Susan Minns, Plymouth, MI Straight, 4/20/90 to 11/6/90
My maiden name is Susan Minns, I was in Plymouth Michigan Straight from April 20th, 1990 to November 6th, 1990.
When I was first placed into Straight in Michigan I was told by the person driving she needed to take her car in for a check up and I remember very vividly she wanted me to hold the steering wheel before she drove into the parking lot to take my eyes off of the sign in front of the building. I thought she was being honest with me, so I walked in there thinking “okay, I’ll probably just be in a waiting room for a few hours while her car is here and watch TV or read a magazine or something”. Yes, I was a “druggie”, that’s what they called us. I smoked pot about 3-4 times a week, drank when it was available to me and sometimes did both at once. I nearly died from doing PCP and pot mixed together and only had about 3 hits off that joint. I was 17 years old at the time and was also a runaway. I had no idea where I was when they put me in an intake room, I thought it was just a small waiting room, I saw kids about my age thinking maybe that it was a half day of school or something because my intake was on a Friday. I was asked a few questions like if I did drugs and I admitted to it and even asked if they had a cigarette. They just sat there looking at me like I had 2 heads but they gave me a glare that I’ll never forget. I was waiting quite a while and I ended up calling out for my boyfriend at the time because I thought he might be somewhere in the building and they said he wasn’t there, I thought they were lying. They eventually told me where I was and I wanted to run, I got near the door to the intake room, the girls tried to stop me but I was too strong, then the boys side came running down the hallway where I was and 5 guys tackled me to the floor and one of the staff members pushed my head down into it and told me to eat the nasty greasy looking carpet that looked like it had never been cleaned. I was forced to lick it with my tongue and they let me up and said if I tried to run again that would happen again. I never tried to run again.
Heather, Plymouth, MI Straight, 1991 - 1993
I was your average teenage kid... (looking back) however at the time i didn’t feel so average. It wasn’t until my son turned 13 a couple years ago that I realized the madness that I had encountered as a teenager wasn’t “normal”.
In late 1991 my parents shipped me from my home in to Plymouth and signed me into Straight Incorporated. I was 13 years old. Yes I had experimented with weed, drank some booze, done a little this and a little that... i was a mouthy beast at times, spoke my mind, and wasn’t afraid of anyone or anything... i was a free spirit... However, with that said... I also donated time to children's crack baby hospitals, I did volunteer work for single mothers trying to go to school, I was heavily involved in sports... played soccer and even toured with my team... not to mention NEVER had any trouble with the law or anything to that effect... My childhood ended at age 13... the day my parents literally dropped me off, left me, and made me someone elses problem. I spent approx a little over 2 years in that hellhole. I was a child, that ended up getting mind raped and my youth and innocence taken from me.
I spent majority of my time on 1st phase. I was what they called an “out of stater”. I didn’t speak to my family pretty much the entire time I was incarcerated. My brother and sister were convinced that I was a danger to them and my family and wanted nothing to do with me. The same kids that prior to going in; looked up to me and were the only ones at the time that I felt understood me... Straight stole my family from me. I say this because to this day... I still am without a family due to the brainwashing and abuse from Straight....
Imagine being in an ENTIRE different state, completely across the United States... far far away from anything you know or knew... and trapped in a warehouse made to flap your arms like a fucking raging monkey... getting screamed at, spit on, humiliated, restrained, not able to see the light of day, for why?? I didn’t belong there, I wasn’t a drug addict. I was a kid that had parents too involved with their careers and needed someone to put their daughter in “check” so that their lives would be easier... with me out of the picture they had the “perfect family”, well in their eyes.
Straight wasn't ran by licensed therapists or counselors... it was ran by the inmates, “us”... they controlled the environment. They fed off the anger that they possessed themselves for having gone through the same torture that they were in fact dishing out. By the end of it all (1993), I was right there with them... screaming in faces, humiliating, tearing down people the way they tore me down. I didn’t know any better... it’s what I thought was normal, and what had to be done to get the hell out... Specifically I remember being in a host home... we were alarmed in. I was on 1st phase and had been for quite some time... The room consisted of only 1 mattress, no blankets, a sheet for each of us, and was the size of a walk in closet. There were 4 of us in there. I remember waking up what had to be super early in the morning, I looked around and noticed that one of the girls was missing. I internally freaked out... I layed there for a minute running every possible scenereo through my head. I was sooooo scared for everyone to wake up and see that someone was missing... we were gonna get blamed, and all hell was gonna break loose in group... i just knew it... I was tired, burnt out, scared and was at my breaking point. I had been in for a while and knew how these types of things turned out... Each of us were going to get stood up in group and blamed for her “copping out”. And how we should have been able to stop her. I grabbed my sheet... I layed there crying... sobbing, hating myself and everyone in the world. All I wanted was to be free... I wanted my freedom back, even if it meant killing myself... I didn’t care, I did not want to face the wrath that I knew was about to be brought upon me and the 2 other girls... I couldn’t handle it anymore... I wrapped that fucking sheet around my neck and maneuvered it so that once I rolled enough times it would cut all oxygen off and silence me forever... I remember rolling and I could feel the pressure around my neck intensify... I saw stars... my sight went dark, my ears started to ring.... and i kept rolling... hanging on the the sheet so that it would keep tight... I could feel my muscles collapse, I started to get weak, and my mind shut off... the next thing I remember was a boot to the face... all the blood rushed back to my head... and then out my nose and mouth... i remember gasping for air as they pulled me up and threw me against the wall. And the nightmare continued.... I knew the only way out was to conform... the last bit of control I had... i gave to them. Once we got to the building... and sang our songs.... staff could barely get out “who wants to talk” before the thunder in group erupted. I knew I was gonna get stood up and sure enough I did. I was torn up and down and verbally beaten to a bloody pulp in group.. not only for the cop out... but for being “weak in my program”. This was an average day... 10 - 12 hrs a day of constant HATE and ABUSE.
I didn’t attend school when I was in Straight... and when I got out I was thrown back into the environment that I was brainwashed into thinking would kill me. I couldn’t handle it... I started hanging out with my “druggie” friends, and my parents gave me an option. I could either go back to Straight in fend for myself. At age 15 I chose the streets of to be my new home. There was no way in HELL I was going back... I raised myself... and by the grace of something... I survived.
Here is a poem I wrote shorty after I got out:
Restless Motion, Tossing Turning
Anger Frustration Thoughts to kill
One less life in this world
One less victim to prepare
The Air is Thin
Savage the Beast
Kill them ALL
Insanity Creates the Mind
My Sanity is Left Behind
I'm in a New World
Created by my Master
He Created me
He is in Charge
His children are growing
\"Day by Day\"
Closer to Death
But sooner the happiness
To be taken away from this tribal state of Mind
Time to start all over again
**I wrote this when I was homeless on the streets of Seattle.. probably 15 or so... released into the wild**
I could go on and on and on... this is just a taste of the insanity.
Like I said, my family and I don’t speak... I am now 34 years old... They are still convinced that they made the right decision to send me off. And for that I can not forgive them. I am a mother of 3 children... and love those kids with all I have... the children are our future... and I will do anything to protect them from these types of abuse and tortures... they deserve a childhood and a future to look forward to.
I am a survivor...
Anonymous 1, Plymouth, MI Straight, 1987-89
I was a typical rebellious teen and after many failed punishments / help? my mother found a permanent solution to deal with me. I was shipped to a place called straight inc one month after turning 15. I would finally regain my freedom one month before turning 17. During the 22 1/2 months there I was subjected to brain fucking. It was all about breaking down our druggie asses and rebuilding us to be anti-drug yes maam and yes sir washed robots. Breaking us down consisted of leading us around by a belt loop like dogs, 8-10 hours of forced therapy; 6 days a week where we had to reveal the most intimate things of our lives and express our remorse, forced flapping our arms in the air like monkeys to talk in our group therapy sessions whether we wanted to or not, living in strange foster homes in multiple cities each night, never being allowed to be alone, no pissing, shitting, or bathing alone, having a person on a higher level never being able for one second to remove their eyes from you at the house until you are in your bedroom with an alarm turned on, being yelled at constantly, having to sit or stand in uncomfortable positions for long periods, not being allowed to speak without permission, being sleep deprived and once the staff thought your spirit was finally broken you moved to the higher phases so you could join the other side of oppressors and break the new people down.
I ran away twice while there. I was in Plymouth, Michigan and had never been there before. The two times I ran away I walked for hours searching for a liquor store to find druggies (we were forced to call ourselves druggies) or anyone that resembled the life style I once lived before having my freedom stripped away. I was in a suburban hell. This place was damn near a Stepford place. I wanted to call my friends and I could not remember a single phone number except my own. The isolation from the outside world was already affecting me as I could not even remember friend's last names.
Even if I did get in touch with an old friend, I'm not sure how I would have explained my secret and sudden disappearance. Help I'm in a cult and being forced to flap like a monkey while being led around by my belt loop. How does one even begin to explain some shit like that to anyone? People gasp at the Jim Jones horror or the Moonies, but not many are able to conceive shit like this happening in mainstream America. People such as DFAF are (which by the way was renamed from straight inc after lawsuits and controversy) infiltrating every aspect of the American life. All in the name of The War on Drugs; Whatever is necessary to break our spirits and force us to conform. Be it shooting down planes of innocent people in South America or convincing kid's parents they will turn into some crack whore or be dead, insane, or in jail if they are not. After all the means justify the ends they reason.
Returning to society was pretty hard for a few years after getting out as I never felt at ease readjusting. I had always secretly resisted that place in my mind, but they got inside me to a degree. I had a teacher in the treatment center that allowed us to read books (something forbidden outside of their school time until reaching 3rd level) and I came across 1984 by George Orwell. I'm not sure if she was even aware of the power that book held. Surely our staff wasn't as they were a bunch of high strung uneducated teenagers (think Lord of the Flies) who were hell bent on making us repent for our crimes of drugs, sex, and rock and roll. Reading that book gave me the inner strength to hold on to the hope I would one day be free to be me again and away from these zombie lunatics.
Being sent away was my dirty little secret until the age of 31. For the most part I just wanted to forget it ever happened. During one of my many bouts with insomnia I Googled the place and found numerous sites full of people that stuffed the shit down for 10-15 years and were all of a sudden having nightmares and flashbacks from the place. I would soon learn I was one of the lucky ones because I escaped physical abuse by staff and forced peers. This place was a McDrug rehab franchise all over the United States. I thought it was all over since they closed down. Not so. They are still there. Just shuffled some buildings and changed a few names.
Thousands of kids are being warehoused to this day and no one blinks an eye about it. They watch pompous asses like Dr. Phil or can't get enough makeovers or bootcamps Jenny Jones and heckle at their TV watching the bad assed kids get shipped off to boot camps and treatment facilities. America ate this shit up so much the corporate network pigs gave them a bigger taste by broadcasting a show called Brat Camp. What kind of treatment belittles children on national TV and forces them to reveal all their intimate life details. The same kind of sick treatment I endured. When the hell are people going to say enough of this shit?
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