Tag Archives: alcohol


Learning How to Learn

So let’s pull all this together now, and explain why one of the early steps of the Narconon program for alcohol recovery is a study course.

We all know that there is a crisis of education in this country. We have long been told that a large portion of our population of young people suffer from “learning disorders.” So we are told. And we have doctors who claim to know what to do about that. These “solutions” usually involve putting that young person on powerful mind-altering drugs, drugs like Ritalin ( methylphenidate.) Let us take a look at what the US Drug Enforcement Agency has had to say about Ritalin:

“Since 1990, prescriptions for methylphenidate have increased by 500 percent, while prescriptions for amphetamine for the same purpose have increased 400 percent. Now we see a situation in which from seven to ten percent of the nation’s boys are on these drugs at some point as well as a rising percentage of girls. When so many children are involved in the daily use of such a powerful psychoactive drugs, it is important for all of us to understand what is going on and why. The DEA has a responsibility to the nation to control such abusable legal drugs and to insure that their use is confined to legitimate medical need. Certain things have become clear from our deliberations of the last several days, and the public, parents and decision-makers need to hear them.”

  • (http://www.add-adhd.org/ritalin.html)

This item was published in 1996! It is now fifteen years later. How much worse is the problem today than it was then? One need only watch television, listen to the radio, surf the web or read a newspaper to know that, as a society, we have become increasingly dependent on prescribed drugs as a solution to our educational crisis.

How is this related to alcoholism? Simply stated, these kids are turned into young addicts by licensed physicians. Yes Ritalin and other so-called “attention deficient hyperactivity disorder” drugs are addicting. They are stimulants related to amphetamines. Once the prescriptions stop or once they develop a tolerance and need more of the drug, what do they do? They seek alternative ways of handling their addictive need. One of the easiest is alcohol. And there we have a new crop of alcoholics or other drug addicts.

OK. So what does this have to do with an ability to study? The “disorders” for which these drugs are prescribed (ADD, ADHD and a host of others) ARE NOT DISORDERS AT ALL!!! If you want a look at how ridiculous this is, just look at the descriptions of ADD and ADHD in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual – the “Bible” of psychiatric disorders.) You will recognize these “symptoms” in virtually every child you know and, looking back at your own childhood, in yourself!

These are not actually disorders of any kind. They are either normal behavior or they are the result of other, simpler causes. One is nutrition, things like food allergies that manifest themselves as “ADD” and “ADHD”, too much sugar in the diet (we are STILL inundated with advertising for great breakfast foods like frosted mini-wheats, pop tarts and toaster strudel.) But the problem does not end there. The other (and the actual topic of this part), is problems that our kids have as students, problems which result from the inability to study and to understand what is being studied.

Is there actually a solution for this? Yes, There absolutely IS. The Learning How to Learn course address the skill of “how to study.” How to? It has never been taught before.

When we rehabilitate the alcoholic’s ability to study we have handled a significant cause of his alcoholism. Over the course of years from childhood though adolescence to adulthood, he has had other problems stick to him, and we have to be able to peel off, and solve, these problems before we have the product of a person whose alcohol recovery is complete. So we start, after we have gotten him through withdrawal and detoxification, with the most basic problem of all – an inability to study and learn. This is often the first time many recovering addicts feel comfortable with the subject of learning, books, study. But what else is rehabilitation but a learning process?

Once that is done, we are able to begin handling the next two parts of the Narconon program – the student’s ability to perceive the world around him as it really is, and his ability and willingness to communicate with the other inhabitants of this small planet.

Before we go on with a look at communication and perception, there is one other thing to look at. So we’ll now take a short intermission, and then on to:

Next: Alcohol Recovery Part V – Communication and Perception

Previous: Alcohol Recovery Part IVA – Learning How to Learn


Alcohol Recovery LearningSo far, everything we have talked about has been directly related to alcoholism or, more accurately, the drinking of alcohol. As you might guess from the title of this part, we are now going to talk about a part of the Narconon program that, on the surface, would seem to have little to do with alcohol recovery. But here is where you are going to see more differences between the Narconon program every other program. We do want to make it clear that no other program offers the New Life Detoxification Program. But many programs talk about detoxification , so the differences between those programs and the Narconon program might not be obvious.

What has learning got to do with alcohol recovery? Well, actually, everything. One unique aspect about the Narconon program is that it recognizes that alcohol is NOT the problem, but a solution to problems. This might seem odd, but read on.

The reason that one becomes addicted to alcohol is that he has problems. He has a problem that is so huge that he has been unable to find a solution for it. Immersed in this problem (and it might well be more than one) he now takes to drink. He might take that drink in a social setting. He might take it to try to handle a physical pain. He might take it because he is upset about something, and he knows that he is less upset after a drink. He might take it for any number of reasons. But what happens when he takes that drink is that he suddenly feels that the problem he has been trying to solve is “not as bad as he thought it was.” He feels maybe just a little bit “better.” So he takes another drink. He feels a bit MORE better. So he takes another drink, and the problem all but vanishes. Then the alcohol begins to wear off and the problem returns – now with the additional problem of alcohol withdrawal.

We are interesting creatures, we humans. As capable as we are of analytical thought, as capable as we are of figuring things out, we STILL act in a stimulus-response manner when we have a seemingly unsolvable problem. So, when we find that a couple of drinks deadens the pain (either physical or mental) we forget that drinking has its own downside. All we see is that it makes us feel better. So we drink again to make the problem go away. Of course, after a period of time and a large amount of alcohol, we develop a physical dependence on the alcohol.

This is the true mechanism of alcoholism. So, in order to handle the alcoholism, we must handle the underlying problems. This makes sense, does it not? Once this is understood, we are well on the road to helping the student on his journey to full alcohol recovery.

Now that we know that the root of the alcoholism is one or more other problems, it becomes clear that, in order to cure the alcoholic of his addiction, we must help him find and solve the problem or problems that led him to alcohol. There are always solutions to problem(s), solutions we will talk about in parts 5, 6, 7 and 8 of this series) and the student must be able to fully understand the problem, what makes it up and what might solve it. To do this one has to be able to understand the words and concepts that he encounters throughout his journey of discovery and solution.

This part of the Narconon program, Learning How To Learn, is actually a rehabilitation program all its own. It rehabilitates the alcoholic’s ability to study, to learn and, most importantly, to APPLY what he has learned to his own life.

THIS IS THE KEY TO RECOVERY. If we can insure that the alcoholic understands what he is reading, we can fully rehabilitate him.

Previous: Alcohol Recovery Part III – The New Life Detoxification Program

Next: Alcohol Recovery Part Ivb – Learning How To Learn



Alcohol Detoxification

Having gotten the alcoholic through drug-free withdrawal we have him to the point at which he can think in a reasonably straight line. He is no longer ruled by the need to procure his next drink. He can communicate with others and, more importantly, is at point he is WILLING to communicate. He actually has accomplished something else, something most people would not recognize to be the case. In real terms, he is no longer a ”using” alcoholic, nor is he medicated to camouflage the desire.

But he has not had a drink in at least a week. Nor is he having to use medications to mask alcohol effects.

You often see an amazing transition. He will brighten up, cheer up and want to talk.

He is now a former alcoholic in real recovery, that is on the road to full recovery. We don’t call him or her an alcoholic, but simply a “student”.

And he is with this, ready for the next step.

First, let us classify terms. There is a common misconception that withdrawal is the same as detoxification. They are not the same thing. Withdrawal is simply the process of coming off drugs or alcohol and getting the body used to not ingesting the substance on a regular basis. Full alcohol recovery requires more than that. The next thing that is needed is detoxification, which is the process of cleaning the body, ridding it of the poisons, toxins, drug residuals and other garbage that it has been accumulating over the course of a lifetime. You would be shocked (and disgusted) if you could see the amount of garbage that the average individual has actually stored in the fatty tissues of his body. The fact is that, in the case of drugs and alcohol, those toxins can actually leach back into the body under stress, weight loss, during illness, or any other time fat is metabolized. When this occurs, the person can experience a wide range of sensations, from feeling like he is drunk to turning on a craving for alcohol. Until the late 1970s there was really no way of cleansing the body of these toxins. Fortunately, there is now.


One of the signal features which marks the Narconon alcohol recovery program as different from other programs is the Narconon New Life Detoxification Program (often referred to as the Sauna Program.) It is unique to the Narconon program and is an essential portion of that program.

This program combines sweating in dry-heat, well ventilated saunas with a supervised strict regimen of exercise, vitamin and mineral supplementation and the addition (or increase in amounts) of certain foods (like raw vegetables and vegetable oils). It is based on the fact that toxins and drug residuals are actually stored in the body’s fatty tissues. This program causes the body to replace the “polluted” fat with new, clean fatty tissue, and to sweat or otherwise release the toxins and chemical residuals from the body.

When the former alcoholic has completed this program he is free from the continuing, and unpredictable effects that the drug and alcohol residuals and other toxins have created. There is no more leaching of those poisons into the bloodstream. The sensations and cravings that were thus created no longer occur. He is as close to being a physically clean and pristine human being as he was as a young man. Having completed this program, most individuals experience a renewed sense of physical well being, announce cheerfully they can think more clearly, feel more energetic and, in short, are far more able to deal with the process of rehabilitation than ever.

Having completed this phase of the Narconon program, the student is now ready to go to the next phase of the Narconon program, The Learning Improvement Course.

Previous: Alcohol Recovery – Part II – Withdrawal

Next: Alcohol Recovery Part IV – The Learning How to Learn



Alcohol Recovery WithdrawalWithdrawing from any substance to which one has become addicted is not easy. In fact, it is one of the most difficult things a person can experience. No inquisitor of the middle ages could have devised a torture which is actually worse than withdrawal from drugs and alcohol. In addition to the pain, anguish and suffering which can be caused by drug withdrawal, withdrawal from certain substances can actually cause effects which are harmful or, at the extreme, potentially fatal. Any legitimate rehabilitation program will take this into account, and will include procedures to insure that the addict is not placed in a situation which could cause injury. Of course, not all addictive substances, upon withdrawal, create these potentially harmful effects.

Alcohol can.

To be sure, alcohol recovery is not always physically dangerous. Factors such as the length of time one has been drinking, the amount that one drinks on a regular basis and the physiology of the individual alcoholic all play a part in the course which alcohol recovery will take. Only a qualified physician can adjudicate whether the alcoholic has a significant risk of developing dangerous symptoms.

When an alcoholic decides to come to a Narconon center for rehabilitation, he or she is examined by a physician who, after examination and interview, makes a determination as to whether the alcoholic needs to undergo medically supervised withdrawal. Medicine Plus, a service of the National Institutes Of Health, states,

“People with moderate-to-severe symptoms of alcohol withdrawal may need inpatient treatment in a hospital or other facility that treats alcohol withdrawal. You will be watched closely for hallucinations and other signs of delirium tremens.”

(Note: Delirium tremens is a severe form of alcohol withdrawal that involves sudden and severe mental or nervous system changes. Same reference).

While medically assisted withdrawal is not administered at a Narconon center, we are aware that some of those entering our program run the risk of undergoing physically dangerous withdrawal. We firmly believe that, if medically assisted withdrawal is advised, it should be done with a minimum amount of medication. The alcoholic is coming to Narconon to get OFF drugs. It would make little sense to dose him up with large quantities of potentially addictive chemicals only to have to withdraw from THEM. With that philosophy in mind, Narconon centers have established close working relationships with physicians expert in chemical withdrawal and facilities which provide this essential service, physicians and facilities that rely on medications only where they are absolutely essential.


Once the alcoholic has safely completed the few days of a medically supervised withdrawal, he or she is ready to take up residence in a Narconon center and to begin the process of full drug-free withdrawal. For the alcoholic who did not need a medically supervised withdrawal, this is the first step – the step in which he or she will come off alcohol and will be prepared to proceed with the actual “meat and potatoes” of the Narconon program. For the alcoholic who did require medical withdrawal, this is the phase in which he or she will come off the medications which were used to safely take him or her off alcohol.
This phase makes use of vitamins and minerals, good nutrition, moderate exercise and actions designed to keep the recovering alcoholic mentally extroverted and emotionally calm, not dwelling on his problems, but concentrating on feeling better. We remove all distractions. We feed him. We give him vitamins minerals. We take him for walks. We give him physical therapy-types of help, called assists. We talk to him and, more importantly, we give him someone he can talk to. Twenty-four hours a day.
To attempt to take someone who has been addicted to alcohol and immediately start to work with him to handle his addiction while he feels ill and is in physical pain is foolish and usually unsuccessful. A person who is physically ill and in pain cannot possibly be expected to face the sorts of things one has to face in the process of rehabilitation. Give him some space. Give him good food. Let him rest. After a week or so, when he is free from the pains and sensations of withdrawal, you will have the real person sitting there, someone who can begin to put his life back on the rails. If you are a loved one or a friend, after this phase you will begin to see, once again, the person you loved before alcohol took over his life. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes of his own destruction, the alcoholic is coming back to life, ready to face the challenges – and the triumphs – which lie ahead.

Previous: Alcohol Recovery – A Perspective Part I – Introduction

Next: Alcohol Recovery Part III – The New Life Detoxification Program


If you watch or read the news today, if you look at what is capturing the headlines, it really comes down to only a few major topics. Obviously, the current state of the US economy and the gridlock in the government is one major attention getter. But another major topic weaving its way into our “news consciousness” is articles about celebrities who have addiction problems.

This week the headlines contain a particularly ironic twist – the untimely death of Amy Winehouse. Take a look at headline that just appeared on musicrooms. net (http://www.musicrooms.net/showbiz/38272-amy-winehouse-died-from-giving-up-alcohol.html).





It would appear that the death of this talented young woman was caused, not by the addiction to alcohol itself, but as a result of a lack of understanding of alcohol recovery. Now, it would seem that it is safe to assume that, if you are reading this piece, you have some interest in learning more about alcohol recovery. OK. If that is the case, read on. If it is not, I can refer you to an article about the current impasse in congress. I’ll pause for a moment while you decide….

Good. You’re still here. The economy will have to wait. So let’s take a look at alcohol recovery and how Narconon’s program treats the matter just a bit differently from other rehab programs.

Alcohol Recovery RehabAccording to the Centers For Disease Control, the percentage of adults (18 years old and older) who are current regular drinkers (at least 12 drinks in the past year) is 52%. The percentage of adults who are current infrequent drinkers (meaning 1 – 11 drinks in the past year) is 13% (Source: CDC – http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/alcohol.htm). The total percentage of American adults who use alcohol to a greater or lesser extent is 65%!! Is it any wonder why supermarkets devote a significant amount of floor space to alcoholic beverages and related items? And there, dear reader, is the first part of the problem. Alcohol, unlike other drugs, is socially acceptable and legally available. No doctor needed. No prescription needed. Just present an ID (real or fake) showing that the purchaser is of legal age, and whoopdeedoo!! Party time!!!

Most people know how to drink. The problem (the one that apparently killed Miss Winehouse) is that most people do not know how to stop drinking. And there, my dear friends, is the first part of the problem.

Alcohol recovery, true alcohol recovery, contains several phases. Each phase has its own set of steps. But (and here is the major point) no individual step, no matter how completely and properly done, cures the alcoholic of his addiction. It is the completion of each step, in proper sequence, which gives the alcoholic the greatest chance for complete, and lasting recovery.

The Narconon program is unique. It addresses, and handles, each step of alcohol recovery, and does not move the alcoholic to the next step until the current step is complete.

The next installment of this blog will address the first step in alcohol recovery, supervised withdrawal. Don’t go anywhere. You are about to learn what it is that makes the Narconon program unique – and effective.

Next: Alcohol Recovery Part II – Supervised Withdrawal