søndag den 31. marts 2013

Freddy at Sagewalk

Freddy McConnel died in 2011.

Before his death he went to the wilderness program called Sagewalk, which were closed in 2009 due to a death in the program. He also entered a rehab facility in South Africa.

He had written his story before he died and parts of it was published in the British Newspaper Daily Mail online.

Here is a part of the article.

I arrived at the SageWalk office scared out of my wits. I was stripped of my belongings and clothes and given a bright orange uniform similar to those worn in prison. I was handcuffed, blindfolded and thrust into the back of an SUV for a two-hour drive into the Oregon desert where, with a large, heavy rucksack containing a sleeping bag, rice, lentils and farina (a sort of carbo¬hydrate gloop), a small tarpaulin, orange clothes and hiking boots, I was left in the ‘care’ of two of the hillbillies who accompanied us.

I at once refused to do anything they said and to my horror received a slap to the face. I told them that that was illegal but they ignored me and, as I further protested, one of them pushed me and I fell face- first to the ground, cutting my face and starting to bleed. I recall shrieking amid tears of anguish for my dad to save me but it was to no avail.

About a week into my stay, we were backpacking and there was a small rock face, maybe 10ft high, that we had to climb with our backpacks on. We had already hiked about five miles that day and I was feeling faint.

Halfway up, I lost consciousness for a second, or just lost my footing, and fell 5ft on to a rock. I landed back first and experienced an excruciating pain.

When I put my hand to my back to inspect the damage I felt a hot, thick trickle of blood. I asked for a doctor but received instead a kick to the ribs and an order to keep on hiking. The next break wasn’t for another mile-and-a-half. I have since seen doctors and had X-rays and it seems that it is a permanent injury. This makes me feel extremely bitter and upset.

There were no phones so I couldn’t talk to my parents and the letters were checked before we sent them so I couldn’t tell them what was happening.

I delayed telling my parents even after I was let out because there is a policy that if the child misbehaves within two years, they can be sent back for free.

The brutality continued for two months until I was set free. It was like being born again but I carried a huge amount of resentment.

Needless to say that what little trust was left in his parents, he was now afraid of them but the harsh treatment did not cure him of his addiction. It only postpones his abuse of drugs for some months because harsh treatment is not healing treatment.

Voluntary programs being run locally based on the need of the addicts is the answer, but that kind of information is hidden by the owners of residential programs.

Sadly the treatment he got was of no use and the world lost not only an 18 year old boy but also a very talented musician.

May his ordeal never be forgotten so youth with addictions can be helped in a decent manner.