Todd E “Copout # 1″,
March 15,1985 to February 13,1987
…makes it hard to relate. The way they confuse you and attach you to the wrong notions. When you go in you have no idea what your in for. You’re not prepared to defend yourself and you’ve never experienced anything like it. The shock of your first day. I, myself wanta say, that I knew the place was fucked from the minute I got there. I already knew everything was a lie. The cold intake. The removal of all your personal affects. Strip search. Introduction to group and there you are on front row. Being made to sit up and be quiet and pay attention to the person talking. I was pretty well taken by surprise and wasn’t at all prepared for their tenacity. What a subject for an oil painting! … “The Newcomer On Front Row”… I remember one of the other new kids on front row spoke directly to me and asked me if I wanted to make a run for that door with him. I didn’t even respond. I looked at him for a second and then played it cool. I didn’t motivate but I sat up and paid attention. I ran from the host home on my first morning. They wouldn’t let me read the paper or use the telephone or watch any tv or even over-hear the radio. All connection to the outside world was cut off. That first night, they took my clothes and the host parents alarmed me into a dark furniture-less room with 4 other strange boys whom Id never met before. We sat there in our underwear. In the dark. I listened as the others confessed their powerlessness and talked about their past. The one kid talked about shoving the handle of a screwdriver up his ass. I was a virgin, had never heard of such things. It was a sleepless night for me. In the morning, after some breakfast, I was given my shoes to put on. The oldcomer worked his hand through my back beltloop and twisted his hand securely around the waistband of my jeans and we were escorted out through the kitchen door, into the attached 2 car garage, but the station wagon was in the driveway. We walked out through the open garage door and I bolted. I guess I got a pretty good jump cause I turned around long enough to see my oldcomer on the ground holding out his arm after me and gripping my ripped sleeve in his hand.…Anyway, I ran for the woods, but made the mistake of running across a freshly plowed field, which was like running on beach sand. My oldcomer ran around the field and thereby made time on me. I made it into the woods but it was about noon on a Sunday. I was trying to get to Burke Lake, where I knew I could find some friends or a ride somewhere. But I couldn’t believe the way this kid chased me. I was a good runner too. He was tenacious. I regret to this day that I didn’t just push on through those woods ahead of him that day, but I gave up with a pounding headache and no air left to suck and he caught up to me and threatened to beat the shit out of me and I told him to go ‘head. He put me in a head lock and started dragging me back through the woods, then his dad showed up and he got me in a head lock too, but from the other side and they both dragged me back to the station wagon and I got confronted all the way into the building that day. And when I arrived at the building I was thrown into an intake room, where I was made to sit straight up in a plastic chair, while being violently confronted and spit on for about a half a day by 5th phasers and senior and executive staff. After that I was re-introduced to group with full cop-out honors and heavily confronted and made fun of and degraded and humiliated again, this time by the group. Who remembers starry-eyed pirate ??!!!!
I was put back on front row and that night in dismissal line they gave me a different host home. One way out in the MD countryside about 2 hours from the building, so I wouldn’t try to run again. That was my first 30 hours in the program. The next day, I put in a withdraw and requested a conference with my parents, but they refused to meet with me. I remember that other kid who came in right around the same time as me but his folks took him out after about 6 days. By my 3rd day I had begun to fake it, even though you cant really fake it, because once you’ve compromised your values you’ve taken the fatal sip.
If you dont know from personal experience you can imagine the effect that such treatment would have on a keen and already troubled lad. I tell you this story in order to demonstrate the way they attack the social coping mechanisms. They way they open your psyche up to the knife, roll you back on your heels and take advantage of your inability to cope. You are psychologically shocked out of your sense of self. There is nothing to hold onto. You don’t exist, and you wont exist until you embrace the ideology of the program.
At this point in my life I am realizing the devastating effect that this treatment has had on me. Specifically how the lack of any normal, organically manifested social coping mechanisms and a Straight instilled conscience, predisposed to guilt and shame have made me a slave.
Even when you can understand the dynamic it is very difficult to change such entrenched behavior patterns. The cult expert Janja Lalich states that survivors of cults may experience many years of guilt confusion.
Remember how if you weren’t completely honest about every little detail of your thoughts and/or emotions the guilt would surface and you would be revealed as FOS. People were constantly confessing their dishonesties to the group. Sometimes when this dynamic was taken to the extreme people would experience what were called “head-games”. These were the manifestations of neurotic guilt and those suffering from this effect would have to stand up in group and confess their doubts about their own honesty and even self-honesty, etc.
I’m just saying this attack on the social coping skills combined with the establishment of the guilty conscience and the confusion that results will result in endless unnecessary suffering if it isnt recognized for what it is. The chains of the slaver thrown over the youth.
Fuck Straight. Fuck Authority. People are not commodities.