Author Topic: Blaire Webbe RIP  (Read 14068 times)

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Offline Anonymous

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« Reply #15 on: November 20, 2005, 05:43:00 PM »
Thank you so much for your response.  I cried.  I'm so torn up right now with all of this.  Really don't know what to do with myself but write that email, so I know that he'll probably write it off, but I can't just sit by and let it go.  Yeah, I'm definitely one of those people who gets arrested at protests...of this administration.  If I get blown off at least I can say that i tried and my conscious can be clear.  I love all of you so much and so deeply that I really don't give a shit how I'm perceived.  I refuse to be unheard, seriously, it's the least I can do for Blaire and everyone else I was there with, who has been there before, and who is there now.  I was a part of it, and I just can't be any more.  It's gone too far.
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Offline Anonymous

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« Reply #16 on: November 20, 2005, 05:44:00 PM »
The one above this one is from Liz, and so is this one - but I just wanted to let you know that I'm going to write that email to the guy you suggested.
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Offline katfish

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« Reply #17 on: November 20, 2005, 05:55:00 PM »
Also, Liz, I'm not sure your aware of this my space group I started- I hope to, in the near future, create a more comprehensive site w/ a friend of mine that attended another program (we both are part of 'A Start'- that's explained on the site) that deals with this issue, but for now my space will have to do.  Check it out...you're not at all alone in your sentiments.  And with enough people willing to be verbal I'm sure something good will come out of it...Thanks again for speaking your mind.

BTW, do you know if Blaire graduated teh program?  Can you tell us about how you saw her MMS experience, like how staff/students treated her?  I know what was e-mailed to me about her by a firend described poor treatment by staff and students who were there with her, but I was curious to hear your take on it. I know what the scapegoat thing is like at MMS, and how if you dont fit the mold you're verbally beat or physically worked until exhausted until you do- I have a picture in my mind what it must have been like for Blaire, but I don't know how accurate it is... And, how about your own experience (if you feel ok talking about it here).  *shrug* I'm nosy...

best- kat

http://groups.myspace.com/EndInstitutio ... ChildAbuse
[ This Message was edited by: katfish on 2005-11-20 14:58 ]
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
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Offline Anonymous

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« Reply #18 on: November 20, 2005, 07:03:00 PM »
Hey guys - it's Liz cermak from 01-03 of MMS.  I just sent this letter to John.  I promise to post his response.

John,
    I need to express some things to you about my experience at MMS, and I need you to respect me and not write me off.  First of all - I'm doing really well.  I just celebrated four years of sobriety on Aug. 30 of this year, and I've now been with my boyfriend for 2 years next month.  Life is beyond what I ever thought it could be.  So don't write me off as one of the "bad" alumni.
    Blaire's death has spurred me to really reflect on some of the methods employed at the school.  I'm desperately confused because I know that I would not be where I am today if I had not been put some where, but I also am aware that some of the rules and ways that we were treated are against the law.  No where, in any part of any legislation, are the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights taken away from citizens who are not convicted felons.  They were taken away from us while at MMS.
    The tactics used to influence psychological and social change in us were cruel.  I lost all sense of who I was John.  Every part of my personality that I liked got squashed because I was afraid they were bad and I'd get punished.  But the truth is that I am rebellious.  I am loud.  I like to express my sexuality in ways that make me feel good about myself.  I'm smart and sophisticated.  I like to do crazy things like dance in a fountain at a party.  I sponsor people.  I am sponsored.  I have worked the 12 steps as they are outlined in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.  People describe me as being naturally high and drunk.  My nick name is Granola Barbie.  I am willing to get arrested for a cause I believe in, and there is nothing wrong with that.  You telling me that something was wrong with elements of my personality killed me inside.  Everything I knew and cherished about my spirit and soul was a "negative and old" behavior.  I'm not your perfect girl.  What do you get out of humiliating us?  Isn't there a better way to get Lauren Trick to see that she can be apart of the group than to make her run around us in a circle, repeating some line over and over while sobbing and struggling for breath outside in -15 degree weather?  Two people got severe frostbite while we were standing out there.  Lauren was crying, she was completely and incomprehensibly demoralized, and not as a result of the way that she was governing her life, but because of a personality trait - defect of character - that she didn't know better than to depend on.  We could have just given her hugs.  We could have just held her.  We could have celebrated who she was instead of telling her that she was bad.  Treated her like she had cancer rather than like she had leprosy.  
    And as for me, I remember a particular incidence where we did a 23-24 mile bike ride up the mountain with huge rocks that symbolized our "core issues."  I made it up to the top 5th, I think, and was really proud of myself for my accomplishment because I hadn't stopped to rest once since we started.  I hadn't stopped moving my legs.  I fell off my bike once because it hit a rock or something, but I jumped right back on and kept going.  That's how I define success - getting back up when you fall.  Yet when you asked those of us who had come all the way up without stopping to place our rocks toward the center of the circle (which I did), and then asked us all to share our experience, I mentioned falling and getting right back up.  You stopped me.  Told me to put the rock back in my lap because falling counted as stopping.  I had failed.  I couldn't put my rock up on the hill.  Obviously, because I had fallen and gotten right back up, I wasn't ready to let go of the issue my rock represented.  Right.
    WAKE UP.  How do you define success?  I'm actually really curious.  Anyway, just so you know, later on that summer we did the same bike ride without the rocks and I made it to the top without falling or stopping.  I did it perfect like you wanted me to.  So I went down and got my rock out of the ash where all of us who  had failed last time had thrown them, and I put it up on the hill with all the people who had succeeded last time.  Yet I felt guilty for doing that.  Do you understand how terrible it is to feel guilty about the most central aspects of your experiences of self, basic consciousness, reality, world view, moral code, emotional control, and personality?  To feel powerless while being subjected to intense and frequent actions/situations that undermine your confidence in yourself and your judgment?  This intense feeling of guilt I just described is the mark of an MMS alumni.  How can you be proud of that, let that continue, and meanwhile claim that you practice the 12 steps in your daily life?  Love and tolerance is our code.  

Pg. 96 of the Big Book-  
"Do not be discouraged if your prospect does not respond at once.  Search out another alcoholic and try again.  You are sure to find someone desperate enough to accept with eagerness what you offer.  We find it a waste of time to keep chasing a man who cannot or will not work with you.  If you leaves such a person alone, he may soon recover by himself.  To spend too much time on any one situation is to deny some other alcoholic an opportunity to live and be happy."

Why did you keep chasing Blaire?  Chasing someone and driving them down until they question every single thought and feeling is not helping them.  I had to get to the point where I accepted help on my own terms, John.  I was just lucky because I had that bottom before I came to MMS.  Most of the girls there were and are not ready.  Provide them with the opportunity to say whatever they want.  People need to discuss their anger and hatred, even towards you and/or the school.  If you prohibit that than you're really just doing the same thing as the dictators of the world on a small scale.  It's George Orwell's 1984 in the middle of Montana.  I had my sponsor on my resentment list just because as my sponsor she had authority over me.  The resentment doesn't make sense, but I feel it and therefore it is my reality.  Read Foucault - he's a genius French philosopher.  Not everyone fits into and agrees with your paradigm.  I'm glad it works for you, seriously, and I'd like to think you have good intentions.  I just wanted to tell you that the methods you are using are counterproductive and currently blowing up in your face.  If you want to help people you need to take some inventory of your methods.
    So thank you for your time.  I hope change starts to happen, and I do intend to become active in pursuing regulation and reforms for institutions like MMS.  Respect and reflect on my opinions John - I'm not a drugged out little kid any more, and I deserve to be treated like the adult I'm becoming.  

- Liz Cermak
ecermak@scrippscollege.edu
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Offline katfish

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« Reply #19 on: November 20, 2005, 07:33:00 PM »
funny you should mention Foucalt- i recently wrote a paper drawing comparisons from John's domination and use of physical coercion, terror, space and time to control us.

Well written, liz.  awesome!

BTW, nothing against AA, but i think that there is something inherent in AA's methods- mostly the fear element, and the 'one way- only way' toward 'recovery' that allows John's (and other's) methods to flourish in our society.  Of course, he is not practicing tolerance as AA prescribes, though- he's practicing force.

An interesting stat I came across is that AA/NA and abstinence only programs work on about 10-12% of youth.  And most people, adults and kids alike, can use moderately, even after having used excessively at one point in their lives.  Of course, that's not everyone, but AA pushes  only abstinence and really is the most popular programs out there, so the reality is probably hidden from most problem drinkers/druggers. In very much the MMS way, they push the fear element, like you every touch a drink your inches away from ending up in jail, insane etc. so you must stop completely, and that's simply not the case for most.  For me, who was told by MMS I was an alchi and went to AA religoiusly after MMS, it instilled this idea (that began at MMS) that I was crazy and this total drunk, so when I relapsed I would not only beat myself up, but act the part and go insane- does that make sense?  I didn't realize that mostly people need to just deal with the issues that are forcing them to rely on booze/drugs to get through their lives.  Figuring out, 1. that I was never this out of control boozer who would never be able to handle a drink responsiblly and 2. that I have underlining issues to deal with, some of which came up from having had to endure John's mistreatment has been a huge relief in my life.  Huge!  I can't even tell you how much freer I feel from the chains of misinformation and fear.  That's not to say everyone, like you Liz, can drink moderatly again or AA does work for some, but it's just yet another thing that I found to mess with my own head that began at MMS and has since been studies and determinged to not be a very effective model to use on kids.
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Offline Anonymous

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« Reply #20 on: November 20, 2005, 09:35:00 PM »
I truly respect your opinion and experience, and know that that is true for a great many young kids who get put in treatment.  All I know is that my life is amazing the way that I'm living it right now, and I don't really want to change anything because of that.  I'm really glad you've found something that works for you.  I really believe that if someone's happy than it doesn't matter what they're doing.  

I was really just trying to speak John's language when I wrote that and I was honestly nervous about posting the letter because I know the way a good amount of people feel about the program.  It's just worked for me, you know?  Sorry if that bothers any one.  I've really found myself liberated from fear through it, and it's nice.  I just thought that if I included that stuff that John might actually listen to me rather than put me in the "can't visit campus" category.
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Offline Anonymous

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« Reply #21 on: November 20, 2005, 09:44:00 PM »
hi Liz

I went to mms in 02-03 and wanted to tell u that i thought ur letter was really good.  i dont say anything bad about mms because I dont want to be thought of as a bad alumni either but lately ive been thinking a lot about the school.  I want to tell john how i feel but I think I will be outcasted. have you ever said anything to them before and if you have what have they said?  im thinking of writing them too but really I'm terrified about it.
I guess I just want to say thanks for talking about this and please post his answer if you can.  
also, did you go to the reunion?  how was it if you went and did you think these things while you were there?  sometimes i feel like I'm the only one accept Kat who I never met to think thing like that. and that girls wont like me if i say what i really think becasue there are some girls that just say move on like we shouldnt be bothered and it was all a good thing or that were messed up for it.  I dont know.  what youve done takes courage though that all i can say for sure.  

j2
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Offline Anonymous

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« Reply #22 on: November 20, 2005, 09:52:00 PM »
oh and also hate the way they push the addict thing on us becasue i never had sex and because im feminine they say im a sex addict and for a long time i was scared of my own sexuality like it was a bad thing. im not bashing on aa or sa or anything, really. just making you afraid like that of sex or drugs or drinking or everything it like really fuckd me up.  also i didnt like the pushing of the higher power thing because it should be ok to not believe in that but they pushed it on us like we needed to believe.  but really that the last of the problems of mms because i think there were so many things that were REALLY bad.  but i agree with the aa thing tho too and they shouldnt pretend like were all going to die if we ever come near alcohol and make us feel weird about real world and real life stuff that isnt really not normal.  they just make it not normal.  we needed therapy most of us and instead i think we got the 12 steps and thats not a subsitution of therapy but they made it into a therapy all by itself in a way.
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Offline katfish

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« Reply #23 on: November 20, 2005, 10:02:00 PM »
Quote
On 2005-11-20 18:35:00, Anonymous wrote:

" It's just worked for me, you know?  Sorry if that bothers any one."

Hey Liz- please don't take what I'm saying the wrong way, though I don't think you have.  I just wanted to point out some of the misinformation surrounding AA and how that ties back into some of what I imagine to be John's justifications for the type of 'treatment' he practices.  And AA works for adults far more than kids, and it does work for a number, albeit small number, of kids.  I'm not being at all critical of your experience, I just know that AA actually had a negative impact on my life for a number of reasons and wanted to dispel any myths.  If it works for you then that is really great-power to you for real- 100%, but there may be someone who it's not working who is beating their heads against the wall (as I did) and may see this post and recognize that maybe it's not their fault, that they are just following a long tradition and other alternatives may be more effective.  'tis all!    :smile:

best- kat
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Offline Anonymous

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« Reply #24 on: November 21, 2005, 12:21:00 AM »
Go Liz!!  Please let us know what he says!

I'm also with you all on the AA issue.  There's no room for athiests and also it's very religious based, like the whole inventory like the Christian sin thing...big book=bible and a lot of other things.  We should really have more alternatives avl.  I used to go to moderation meetings, those were pretty cool.  Anyways, peace out ya'lls!  love you girls.  just wanted to tell liz I admire you though!
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Offline katfish

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« Reply #25 on: November 23, 2005, 04:50:00 PM »
does anyone know if Blaire 'graduated' MMS (whatever that actually means...  :roll: ) ?


Not to say that there's nothing to be said about having to endure MMS for years/graduating b/c certainly anyone there for even a while has endured a lot of ...hardship, but I hate the non-graduate (fucked up forever label) and the graduate (usuallly not thought of as fucked up as the non-graduate) b/c I had a close friend who did not graduate and it became a weird situation...as was the case with other girls.  MMS just drops girls like that (not that they don't really the graduates- but at least they are not labeled permanent fuck ups)

-kat
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
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Offline Anonymous

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« Reply #26 on: November 23, 2005, 05:35:00 PM »
I think I remember a graduation ceremony for her.  She left after I'd been there for like a year and a half or so I should remember, but I think that it was at a weird time in the schedule because of something she had to go do for her new school (Idlewild (sp?)).  But she was considered a 'graduate' as far as I remember.

- Liz
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Offline katfish

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« Reply #27 on: November 23, 2005, 05:44:00 PM »
Liz,

did you think that she needed help that MMS couldn't offer her?  Was the description given of her treatment at MMS something you recall?

best- kat
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Offline Anonymous

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« Reply #28 on: November 23, 2005, 07:11:00 PM »
How long have you been graduated Kat, ten years right, don't you think its time to stop being resentful and move on?  I went to Mission Mountain School and I live a successful and functional life.  There were things that I did not agree with about the school, but for the most part I think that it did good for me and the girls that were there when I was there.  The girls that went to the school had problems, lots and lots of problems, some more severe, some less.  Before MMS I did fine in school, I had friends and participated in extracurricular activities.  I also drank a lot and was very unsafe in many ways.  I lost all concept of morals and values.  The values that the school believed in were values by which I still live.  People who are still angry, resentful and hateful towards the school are just looking for somewhere to vent frustration that I'm sure has more to do with their undealt with issues that anything else.  It wasn't a place that could cure mental illness, deal fully with childhood abuse or any other larger scale problem.  People who deal successfully with problems like that usually require longer term therapy, I mean years, not just two.  You can't blame the school for peoples' individual choices. . . well I guess you can, because you do.
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Offline katfish

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« Reply #29 on: November 23, 2005, 08:28:00 PM »
Quote
On 2005-11-23 16:11:00, Anonymous wrote:

1."How long have you been graduated Kat, ten years right, don't you think its time to stop being resentful and move on?  
2.The girls that went to the school had problems, lots and lots of problems, some more severe, some less.  
3.People who are still angry, resentful and hateful towards the school are just looking for somewhere to vent frustration that I'm sure has more to do with their undealt with issues that anything else.  
4.It wasn't a place that could cure mental illness, deal fully with childhood abuse or any other larger scale problem.  
5.You can't blame the school for peoples' individual choices. . . well I guess you can, because you do. "


1.nope- I'm mostly angry though not so much about my experience anymore b/c in the end I don't feel like I'm forever damaged (scarred maybe)and am doing well for myself (some of us have not been so fortunate), but it enrages me to no end that I still hear stories from girls who have jsut recently left MMS, like Blair, about the school using the same tactics I found so damaging and they themselves expressing the same kind of emotional torment after MMS 'treatment' upon 'graduating'.  So yes, 10 years, and after 10 years this still goes on.  Knowing how painful the whole experience was for me, I don't feel like I can, in good conscience, turn away.  Too many girls have and that allows this to continue. At one point this was about vindication and while at times a small part of me wants that vindication, it's not about that anymore- this pet project has taken on greater meaning to me.  So, if I move on it would be like conceding to mistreatment of myself and other girls in the present and future...I'm not really comfortable with that.
2. right, and qualified staff would have been helpful in dealing with that
3. hmmm...you sure about that?  my problem with my MMS experience has to do with undealt issues?  Certainly there were a number of issues that I couldn't deal with at MMS b/c I was so terrified and was often told I was lying anyway presumably b/c the truth wasn't good enough of a story and of course it can't be forgotten that John's reign of terror brought about evermore problems that probably you have a point at least in mentioning that undealt issues exist. Now, whether or not that means that all the frustration I have and am directing at the school/industry at large has to do with undealt issues and in turn means there's nothing legitimate in my criticism- well, obviously I have to say I disagree...  Also, its just such an MMS program thing to say.  IF you look back at the posts you will see the same arguement made by other alumni, it's so uniform it's hard not to point out what I like to call 'Mercerisms;--- either your with us or against us kind of a thing.  No criticism allowed b/c that means there's something you're not dealing with.  Very MMS program mode.  Anyway- getting down to real life level, where there are nuances of grey amidst the black and white, I'm human, just like you and as a human certainly I have issues.  I'm frustrated about a lot of things in this world, but I assure you that my frustration about MMS comes not from being neglected by my parents, taken advantage of by men at 11 or any other hardship I've encountered before MMS or even after, but instead has to do with the fact that I was sent to a school after I had attempted to off myself and was subjected to harsh conditions, intense labor/excersize, a silencing of my own mind, terror induced 'disclosures', humiliation and from there went on to suffer from nightmares, anxiety, depression all while trying to figure out what I was doing wrong b/c I was following what they told me to do- AA meeting when I wasn't even an alcoholic, wondering if I was a sex addict trying meeting there...and not being able to function normally b/c i never got the help i needed- they were not qualified although they accepted me anyway, the 'help' I did receive was so over simplified and so much about a fear induced straightening out that ALL the fears and axieties that I entered the program with I left with 100times worse. I was not very social, deeply insecure, depressed, confused and I left the program feeling those exact emotions oddly amplified but all the while feeling detatched from my own self b/c I was so completely all about the program and bought into the fact that they were always right about everything, even if internally I felt differently.  It's a very strange experience to be forced to think & belinve things in a way that's different than you acutally do.  And, further than that, to then convince yourself that you believe them even when you don't, talk about confusion!  The devestation of that, of being made to question your own reality was I think the worse part about MMS for me.
4. so we want to talk about how MMS is not qualified to deal with mental illness, then perhaps they should not accept students who are mentally ill.  Frankly, I think that's a hard line to draw not to mention it seems to me a disorder can pop up from just having gone to MMS. I like this quote from the MMS article:

"You might condition? a rat or a monkey to do something if you punish them enough, but it doesn't mean there's been some insight or great growth." Nicki Bush, a psychology graduate student who interned at a rural residential treatment facility.

Wait- not punishment, but 'consequences'-sounds better, doesn't it?
But unlike rats, with humans you can and MMS does play into the moral element of bad/good, right/wrong, fucked up/not fucked up- ...so if what MMS says is good, and you think differently you are bad. Shameful shameful method.  Disgusting. Who wants to be bad?  So we all obeyed like the good girls should...The whole thing is just so silly and I would laugh if it weren't such a tragedy.

5. Blame MMS? Referring to Blaire, correct?  I think, from what I gather, it's probably a fair assesment to make that if Blair had
1.gotten thehelp she needed, eg effective therapy and intervention by professional and not been treated punitively and 2. not been mistreated at MMS and felt so damaged when she left that she may have not killed herself, yes... that seems kind of obvious to me- is it not obvious? I would think that this would have had a preventative impact and that it is certainly possible the outcome would have been different.
 Best- kat
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
Margaret Mead