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Messages - TC_Saved_Me

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Teen Challenge / Re: I personally escaped this Cult
« on: December 13, 2011, 09:53:57 AM »
Quote from: "Samara"
Is it a longitudinal study? Because lots of programees assert undying devotion until the brainwashing wears off.

And, my thing is, whether or not someone is sober doesn't justify extreme coercive, psychologically abusive programs that depend on chronic, trenchant degradation to bring about "change."  I also could not condone any program that doesn't recognize the emotional health of personal boundaries.  Sharing should be safe and voluntary.  Also, I do not believe you build someone by tearing them down first. That is BS. I've seen too many babies thrown out with the bathwater.  Last, I would not want my mental health tied into adherence to theocratic programming.

The study was done on 186 participants.  Six variables were used during the study:
1)  what proportion of the program participants were still drug free (urinalysis testing was conducted for all 186 participants.
2)  no legal involvements
3)  employed or pursuing education
4)  a part of a family unit
5)  participating in church activities
6)  physical and mental health.
The National Opinion Research Center of the University of Chicago developed the survey instrument, located survey participants, conducted the personal interviews, and obtained a urine sample to test for drugs. The National Medical Services, Inc., of Philadelphia, PA, conducted the drug screening detection for this population.
This study was conducted 7 years after the subject's involvment with Teen Challenge (I'm not sure how long it takes for "brainwashing" to wear off).  

I can say that I personally graduated from Teen Challenge in 2007, and have had quite the journey since I left the program.  From living/ working with my father to get back on my feet.  To living in a place, by myself, where I was living off of Raman Noodles because I was so broke.  6 years later, I have a wife and two daughters, am active in my church, and have a great job working for the Army!

I agree with you that a person's sobriety "doesn't justify extreme coercive, psychologically abusive programs that depend on chronic, trenchant degradation to bring about 'change.'"  No arguments there.  
"I also could not condone any program that doesn't recognize the emotional health of personal boundaries.  Sharing should be safe and voluntary."  I agree with you here also.  No arguments.

I really only tend to disagree with this part: "I do not believe you build someone by tearing them down first."  Just speaking from my own personal experience, I would say that this is exactly what I needed - though Teen Challenge does not do this on an emotional or physical level (moreso on a spiritual level).  I came into this program thinking that I was hot stuff!  I could turn a broke DVD into 50 bucks if you gave me a few hours!  The rules that I was expected to follow in Teen Challenge were total crap, and I was above them!  It eventually broke me down - on a spiritual level - and humbled me to the point where I finally began to acknowledge that I needed help for my addictions.  This was what eventually led me to change.

Let me ask you a question... Do you think that military bootcamp is abusive?  Emotionally, physically, or spiritually?  Do you think that our soldiers leave their training "Brainwashed?"

I'm asking this for a reason.  I am former military, and went through Teen Challenge with several guys who used to be enlisted, and it seemed like the guys who were ex-military had an easier time adjusting to the rules and the structure of Teen Challenge.  We may have fought the system at first, but we oftentimes were a little quicker to turn that corner and start doing what was required of us in this program.  Once you start to go with the curriculum, and follow the rules, the program is actually a walk in the park!

I'm trying to figure out why you talked about someone's mental health being tied into the adherence to theocratic programming..??  I guess I'd have to agree with you there also.  There are mental (often times neuro) problems, then there are spiritual problems.  Theology and mental health are seperate things, and should stay as such.  No arguments here.

Teen Challenge / Re: I personally escaped this Cult
« on: December 12, 2011, 04:27:25 PM »
Quote from: "Xelebes"
Quote from: "TC_Saved_Me"
Quote from: "none-ya"

Hahaha!  Not quite that extreme, but there is definitely alot of discipline in the more successful programs!

Care to detail?

I've been pretty transparent about kind of discipline that I endured when I was with Teen Challenge.  There was some very organized research conducted a while back to see just how successful Teen Challenge is.

Here's a pretty good link for information about the study.  It debunks some of Teen Challenge's claims about the 86% success rate, but a 70% success rate is still far superior to the average secular rehab (1-15%)


Teen Challenge / Re: I personally escaped this Cult
« on: December 12, 2011, 04:20:29 PM »
Quote from: "cmack"
Quote from: "TC_Saved_Me"
Thank you Very much.  It's very refreshing to get an open-minded and respectful response from someone on here.

I just cannot understand how people think they can argue with someone's personal experience.  "No!  That's not what you experienced!  This is what you experienced!"   :beat:  It's hilarious!   :seg:

Some people were so traumatized and harmed by their program experience that they are unwilling or unable to accept that some others received any benefit at all. I am opposed to any kind of forced or coercive treatment. I think that many who run programs are in it just for the money and they lack the skills, knowledge, or heart to truly serve the individual needs of those placed in their care. I also realize that some people's pre-program life had become so bad and desperate that they were/are willing to overlook the faults and shortcomings of programs and cling to any tiny morsels of help they can find.

You have to realize that there are people on this forum who've lost years of their lives in programs who had done nothing to deserve being removed from their homes.

For a different perspective read this: ... 96#p398796

Here's a brief excerpt:
The well hidden secrets The Seed used were in reality fear, intimidation, brainwashing, rape, violence, imprisonment, confinement, ratting on peers for reward, and kidnapping. This was the daily life of anyone unfortunate to have been forced into Barker’s web of deceit.

Unfortunately, the author of this article’s mother was one of the parents that attended a Seed parent indoctrination. “My mother had done no research, or investigation into what the program was really all about. Parents that attended these meetings were given license plates to put on their cars to show their support for a program they actually knew nothing about. They were also expected to turn over their wallets. Those that couldn’t afford to pay large “donations” spent their time making hundreds of peanut butter sandwiches, and gallons of Kool Aid, which was the program’s main source of nutrition.”

“I was fourteen-years-old and oddly my mother volunteered to give me a ride to the beach so I could go surfing. This would be the first, and only time my mother ever offered me a ride to the beach. Instead of going to the beach, I was taken to an old abandoned blimp hangar that The Seed now called its home. This was to be an initial stop under the pretenses of paying a visit to my sisters, who had disappeared only a few days earlier. My mother drove into a well guarded gate and stopped as the barricades were removed. The guards waved my mothers car into the compound. These “guards” didn’t look like your typical security guard, they looked instead like low-level body building thugs. Once inside the gate, I was informed that I would not be going anywhere. That night would begin my indoctrination were I would spend twelve hours a day confined to a single chair, and then turned over to a complete stranger where I would spend the nights intentionally being deprived of sleep. Welcome to The Seed.”

“During the entire year I was forced to remain at The Seed, I wasn’t allowed to attend school, or to socialize with any of my friends. If one did so, they did it at their own peril, as this meant starting the entire program over from day one.”

“Earlier that same week my thirteen year old sister was removed from her junior high class by complete strangers, and dragged to a awaiting car where she would be rolled up in an old rug, thrown into the trunk, and ushered off to what would become a nightmare that stole a full year from her life. My older sister, who was sixteen at the time, had also been duped into the program.”

Having never used drugs or alcohol — a popular kid that loved to surf, play sports, run track, play music, and bike ride to the beach was suddenly forced to spend full days, day after day, after day listening to “druggies” tell horror stories of how drugs had turned them into sex slaves to obtain the cash they needed to get their next high. “My father who had no idea what was happening to his kids, was out of town in the northeast, and to make matters worse my parents were in the throws of a nasty divorce.”...

Unlike most when I was incarcerated/imprisoned at The Seed, I refused to conform. I never participated in any of the mandatory “rap sessions,” instead I remained silent and oppositional. If they sat facing North, I sat facing South. If they stood up, I sat down. When they put their arms around each other singing stupid songs in praise of Barker, I would push their arms off of me. When they shouted “I love you, Jack.” I shook my head in disgust. When they kicked me and yelled at me, I refused to show any signs of fear. And to think I was merely fourteen years old at the time. I spent countless hours watching spiders make webs up in the rafters.

After about six months of being in that mess, The Seed staff decided to send me to a psychiatrist to find out how they could “reach” me. After being kicked, beaten, starved, deprived of sleep, and screamed at for months they couldn’t figure it out? Really? They were never going to “reach” me.

Upon entering the psychiatrist’s office I told him, “Lay down (on his sofa) and tell me your problems.” This surprised him; he asked me why I didn’t like The Seed. I said, “They force me to lie, and say I used drugs when I hadn’t. They told me if I don’t admit to using drugs, I’d never be allowed to go home or school again.” I told the “doctor, “I wanted to go to school, and I wanted to go surfing, but they wouldn’t let me.” I left the appointment with a letter from the doctor giving me “life-long” permission to surf. Wasn’t that very nice of him?

When it was someone’s birthday, they’d force us to stand, hold hands and sing happy birthday. On my fifteenth birthday, they sang, “Hit the road Jack and don’t you come back no more, no more. Hit the road Jack and don’t you come back no more.” I stood up and defiantly proclaimed that I had had enough and I was never going to come back ever again. Ever again! They had a good laugh about that, but, I had decided that I was never going back to that place and I didn’t. That was the best birthday gift I ever received and I gave it to myself. In reality, my mother probably couldn’t afford the long drives to south Miami, and then Fort Lauderdale, and probably lost interest. I’m sure the staff was equally as tired of a kid that they knew was not going to conform. After all, what did I have to lose as I was already not allowed to attend school for an entire year.

I stayed true to my word, and like nearly ever child that left The Seed voluntarily or throught the “graduation” process, never returned. Like most kids that left The Seed, I never returned to live with his family either.

I will never stop hating that pedophile known as Art Barker, and his demonic staff of criminals who thrived on causing pain and anguish to countless children. To this day, I can still see several of those constantly crying faces, and the stream of tears that often flowed down their faces, out of sheer helplessness....


If Dante’s Inferno became a reality, no doubt Barker would face the gallows one day, a firing squad, lethal injection, and the electric chair in following succession. In a more humane hell, Barker deserves to be beaten to death, again and again by the scores of children that he physically, psychologically and emotionally raped in that experiment that had gone bad. But, then again… Who am I to judge? It’s not like after 35+ years that my time spent in that grotesque experiment had any long lasting and lingering affect on me. Right?

What is "The Seed?"

Teen Challenge / Re: I personally escaped this Cult
« on: December 12, 2011, 04:17:41 PM »
Quote from: "none-ya"
TC_Saved_Me wrote;
Even if it's true what you say that I traded one addiction for another, which it's not - but if it is - what's the problem with that?

You've traded one of personal destruction,for one that has oppressed the masses,started wars,and raped young boys for thousands of years. That is a problem. Maybe not for you though. But I guess that's all that matters (to you).

Look, I'm not ignorant to the fact that alot of cruel and unsavory things have been done in the name - and for the sake of - organized religion.  It's just terrible.  And if there is abusive things occurring in one of the Teen Challenge centers (or any treatment center), than something should definatly be done about that.  Justice should be served.  I certainly won't debate that.

I have a question for you though none-ya, regarding the oppressed masses, wars, and raped young boys:  Can you find anything in the New Testament that these self-proclaimed religious folks could have used to support the things they were doing?  

I'm cool with having a problem with organized religion, as long as one does not allow that to make stereotypes about all organized religion.  There is still some good out there.  And having a problem with organized religion is also cool with me, as long as the person with the problem does not let human history define Christianity - but instead let the Bible define what Christianity is.  Do not let the foolishness of Christians deter you from the true Glory of God.

Take me for example.  If you wanted to judge Jesus Christ and the entire Christian faith based on my personal character, that would do my God some serious injustice because I am far from a perfect man...

Just the same, it is not fair to judge every faith-based drug or alcoholic treatment center based on some foolishness of a couple bad seeds.

Teen Challenge / Re: I personally escaped this Cult
« on: December 11, 2011, 10:11:51 AM »
Quote from: "none-ya"

Hahaha!  Not quite that extreme, but there is definitely alot of discipline in the more successful programs!

From a Christian standpoint, I'd put Jesus against that tree taking that beating.  That's what we believe.  We committed all the offense, but He took our punishment for us.

That's why we don't have to take the beating - because He took it for us!  And I am grateful to Him, that despite the fact that I still have hate and pride in my life, the beating that He took for me is still good enough that I might be forgiven.

Teen Challenge / Re: I personally escaped this Cult
« on: December 11, 2011, 09:49:28 AM »
Quote from: "none-ya"
TC-Saved-Me wrote;
I believe that a person can put their faith in Allah or Buddah, and use that faith as a means to get sober.

Buddhists do not pray to Buddha. In fact they do not pray to any god.
And yes to your latter question, just about everything you've written rubs me the wrong way. Organized religion is responsible for most of the worlds woes.Just because your blind faith got you sober, that's no excuse to ignore 5000yrs. of human history. I guess even the scientologists have cleaned up some people.(does that make them benevolent?) Trading drugs for religion is simply swaping addictions.

You're still putting words in my mouth about Buddhists.  I never said they pray to Buddha.  I said they put their faith in Buddha - big difference.  Believing in someone, and praying to someone are two totally different things.

Even if it's true what you say that I traded one addiction for another, which it's not - but if it is - what's the problem with that?  I traded an addiction that had me lying to my family, robbing and stealing, wrecking cars, and losing job after job, for another "addiction" (as you are free to call it if you choose) that has me working hard for my money (in an honest way), serving the people around me, and urging young people not to get involved with drugs and make bad choices like I did.  

One addiction would have gotten me locked up or overdosed, the other - if I end up completely radicalized by my faith, at worst, gets me handing out gospel tracks at the local shopping mall.
Regardless of what you think about organized religion, is there anyone in here who can honestly say that I was better off before I became a Christian - that is if you believe that what I say is true about my personal experiences in life..??

Teen Challenge / Re: I personally escaped this Cult
« on: December 10, 2011, 03:35:51 PM »
Quote from: "none-ya"
TC-Saved-Me wrote;
I would not personally financially support a program that was not Christian.

I guess you won't be donating to fornits then.
Oh,and by the way,Buddha is not a god.

No, I would not financial support Fornits.  

And I never said that Buddha was a god.

Have I said something that has cause you to constantly challenge everything I post?

Teen Challenge / Re: I personally escaped this Cult
« on: December 10, 2011, 12:04:54 PM »
Quote from: "Awake"
@ TC Saved Me. I am also glad to hear you have had success handling your addiction problems, and if your Christian faith was the answer that worked for you that is geat. For me some questions are, how does TC treat kids who don’t believe in Christianity or don’t want to subscribe to that religion? What if TC enforced following a different religion, a Muslim faith, Judaism, Hunduism, whatever? Would that have ended up being successful for you? Would you espouse those beliefs as you do Christianity? Would your support for the program now be different under those circumstances?

That's very difficult to answer without offending some people, but I'll give it a shot.

First off, I don't know anything about how Teen Challenge treats kids.  I went into the program when I was an adult (the name of the program is pretty misleading because most Teen Challenge facilities are for adults 18 and over).

For adults, however, I actually went through the program with a person who was raised Mormon.  I know that's not exactly Judaism or Islam.  People in TC are allowed to believe whatever they choose to believe.  There are no repercussions for believing in something other than Christianity.  TC is a Christian program though (everyone who comes into the program knows that), and there are Bible classes and chapel services that each student is required to attend.  If the student does not want to follow these rules, they will be disciplined (extra work chores, extra scripture memorization, etc.)  If the student does not like that discipline, they are free to walk out of the program at any time.

Here comes the part I anticipate might not be received well, but this is what I believe... As a Christian, I believe that Jesus Christ is "The Way the Truth and the Life," and that "anyone who is in Christ is a new creation.  Old things have passed away, and all things have been made new."  Only through Christ, do I believe that I would have found salvation and sobriety.

I don't know what "espouse" means.  I would not personally financially support a program that was not Christian.  That's just my personal convictions though.  I believe that "faith" is the most obvious answer to curing an addiction though.  I believe that a person can put their faith in Allah or Buddah, and use that faith as a means to get sober - more because of psychological reasons than anything else though.  I do not believe that is a soul-saving kind of faith that will get them to heaven though.

Quote from: "Ursus"
Quote from: "TC_Saved_Me"
I took offense when being accused of being "brainwashed," so I considered some scripture, and it actually says in Romans 12: 2, "Do not conform any longer to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind."

So, after considering my accusers comments about being "brainwashed," I decided that his/ her accusation actually does line up with what the Bible teaches.  So, I HAVE in fact been brainwashed!
Sorry, could you please point out WHERE in this thread ... someone accused you of being "brainwashed?" Or any comments to that effect, which may have prompted your taking offense?

It seems to me that *YOU*, in fact, were the only one doing the accusing, eh?

It certainly makes me wonder as to the truth of these alleged accusations about you (which I've tried very hard to find, but cannot), given that they are apparently more on your mind than anyone else's...

You're right.  I was confused when I kept seeing a guy named: "N.O.S.O.B. (National Open Symposium On Brainwashing)" quoting everything I posted.  He wouldn't make any comment, just quote me, and repost my comments.  He never accused me of being brainwashed though.  That was my own paranoid, defensive-minded way to read his posts.  My bad.

Teen Challenge / Re: I escaped from the Teen Challenge "Cult"
« on: December 10, 2011, 11:46:41 AM »
Quote from: "Judge Joe"
Quote from: "TC_Saved_Me"
Hmmm... Now that I think about it, I WAS brainwashed!  

My brain used to think about crack, weed, blunts, bongs, sex, and 40 oz's!  

Now my brain thinks about scripture!

Thank you for raising my "awareness" of this "brainwashing!"

Who paid the monthly fees when you attended Teen Challenge?

There are no monthly fees.  For the Philadelphia Teen Challenge (where I first enrolled), it is a one-time fee of $450.00 - that covers the entire year-long program.  For the Southern California Teen Challenge (where I ended up after leaving the Philly house), it is a free program.

Teen Challenge / Re: I personally escaped this Cult
« on: December 09, 2011, 05:01:35 PM »
Thank you Very much.  It's very refreshing to get an open-minded and respectful response from someone on here.

I just cannot understand how people think they can argue with someone's personal experience.  "No!  That's not what you experienced!  This is what you experienced!"   :beat:  It's hilarious!   :seg:

Quote from: "Wayne Kernochan"

That's the model TC's base their "therapy" on. They call it behavior modification.  We don't call it brainwashing, the government does

I am not going to even begin to make the claim that I read that entire memorandum.  As someone who has actually been involved with Teen Challenge however, I must say this could not be further from the truth.  Teen Challenge, while similar to "Behavioral Therapy," in that they reinforce positive behavior through rewards - while disciplining bad behavior, is basically a very strict (almost militaristic) bible school.

Each student gets a job that he is responsible for doing (whether it be working on the grounds crew, or answering the phones).  There are daily chores.  There are three phases of classes (4 classes for each phase).  Three mandatory meal times per day.  Three mandatory chapel services to attend a week.  Scripture memorization, testimonials, etc.  And there are rules to follow.

They do not "teach" anything except for how to serve God.  Read your Bible, pray, worship God.  That's it.  Some call it a monestary for people with addictions.  Some call it a "Christian bootcamp."  While others call it a "Christian Life School."  I say that it's a little bit of all of those.

Quote from: "none-ya"
All the court ordered kids in the seed and many other programs were not allowed to leave,even if they wanted to go to jail instead. I know, I was one of them. I DID escape,and I DID go to jail. I don't regret it for one minute.At least in jail they fed us.

Well, I do not know how the program for kids works.  I would assume that Teen Challenge staff is legally mandated to follow certain protocol for court order juveniles.  

I was 24 years old when I went into the program though, and had the choice to leave if I wanted to.  That's just the way our judicial system works, it has nothing to do with Teen Challenge.

Look, I didn't come in here to discuss semantics.  I understand that there are at least a few bad apples on every tree...  I just wanted to share a personal, positive testimony about this program because I would probably have overdosed or been locked behind bars by now if it weren't for Teen Challenge.

Every organization on the planet has some bad seeds, including most religious organizations - I just hope that people aren't berating this program because it is faith-based.

I know probably 20 people just off the top of my head who probably wouldn't be where they are today if it weren't for Teen Challenge.  I just want to urge everyone on here to get all the information, get every side to the story before they start to form any negative opinions of this program.  I can personally get several Teen Challenge graduates to share their testimonies on here, and maybe that would change your opinion..??

Teen Challenge has over a thousand centers world-wide.  Are there some centers that are run better than others?  Absolutely.  Are there some centers that are lead by people who make poor financial decisions or moral decisions?  Probably.  But they are changing thousands of lives!  That has to be worth something...

Yeah, I was court ordered.  That's how prideful I was.  I was willing to take my chances at going to jail instead of finishing Teen Challenge.  It also shows you how hard that program is to complete.  That program is no joke!  That's why the success rates are so high for people who stick it out and actually finish the program.

It works like any other court order.  If I did not live up to my end of the judge's agreement with me, he would have issued a bench warrant for my arrest.

Anyone who leaves that program prematurely, whether they get kicked out or leave on their own accord, considers themself a "victim."  "After a month in that program, I had my bags packed, and almost walked out the doors.  I consider all the discipline that I had to endure to be "abuse."  But it wasn't..

That's why I thought it was imperative for a graduate to log into this site, and share my testimony.

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