Family Foundation School / Allynwood Academy
CLOSED (August 2014)


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THE FAMILY FOUNDATION SCHOOL
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Neil Finch

I grew up for all intents and purposes in an all American family, Dad worked, mom stayed home and cared for me and my sister. I had friends at school, and got along fairly well, albeit with some emotional problems that seemed to intensify yearly as I grew. These problems would lead to acting out of boredom, and handling my frustrations in an inappropriate manner such as temper tantrums, screaming and yelling, or pushing the envelope on the rules.I would later find out these were symptoms of ADD.  I never used drugs, alcohol or had sex, nor abused any of these things. The closest thing to drugs was a cigarette i would have at group psychological therapy every week, and of course whatever the psychiatrists prescribed.
The emotional problems and their manifestations eventually led my parents to file a PINS petition in Family Court. We went through this process but since the problems were not a choice, I could not choose to change them. The petition was eventually discharged, but my parents decided to investigate residential schooling and treatment.

After sending me to a summer program at a quasi-military school in Virginia, where i still struggled with the emotional problems and expressions, I returned to my public school for a final year. Despite occasional disciplinary issues, and struggles socially and emotionally, my academics were acceptable, I had a steady girlfriend, and i was moving forward in exploring a career path, including being included in a special engineering class for the next year.

My summer seemed relatively normal, until the beginning of August, when my parents told me I would be going to another school, a boarding school, for my junior year. I would later find out out that my psychiatrist, Dr. Fras the staff medical doctor at the FFS had recommended it.  I was shocked, and disappointed, but figured it would be something during the week, and then i would still have my weekends. I kept spending time with my friends, literally running or biking through the woods. My parents packed my things. The last night before i left, they took me to a local baseball game, something normal for us.

The next morning was anything but normal. I can still remember the outfit i wore....White tennis shoes, white golf shorts, and a white polo shirt with a black ball cap. How much more a lamb to the slaughter can one be?
My intake is a blur to me, they took my address book, and an encouraging note from my girlfriend. Two students kept telling me how harmful these things were to me, and how I was there until they said I could leave. The first staff I met was Bob, who simply told me to say goodbye to my family and that I would be there for a very long time.

Something was very wrong here, I just remember wanting to chase my parents as they drove off. I got led up the stairs to dinner....75 people, stacked by gender, and me, simply scared. They had a "table-topic" which I immediately learned served little purpose than to demean the subject, and those that participated in it. After the better part of the meal was spent blasting the poor soul for some offense or another I was asked to introduce myself.

There was a study hall after dinner, but since I wasnt in classes yet, I was taken to meet my "sponsor" I actually feel lucky that I got who I did, because he never labelled me, but that evening he explained how things worked, That I was cut off from my parents for a couple months, my friends were forbidden...each item, more alarms sounding inside me.

My first dorm was what once was the chapel, two rooms and a bathroom on the third floor of the original school building, with the windows and back stairwell NAILED shut. Quite frankly it was a death trap. As we went to bed, a peculiar creature emerged from an apartment next to our door, i would later endure 15 months of Paul in Family 1, and learn, in vivid detail of his sex addiction, but now here he was, separated from us by a three inch wall.

Within a week, my escape attempts began, some sneaky, some blatant daylight dashes for freedom, and with each one, the punishments grew. I was told I was escaping to "Get High" WHAT? I didnt even know what pot looked like. Then I fought the punishments, I slept in, only to be dragged by the ankles down a flight of stairs, and thrown in a snowbank in nothing more than boxers and my initialed socks. Or I'd verbally refuse and find myself in the corner, or duct taped in a blanket until "I surrendered"

Soon, my survival instinct became a panic...and I began "punishing" myself to get out. I would hide in a tiny crawlspace for days on end, to avoid dealing with the staff or students. When they nailed that shut, I would "act out" to get put in isolation,  which was in the library, and since i loved to read, it was heaven. They figured that out, so then I took to hiding in the barn which was open and unfinished at the time...I spent days in the cold...until they finally figured out that I had a reason to want to leave.

I was "captured" and brought up in front of the entire family, which had grown to almost 125 by this point, and blasted by Paul, Robin and Tony, presented with a letter from my parents saying that because of my behavior, they no longer wanted me and I was stuck there. I never even got to read all of it, and actually was more TOLD what it said.

They told me I was a sex addict, that I had done perverted things to my sister, Robin threw my tests and academic records on the floor and screamed "Too bad you're a sociopath, because you're a genius." They threw me on a labor sanction, and out the door i went to move rocks until I surrendered, But i ran again, was gone until dark, when I realized hypothermia was setting in.  

I was ignored upon my return, except to be told to go to the corner, I was denied food, or medical treatment for the frostbite on my feet. I was then restrained in a blanket for leaving the corner to get warm water myself. I was forced to walk up the hill to the chapel in the snow with plastic bags over the wet socks i had on before, and only got feeling back in my foot the next morning. I realized then, that there was a strong possibility they would let me die if I didn't surrender. So I adapted, slowly. I learned the lingo....and walked the line. I became a "sex addict" and "arrogant" instead of "curious" and "smart"

For the next year, until i graduated, I "admitted" everything, my "dishonesty" uncovered by more lies so I would be working the program. I torpedoed fellow classmates to reveal nonexistent negative contracts. and slowly this mode of operations sank in as my way of life.

I graduated after two years and worked weekends there for a while. But this life  began to conflict with reality. I would strain myself to find what I did to cause everything, attribute problems to a sex addiction that didnt exist, especially since i hadn't even experienced the act, and felt ashamed to even consider it. I got into a relationship with a woman that was barren to assuage my guilt but not out of love. I felt unwanted...and i pushed people away to protect them from me and this disease...

It has been 13 years since I graduated. In many ways I have never left. I am still trying to piece my life together and be what I am supposed to be.