Hope H. Copout
March 19,1987 to March 1988
My name is Hope. In 1985 I was going to AA and NA meetings throughout Northern Virginia in towns such as Reston,Herndon,Vienna,Oakton and Annandale but I never got clean and sober at that point in time.
In 1985 I met this guy named Jerry at an AA meeting in Oakton,Virginia. This AA meeting was held at Oakton United Methodist Church at 2951 Chain Bridge Road, Oakton, VA 22124 located at the intersection of Hunter Mill Road and 123. Jerry never got clean and sober. He quickly became my boyfriend and we stayed together for 18 months. This relationship would later prove to be one of the worst decisions of my entire Life. He had previously been held hostage in Springfield,Virginia Straight from 1983 to 1985. During his horrible time there he was a mostly a misbehaver and he had been on first phase for a very long time. Most of his time at Straight was spent on first phase. I don`t think he ever made it past second or third phase. Sometime in 1985 he finally copped out and he never returned back to Straight.
During our year and a half relationship he told me all about the horrors of Straight and everything that he witnessed and experienced while he was held hostage there. He talked often about Straight. Some of the shocking things he spoke about was some of the physical abuses at Straight such as all of the beltlooping,the painful knuckles rammed down people`s back who allegedly were not sitting up straight in group, the times in group when the misbehavers heads were physically turned and forced to face the person talking in group and a time he tried to run to escape and he was caught. These and many other bizarre things he talked about. Clearly he was severely traumatized and damaged by his experiences at Straight. He harbored a lot of resentments and bitterness towards his mom for putting him in Straight and keeping him there. Jerry`s father lived in Reston,Virginia during this time but they were not close at all. Jerry was unemployed the entire time we were together.
He lived with his mom in Fairfax and Burke,Virginia. His mom was always very nice to me. My boyfriend and I started partying together right away, and during the whole time we were together, we both drank and did a lot of drugs together. We did a lot of pot,alcohol, LSD, PCP and once we did cocaine. We would split our partying together between my house in Reston and his mom`s house in Burke,Virginia. We would also party in the homes of one of Jerry`s nutty neighbors. It was a very toxic and drama infested relationship. It had nothing to do with love and everything to do with narcotics. Drugs completely dominated our relationship both directly and indirectly from start to finish. We were both totally wasted out of our minds from drugs most of them time. We were both a mess and a disasterous mismatch right from the very start. I wouldn`t have been with him or stayed with him if drugs had not been constantly involved because drugs were always a major priority for me.
We argued all the time. We got our LSD from various connections in Fairfax,Virginia and we got our marijuana from people in Reston,Virginia. We got our PCP from taking dangerous trips out to Washington,DC. Jerry was very abusive towards me both physically and emotionally. He yelled at me all the time and called me names. He beat me up and battered me constantly throughout our year and a half relationship. Being in an abusive relationship where your partner is inflicting violence on you is a Hell in and of itself. He was very controlling and possessive. One time he almost killed me when he flipped out in another violent rage and put a 32 semi automatic pistol to my head. How I got out of that near fatal situation alive I do not know. He stalked me constantly. He would often show up unannounced at various places where I was at. One time my dad was driving me to school one morning and my psycho-stalker boyfriend followed us both all the way to the school. We noticed he was following us. He followed my dad and me into the school. My father and my boyfriend got into a loud argument in the school hallway. It got really heated. My dad was yelling at him to stay away from me. I was really scared when that crazy incident happened. Jerry was severely mentally ill for a number of different reasons.
In yet another stupid decision, Jerry and I ran off to Woodstock,Virginia for several months. I was a runaway during that time. Once, we took his roommates car and drove North for four to five hours and we ended up in Reading, Pennsylvania. We got lost. It was somewhere around 2:00am when we ended up asking a local cop for directions. Well he quickly figured out that something was amiss. He took us both down to the local Police Station. Jerry called up one of his friends who drove up to Pennsylvania and drove him back to Virginia. My parents were called. My father drove up to get me in Pennsylvania. He was furious. He made me stay awake all the way home. He locked me inside the house for the weekend and he took all the phones away.
I was doing LSD every single day for an entire year. I was tripping every night. I was the walking dead.
During that 18 months there was one time when I had a drug overdose. I did LSD,cocaine,marijuana and some other drugs as well all at once which was very dangerous. I had a bad trip. At one point I got very sick and vomited all over the place. That cocaine really pushed me over the edge and then some. It made my throat all numb which freaked me out. I didn`t like it at all. It was the first and last time I ever did cocaine. I didn`t go to the Hospital but I really should have. I just sweated it out for hours. It was a very unpleasant experience to say the least.
Months later after Jerry and I had finally broken up for good, he called me on the phone one night and to warn me there was a very strong possibility that my mom was going to put me in Springfield, Virginia Straight. He might have even encouraged me to run away from home immediately to avoid and prevent my mom putting me in Straight. Our moms were friendly and they talked a lot so I strongly suspect it was his mom who talked my mom into putting me in Straight. I spoke with my mom later that evening. We had a long talk in the kitchen. My mom confirmed that yes, this was true that I was going to Straight the next day. I was tripping big time on acid that night and I even told my mom that I was. For some reason we didn`t argue or fight about my mom`s decision to put me in Straight the next day.
Yes, she was putting me in Straight and so the very next day I was in Straight. One of the reasons my parents put me in Straight was to keep me away from my ex-boyfriend. My parents also put me in Straight because they were scared for me. I had stopped going to School months earlier plus I was living with four shady characters in Reston,Virginia who were full blown alcoholics and drug addicts. When I arrived at Straight my very first day I was tripping on acid. I was high all day long on my first day at Straight. I was very freaked out to the extreme being in group around all that motivating. It was like a sea of endless octopus arms moving through the air. Straight Incorporated is insane enough when you`re not on drugs. When the drugs wore off after that first day, my feelings came back in full force. I remember that I couldn`t stop crying for weeks. To make matters even worse then they already were, the staff and group started to tear me down right away by blasting and confronting me in group on a very regular basis.
Some time in my first two weeks at Springfield,Virginia Straight they gave me a pelvic exam. Years later it dawned on me how fucked up that was of them to do that.
My mom,dad and my stepmom were all involved with Straight and they were there every Monday and Friday night for the entire time I was at Straight.
During those first four and a half months I remember seeing people getting restrained in group a lot. It was mostly on the guys side but it happened on the girls side, too. I also recall those times when someone would be getting restrained in group and this would instantly would set off a violent chain reaction and before we knew it there were two to three people fighting and getting restrained. Then we had three people being restrained on the floor. There were times when nasty fights would break out in the girls intake rooms in the morning which resulted in the people getting restrained.
I was taken to a host home in Washington, DC. To make matters worse, I had one of those “Oldcomers from Hell.” The hostsister was great, and so was her mom. The oldcomer from hell was big, scary and mean. She was on a bigtime power trip which she took full advantage of. She yelled at me all the time at the hosthome and she also yelled at me during the car rides to and from the Straight building, morning and night. She made me cry a lot. She would ridiculously nitpick and criticize me every night on my M.I.`s. She would watch me all the time like some obsessive stalker. She reported me to 5th phasers all the time. She would also stand me up in group and confront me. It seemed like she was on my ass 24/7. Unfortunately, she was my oldcomer for at least 3 months. Being in Straight was bad enough for countless reasons and I didn`t need an oldcomer from Hell who was making things even worse for me but that`s exactly what she did. I was extremely unhappy during those first three months. So after 90 days she was no longer my insane oldcomer. She got sent to another hosthome and I`m confident she harassed,terrified and abused the newcomers over there as well. When she got transferred to another house I remember being very happy, ecstatic and relieved that I no longer had to deal with her endless, daily abuse.
There was this 17 year old girl on the girl`s side at Springfield,Virginia Straight. She copped out for like two to three months. During her copout she smoked a ton of PCP. She couldn`t get enough of it. I remember the day she was reintroduced back to the group at Straight. She looked like Hell. She had lost a lot of weight and she had the darkest circles under her eyes that were incredible. She looked really bad. She was greened out to the gills. The group blasted her over and over and over again and tore her to shreds.
I remember this young woman who was 23 years old when she checked herself into Straight. I admired her guts! Her name was Markie Smith. She was a Heroin addict and a Prostitute. I don`t think she ever graduated Straight.
I was on first phase for 4 and 1/2 months. In July 1987 I copped out on second phase. I had been an oldcomer for a few weeks before I escaped. I lived with my mom on Indian Ridge Road in Reston,Virginia. This neighborhood is located on the South side of Reston. One morning we were all leaving the house to head off for another miserable day at Springfield,Virginia Straight. I put both of the newcomers in the back seat of my mom`s 1981 Gold Plymouth Champ car and closed the door. This was a two door car. I put the newcomers in the car and put the seat back. It was right then and there that I copped out. I took off running with no hesitation. It was all very impulsive. As I was running away, I heard my mom yell my name. I ignored her and kept right on running. I knew she wouldn`t chase after me. Nevertheless, I still feel a ton of guilt to this day when I think of my mom calling out my name as I was making my escape on that morning. That is my only regret about my time at Straight. My mom didn`t run after me and neither did my two newcomers because they were locked inside the car. Months later I found out later that right after I copped out that my mom drove both the newcomers to Straight and she informed the staff about my escape. Later that day my two newcomers were assigned new oldcomers and sent to different homes.
We lived right on Reston National Golf Course so that`s the first place I ran to. That golf course gave me plenty of time, space and cover to continue making my escape. I was extremely familiar with that golf course. Ironically, I had done a lot of drugs on that golf course over the years before ending up at Straight. It was a good thing that I didn`t make the mistake of running out to Sunrise Valley Drive and walking (or running) along that long road because if I had, my mom most likely would have eventually seen me. Yes, that Reston National Golf Course was the perfect place to run to and that`s exactly what I did. So I traversed the golf course and also walked on a black path for a period of time. I walked to and through that tunnel which went underneath South Lakes Drive. That tunnel that is right near South Lakes Drive Park. I eventually made my way to this Exxon gas station at Hunters Woods Shopping Center in Reston. A boyfriend/”druggie boyfriend” used to work there but I found out that he didn’t anymore. So, I got on the telephone and called up some girl I knew from from South Lakes High School. She and I went over to her place at Shadowwood Apartments in Reston. I spent 5 or 6 hours hanging out at Shadowwood Apartments. (They are now called Shadowwood Condominiums these days.)
Some time later, I got a ride over to Stuart Woods Apartments in Herndon,Virginia. I reunited with the boyfriend I’d had just before I got put in Straight. He was a drug dealer, and that was my main motivation for being in that relationship. He then took me to this house in Vienna,Virginia where he was renting a room. I spent nine days at that house in Vienna,Virginia with my boyfriend, and the father and son who’s house it was. I also remember going to two rock concerts at Merriweather Post Pavilion on 10475 Little Patuxent Parkway in Columbia, Maryland. The first rock show was when “Richard Marx” opened for “REO Speedwagon.” The second rock show I attended there was when “Great White” opened for the band “Night Ranger.” I had a great time. Those rock concerts were the highlight of the summer for me. The best time I had ever had since this Straight Incorporated nightmare came into my Life.
One day my boyfriend and I took a walk to this beautiful park somewhere in Vienna,Virginia. It was great and the weather was fantastic. We spent a couple of hours there.
During my 9 days copout I never drank alcohol and I didn`t do any drugs. What I did do during that time was smoke a ton of Marlboro cigarettes and I had a lot of sex with the two redneck guys who were living in the Vienna house. Neither of those guys knew what I was doing with the other although one of them had his suspicions. Yes I was such a player. I felt really free. That warm July Summer weather made my copout so much easier.
On the ninth day the guy`s dad called the cops on me. He knew I was a runaway and he knew I wasn`t going anywhere. He didn`t want me staying there at his house and the fastest way to get me out of that house was by calling the Fairfax County Police. I totally understand him not wanting me to continue staying at his house. I get all that. What bothers me is the fact that he called the cops and the way he went about it was all shady,cowardly and underhanded. All he had to do was tell me to my face he didn`t want me there and tell me to leave his house and I would have. He never had the guts to tell me to leave the house. Once he called the Police (which was bad enough) he never had the balls to man up and tell me to my face what he had done and why. He was not a real man in my opinion. Not at all. After he called them I was tipped off in advance before they actually arrived. One of his sons gave me the negative news that the father had called the Police and they were on their way to get me. Yes I could have taken off before they arrived but I decided not to. I stayed. I don`t know why I stayed but I did. I was understandably stressed out and upset when I got this news, but at the same time I resigned myself to going back to Springfield,Virginia Straight. The Vienna police were very nice to me when they showed up. They then took me to the Police Station which is located on 215 Center Street in Vienna, VA 22180. I was never handcuffed at any time. No fingerprinting was ever done and no mugshots were ever taken of me. My mom was already there when I got there or she arrived later on after I was taken there. My mom was grateful that I was alive and well. I was at that Police Station for one to two hours.
She drove me right back to Springfield,Virginia Straight right after we left the Vienna Police Station. I was beltlooped and taken away to an Intake Room. There I was interviewed at great length about everything that I did during my nine day copout.
Finally I was beltlooped in the intake room. I knew exactly what was going on and what was going to happen to me. I was taken out of the intake room, escorted down the hall and taken through some double doors into the giant Open Meeting room. A rap was already in progress. I was reintroduced back to the group. This staff member starts grandstanding at my expense in front of the group by saying, “Who remembers Hope? Hope copped out. She says she didn`t do any drugs during her copout. She says she smoked lots cigarettes and had lots of sex. Does anyone have anything that want to say to Hope!?” The group machine slammed into override. All these hands and arms from the guys side and girls side are flying through the air at warp speed. All the psycho group energy was directed at me. Everyone in group erupted in this vicious frenzy to tear me apart into countless pieces. All of these strange sounds from all these interlocked chairs in all of the rows. I was almost as if the chairs themselves wanted to confront me too. Staff called on one phaser after another and I was severely confronted by one person after another. They just kept coming after me. Phasers shouting and heaping all of this hate at me as loud as they possibly could. And then it was all over with and I was set on front row with the other newbies. “Newcomers Row” as I like to call it.
There was this ugly “Scabies Outbreak” that occurred at Straight during my second 1st phase. It was really bad because all the people who had it had to sit in the back of group all isolated. I felt like a Leper. Having the Scabies gave me the craziest itch. Not only that but I had bad scars on my back for a few years after that.
I had been going to South Lakes High School in Reston,Virginia for 3 to 4 months as an oldcomer. There was this one other Straightling also attending South Lakes High School at that time. We couldn’t and didn`t talk to each other because we were what Straight called, “Druggie Friends.” One of Straight`s stupid rules was “No Talking To Druggie Friends.”
After school each day, I would walk to my bus stop in Reston which was located at Sunrise Valley and Soapstone. I would catch the 5S Bus and take that to Tysons Corner. After that I would then take a second bus from Tysons Corner out to the Hardee’s on Backlick Road which was right across the street from Springfield,Virginia Straight.
I guess you could say I copped out on 4th phase. Call it whatever you want to call it. I personally call it a quazi copout of sorts. What happened was I had been on fourth phase at least a month. One day I was at South Lakes High School and I got really stressed out from all of the Formaldehyde I had to deal with in my 5th period Biology class. I got in my head about it and honestly thought I had relapsed and gone back to drugs by being near it and by breathing the air around it. I didn`t want to go back to Straight thinking I had just relapsed and be ripped to shreads by staff and group. So after school I walked around parts of South Reston. I never went to my bus stop that day. Thank God for my prized Walkman. That thing kept me sane. I listened to cassette tapes of music by Amy Grant, Simon and Garfunkel and Boston. After a couple hours I went to a pay phone at South Lakes High School and I called Straight. I talked with one or two staff members who talked me into coming back to Straight. Against my better judgment I made the mistake of taking the staff members bad advise and I went back to Straight. Yes, Straight, the very same place that had been the source of all my problems since I first walked in the door on March 19,1987.
When I got back to the building that day, some staffer told everyone in group what I had done that day and I recieved a mixture of confrontation and non-confrontation from the cult phasers in group. I wasn`t started over. Staff dropped me two phases and also put me on a second phase 14 day refresher. It was bad enough going from fourth phase to second phase but I also had to spend the next weeks as a newcomer. I was on that setback for two weeks and then I got off of it.
In February 1988 I turned 18 which meant I was now legally an adult under Virginia State Law. It took awhile for me to come out of the brainwashed fog. When I came out of that fog a month later in March of 1988, I put in to withdraw myself. I was on second phase when I did this. One morning I put in to withdraw myself. I had finally had enough of this year long nightmare called Straight. A fifth phaser officially wrote down my withdraw on a chain of command and gave it to staff. So I was now in the withdraw process which took most of the day.
I was stood up in group later that day while I was going through the withdraw process. I knew that I would be because this was a common and unpleasant custom at Straight. The staff members always got twisted enjoyment by putting the phasers in the “hot seat” who were in the withdraw process. The staff and cult members in group would harass the person “in withdraw” for as long as they wanted to and try to talk the person out of it. In my case some brainwashed phasers confronted me while others phasers were non-confrontational and said things like, “I`m scared for you.” They should have been scared for themselves instead of being scared for me because I was going to be leaving Straight and they were going to be staying. Everything they said to me just went in one ear and out the other.
Later that day I was taken out of group by an oldcomer or staff member. I was taken to a conference room. My mom and dad were on a conference call with me and one or two staff members. My mom was crying. She said, “If you withdraw yourself you can`t come home.” My father echoed the exact same sentiment. I was unmoved. I signed all the legal paperwork documents that staff gave me to sign. At one point just before I left or as I was leaving the building, one of the staff members said to me something along the lines of, “You can always come back to Straight if you ever change your mind.” She was wasting her breath. I remained unmoved. I officially withdrew myself from Springfield,Virginia Straight and it was one of the best decisions of my entire life. One year ago I came into Straight on my parents terms but now I was leaving Straight on my terms and it felt great. I was Proud to now be a “Withdraw.”
Now I was finally free for the first time since my copout. Copping out was awesome but this was different then my copout because I didn`t have to stress and worry anymore about getting caught and being physically kidnapped right off the streets and forced back to Straight against my will. I was now 18 years old which made me legally an adult in the state of Virginia. I had just signed myself out of there and I knew I was never going back there again no matter what. I didn`t waste any time.I made the most of my newfound Freedom. I was fast on my feet. I had to be. The first thing I did after leaving Straight for good that day was to get myself to an NA meeting. I took a bus from Springfield out to Tysons Corner. I then took another bus from Tysons Corner all the way to Hunters Woods in Reston,Virginia.
I went to The Reston Community Center located on Hunters Woods Village Center, 2310 Colts Neck Road in Reston,Virginia. They had 12 step meetings there each week. I shared in the NA meeting about my circumstances, about Straight and that now I was homeless. I picked up a 1 year chip at that NA meeting. I remember talking with the NA members for awhile after the meeting was over. I moved in with two women from Alcoholics Anonymous who lived in a townhouse on the South side of Reston,Virginia. I quickly got a job as a waitress at the “Pizza Inn” at Hunters Woods in Reston. I worked there for six months. I then landed a job as a waitress at “Luciano`s Italian Restaurant and Pizzaria” in Tysons Corner and worked there for 6 months.
Even though I wasn`t living with either of my parents I still stayed in touch with both of them. On April 3,1988, Easter Sunday my dad and stepmom left me an Easter basket with candy and a card on my front door. It was very kind of them.
In April of 1988 I started dating a copout named Lee. He was at Springfield,Virginia Straight for at least one year and he had spent most of his time there on first phase. He finally escaped from Springfield,Virginia Straight and never returned back there again. We had been in Straight at the same time. At that time in the Spring of 1988 I was going to lots of AA and NA meetings at The Alano Club in Arlington,Virginia and also at The Independence Club in Annandale,Virginia. He was going to meetings at these places as well. So, we ended up dating for three months.
We went to my Prom at South Lakes High School in June 1988. Yes, Lee went as my date for the Prom. It was nice having a prom date and a prom to attend but at the same time it was a very awkward experience for me because during my years at South Lakes High School from 1984 to 1988 I was always the outsider there.
In June or July, I went to the Doctor and was told that I was pregnant. I had gotten pregnant on Prom Night. Lee and I were both stressed out and freaked out. My parents also freaked out when I told them the news. My parents were angry, disappointed and scared. Lee and I were in no position at all to be parents. We just weren’t ready at all. I had, had an abortion once before when I was 15 years old and Lee and I were both in favor of my having an another abortion. I spoke with lots of people from my network in Narcotics Anonymous about my situation and they kindly suggested to me that I put the baby up for adoption. So I decided to put the baby up for adoption. I believed then and I also believe now that it was the right thing do do. We had an “Open Adoption.” The adopted parents helped me with my living expenses. I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy named “Miller” at Fairfax Hospital in Fairfax,Virginia in February 1989. I spent 5 days in that Hospital.
In November 1989 I moved out of Reston and moved to Arlington,Virginia. In February 1990 I got married. I didn`t get married to Lee. I got married to a completely different person who had never been in Straight.
I stopped going to NA meetings in 1991. I relapsed and started using drugs again in July of 1991. I partied my ass off for the next 18 years with heavy drinking,taking lots ecstasy pills,smoking marijuana, perscription pills,hash and nitrous oxide.
*Ten years after I broke up with Jerry: my ex-boyfriend of 18 months, I accidentally ran into him in an elevator one day in the building in Falls Church,Virginia where I was working at the time. I was stunned.I never thought I would run into him there and I never thought I would see him again anywhere for that matter. I was shocked by his appearance. He looked like crap. He was very pale. He was grossly overweight and he had these heavy bags under his eyes. He was there to see a Doctor. We spent 90 minutes talking and it was time well spent. It was very awkward at times. He addressed and made amends for all of the times over our 18 month relationship when he hit me,battered me and assaulted me. He said he got all that violence from everything he had witnessed and experienced Springfield,Virginia Straight from 1983 to 1985. He told me he had never been a violent person in his life before he ended up at Straight. He wasn`t defending his violent behavior towards me.He was explaining it without making excuses. He made amends to me by apologizing for all of the negative things he had done to me and put me through during our 18 month relationship in 1985 and 1986. I could tell he was very genuine, sincere, contrite, remorseful and full of other emotions about everything that had happened. We talked about my 1 year at Straight including my copout and withdraw. During that conversation Jerry told me he was still using drugs and he had developed a heart condition from all the crystal meth he had been using over the years. After that conversation was over I left feeling very afraid for his future and yet also a sense of satisfying and long overdue closure with him. I never saw him again after that. I honestly think that he`s dead.*
* One day in January 2006 someone knocked on my front door. I was living in Springfield,Virginia at that time. My husband was at work that day and I was home alone. I opened the door. The person said “Hi. I`m Miller.” He was my son who I had given up for adoption back in February 1989. I had always kept my maiden name just in case Miller ever wanted to find me. I did this because I wanted to make it easy for him to find me and that`s exactly what happened. He found me through the help of the Telephone Directory for Northern Virginia and I`m glad he did. After he introduced himself I was totally floored and freaked out and he was as well. I hugged him and we both cried. We both had a lot of catching up to do to say the least and that what we did. We talked about so many different things that day. One of the things we discussed was how I had met his father Lee which lead to me talking about Straight Incorporated. We spent hours talking and crying in my living room. It was very mutually and emotionally, overwhelming for both of us in so many ways. We both experienced countless emotions during that mother-son reunion. He told me that he had grown up in Falls Church,Virginia and he talked about the couple who raised him. Our Reunion that day was time well spent. I gave him the contact information for his father who was living in Hawaii at the time. Miller and I have stayed in touch over the years. He currently lives in Pittsburg,Pennsylvania.*
In August 2009 I went back to Narcotics Anonymous and I`ve been clean and sober ever since.