Beating My Addiction
I grew up in Loretto, Texas and had a good childhood. I had a great family and grew up in a nice neighborhood. I remember going to a soccer game in Monterrey when I was four. It was with my dad and my mom and my aunts and uncles. The whole family was there. I remember walking into the stadium and being amazed by the cheering and the hot summer air and being surrounded by my family.
I went to school in Mexico and integrating into school in the US was confusing at first. It was a new culture and a new language. Once I got the hang of the work, it was easy. I had an easy time in school and excelled in most of my classes. I played varsity soccer most of my time in school until I quit playing in my junior year. I got tired of it when it became “work” and stopped being something I enjoyed. I started wanting to go out and party and drink around this time. But after I quit playing, I regretted it, but a year had gone by and I felt I had missed the boat.
I smoked salvia in my senior year of high school. It was a scary experience. Then I smoked spice after thinking that would be a new experience and I should try something else. I went to university and was studying to become a nurse. I would smoke spice now and then when someone offered it, but it wasn’t a problem yet. Then I started buying it for myself. It got to the point where I started getting heart murmurs and I decided to quit because I thought it would kill me if I didn’t.
Then I started smoking weed because I had anxiety from school, and I would drink on weekends. I tried coke one weekend when I was drunk, and I liked it a lot. At first, it was just on the weekends when I would run across it at parties. Then I started experimenting with Vicodin and Adderall and other pills. I was inquisitive about how chemicals affected my state of mind and would try anything to see what it would do. Then I decided I wanted to try every drug to check it off my list, and at first, I kept my life together. Then I started doing acid a lot and a bunch of random other stuff.
After all that acid, I had a lot of anxiety, so I started taking a bunch of Xanax and opiates. I would sneak into Mexico to get them. That’s really when things got out of hand. My parents offered to get me help, and I told them I was okay, and I didn’t have a problem. Then I had a seizure from taking too high a dose of Tramadol.
The first treatment center didn’t go well. Things got even worse. I couldn’t hold a job, I destroyed a lot of relationships with family and I got to the point where I was mixing drugs.
On Christmas and New Year’s, I was messed up and had completely stopped hiding my drug use. I decided that if I die, I die. Then two days after New Year’s, I got a call from someone at Narconon. She talked to me, and I quickly agreed to go because I wanted help. This is my success story after completing the program.
I arrived at Narconon on January 3rd, 2019. I had been to one other rehab and had a negative experience from it, so I wasn’t fully convinced, but I was at the lowest point of my life.
It was tough saying goodbye to my family. I had wronged them in so many ways, yet there they were offering their support as they waved me goodbye. When I arrived, I knew this was a different type of rehab. Some of the people working there were ex-addicts who had dedicated their lives to helping others. They knew exactly what I was going through and what I was feeling. They did their best to encourage me by telling me the worst is over and if I gave this program my all, I would get so much from it.
I was tired of being messed up. I was tired of having my life on pause for so long and so I decided to give the program a shot. At that point nothing was worse than playing Russian roulette with my life, not knowing if I was going to be alive to see the next day.
The first couple of days sucked. I was in my head the whole time. I kept playing regretful moments in my head. I thought about what I could have done instead of what I did. I thought about all the mistakes and the people I screwed over. I thought about all the potential I had and how I squandered it all by doing drugs. My body ached. I hardly slept and, when I did, I would have horrible night terrors. I had no appetite, everything and everyone irritated me. The staff in withdrawal tried their best to cheer me up. They gave me “locational” assists to get me out of my head and into present time. They asked me about my life and told me a bit of theirs to connect with me. They checked my vitals every so often to make sure nothing major was happening to me. They prepared specific food for me that I enjoyed and they set up a hot tub to get rid of my body aches. After a while, I stopped feeling so bad and got to the point where I was sleeping at least 6-7 hours a night. I went to see the doctor and he gave me a full checkup. I remember I was so glad after he told me everything seemed fine. I couldn’t believe that after 8 years of not taking care of my health I was lucky enough not to have contracted any diseases.
I began the sauna part of my program after being cleared by the doctor. I was looking forward to that part of the program. I had heard good things about it from the other students. I heard it clears out any drug residues you may have in your body that causes cravings. I had struggled so much with that in the past. I wanted to be sober and not do drugs anymore, but my body would shut down and not function unless I did drugs. It wasn’t so much a mental issue but a physical one. I was really looking forward to the sauna to take care of that for me. I learned the sauna also rids your body of pesticides and sun radiation. The sauna consisted of taking different types of vitamins that your body had lost due to the excess alcohol and drugs that you took. That was followed by a slight exercise to get your blood pumping to take all the pesticides, drug residues, and radiation from your fatty tissues into your bloodstream and out of your body via sweating. After that, you would sit in a dry heat sauna.
The staff members in charge of sauna would make sure you took breaks every so often and drank enough water to keep you hydrated. There was a pool right outside the sauna and I loved to cool off by jumping in during breaks. After being done for the day, I was given some good fatty oils to replenish the ones I had sweated out. I was also given a mixture of calcium and magnesium to clean out my digestive system. At first, the sauna was great. I felt alive again. My reflexes and dexterity improved. I had a lot of energy. After a while though, it began to get difficult and routine, but the staff at Narconon encouraged me to keep going. They told me that I couldn’t just quit when life got tough—I had to push through.
I finally finished. I was a new person physically but mentally I still felt weak. I was in my head most of the time and I didn’t enjoy the conversations I had with people. I was very self-conscious about what I said or did. The students and staff at Narconon were great. They encouraged me to do better and didn’t let me give up. They all had stories and you couldn’t help but compare yourself and think that life really could have been a lot worse than it was. I felt like the people here were the first group of sober friends I had who cared about my well being, but I still felt out of place. I wanted to leave as I felt I had stuff I had to take care of in the outside world. I had to fix the mistakes I did. I insisted plenty, but eventually, I got talked into staying by the staff and students. They told me to trust the program and not get ahead of myself. They told me the Objectives part of the program would help me. Many times, staff went out of their way to make sure my stay was as comfortable as it could get.
I started the Objectives with very little optimism. I really wanted this to help me, but I wasn’t convinced it was possible. I felt like a lost cause, lost in my head forever. I was partnered, luckily, with the first person that I really became friends with here. He was older and had been through a lot more stuff than I had. The Objectives course consisted of doing repetitive things that at first I thought were stupid.
How could something so simple be the solution for getting me out of my head? I would get angry and refuse to do it. I would also mess around and not do it correctly. My twin pushed me on, encouraging me to give it a try. After a couple of Objectives, I really started to feel a difference. I felt a lot better. I was participating more in conversations, not just being an observer. I would joke around and just overall felt better about myself. Another thing I gained from Objectives was the ability to be more patient. I had to run the Objectives on my twin as well. Sometimes it was very tiring and very stressful when my twin made a mistake. Yet after 3 weeks, we finished the Objectives and I finally felt like I leveled out both mentally and physically.
After Objectives, came the ethics part of the program. I was nervous about it. I’d spent most of my life running from problems and using drugs as a solution to not being able to confront these problems. During the ethics part of the program, I learned about what being ethical really meant. I learned about morals and integrity and how not doing the right thing can make you a vacuum for trouble.
I learned how to identify and weed out people who will not make a positive impact on your life and how to take care of the ones who will. One of the toughest things I had to do was handle and reconnect with people I had wronged in one way in another, such as my family. I also had to disconnect with people who were just bringing me down. I wrote pages full of things I had done wrong to family, friends, society and myself. That helped me find a pattern as to why I did things that negatively impacted my life while also offloading all the guilt I had from doing them. My ethics officer guided me through this course and helped me figure out my condition in life. He helped me figure out why I never confronted my problems and why I decided to use drugs as an escape.
Overall, I am very happy I decided to come to Narconon. It changed my life for the better. I didn’t think it was possible to feel this alive again. I would recommend this place to anyone who is tired of just existing. Anyone who is tired of indulging in drugs and alcohol while everything falls apart should know that it is possible to change his or her life and it is never too late to do it.
—A.S. Narconon Graduate