Do you ever feel like your parents want to get rid of you?
I didn’t just feel it, I lived it. My parents got rid of me, a month after I turned 14, by locking me up in a warehouse. Straight Inc, the place was called.
My mother’s husband had been beating me up. I guess she got sick of my screams.
Straight billed itself as a drug rehab for kids. The weird thing was, out of of the hundreds of us in there, like three of us had done more than drink a beer, smoke a joint. But to Straight, every teen was a druggie. At least, every teen whose parents had a checkbook and a desire to get rid of ’em….
But to Straight, every teen was a druggie. At least, every teen whose parents had a checkbook and a desire to get rid of ’em….
My mother told me she was taking me to a boarding school. Picturing green lawns and window seats, I got in the car. I let her and her husband drive me across six states.
But then I stepped into the Straight building, and everything felt wrong, like carnival music played backwards. The few kids I saw had shirts tucked in, robot eyes. The adults had clenched jaws and clipboards.
I was a strong kid, a loud kid. I was used to at least being able fight back.
I was a strong kid, a loud kid. I was used to at least being able to fight back. But there was no fighting back at Straight.
My mother said goodbye; said she was leaving me there. I tried to bum rush her. Seven people–three girls, four guys–grabbed my arms, my legs, my Levi’s waistband. They held tight.
When I tried to scream, they clamped hands over my mouth. When I tried to bite, it felt like they’d stolen my teeth.
I learned quick that I couldn’t use my teeth at Straight. Or my screams. Or my fight. All I could do was tell those hundreds of kids, “My mother was right. I am a drug addict.” All I could do was lie, and swear it was the truth.
Thank you so much for reading. If you know a teen (or their parent) who might benefit from this, please share. If you’re feeling my stuff, sign up for my newsletter or follow me on social. If you want the whole story of my incarceration at Straight, find it in my memoir The Dead Inside.