Straight Inc. Tortured Kids
No parents allowed. No professionals. Psychological and Physical Torture. Brainwashing. Encouraged Kid on Kid Abuse. In America.
And I survived it.
Surviving Straight Inc - The Movie is about to be released that showcases what Straight, Inc. was, what it did and how it affected kids. The purpose of this article is to explain a little about Straight, Inc. while also sharing what other resources have been made available.
Surviving Straight Inc is a website dedicated to showcasing the abuses that went on in a claimed drug rehab facility called Straight, Inc.. There is an almost unbelievable but haunting video on the page that would give the most staunch believer (in the "Oh this did not happen; Not in America!" camp) a hard time.
I am a Straight Inc Survivor. And back in 2006 after the memories came flooding back to me, I wrote a Newsvine article on my Straight Story. By my most remedial standard, it was terribly written, hard to follow, and disconnected. But at the time, because I was recovering from a PTSD [by way of an alcoholic invoked amnesia], it was simply important for my healing to just tell on it. Not long after I'd written it and received many positive and supportive messages, I pulled the article.
I pulled it at the time, because a cult-like residential facility that claimed itself under a 'Recovery Model based on the 12 Steps' [like Straight claimed] had opened up in my vicinity and the cult leader came hard and fast after people who were outspoken against him and I had been invoked as one such person.
Still reeling and dealing with my new memories, I was provoked back into my 15 year old self who was again in Straight, Inc. The old fears came back of "spit therapy", "violent confrontation", and psychological torture. I was again that girl who was in Straight Inc and scared (to the point of debilitation) of being confronted by anything or anyone that/who resembled a Straight model. In fact, for all practical purposes, this facility was precisely like Straight in that it employed no doctors, nurses or health-care professionals in any capacity whatsoever yet engaged in group therapy, shaming, blaming, humiliation, and the breaking down of self-esteem as well as welfare fraud. The only notable difference is that these people were adults and willingly went there upon referrals from well-intentioned addiction rehab facilities.
Not to get off track from my primary purpose, my point is that I eventually did put the article back because it was symbolic of my initial catharsis - that began my healing. And secondly, since more time has passed, I now see that the opening of that nothing-more-than-self-professed-recovery-halfway-house [or sober house] in tandem with my few years sobriety was precisely the event that triggered my own Straight, Inc remembrance. Tertiarily: It also may be of benefit to learn a little about Straight Inc. so that the uninitiated public can understand that addiction and alcoholism are real live problems for people and also that these bullying models 'for recovery' STILL exist even today.
Here was my original Straight story: Cult-Control, Kids, and Straight Inc
Validation from Surviving Straight Inc.
My friend, Kris Flannery, founded Surviving Straight Inc. and it's a voice for many. For many of us Straight Inc. Kids, a common issue we've all noticed is that many people - often even our parents - did not believe us. Who could possibly believe this kind of relentless and systematic torture and permissive kid on kid abuse could happen to kids in America? We were just kids. And in some cases, 'just kids' who belonged to sick or addicted parents, themselves. The same parents who put their kids in Straight, Inc. to 'straighten them out'.
Straight, Inc. (1976-1993) publicly claimed to rehabilitate teenage drug users by using tough love and Alcoholics Anonymous principles. Straight, Inc. provided NO professional counseling: Straight, Inc.'s "treatment model" relied exclusively on "positive peer pressure" from unprofessional staff (program graduates) and from the teenage clients. Straight, Inc. claimed to have an astronomically high success rate and was supported by both the Reagan and Bush administrations. However, Straight, Inc. did not publicly reveal what many survivors will tell you. The REAL Straight, Inc. was a facility that used coercive thought reform (aka mind control, brainwashing), public humiliation, sleep & food deprivation, extremely harsh confrontational tactics, kidnapping, isolation and emotional, mental, psychological, verbal and physical abuse to forcibly break us down then remold us in the Straight, Inc. image. Straight, Inc. also operated in secrecy, just like a cult (Straight, Inc. has been classified as a cult by cult experts). No outsiders were ever permitted to know what really went on. Straight's rules and our fear of harsh punishment prevented us from talking to outsiders or from reporting abuses.
Not all kids survived. Some chose suicide.
Of those who did survive or are currently 'surviving', many suffered or are still suffering long-lasting unresolved trauma
As my article said (I will not hold it against you if you do not read it), I attempted suicide quite a few times on the heels of Straight, Inc and in the face of my ever-developing and gaining speed PTSD that held hands quite intimately with my pre-existing alcoholism and post-Straight anorexia and self-mutilation...
Another friend, Kelly Matthews, is in process of making a movie entitled Surviving Straight Inc - The Movie. I have known Kelly for a while and know that her work is tireless and is an amazing person in that her own story - as heartbreaking as it is - is what has enabled healing for so many of us who have survived Straight or who are working still to continue surviving it. She was initiated into this cause, not because she was in Straight, Inc - but because her brother was. And he did not survive. Rest in Peace Steve.
And he is not alone. We have only estimates of deaths or suicides as a direct or indirect result of Straight, Inc. But even then, who knows the far-reaching effects of psychological torture to the already hormonally influxed teenager? Even if we did have records of every Straightling there is simply no practical way to tell.
Again, from Surviving Straight Inc. - Trying to survive Straight, Inc. devastated many of us. Some former clients have committed suicide. Others have serious disorders as a result of their time in Straight, Inc. For example, some of us suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, panic disorders and severe depression. In addition, many of us have experienced other long-term detrimental effects such as inability to function normally in relationships, fear of therapists or any form of counseling, severe distrust of people, paranoia, nightmares, etc. This is certainly not a complete list but does give one an inkling of the serious long-term adverse effects on survivors caused by Straight Inc.
Believe us. It happened. We are the legacy.
© 2011, Digits. If you enjoy this resource, vote it up the Vine, bookmark, or share so others can find it. If you have something to share, leave a comment! To other Survivors, you are not alone and there is help available. See below.
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