activity involved expressing grief or anger that may have been corked for years. Another involved forgiving one's father and thanking him for all the things, positive or negative--he had taught.

I have to say that the activities were valuable for me personally, as was the intense connection with other men, but that the Sterling people are not equipped to deal with men in an intelligent, humane manner.

Most of the time I felt used, angry, and bitter that my "sponsor" had so misunderstood me to think I would enjoy this weekend. One positive was my newfound ability to get extremely angry with him afterwards -- and I have always held a tight lid on my anger.

Like the man who was involved with the Men's Division for two years, and then was never contacted by his "friends" after he left, my point team men from Sterling haven't contacted me either --and this is disappointing after so many weeks of intense experiences together.

If you didn't know, the Sterling Men's Division only allows you to join if you complete their "Seven Week Point Program", which is like boot camp. you meet every week for several hours in order to confront your "barriers" and in order to plan recruiting sessions for candidates for The Weekend. Most of the time is spent on planning recruitment, and organizing "Open Houses".

Visitors to open houses can expect to be pushed to make a commitment to come to The Weekend. They may often feel browbeaten, although some of them may appreciate that others seem to care about them enough to spend hours with them, and they sign up. If "Point Team" members are having a hard time getting men to come to the open houses, they are accused of not really "living the weekend" in their lives.

Some of the stuff is good--in terms of getting a man to live from his gut, to speak up, and to help other men. However, much of it feels abusive and unfocussed, dishonest--in that the real goal of the Men's Division is to recruit for Sterling (for free).

The weekend reinforces misogyny, and most probably constitutes a "kick-ass good time" (verbiage often used by weekenders) similar to a frat party. That's what's bad about it: the weekend uses men's genuine pain and suffering in a dishonest way. However, the weekend is never billed as therapy; the disclaimer clearly states it is meant to be understood as an "event" rather than a therapy session.

Copyright © 1998 Rick Ross
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