Prior to doing my men's weekend in April of 2007, I did exhaustive research on Justin Sterling so I would know EXACTLY what I was in for. I heard all the, "you just have to go and see" and "don't question, just trust." After completing the weekend, I discovered there was really no intelligent information about the weekend. Most of the information on the web was by hysterics, and many of them did not complete the weekend. This blog is an attempt to help you make an informed decision.
First of all, I completed the weekend. Most of the men who attend generally finish. It appears that women finish less frequently because they tend to be more confronted by the weekend. Where men are open to being more "masculine" (the primary lesson of the weekend), today's female tends to resist being told they should submit to more traditional gender roles.
I did the weekend because I've been divorced twice and I'm under 30. In addition, I was in love with a VERY damaged woman who had done the women's weekend. The Sterling principles had become and continue to be her "religion" and she was adamant that I take the weekend if we were to remain a couple. In other words, I let her push me in to it because I was trying to hold us together.
While I don't regret my participation in the weekend, I wouldn't do it again. The truth is, you can get something out of any experience and this weekend is a real challenge in battling your fear. In addition, there are very solid relationship principles that are essential if you are to maintain a healthy relationship with your partner. The problem is that you pay $800 for a good chunk of truth and a whole lot of worthless lecturing, exercises, etc.
Despite what the hysterics think, there is NO brain washing taking place. The execution of the weekend is unfamiliar to most, which is why many who quit claim it's dangerous mind games. It's not dangerous, but I would confidently say it is unnecessary for most intelligent men. On the other hand, I saw many people from my weekend experience dramatic change, which was positive.
Bottom line, the weekend is beneficial for emotionally damaged men/ women; they are the ones who experience the greatest "transformation." The problem is that because most of those people have no real emotional foundation, they become obsessed with the Sterling principles and commit unhealthy portions of their time to participating in men's or women's groups that practice the philosophy.
If you're a complete emotional mess with legitimate relationship issues, take the weekend. That said, JUSTIN STERLING IS NOT GOD. He is merely regurgitating basic principles of relationships and throwing in his own mix of native American ritual garbage. The weekend is a good starting point. From there, continue to learn about relationships by reading intelligent books on the subject and exploring your issues through therapy. The weekend should not become your religion.
After the weekend, I bought a book called Doc Love's "The System." I have no association with Doc Love. I merely read some of his articles online and found they made sense to me. I made the investment in his book ($100). When I received my copy, I found EVERY SINGLE PRINCIPLE of the weekend clearly explained and explored in much better detail than in my weekend. Justin Sterling does not allow you to take notes, so most of the information is forgotten. Thus, you commit yourself to a men's group, which is really a bunch of sociopaths who can't function without the Sterling principles. There are physical exercises in the weekend that are of benefit, and you can't discount an intensive 3 days of nothing but straight relationship exploration and advice. That said, if you're a bright guy with a good sense of himself, I'd recommend saving the $800 and making an investment in some good books on relationships that are NOT WRITTEN BY WOMEN.
The weekend is not a "cure all" and it does not change everyone. My ex girlfriend claims the weekend changed her life. In truth, it helped end our relationship because she found other damaged women who would support her insanity and unrealistic relationship expectations. She's every bit as much a mess as before she took the weekend. She never practiced the principles in our relationship, and she made my life a living hell. At some point, you make a personal choice on whether you will change independent from the Sterling Weekend.
In closing, the weekend has some value. Is it worth $800? Not in my opinion, but everyone gets something different. My life wasn't changed, but I did learn things. The thing is, I could have learned those lessons for $100 bucks and without getting naked.