Rob Melton, Dallas Straight, 1988
Hi, i really dont know where to start, there hasnt been not one day since i was 16 that i have not felt the pain and anger that straight inc. in Richardson Tx. bestowed upon me I'm 43 now, this is my story.-------------September,1988 It was Monday morning and i was getting dressed for school i noticed that my mom had not left for work which was strange but not all that alarming but what was EXTREMELY out of the norm is that my father a State Representative at the time and who had been one for many years and due to his job lived in Austin most of the time but would occasionally drive the 80 miles to see his family arriving on Saturday morning and 99.9% of the time he headed back Sunday afternoon after the Dallas cowboys football game so when i realized he had not returned to Austin yet and my mother still being home i knew then that it was all for me! Concerned but not overly I continued on getting ready for school then i quickly and quietly made a b line for the front door hoping my parents would not notice me leaving the house but that was not the case as soon as my hand touched the front door knob my fathers hand grabbed my shoulder hard enough to make me stop my attempt to open the front door and in the blink of an eye he had positioned himself between the door and me and then said "you're not going to school today, your mother and I having taken off work and are taking you to talk to a "counselor" , i immediately started to protest against it, i had already been through the going to see a "counselor" thing a couple years earlier, which cost me 30 days of my freedom , so i knew that i would not be coming home if i got in the car but i had no idea of the heartache , the abuse , the pain that i was about to experience that has stayed with me for the last 27 years and that i simply cannot forget or let go of like its embedded in my soul. Now before i continue i want to say that inreally dont blame my parents, they were good parents especially my mom who withstood it all , all of my fuck ups and bullshit that my drug abuse had caused had taken its toll and they were desperate to try to save their son not knowing that they had been conned and mis led but this time it wasn't by me but by Straight inc..Now back to the story, as my dad proceeded to feed me full of shit and swear how it was just a session to talk to a drug counsler and that i would be coming back home so not to worry but i knew better and with that being said i saw my opportunity when my dad walked back into the kitchen for somthing and made a break for the front door completely catching my parents off guard but i tripped and fell just as i got the door open giving my dad time enough to pull me back in and physically wrestling me to the ground while my mom got on the phone and called our neighbor to come and help my dad get me under control, knowing i had no win i decided to conform and go along with the plan hoping and praying that i would return home and for the next two hrs on the xar ride to hell i was assured i would be and i honestly think that they thought i would as well. We arrive at the warehouse in Richardson at around 10 am and are greeted by an older woman and two guys both around 19 -20 years old who immediately walk me down the hall a couple rooms down from where my parents had been taken to , immediately the guys started asking me questions about drugs and drug use then about my sex life etc...etc...A couple of hours had passed and i had to use the rest room so i stood up and tried to open the door at the same time asking where's your restroom , both guys stood up with one knocking on the door asking someone on the other side to unlock the door for a bathroom break so i start to walk out the room but before i was allowed to one of the guys grabs me and sticks his hand down the back of my bluegeans holding on to me and says i have to do this so you dont try to escape, i knew then that im was in big trouble, protesting against him doing that i demanded to see my parents but was told that they were still in a conference with one of the counslers but would be able to talk to them as soon as they were through which would be soon so having to really go to the bathroom i went along with the prisoner thing so i could be watched by total strangers while i peed, i was terrified not knowing what was to come but i knew i wouldnt be going home , so i started asking alot of questions to really no avail but i did get it out of them that i was going to be admitted for a 3 day evaluation and after 3 days a decision would be made as to me staying for treatment or being released and going home i immediately stood up and demanded to talk to my parents thats when i was informed that my parents had left hrs ago and thats when the real physical and mental abuse started , its around 6 pm when im strpped searched and then led in the same manner as earlier but now there's an entourage of guys and a male counsler down the hall that opened up to a giant warehouse room where the rest of the Straight victims were seated in tight formation and i was introduced to the group as " a piece of shit druggie who probably going to die if they didnt do somthing to save me"then i was seated and for the next 20 mins or so different group members were allowed to confront me and preceded to tell me what worthless piece of shit i was and how i wasnt wirth the cost of the bullet it would take to put me out of my misery, then we were all hearded out to the parking lot and picked up by our host home parent and accompanying big brother at no time were we allowed to talk to anyone , we were locked in a bedroom the host home after being stripped searched and then left only wearing our underwear, we had to do a thinking report on paper then were allowed to eat dinner which was always a sandwich but had to ask permission to pick the sandwhich up then to take a bite etc..etc.. this was with every meal everything one did had to ask permission from my big brother who had been traumatized and brainwashed so bad that saying no and being cruel and emotionless was his method of operation , it was horrible , not being able to talk to my parents except fir 15 mins on friday nights in the presence of my big brother and scripted only being able to say certain things to them and if you did not say what you were told to say then you would loose your visitation privilege which was not a good thing because being able to at least see my mom gave me hope that there was someone out there who still cared for me because the people i was surrounded with definitely didnt, after the straight counslers were convinced that you had been brainwashed and scared and filled with enough fear and broken then you be graduated to phase 2 and allowed to spend the night at a hotel with your parents and your big brother to monitor you abd what you say to your parents, if you do as told and say what your told to say then you're allowed to be alone with your parents the next weekend, usually the time it takes to make 2nd phase is 2-4 weeks it took me 7 months, i cannot begin to tell you the intense torture the physical and mental abuse that i suffered 24/7 at the hands of straight inc. there is no way to even begin to try to but my fellow survivors know , the abusers at straight were sicker than anyone of us thats real talk and all for money they were getting from the insurance companies but after 7 months of torture i made 2nd phase and i was finally left alone long enough with my mom and convinced her to pull me out and take me home, she saved my life that day, you see they were EXTREMELY good at the breaking you down part but not very good at the building you up part as a matter of fact that part of the program just didnt exist, this is the quick and somewhat not as painful version of my incarceration at straight inc. I dont think i could stand to tell you the day by day version, its just to painful , PTSD you bet i got it! Rob
Anonymous 3, Dallas Straight, 1988
So... I wasn't an inmate for more than one awful night, but that was quite enough. Bear in mind this was like forever ago and the details are a little blurry and might be embellished by my at-the-time 11 year old brain.
1988. I was 11. My teenage brother was caught smoking or selling pot or something like that and was court ordered to go to a rehab. Of the various ones available, he chose Straight in Dallas. I don't know much about his experiences as we don't talk much, but I did go with my dad to the occasional meetings where we heard various inmates, including my brother, talk about what awful people they were. I don't remember much about these, aside from being boooooooooooored out of my mind and just wanting to go home to play with my GI Joes or play Nintendo on my little black and white TV in my room.
So at one of these meetings, I'm sitting there next to my dad, eyes glazed over with boredom thinking of what I'd rather be doing when a staff member whispers something in my dad's ear and takes him into another room, instructing me to stay where I am. My dad comes back and sits back down. At the end of the meeting, my dad tells me that they're gonna leave me there overnight to make sure I'm not a druggie. I'm shocked. "Dad, you know I'm not a druggie." I say. "Yeah, I know. But they want to make sure otherwise they'll take your brother out of the program. They'll see you're not and I'll come get you in the morning", he says.
I reluctantly agree, positive that they'll see I'm just a kid and not a druggie. After my dad leaves, I'm escorted to this tiny cinder block room and told to sit down. A few minutes later, these two teenage boys come in and take chairs in front of me, blocking the door. They tell me they're here to do my intake and start asking me questions.
It started off simple. What are my favorite TV shows? Favorite movies? Normal innocuous stuff like He Man and Star Wars. Doesn't get much of a reaction from them. Things started going downhill when they asked me about what music I like. I mention I'm big into Rush and hooooooboy they start getting aggressive telling me that's druggie music. I try to say otherwise, but they start screaming at me. Screaming right in my face with flecks of spittle flying at me.
Then they start going into sex stuff. I'm just a kid. The closest I ever had to sex at this point was once seeing a dirty magazine and getting grossed out. They repeatedly try to get me to admit to doing stuff with animals, or girls, or even boys but I stay stubborn and tell them no, I never did this kind of stuff.
This goes on for houuuuuuurs, but I stubbornly stick to my innocence. They even switched out the pair of kids grilling me once or twice. They try to tell me that if I don't voluntary sign myself in they're gonna get a judge to court order me. This doesn't faze me, but after a while, I pondered giving in just to get them off my back.
So I went into the room around 9-something at night. Around the end of the nightmare, it was about 11-something in the morning. I was starting to break down. I REALLY had to pee, but they wouldn't let me. I was SERIOUSLY beginning to consider just telling them what I want to end this torture... this is when I get my second wind.
The two kids who were grilling me didn't seem to want to be there any more than I did and were starting to let up some, seemingly frustrated by my stubbornness. I saw my chance and tried to charge past them. I took them by surprise, but one of them managed to caught me from behind, wrapping his arms around me. What do I do? I bite the crap out of his arm, drawing blood. He lets go and I charge out of the intake room and down the hall.
I don't know if it was coincidence or divine providence, but at that very moment, at the end of the hall, walking in through the double doors, is my dad, here to pick me up. I'm in tears blubbering and snot-nosed trying to articulate into words what these people were trying to do to me. I don't remember much from that long ago, but I do remember the look of pure hellish anger that lit up on my dad's face and the litany of profanities he flung at the staff as he signed me and my brother out of that hellhole permanently.
Decades later, it still has a profound effect on me. I suffered and still suffer extreme depression and anxiety. I have an irrational fear of being wrongly incarcerated or accused of a crime. I actually completely blocked this incident out of my mind for over two decades, though the resultant trauma still affected me. It wasn't until a few years ago visiting a hypnotherapist, that it all came back. And doing research on the internet into Straight, I discovered I wasn't the only one who suffered horribly at these peoples' hands.
Granted my ordeal was not as bad as people who actually had to stay after their intake, but no kid should ever suffer anything so awful. I'm glad these bastards got shut down.
Anonymous 2, August 1987 to October 198, Dallas Straight
My Own Hell
I was a participant in the program offered by Straight, Inc., in Richardson, Texas from August 28, 1987 to October 31, 1987. Initially, I was wanting help for my problems and readily agreed to enter Straight to try and turn my life around. I immediately started to work the "program" and wanted to change my life. I had been told since my intake that this was the place to do just that, so I set out in earnest to make it so. After actively engaging in the program for about 2 weeks, I witnessed a counselor confront a guy that was on phase 3 about talking to a girl at school. For those who are unaware, this was not allowed. The counselor blasted this guy for 20 minutes trying to get him to confess and by all accounts he looked incredibly guilty. He persisted in his innocence until a third party showed up and corrected the situation. They had accused the wrong guy. They had the group blasting this guy verbally while yelling at him and spitting on him while doing so. A brief apology was offered by the counselor and the went after the true culprit. This was my eye opener. How was this supposed to help me not to drink or do drugs. I started to question the "program" and what, if anything, it was actually going to do for my sobriety. The answer that I came to was nothing...this would help me out of my peril in no way, shape, or form. So, I stopped "working the program". This apparently was not acceptable. It started with harassment; then it led to physical consequences of not participating. Knuckles were dug into my back when not sitting upright and if I tried to remove them from my back I was picked up in the air and slammed onto the concrete floor in the supine position with a fellow "pogramee" at each appendage restraining me to the floor until I quit fighting them. Sometimes this lasted for hours, because several times one of the program coordinators would tell my fellow "programees" to push with all their might directly over my knees and elbows and neck and jaw. As one would imagine, this would cause a lot of pain and so I would squirm and fight with everything I had in me. This would, in turn, lead to longer and longer periods of restraint. I tried several times to alleviate the pain by spitting, biting and trying to punch my fellow "programees". This led to one of the program coordinators to have one of my peers to place a sanitary napkin in my mouth and nearly break my jaw pushing it closed. Needless to say I gagged and nearly choked on the napkin for several hours. The program coordinator, Brenda Beckloff, told the kid holding my jaw to push down as hard as he could and if my jaw broke that would teach me a lesson. What I learned from these incidents and being stuck in the time out room for 50 consecutive days, was that they did not like to be questioned. It was their way or the highway. What I actually got out of this was a strong sense of self worth from going against everyone else. What they had inadvertently taught me was self reliance and a strength I did not know I possessed. It had been nearly 30 years since my time there, and it still affects me deeply to this day. I get depressed this time of year and usually forget why until I remember my time in Straight. I have issues with who to blame and for what. It is an ongoing struggle that continues to dominate my life
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