I have carried the trauma

I have carried the trauma of what happened to me two decades ago being placed in this program. I understand this is not the program that is more than likely being ran to this day because I certainly hope they have learned from their mistakes over that period of time.
In 2001 It was a “new” program, sadly my family was just income to these people because they needed to get their business off the ground. I had no business being there as it was supposedly designed as a 12 step program for teens who struggled with drugs and alcohol.
My parents were mislead about the help they offered. I suffered from depression and a severe eating disorder. At the time I was relieved to think I would be getting some help. They did nothing to help me address my eating disorder. They made me keep the bathroom door open in front of my peers when I used it, or took showers. I began to quickly gain weight because of the food being offered and complete lack of physical activity. We were stuffed in hard blue plastic chairs for hours every day with little to no physical activity besides the same Richard Simmons VHS tape they threw on from time to time to check that off their list.
I can’t even begin to explain how distressing this was to a 17 year old girl with an eating disorder.
I vividly remember staring out the window every day, hating my existence and wanting to leave. The only interesting site was to watch the Sysco truck deliver more garbage food and watch them pull away.
They didn’t help me. I felt so helpless for those 11 months.
I couldn’t cope with this program. I tried to run away which resulted in the staff threatening me to have me court ordered. One day I simply refused to go to the building. I’d had it and for some reason thought that would work. That was the last time I was allowed to go home. I was stripped of my shoes, contact with my family, and never allowed to go to my home or shadow other teens for the rest of my stay. Limiting my ability to ever phase up in the program. So you can only imagine how terrified I was of them making up whatever they had to do to get me court ordered there. The first week I was allowed a five minute visit I ended up pleading with my parents to please take me out. Suddenly I was bear hugged and violently pulled away from them by staff. They viewed it as “manipulation”.
Meanwhile they manipulated my family by lying to them about the help they offered. They silenced me over and over and didn’t allow me to speak to my family for weeks at a time. Yet would openly state in the groups that “the doors were unlocked” knowing we had nowhere to go and they would just call the police and have us hauled back.
If I left, they lost out on the thousands of dollars my parents could barely afford when they thought they were helping me.
Yes I was a teenager acting out, I’ll admit that. However, instead of throwing me in this hell hole and depleting me of my privileges, happiness, and dignity, I really could have used an arm around my shoulder telling me I was going to be alright.
We’re the kids that paved the way for the program to eventually become residential as it is today. That was not offered to us bc they were ill prepared and in need of our families funds to build it. They couldn’t or wouldn’t afford real therapists so they certainly weren’t going to supply reasonable accommodations for a teen.
They sent me home with other families, but complete strangers to me each night. Each house different, but they all had that dreaded room. The staff had instructed the family to empty a room, stick an alarm on a door and checked it off as safe to be there. We were locked in a room at night, some had mattresses to sleep on, some didn’t.
I left when I turned 18. I wasn’t going to stay there one second longer. I wasn’t offered any kind of after care therapy, nor was I prepared to handle the further damage it caused my relationship with my parents as I now resented the hell out of them for abandoning me to this place.
My last day the so called staff stood me in front of my peers, announced to them that I was considering signing myself out. They allowed my peers to berate me for my decision. Not all of them did, some were supportive, but I won’t forget the harsh words said from those who were not. It hurt.
Some teens would do things like to appease staff because they thought it would help them advance in the program.
This was my personal experience. I hate these people and have struggled to forgive them for what they did to me.
Lastly, in my stay they sent in a bishop from the LDS church, and left me to be completely alone in a room with him unsupervised. Door closed.
I didn’t know this man, what he wanted to talk me about or why he was even there. Yet he sat me down and this old man began began asking disgusting humiliating questions about what I had done in detail sexually up to that point. This never should have happened. I know it’s hard to find help for teens. Know who you are trusting them with and investing in. It was outrageously expensive at the the time, but I am the one who paid the heaviest price.

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