My dad was a ‘Wild Wild Country’ sex cult addict, says Lily Dunn

Just when I was settling down with a husband, and pregnancy, two cats, and a beautiful house under mortgage, leaving behind the recklessness of my youth – using mundaneity as an end – My father lost control. With the determination to drink to death, he extended his hand towards me for the first time. I took it, but then hesitated, looking back at my life as his daughter, and asking myself, what do I owe him?

When I was six years old, he disappeared from our lives to join a cult on the other side of the world with no mention of when he would return. As a way of coping, my brother and I told ourselves he was dead. Six months later, he returned from Poona, India, dressed in the colors of the sunset with a long beaded necklace and a photo of his newly discovered guru, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh – now available called Osho – in the center of it.

Bhagwan, whose cult was partially explored in the Netflix hit series Wild Wild Country, citing various philosophies, brings together Indian Hinduism, Zen, and Western Psychotherapy. He promoted an ideal state, primordial and innocent, and wanted his disciples to yearn for this freedom, too, to find out who they are – their true selves – through love, letting go. prose and sex.

“The man you used to know is no more,” our father told us, his eyes glassy and gazing happily at some distant horizon. “I have been reborn.” I put my hand in the pocket of my duffel coat to try to stop the tremor and met my brother’s eyes. Does this mean he is no longer our father? He was seduced by something more tantalizing than we are – our constant love, or the constraints of family life; somehow, we were usurped.

Still, we kept pulling — following him during his school holidays to the different countries and communes he moved to — from England, to Italy, to America — even though he clearly didn’t care. care about us and our lives.


Lily was a child when her father left.

Lily Dunn

It’s been 30 years and our dad is an addict and can’t start his day without a glass of wine or Jack Daniels taking his pills — Endocet, Vicodin, Diazepam — come so denied that, red in the face, he shouted at us—I do not drink alcohol! despite the wild fire in his eyes, the fresh stain on his T-shirt. When my brother and I were thrown together again on an emergency trip to California to try to convince him to enter rehab, leaving our runaway family behind, that childhood memory came back again. arrive. Where is our father? We couldn’t recognize him in the intense drunkenness that left his dirty pants on the floor, his anger towards us for facing his truth, while stumbling spectacularly before his death. In our desperate stubbornness to understand what had happened, and our inability to make it better, we glanced over our shoulders at his resolute denial of us, the children. his children, throughout our lives, and wonder if we made the right decision not to go all these years ago?

Our father spent most of his life running away from those who loved him. In the early days of marrying our mother, he was distracted by love affairs, heartbreak, caught up in a dance of betrayal, then guilt, reaching for affirmation. again to fight the bad feeling. When he became a disciple of Rajneesh, he spent the next ten years pursuing his dream — dancing wild, arms in the air, undressing in dynamic meditation; swap partners, through the guru’s great evasiveness – “You think too much,” he would tell me as I shared his confusion and pain at his passing. “Turn off important brains; it won’t do you any good. And when I couldn’t hold back my tears because I needed his attention so much, he said to me, “You’re so negative.” Faced with my silent jealousy of his wife of 18 years, only eight years older than me, he would declare – “You can choose to be happy, or you can choose to be sad, it has nothing to do with it. to me.” He covers his sins in quasi-spiritualism; then he bury his head in work, seizing success only to squander his dollars on expensive hotels, cars and luxury watches.

He never drank much when I was a kid – he just drank an odd glass of wine. He experimented with drugs, but he had a sensitive body and they made him paranoid or sick. But I wondered, while writing and studying my memoirs, My Father’s Sin, even if it is a classic case of replacing one addiction with another. As a young man, he was fascinated by women’s gazes; and when he joins the group of Bhagwan suitors, he can be comfortable around without a hint of guilt. “You are only responsible for yourself,” was the provocative message of his guru. But religions thrive when they detach from reality, creating their own microcosm with its supposed set of rules and freedoms. Bhagwan expected his disciples to surrender to him, but also their wishes. My father, throughout his life, was always in search of pleasure – always trying to break free from the constraints of the conventional world.

Bhagwan devotees are supposed to live in harmony with people and with nature. They will be ‘creative’ — able to channel their repressed energy into something useful, such as music or poetry. They will live in love. They tend to drift in perpetual ‘happy’ states, like ecstasy, daydreaming, and disengagement. It is very charming.

He was not an alcoholic then, but he was also an addict. I wonder if the search for transcendence, through sex, through work, through spirituality, has taken him so far away from what is real that alcohol and prescription drugs inevitably follow. .

But then again, alcoholism poisoned generations of my father’s family. His aunt died from drinking and left her property to a cat home, and an anecdote is often told that his grandfather could drink 16 pints at lunchtime. It is perhaps ironic that it was not this aspect of his family that my father had blindly fled from, but their more mundane, blunt truth about their conformity — the middle class. save, post-war, yearning for the latest washing machine. He was always determined to be something bigger, bigger, more special — women who made him feel like a Sex God; the cult as he was one of the elect, a New Man, innocent, irreverent, unfettered by Christian oppression; Money is his safety blanket, the key to his fantasy of becoming a millionaire. When he finally turned to drinking, he liked how it made him feel bigger than life; it helped him harness his supernatural powers. But in reality, the drink only made him delusional about himself, and along with his irrational lust for money, it was this that eventually sent him into free fall.


Lily’s father would sometimes return for special occasions like her graduation.

Lily Dunn

My father was caught in a scam, promising millions of inheritances from an estranged relationship of unknown origin, which landed him in a room in the Connaught Hotel, one of the most expensive hotels in the world. best in London. This was clearly paid for by the Russians, a lie that was as obvious as green to everyone but him. And it was this that caused my father to slip and fall to the edge of the cliff. He thought he could keep running, running forever, but pretty quickly realized that the ground beneath him was rapidly disappearing. Fifty thousand dollars off, plus a hotel bill that would have woken even the most obsessive, he boarded a plane back to his beach house on Bolinas Beach, California, and buried it. his shame in the bottle. And yet, my father still resists waking up to the damage caused, even when his property is being swiped by locals, the bank threatens to take his house. The first time he was in intensive care, because he broke his neck when he fell down the stairs, doctors told him he would die within a year if he didn’t stop drinking. I begged him to stop, and he beat me away with— “But it was fun!”

My father is a chameleon, he will apply your methods to him. I always find it amazing to sit with him in a Chinese restaurant when he speaks with a waiter’s accent. Is this because he barely knows himself? He doesn’t really want to be known, always slipping out of our hands; My mother says. He is a dangerous combination of both love and inability to love.

As I write about him, I set out to solve a nagging puzzle: how did this man I love, so adventurous, so charismatic, so successful, lose it all over the years? His second wife, his business, his home, his will to live. He was in and out of Marin General Hospital when the Benevolent Association paid $100,000 plus his medical bills (his insurance had lapsed) and then put him on the plane back England, where he arrived with nothing but his Mulberry bag. and Panerai watches. Less than six months later, he died. Alone on the floor of a bed and breakfast.

I have realized now that there are special people who try very hard to avoid mundane things, to avoid trivial things. In the last years of my life, more than anything I wanted my father back home. Not a delusional alcoholic, but a quiet old man who was able to spend his last bucks on a little terraced house a few streets away from me, so I could visit him and we sat together in his garden over a cup of tea. Did I really think he would stop and sit with himself like this, to live so humbly? Instead, from the dry house, he called me and my brother repeatedly, and asked us for money, spent on vodka and pies, and chocolate digestibles, more vodka , tablets; anything to ease the pain. Sitting alone on a bench on the North Devon coast with the wind blowing his eyes, to dream of his final escape, the next quick plan to make money doing nothing. My dad was a ‘Wild Wild Country’ sex cult addict, says Lily Dunn


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