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Bob Alexander: The Ludovico technique

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Aversiono therapyWe all remember the scene from A Clockwork Orange: Alex, bound in a straitjacket, strapped to a theatre seat, eyelids mechanically propped open, injected with extreme nausea-inducing drugs, and forced to watch horrific films of beatings, murder, rape, and gore. After his “treatments” he will be conditioned to become uncontrollably sick when he tries to return to his previous life of ultra-violence.

Now that’s Aversion Therapy in wide-screen Warnercolor.

Back in 1990, just up the street from the treatment center I was percolating in for 28 days, was a treatment facility that promised freedom from alcoholism in just 10 days (with a couple of 2-day follow-ups) using Aversion Therapies.

One of my fellow in-mates “graduated” from that place. The fact that he was sitting across from me at this treatment center didn’t speak highly of the other one. But then again a couple of months after we both got out of treatment he was back on the booze and drugs again. There are some people who can only stay sober if they’re locked up. The outside world is a vast mysterious and dangerous place for those who refuse to read the rule book.

But back when we sitting around the picnic table in our pajamas he told me all about the other treatment center just up the street. They alternated “Sleepy” days with “Duffy” days. A “Sleepy” was the day they drugged him into a twilight space and interviewed him for hours on end about who knows what. He couldn’t remember what they talked about. But he sure remembered the Duffy days. They gave him nausea-inducing drugs and then lined up 18 - 20 drinks for him to chug down. Beer, vodka, red wine, white rum, brandy, and more beer that made him puke, and puke, and puke some more. Ad nauseum. Then the next day was a “Sleepy” followed by another Duffy. A couple of times they put electrodes on his fingers and administered a nasty shock every time he took a drink. After 10 days of that they sent him back to Real Life.


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