- Success Story

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- Success Story

         At 13 years of age I took my first drink, by the age of 21 I checked into my first
rehab. It began by the usual experimental drinking in a small rural town in Pennsylvania.
Being that I was shy, alcohol was a gateway to communication for me and I felt that I was
more fun when I was drunk. Soon after I was introduced to marijuana. From the moment I
took the first hit I was hooked. For those who think marijuana isn‟t a gateway drug keep
reading. LSD quickly fell into my hands and I became addicted, eating it like candy. My LSD
habit escalated to using it two to three times per week for the next three years. Between the
alcohol, LSD and marijuana there wasn‟t a moment of a day that I was actually sober.
         By the time my senior year of high school rolled around my drug and alcohol
problem was out of control. Three months prior to my high school graduation I was hanging
out at a friend‟s house smoking marijuana when someone pulled out a bag of cocaine.
Snorting cocaine quickly became a daily habit. At times I would do so much that I had to
smoke marijuana to bring myself down. While other kids were concerned about their senior
pictures and prom dresses I was consumed with the worry of running out of cocaine and
falling flat on my face. I was stealing money from my parents business and from my
grandparents on a daily basis to support my alcohol, cocaine, marijuana, and LSD habits.
         One month prior to my high school graduation I moved into a party house with one
of my friends. Every night the house would be filled with people who were „tripping‟ on
LSD, drinking, smoking marijuana, and snorting coke. I slept on a mattress in a small room.
At night I was so paranoid that I would just sit and stare at the TV unable to talk or move
for fear that I was going to die from all the cocaine I snorted and marijuana I smoked. One
night during one of my binges I blacked out and awoke with blood all over my face and
vomit coming out of my mouth. By some miracle I pulled myself awake and cleaned myself
up. I got into the car, shaking drove to my parent‟s house. I climbed into bed with my mom
and cried. She cried as well knowing how desperate I had become because of my drug
addiction. I somehow managed to graduate high school. My parents felt that my only hope
was to leave my environment so they set it up for me to go to college three and a half hours
away.
         I arrived at college with the intention of doing well, but once again my drug and
alcohol problem consumed me. I continued to drink and smoke marijuana every day but did
stop using cocaine, and only ate LSD on occasion. Every night I was up late partying and
hardly ever went to class. I managed to pass three classes that semester and when grades
came out I got an ultimatum from my dad. I had one more chance to do well in school or I
had to come home and work. I was afraid to go back to that environment because while at
home over Christmas break I had already been using cocaine again.
         I decided that on my own I had to get a hold of my drug and alcohol problem. I
slowed down only drinking twice a week, but I continued to smoke marijuana and took
painkillers on and off. I managed to do average in all my classes that semester and was
feeling stronger and more confident that I could overcome it. I stayed at college that
summer and made up the classes that I had failed the first semester. I was still using
marijuana and drinking recreationally but felt that it was ok because I stopped using any hard
drugs. That next year things were pretty calm. I had a steady boyfriend that I really cared
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about and I was suppressing my addiction. I began to do really good in school and finished
the next two semesters. In order to graduate with an associate degree I needed two more
classes so I stayed another summer to finish. At the end of June I graduated with an
Associate of Communication.
         My boyfriend and I moved to a college town in Pennsylvania because he had
finished his education. I began an internship at a local magazine where worked as a writer
and photographer. Things seemed to be pretty calm. I was still using marijuana and drinking
on occasion but while I was suppressing it, my addiction was doing push-ups.
         A month after starting my new job I had to take a few days off to get my wisdom
teeth out. After the operation I was prescribed over the counter painkillers. I immediately
began abusing them telling the doctor I was allergic in order to get more. I also found that
my mother had some Vicoden left from an operation and was also taking Xanax on occasion
to help her sleep. I began stealing pills from her and taking them all the time.
         By December 2000 I had quit my job, broke up with my boyfriend and moved into
an apartment that was located on top of my parents business. I was going back to college in
the spring and decided to work at my parent‟s restaurant to save money. Soon I began
hanging out with the local crowd drinking, eating painkillers, and smoking marijuana. I was
introduced to OxyContin, a pain killer given to terminally ill cancer patients, and began using
it on a regular basis. I would have to pop six or seven painkillers to get the same effect of
snorting one 20 mg OxyContin that, chemically, is basically synthetic heroin. OxyContin was
extremely potent but the withdrawl was like physical torture. At first I didn‟t understand
why I was feeling the way I felt, coming off the drug, but I caught on as the sickness got
worse. I was physically addicted.
         By the time I realized I was addicted, snorting OxyContin was part of my daily
routine. Instead of having to do 20 mg to get off I had to do 80 mg. I was stealing at least
$100.00 per day from my grandparents and the family business. I needed something stronger
because college was about to start and I couldn‟t afford to be sick. Just as that thought ran
through my mind I was introduced to heroin. At $20 or $30 per bag it was a cheap, potent
alternative to OxyContin.
         I would stop at nothing to get high. My dealer and I would travel to North
Philadelphia on our days off to pick up heroin to distribute to pay for our habits. We bought
bags for $10/each and then would distribute them at three times their value. On days where
we ran out I would steal money and buy Oxy or whatever I could get my hands on to avoid
being sick. I somehow managed to get through another semester of college. By the end of it
I knew that I needed to leave or I was going to die. I moved to the state of New Jersey in
hopes of getting my life together. On the way there I got so sick that my family was frantic
just watching me. I swore that I would never do heroin again.
         After two weeks I thought I had beat my addiction and decided go home and
confront it. I was home for four hours and relapsed. The next two weeks I was on a heroin
binge, snorting bag after bag until I couldn‟t function anymore. I walked through life in a
daze and nothing affected me. It was as if heroin had shut off all my emotions – I was
numb. I was staying with my parents at the time and they gave me another ultimatum. I
could either quit using or leave. I had no money so I took my car and drove to my
grandparents. I robbed them and when I came out I realized that my parents had followed
me and taken my keys. After a struggle to get the keys back they put me in the car and tried
to drive me home. When we got close to my dealers we were at a red light and I hopped out
of the car and ran. My parents called telling me to never come home but I didn‟t care; I just
wanted to get high. I did so much heroin that night that subliminally I think I was hoping
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that I would just die. I didn‟t care about myself or anyone else. I fell asleep on a mattress and
woke up the next day with only one thought in my head, “ I can‟t live like this anymore.”
          I called my parents who agreed to pick me up. It was time to kick again and I was
scared. I started to get sick a few hours later at their home and I got so sick that I had to be
hospitalized. I don‟t remember much about the hospital except throwing up and crying and
sleeping. Five days later I was released and my parents were in the car with my things. They
drove me strait back to New Jersey where I swore I was going to start over.
         I got a job and managed to not do heroin for one month. I began drinking all the
time to curb my cravings and as soon as I got the chance I relapsed. The first time I used I
almost overdosed and began throwing up everywhere. I was in downtown Philadelphia with
a friend and got really sick. He offered me support and then a crack pipe. For the next few
weeks I went from drinking to taking painkillers to snorting coke to snorting heroin to
smoking crack. I would take any buzz that I could get to just avoid being in my own skin. I
hated myself and what I had become. I couldn‟t even look anyone in the eye and I had failed
at confronting myself and my problem. My addiction was winning. And every time I tried to
kick the physical craving would send me back for more.
         While I was killing myself my parents were doing everything they could to help me.
My father began researching drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers on the Internet. We
were all scared because we knew of many 12-step, 28-day rehabs that others had tried and
that didn‟t work. My parents did not want to gamble with my life, and they knew it wouldn‟t
be long before I killed myself. I was slowly dying.
         After extensive research my dad found a rehabilitation center called Narconon. It
was a non-traditional center that handled the physical cravings first, then the mental. It was
also an extended 3-6 month program with a 76 percent success rate.
         Based on the data my parents were convinced that this was what would save my life
but I wasn‟t. I had gone so long without being sober that I didn‟t think I could do it. So I
refused. One morning I woke up sick, again, from another drug binge. I got to a phone and
dialed the number that my mother had given me „just in case.‟ I spoke to a counselor who
assured me that everything would be ok if I was just willing to try. Making that decision was
one of the hardest things I‟ve ever had to do.
         I hopped on a plane and was then driven to the Narconon center where I went
through a drug-free withdrawal. I was so scared to kick again, that is the hardest thing for a
drug addict to face, but because of the vitamins I was given I got through it. I was finally
ready to start on the road to recovery. Going through my program I confronted everything I
couldn‟t confront for all those years. For four months I went through the hardest and most
fulfilling thing I had ever done in my life. The program initially deals with the physical part
of drug addiction and then moves on to the mental. The Narconon program deals with all
aspects of addiction by restoring the addict and giving them a new life.
         One day I looked at myself in the mirror and for the first time I didn‟t hate who I
was. I was finally happy. I was content and I had won. I beat my addiction. The whole time I
never needed drugs to take away pain and to make me feel good. Thanks to the Narconon
Program I could finally do it all by myself.

                                                                 E.D. – Narconon Graduate

If you would like more information on addiction and how to remove drug residues from the body
visit Narconon Books: Your source for addiction and drug treatment publications.
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