Sunday, October 13, 2013

DRruinedmylife at Discovery Ranch

This story was originally written on the message board called the Fornits Home for Wayward Webfora.

I attended Discovery Ranch 5 years ago when I was 15 years old.

My parents sent me there because I was depressed, doing poorly in school instead of getting straight A's, got caught shoplifting a pack of gum from 7-11, spent too much time on the computer, and was "too angry and defiant". I had never done drugs, drank, or even smoked a cigarette at this point in my life. I had been raped when i was 12 and was unable to tell my male therapist or parents about this happening because my family is very Catholic.

In comparison, most of the other residents had serious drug problems, were in gangs, were extremely violent, etc. Regardless of what they were there for, NO ONE SHOULD EVER BE TREATED AS INHUMANELY AS CHILDREN SUCH AS MYSELF WERE. I had repressed memories of the physical, sexual, and psychological torture i endured for five years until I watched a documentary on the stanford prison experiment in my psychology class. It brought everything back because I lived that experience, except for ten months and it was real.

I don't believe that the people who tortured me were innately evil; i think it was a situation similar to Abu Ghraib. I was forced to do the most humiliating and degrading things possibly conceivable; I was forced to eat a girls used tampon, lick cow shit off a girls boots, unclog a toilet with my bare hands... adult male staff would masturbate to me showering, changing, and using the toilet while masturbating (keep in mind I was 15.), I witnessed a 15 year old boy be sodomized by a broom handle and have the living shit beat out of him because he tried to run away and watched a girl punch a window and slit her wrists in front of me because she couldn't take it anymore.

They would arbitrarily lock me in a tiny pitch black closet devoid of food, water, a bathroom, or human contact for days, usually because I made an "inappropriate facial expression" like crying or raising my eyebrows when they screamed at me that I was worthless and no one could ever love me. The night staff was apparently fucked up on heroin, meth, pcp, etc the whole time and had virtually no training or qualifications, which I learned when a male staff member sexually propositioned me over Facebook when I was 18, so three years later, and told me what happened behind closed doors.

I had no contact with the outside world except letters to my parents which were censored, and observed phone calls once a month. I had to raise a baby cow for the slaughter to "learn to deal with loss", exercise until I threw up blood, pick up cow shit every day, I could go on and on. And the scariest part was that it was fantastic during the day; we would do ropes courses and go skiing and horseback riding and talk to a truly kind therapist every day who genuinely though I was insane or a pathological liar and convinced me I was hallucinating or having nightmares.... But I fucking wasn't. I literally couldn't make this shit up.

I thought I was actually crazy, but it was all real. I don't know why but when i was there I never wanted to leave. I felt like i somehow deserved to be treated like this and I think a part of me knew I could never stand living in the real world after all this happened. I stopped feeling emotions and didn't for two years. When I came back to real life I had forgotten how to smile and had to train myself to make facial expressions that corresponded to the emotions I should have felt in various circumstances.

Even when I started feeling feelings again I realized on Wednesday that I had been experiencing emotions with maybe 50-75% of the intensity that I normally should, which was put into perspective when I finally accepted that these things truly happened to me and felt for the first time in my life the appropriate pain and humiliation that corresponds to being treated in such a way for such an extended period of time. Until now I had remembered my experience there as a happy one- I literally only remembered what went on during the day.

The reason I am writing this now is because I ended up becoming an alcoholic and drug addict once I went to college and had finally had complete freedom. With the help of a REAL rehab and AA, I had achieved 14 months sober.

After essentially being re-traumatized after remembering all this, I recently went on a five day bender started Wednesday where I got high and or drunk every waking moment, which culminated with me waking up on my bathroom floor on Monday morning covered in blood and vomit next to two empty bottles of wine and Xanax spilled across the floor with a five page suicide note on my computer that I'd written in a blackout.

I am at a loss for what to do at this point. I'm in therapy, on medication, have been to three AA meetings in the past three days, and just feel like I am out of options and suicide or getting constantly fucked up is my only option at this point. I literally can't live with these memories. It makes me fucking sick that this place, along with HUNDREDS of others, still exists, quietly protected under the umbrella of the state government of Utah, and that parents are paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for their children to be tortured and driven insane or into obedient, soulless sociopaths.



  1. Wow... no comments... Any how, I could not provide a legit review for this place on a different site since I did not attend, but the positive reviews were FAR TOO GENERIC AND FAKE. I know this because they use words that make it sound "perfect". I am willing to bet, those two were or are staff providing false reviews to manipulate parents.

    This has the reviews and hopefully the review I submitted if you wish to check it out. You should create a review as well. Some of the things are too horrible to pass over.

    I looked into DR because of a boy that has recently escaped. I know he will be caught because these programs are just annoyingly "that" good.

    Now guy and girl experiences can usually differ. I attended Cross Creek Program. While the guy side was pretty chill on some rules and schedules. The girl side was so anal that they practically had to shit certain shapes.

    The emotional abuse was worse for the girl side as well. Guys generally are dumb brutes and are easily manipulated. Girls are articulate, smart, emotional, and can see through things and their meanings a lot easier. In my review, I said that girls that experienced rape were basically told it was partially their fault. Because they "chose" to go to that party or "chose" to go to their friends house or "chose" to walk past a bush at night.

    Anyhow, I am a Christian, not a Catholic. I freaking strongly dislike Catholics. They are like Mormons. They take every word in the Bible literally. Then they think that they need to do certain things for your sins to be forgiven. Not all may believe that but it is still a Catholic thing. The Bible already says you are forgiven if you believe Jesus died for you and the rest of the schpeel that you and I have heard 1 billion times. I like the generalization of being called a "Christian". I like this because I do not let a certain branch or church or pastor define what I believe. Unfortunately, the generalized term is getting a bad name because of all the idiots that take shit too literally. Then sometime they do not take other parts literally enough. They mold their interpretation to what they find normal or acceptable.

    They dont like sex before marriage and some are as you describe your parents. Even if you are raped, you are the sinner. That is some bull shit. I am probably the weirdest Christian you have met... I cuss so much. God doesn't send young children to hell because they do not know better. Why would someone whose virginity was stolen, be considered a sinner? It was not within your power to make the choice for yourself. At 12, most definitely not.

    If you have not told them yet, I suggest you try. Purely to determine just what kind of parents you have. They may be Catholics, but some Catholics are not as big of sticklers as others.

    I would like to talk to you more about this. I can also go into detail of the place I went to. I imagine that you may have lost your faith and for that I wouldn't blame you. Far too many have lost their faith because of parents that are loo anal or by the hands of people that call themselves "Christians" but their actions only show that they are ass holes or hypocrits.

    I think this is my youtube channel, I didn't even know I had an account here. I wont check it enough. Just send me messages on youtube. I do not post email or facebook here because I feel that should be saved when trust is gained.

  2. I really need to read everything before i post.

    This sounds exactly like what a guy tells me happened to him, only he doesn't want to tell me its name because he is still afraid of them.

    I am not like the usual brute fighter. I strategize and think the best way to win. When angry, I cease to care about peoples welfare. My anger stems from years of being bullied... Anyhow... When you no longer care, there is little left to lose. When you mix anger with strategy, you get a potentially deadly mix.

    I do not believe in murder and violence is only a last option, but I still have my anger. I only lose control once every couple years, but at the program, I had lost control completely. I ceased to care for two months. For them, they are lucky I maintained some of my conscience.

    If I saw what you went through. There would be no thought or conscience. I would just black out like I have done before when I entered a blind rage.

    When ever I lose control of my anger, I cry and cry. I cry because of the fear that I may hurt someone. Right now, if I met your aggressors, I would maintain my composure, but I would strategize a way to get them to confess on a recording.

    I do not like hurting people. I strategize in my mind how to best win a fight, which usually is imagined after I step in to stop a rapist... I day dream about that a lot. I fucking hate that more than any other crime, including murder. Murder, the victim doesn't suffer every day of their life.

    There is a poet who nails it on addiction...

    He says, "Sometimes drugs have less to do with addiction and more to do with sanity".

    I never did drugs or drink because my dad was not a nice person when he drank and I never wanted to do what he did.

    My joke is, "I am so sober, I make Gandhi look like Jack Daniels."

    I try to avoid telling that one to Christians. It has a little problem in that regard.


    Please let me help you. Something like this is not something that is easily remedied with yourself. You may have psychologist and take pills and do NA/AA, but none of that helps if you do not have someone that is not paid to listen, that listens. I dont give a shit about much, but what I do love, it is to make people happy and content with life. I love to make people smile and laugh. You drank and did drugs. That is an artificial high. Yet it did not make you forget. You still had attempted suicide. Yet have you ever once thought about rape or that program when you genuinely laughed at a joke? When someone did something for you so perfect that it made you smile, did you think of the program?

    I do not like to say, "Laughter is the best medicine", because it is overused and has lost its meaning. Happiness is the one thing that does make you forget, even if for an instant, that those things happened. Fill your life with what you love and what makes you happy and with your passions. The more you do, the more you do not think of that past or the less you let it affect you.

    Also, DO NOT LET YOURSELF BE FILLED WITH HATE!!! Hate will only consume you and you will never be free of the past.

    My friend that went through an almost identical thing, he thinks I am too forgiving, but I do not wish to be ruled by that past. It is easier to rule over that past, they be ruled by it.

    You are out of the hell hole that tortured you, why let it continue to torture you? You are FREE... Yes it hurts and it will take long as shit to gain control of it. I am not completely over things myself. I may not have done drugs, but I got addicted to games. To the point where I didn't take a job or years until I was living off my church. I am trying for about the 10th time to stop. I play games so that I can live a different life than the one I live now. A life where I am a hero and not a victim.

    When I lose control of my anger, it isn't because of "them". It is because I have let myself be pulled so far down for so long. It is because of all my regrets.

  3. I know 2 people who went to this program and one is a little better but still struggling and the other is much better and more mature, difference of night and day for that person. Never have I heard the accusation made on here accept that they do work on a ranch so maybe the cow treatment is true. One of the people who went who I knew had some unfortunate environmental factors and is still struggling. The other suffered from Bipolar and ADHD and is now doing very well. One was in 2006-2007 and the other was 2008.

  4. I graduated from this program like 7 months ago and while nothing I experienced was this bad, I was emotionally manipulated and treated like shit basically the whole time. My therapist would blame all the things she fucked up on on me so she wouldn't get in trouble and then she'd try to convince me I really did them. It was pretty gross.

  5. I graduated from this program like 7 months ago and while nothing I experienced was this bad, I was emotionally manipulated and treated like shit basically the whole time. My therapist would blame all the things she fucked up on on me so she wouldn't get in trouble and then she'd try to convince me I really did them. It was pretty gross.

  6. My name is Chelsea Cone Suarez. I went to DR from spring 2007-Spring 2008. NOTHING like this happened while I was there. im 11 yrs sober from cocaine and pills, i struggle with anxiety still but I know how to handle it. I'm married and have an amazing career and own a home. Treatment helps and Second nature entrada+ DR saved my life. Im sorry you didnt have the same experience as I did. We may have been there around the same time, Im curious to know who you are.

  7. I believe this place should be shut down. There are way too many complaints of abuse and psychological damage. While I am happy to hear you had a great experience Chelsea Cone Suarez, not everyone is making up stories about this place. The abuse encountered is real.
    This place as many other programs have been created purely to make money from distressed families.Many educational and therapeutic consultants recommend the wilderness camps from Utah based on the rferral fee they get per each referral, which is quite substantial $10K. The cost per month to have a child in their wilderness camp is about $12k/month, yes, you read it right, $12,000/month.Children/teenagers are physically abused and kept hostages in spite of parents decision to remove them from the program.Here is what people that worked at Discovery Ranch had to say:
    The turnover rate lies between 47-50% every year.Administration don't understand boundaries of their employees. They'll often ask pointed and personal questions which compromises employee privacy. Frequent policy changes are made on a whim and not communicated to employees which causes problems for staff and clients alike.Clients are often treated poorly. Have observed senior staff yelling at clients, making overt threats, and just general lack of empathy.Overall it's a very caustic environment to work in, lots of unprofessional interactions and unnecessary infighting among a staff and clinical team who really need to be on the same page for the safety of the young people it aims to serve The administration does not care about the mentors and supervisors. There is a lot of nepotism. The profit driven nature really impacts the treatment the students receive. Raises are given based on how much administration likes you or if you threaten to quit during a time that it would be bad for the administration for you to quit.Terrible benefits. Lack of communication and interaction between hourly staff and salaried administration. They take on whatever boys they can to increase profits. Poorly trained staff and very high turnaround. Horrible pay even after years of loyal employment.Terrible administration. People love the job for about 6-9 months and then they start seeing the behind the scenes dysfunction. Training is a joke. Turn over is high. I worked there for over 4 years and there were only 3 residential staff who had been there longer than me. The pay is terrible. The company cares about money and doesn't care about the clients. The program was designed for specific populations and they accept clients who don't match with with program to fill beds.People treat them all poorly. Punishment based. Bad management.
    It was the worst work experience that I have ever had in my life. Very underpaying job with little benefits. Kids you work for are very unhappy to be there all forced.
    Very high stress job that keeps you on your toes. Very meaningful working with the boys and coworkers, but administration quickly ruin it. They are extremely political and if you aren't one of their favorites then they only have negative feedback. Administration is very unethical and never follow through on their word. Lousy benefits. Administration puts staff in a dangerous spot by training them to not follow policies, then won't back staff when situations arise.


    this place literally ruined my life. i was emotionally abused by the majority of the staff and they lied to my parents about things i didn't do like threatening my life on them when i was actually doing good. my parents pulled me from the program when i told them what DRG was actually doing to me. i am doing better than 95% of the girls that graduated. all the girls that graduated are now doing drugs and in trouble and i'm on an academic scholarship at a big university and engaged and going to school to be a therapist. do not send your kid here.

    Second review for more information on dr: (Read my first review too!)

    Glassdoor reviews (previous employees reviews) shows exactly what I explained in my review.…
    One of the employees said they weren't even asked any questions during the interview!

    I also want to mention:
    A lot of parents write reviews on this program right after their kid got out or while their child was in the program. Parents DO NOT. And I repeat.. DO NOT!! Know what is going on inside this program. They are lied to and manipulated. As students here, you aren't allowed to defend yourself whatsoever, so we learned to keep our mouth shut, even when we KNEW what was going on was wrong. If we complained in any way, we were shut down and accused of being a liar. I don't mean to de-validate other peoples reviews, but It's important that parents understand that they DO NOT KNOW what is happening and their child seems happy because they HAVE TO! I was like a robot leaving this program; I told everyone I loved it because I was trained to. It took time for me to finally share the pain I (and others) were put through during my stay.
    MORE points:
    Discovery Ranch pushes their students to branch out quite a lot. In a normal high school or social setting, I would say that it's a great idea to branch out. At Discovery Ranch, I made friends with kids that had severe behavioral issues as well as mental illnesses. Lying, stealing, manipulating, crying about just about anything, screaming, cutting, intentional backstabbing, poor hygiene...These behaviors became normal to me after a year of living with the other students. Being around kids that are like this for such a long period of time made me lose touch with reality. I started to think that everyone was like this. When I left Discovery Ranch, I struggled to make friends and connect with others because I learned to only be friends with mentally ill kids. I lost my ability to connect with the "normal" kids. When I tried to talk to the other peers at my school, I often got anxious because I only knew how to talk about therapeutic things. Everyone was into the new social trends and I was mentally stuck in the year I was sent away.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...