Tag Archives: withdrawal



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