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Topics - xvipah

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Straight, Inc. and Derivatives / My Story...
« on: December 10, 2005, 08:50:00 PM »
So that I can make my point of view clear, I'll tell my story in the LIFE program.  I'm not writing this to disagree or agree with anyone, I'm telling you what I saw and felt.  Maybe this well help a few of you understand why I feel as I do.

I can't speak for anyone but myself, and I'm not going to try to.

I had a serious drug problem, I was 15, 5 foot 10 inches tall, and I weighed 110 pounds when I went in.  I was doing crystal meth daily if I could get it, and anything else I could find short of crack or heroin otherwise, and I'm not sure that wouldn't have been too far down the road, but who knows.

It may be a cliche or whatever, but I do believe I'd have been dead or had brain damage before too long.  Is there a chance I could have just suddenly gained will power and self respect and stopped what I was doing before it got that far?  Yea I'm sure there is, anything can happen.

But what happened instead was my mother and father recognized I had a problem and did what they thought was best to help me fix it.  After my head finally cleared, about 30-45 days in the program, I came to a couple of realizations on my own:

1)  I had a bad problem with drugs.
2)  Being in the program was stopping me from doing drugs.
3)  If nothing else, getting off of the drugs was a damn good start.

So from there, I worked to get "straight" the program way.  As I said before I didn't like it and I didn't want to be there, I ran away once because I just wanted to read a book.  I didn't go far, I basically went out to the picnic tables right behind that Tervis Tumbler factory and read one of my old favorite books by the water there(we lived in Osprey, so I was real close to the program).  Once I had been there for a while I left and walked down the road and tried to take the road behind LIFE(ya know, the one that went by the Sherriff's Office?  :smile:  

I saw kids restrained, but I have to be honest, the only time I saw it was when they were already taking swings at staff or at other kids, or they got up and ran for the door.  From what I saw, no one was ever sat on, at least not their torso.  They would sit on their arms and legs, but there was, if I remember correctly, also someone there holding their head to stop them from hitting it on the floor or whatever.

I never saw anyone get hit, or pulled by the hair, or slapped.  Sometimes yes, they would be taken out of the main rap room to be restrained, anything could have happened back there, I can't speak for it, I wasn't there.  But the few times I DID go back as an oldcomer with a "misbehaver" we never once did anything but hold em down, and chat with em really.  Yea, some of the "chat" was program dogma, we were trained like any other oldcomer, but we would also just shoot the shit until it was time to go back.

While I was there the beltlooping thing was outlawed, oldcomers were only allowed to put their hand on the newcomers shoulders.  Even restraining was pared back quite a bit.  You had to really do something "bad" to get restrained, and then, almost immediately they would take you out of the rap room, and a lot of times they never came back.  So either they were terminated, or killed..

Not once did any of my oldcomers try any sort of "initiation" with me, and as an oldcomer I never did it with anyone else.

So, through all of that, I put up with the mental/psychological abuse, and I got through.  I thank the program for my life, just the fact that I have one.  Any successes I have had in my life are mine, the program got me drug free and instilled some confidence in me, and the Army did the rest, with, of course, my input and hard work.  

I don't think the program is responsible for me having a good life, I did that myself.  I just think the program helped me lay some of the groundwork, and I appreciate that, no matter how misguided/f'ed up their methods may have been.

Am I saying that I KNOW there was NO abuse?  Nope, a lot of things happened there that I didn't/couldn't see.  There could have been oldcomers who "initiated" newcomers and I just never had em.  Anything could have happened in raps I wasn't in, or in back rooms with "misbehavers" being restrained when I wasn't there.  

As I said, I can only speak from my experience, and that's really the bulk of it.

I don't doubt anyone who says they were abused, and who absolutely hates the program and what it did to them.  I don't doubt people were in there who shouldn't have been, I don't doubt things happened that shouldn't have, I can only tell you what happened to me and what I saw.  

I'll just say this.  I'm not here to argue with the anti program people or the pro program people.  I came here on "accident" and now I just think it's cool to be able to interact with people who went through the same place I did, no matter the differences in our experience.

So, I'll just say that while I harbor no ill will towards the program and my personal experience there I also harbor none towards those of you that do.

I'm hoping, if nothing else, I can make some new friends(even if they are internet friends  :smile:) otherwise, who knows, maybe I'll meet some people who were there when I was.


Religions are all alike; founded upon fables and mythologies.
--Thomas Jefferson, U.S. President, author, scientist, architect, educator, and diplomat

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