Family Foundation School / Allynwood Academy
CLOSED (August 2014)




Ryan Meraglio

Ominous rain clouds filled the skies on a cold day in October. The hovering fog was so dense, not one of us could see the mountainous landscapes surrounding this foreign place which, in my naive teenage mind, was the equivalent to a modern day Alcatraz. Looking up the stairs leading to the entrance, with enough luggage at hand to get by for quite a bit of time, I continued bargaining with my nervous, uncertain parents. I was welcomed with open arms in the most joyful and embracing way by strangers whom my family seemed to recognize. Within minutes the door was closed leaving my family in the dark, ignorant to the real policies and procedures.

Throughout my bid at this pretentious "life saving establishment", I was thoroughly introduced to the FFS's version of Alcoholics Anonymous. Which would have been a fantastic thing if only it had been genuine A.A, instead of mostly bullshit. The Family Foundation School, in my opinion, has no right collecting thousands, most likely millions of dollars by simply piggybacking A.A.'s ideals but,in their own revised - non A.A. principles and traditions. I now look back and wonder if these people truthfully ever read the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. They manipulated the principles and suggestions of the book in order to suit their own personal program. I understand now that the Family School is not A.A. but, I fear that they may permanently ruin the viewpoint of A.A. for a young adolescent attending their business facility when the kid might really need the program in the future.

I spent 9 out of 12 months in the "corner" and on many sanctions throughout my stay. Many of these sanctions and/or punishments I earned due to defiance, insubordination, and reluctance to conform. However, a lot of times I just could not change my moral beliefs in order to fit their criteria of a good person.

This school did teach me lessons on acceptance and powerlessness I must admit; however, they were not in the least bit tactful or understanding in their methods. It truly is being advertised in a misleading way and if things don't change, the future of FFS looks, to me, very insecure.

The day I left I chose to get high. I continued to do so as my disease of addiction progressed into much harder drugs than my usual marijuana use. Several crimes, jail bids, overdoses, car accidents, halfway houses, homeless shelter and rehab stints later I finally found a true higher power and support group to help me kick my aggressive Heroin addiction. As long as I implement A.A. beliefs and suggestions into action in my life today; with the help of God, I can finally be the man that my Higher Power spared me to be.

Ryan Meraglio