Strategies for leaving the group and moving toward recovery of your personal autonomy, health and relationships.
Your level of involvement will be a major factor in your decision to leave. Students currently experiencing serious misgivings or those with peripheral involvement may find it easier and simpler than those deeply involved.
I recommend informing yourself of the facts about the group. This may not feel right at first because Serge teaches students to distrust facts and doubt. Facts and reality have little relationship with his version of ‘truth’. Exposure of the facts about his past and the activities of Universal Medicine are disruptive to his lines of income and prestige. Judge for yourself. News articles are to be found on the media link page. The Rick Ross Cult Education Site is a good resource for researching anything to do with the workings of harmful groups, and this site has a Resources page with links to articles on how cults work and recovery.
I recommend the books Take Back Your Life by Tobias and Lalich, as well as Margaret Thaler Singer’s Cults in our Midst. Several of the articles listed on the Rick Ross Recovery page have been extracted from those.
I’d suggest those leaving seek support. Separating yourself from friends and/or family who are still in the group is one of the most difficult aspects of leaving. In the same way, there are bound to be people in your life who are anxious about your wellbeing and longing to see you. When seeking support, or an alternative place to live it’s essential you connect with people who respect your dignity and genuinely care for your wellbeing and personal autonomy. If you were in a physically, verbally or emotionally abusive relationship before joining UM, please don’t return to it. You may find this page of links on abusive and controlling relationships useful. It might be helpful to look at leaving UM as an opportunity to start your life anew. It may take some time to establish, but make sure you are well supported in recovering your health, and building or rebuilding sound, respectful and loving relationships.
Few outside the group will understand what it was like for you when you were involved with Universal Medicine and this may bring a sense of isolation. It’s important you have trusted people in your life with whom you can relax and not feel judged. The other day I spoke with a woman who has concerns about a friend who is heavily involved with UM. She herself had been raised by parents who were members of an Eastern meditation cult, and has had a very broad life experience. She doesn’t care what Serge or anyone believes in, but she cares very much for the health and wellbeing of her friend and is attempting to reach out to her. I’m speaking to more and more loved ones of UM students who are distressed, concerned and desperate to reconnect. I suggest you test the waters with loved ones and look to make contact with those you respect and trust. They may not get what you’ve been through, and it may require some negotiation and compromise on either side to re-establish the bond, but those who genuinely care about you will be overjoyed and relieved to have you back in their lives.
You may communicate freely on this site, anonymously or otherwise without interference from the UM peer pressure and emotional blackmail machine. We’ve seen how UM behaves toward detractors, and I would ask the *Loving* Eso students to respect the wishes of those who want to leave, and let them be.
I need to make it clear I never identify anyone who contacts me, unless they’ve done so to either convert or abuse me. Otherwise, I never identify loved ones who contact me, or anyone who leaves UM.
Many Universal Medicine students are suffering from adverse health effects and I strongly recommend you see a doctor for a comprehensive check up. Make sure the doctor you see is not affiliated with UM, and nor are any of the allied health practitioners they may refer you to. Ask the receptionist when you make your call and ask the physician themselves. If they have anything good to say about Universal Medicine, find another practitioner.
Lastly, I recommend you give yourself time. Readjustment to life after Universal Medicine will be a gradual process. Cult expert, Margaret Thaler Singer, in her comprehensive article, Coming Out of the Cults, wrote that it realistically takes 6 to 18 months for most ex members to ‘get their lives functioning again at a level commensurate with their histories and talents.’
It can be done, it may not feel like it at times, but there are many caring people who wish to support you.
P.S. YouTube is a great resource for cult recovery.