I Am Now Confident About My Future

C.H., Narconon New Life Retreat Graduate

When you consider someone has “wasted their life,” what is it exactly you think they wasted? If I had to guess, the answer would probably include something along the lines of “potential” or “opportunity” or even “time.”

Well, let me tell you. The people I look up to have always told me I have incredible potential. I have also always been presented with ample opportunity. And I have always wasted both in my life, without fail. That is, up until I arrived at Narconon.

Let me give you some backstory. I grew up in a lower-middle-class family in Alabama. When I was young, my father had moved us there from South Carolina to become self-employed, running his own business. We had always done okay in South Carolina, from what I remember, but after moving to Alabama, times got tough.

In time, it became apparent the business was not operating as he had hoped and many of his financial dreams were not going to become a reality. This was very hard on my mother, especially, who had dreams of eventually owning her own home and becoming financially independent so she could spend more time with her family. Instead, she spent most of her time with my dad, at his work, trying to keep the ship afloat. This made it difficult for her to imagine them ever advancing out of their dismal financial situation. One hope she did have, however, was me.

Ever since I was a child, my mother has always spent time with me teaching me concepts like math, reading, and science. I was able to recite the alphabet and do basic mathematics before I turned 5. It was essential to her I was able to learn proficiently and get a proper education. Her hard work paid off, and throughout elementary and middle school, I was always either first or second in my class. She was very proud of being able to raise a son who did so well in his studies.

By the time my parents started to struggle financially, I was already in high school, and there was little in the way of savings for my secondary education. At this point, my mom made it very apparent to me if I did not earn a scholarship, I probably would not go to college. And beyond that, it became clear to me if I didn’t put myself in a position to financially support my mother and father once they grew too old to work, they would be struggling for the rest of their lives.

Suddenly a lot more was riding on my college education than my mother had ever imagined. I needed to get a high-paying job to support my family, and most high-paying jobs require some form of a college education. A lot depended on my ability to get a scholarship. In time though, my efforts paid off and I earned a full ride to Auburn University. I even lined up a part-time job as a busboy down the street from the main campus.

At that point, I had all the potential and all the opportunities one could ask for. I had a family who loved me and a chance at a better life for that family and me. However, I had a bit of an Achilles heel. I was an active pot smoker, and I dabbled in prescription pills to help me relax and study. These had never caused me too many problems in my life throughout high school, as academics had always come so easy to me. My parents knew I smoked weed and they did not like it but never really pressed the issue as long as I was making the grades. I had gotten into some trouble up to that point with underage drinking and had really gotten in with the wrong crowd. However, with a scholarship and a job lined up for me in Auburn, it looked to my parents like I was in for a relatively smooth transition into my young adult life. This could not have been farther from the case.

As I mentioned, my folks knew I smoked weed and drank on occasion. What they did not realize was I was also severely abusing prescription benzodiazepines. I started taking them just to relax after a long week. However, by the time I graduated high school, I was taking them daily, and in such large quantities, I would regularly blackout. I was addicted. Xanax, Klonopin— anything that would “scratch the itch” and make the anxiety go away. Around this time is when tragedy struck.

I got arrested twice in two months. I was taking large amounts of Xanax on both occasions. The first time I got arrested for being a minor in possession of weed and alcohol with intent to distribute. My parents were shocked. However, when I got arrested the second time, they were petrified.

The second arrest was for four counts of felony breaking and entering. At that time in my life, they didn’t even know I was taking drugs other than smoking weed here and there. To find out I was bad enough off to steal from others, even while I was high, was a complete and utter shock to them. What’s more, how would I go to school at Auburn with a serious criminal record? Who would ever hire me? These were the questions running through my head as I sobered up in jail.

Over the summer before I was set to leave for Auburn, I got to work acquiring lawyers and trying to get a favorable outcome for my legal issues. I started to clean up my act but was still taking Xanax on occasion.

Somehow, I managed as a youthful plea offender and got off with only probation. More importantly, my record would be expunged. I was ecstatic. This meant I could still go to school at Auburn, and still work towards having a future! I had made a colossal mistake but considered I learned from it. However, the lesson I learned was the wrong one. I thought my mistake was hanging around the wrong people. I never seriously considered I would give up that little blue pill.

Even on probation, I took Xanax on and off when they wouldn’t drug test me. I was utterly convinced I had a severe anxiety issue that could only be handled with benzodiazepines. As I started my classes at Auburn, I was taking them once every week or so. But as is the case with most drugs, that didn’t last. By the middle of my first semester, I was already back to taking it every day, in large quantities. I somehow held down a job, but it couldn’t pay for my books, apartment, and habit, so I was selling drugs to make up the difference. This took up most of my time to the point where I was not even going to class anymore. By the time I finished my first semester in college, I had a 1.7 GPA. I did the math, and even if I made a 4.0 my second semester, I was still going to lose my scholarship come the end of next semester.

Although this was kind of a wake-up call for me, and I did much better my second semester, I lost my scholarship, nonetheless. I was devastated and embarrassed. My parents wanted me to get an education more than anything in the world, and I failed them. I had failed myself. But I still could not give up that little blue pill.

I worked several jobs at this point, some in Mobile, some in Dallas and did alright for myself. I even built up a substantial resume in management and paid my way through community college. A lot was changing in my life at this point; in fact, the only thing that didn’t was my addiction.

By January 2020, when COVID-19 hit, I was living with my parents for a while before starting back at the University of South Alabama. They were proud of me for rebuilding my life up to that point. Then, I got loaded on a bunch of Xanax with some friends, and we walked around the neighborhood looking for more in people’s center consoles. I was arrested a third time, this time for six counts of breaking and entering a motor vehicle.

While in jail, I basically made up my mind I would never have a future and never be clean. I couldn’t give up the Xanax because I didn’t like myself enough sober to even want to live life. After making bond and getting released, however, I got a text from an old friend. He had seen me on the news and knew it wasn’t like me to steal from people. He told me about a program he went through in Denham Springs, LA. It was called Narconon.

I agreed to talk to one of the counselors on the phone. She basically told me they would work with me to find the underlying issue of why I could not be happy without drugs and then learn to deal with that. This sounded like exactly what I needed. She also mentioned they had a high-quality sauna detoxification program to help rid my body of the drugs that had built up over the years. I worked out the finances and left the next morning. The sheriff had to come to my house to cut off my ankle monitor so I could go to treatment. That was the state of my life when I arrived at Narconon.

The program’s withdrawal and detoxification steps were very beneficial and necessary for me to get the most out of the rest of my stay. However, the part that really stood out and still stands out is the program’s Life Skills section. This is where I would find the “underlying issues” of why it was I could not seem to give up Xanax, even when it continuously ruined my life. They surpassed my expectations.

“I worked one on one with someone who has been at Narconon for over seven years, and he completely changed my perspective on how I view myself and how I consider others view me.”

I worked one on one with the staff at Narconon, and they completely changed my perspective on how I view myself and how I consider how others view me. A change took place in me that would have been otherwise impossible without the insight I gained during this step of the program. I felt myself becoming more confident, sharper, wittier, and even more determined. I put into practice the things I needed to ensure my life wouldn’t be wasted in the future.

This was over a year ago. My family could not be prouder of me, and I could not be more confident of my future. I still have my shortcomings, like anyone else, but the difference is I am improving on mine every single day. I am closer with my family and friends than I ever have been before, and for the first time in my life, I see a stable path for me to be able to provide for my family in the future financially. I owe it all to Narconon and the delicate care and enthusiasm with which they worked me through all my personal issues. I can now confidently say I help people instead of hurting them, and I am a son my parents can be proud of. Thanks, Narconon.

—C.H., Narconon Graduate



Aaron has been writing drug education articles and documenting the success of the Narconon program for over two years.