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Reviews from Narconon Fresh Start Graduates

Here are some reviews from several Narconon Fresh Start Drug Rehab graduates. Thousands of students have completed the Narconon program and now live a life without drugs.

We thought you might appreciate seeing how Narconon can totally change a person's life around. Narconon does not use drug substitution in helping people overcome drug addiction. That would defeat the purpose. Instead, we help people get off drugs naturally. Here are some reviews from our graduates:


Joan and Danny

When Joan's son Danny was a young man, he was energetic, full of life and involved in sports. When he got to college age, he was offered several scholarships and went away to school. During his college years, his parents started seeing the first signs of behavior that didn't quite make sense.

When he finished college, he moved back home. He wasn't paying rent but he always seemed to had the money to go out. He told his parents he couldn't pay for his gas or car insurance so he needed their help. He quickly learned how to mislead or shut up parents up when they asked where his money went.

Joan and her husband finally got a call from the police that Danny was in the hospital to sober up after getting drunk. The police gave him a drug test and he turned out to be positive for several different drugs. That was a shock for his parents.

They took him to an outpatient program with meetings every night. He followed this with Twelve Step program but said he wasn't getting anything out of it.

Life went on, with Joan's son working during the week and then sleeping all weekend. Joan and her husband could not understand why he had this weird schedule. Her husband found a bank statement with withdrawals made in the middle of the night in a dangerous part of town. That was the proof they needed that their son was using drugs again. He admitted it and they got him to an in-patient rehab in another town.

At the end of the thirty day program, Danny seemed to be doing fine. He got a new job and started getting paychecks again. But once again Danny went off the rails and lost the job. For a little while, he stayed at his parents' home but when his father kicked him out of the house, he began breaking in during the day. His parents began to hide valuables where he could not get them.

"We were living in fear," said Joan. "I was hiding from my own family. It was all the cocaine use. I knew he wanted help, he'd tell us 'I don't want to live like this but I just can't get the monkey off my back.' I didn't know how to help him."

Finally, someone recommended Narconon Fresh Start to them. Danny rejected the idea because it was a long-term program. He thought he could beat the problem on his own. He went through a short-term program nearby then went to the halfway house they recommended. He soon reported that drug dealers were waiting right outside the meetings he was going to every night.

"Six weeks later, we got a call from a counselor telling us that Danny had tested positive for crack cocaine. I just literally melted down," remembered Joan. "We got him home and sat him down at the table. We told him you fought us last time but now you're going to go to Narconon or pack your bags and leave." This time he agreed to go. They had to thwart their son's attempt to use cocaine one more time before he left for rehab, but then the next day, they got him on a plane for Narconon. "That night, it was the first time in years that I was able to put my head on my pillow, go to sleep and feel like there was a tomorrow, there was so much lifted from us," Joan reported. "I almost felt guilty, feeling like that. We could have some normalcy again. I didn't have to worry about him."

It was six years later that Joan made these comments about that very difficult time in her life. But Danny had been sober since his graduation from the Narconon program, proving the wisdom of her choice. "He went away someone we didn't know, someone we didn't want to know. When he came back, he started to rebuild all his relationships with family, he came to holiday events, he was able to work through problems that might come up. I can't thank Narconon enough for that, they sent Danny back to us."

About the cost of the program, Joan said, "How do you put a price on a child's life? At the end of the day, what do you have--a funeral or a clean and sober child?

"They saved our son's life" she added. "Danny even says that if it was not for us sending him to Narconon, he feels like he would not be here today. This program has changed all our lives for the better. It's just been the right way to go."



Judy and Sherry Talk about Larry's recovery

Larry's mom Judy described her young son as a joy, a sweet and sensitive child. His sister Sherry said he was protective. He would stand up for her if he saw something was wrong. He was always the first to help someone if they had gotten hurt.

But when he was thirteen, that began to change. He had such innate talent as an athlete that he was a star pitcher on a baseball team. On the other hand, he was not doing well in his studies. As a result of poor grades, he was taken out of baseball, just as he made the All-Stars team. This seemed to be a turning point for him, and not a good one.

There soon began to be small signs that he was not doing well. He got confrontational with his family and was hanging out with new friends his family didn't like the looks of. His family thought that maybe he was drinking but his mother never considered drug use. Then small things began to go missing around the house.

They found out later that he had started smoking marijuana, hanging out in a park at night with friends. He didn't respond to his family's attempts at discipline, but began going out the window at night. He was arrested for breaking into a country club and stealing from the vending machines with his new friends and went to a juvenile detention facility. His drug use worsened. He became addicted to heroin and prescription drugs.

His mother started trying to find a solution for his drug use. Sherry said, "We prayed for a miracle. My mother kept finding places that we thought were answers. He went to a lot of treatment centers."

Judy described her son's anguish as he tried again and again to quit using the drugs he was addicted to. "When we were at our worst ebb, he would say, 'Oh mama, I'm going to quit.' And he would cry and I would cry. And he meant it. He meant it, he was telling truth. But he couldn't. I guess all you are is just a walking drug, you're not a human being any more. So how are you going to do anything about it?"

The nightmare continued when Larry tried to get drugs by robbing a drugstore but police dogs took him down. From there, it was a vicious cycle of being arrested, getting rehab help, going back to drug abuse and getting into trouble again. None of the programs he went to helped him get sober for long.

Larry got married but despite his mother's hopes, it didn't help straighten him out. He had a baby daughter, but his mother ended up having to raise the little girl.

"At some point, your brain gets numb. I had to say I would not do it any more. Then his sister heard about Narconon," said Judy. When the family talked to the staff at Narconon, they realized that all the problems he'd been through had come about because of his drug habit.

He got on a plane and went to Narconon. As he began to make changes in the Narconon program, Judy was afraid to have hope because she had been through this process so many times with him. "But then, after awhile, I began to see that he was changing. He was a different person." When she saw him after a few months, "he was the son that I used to know before all the drugs. He was back to his sensitive, sweet self. He couldn't do enough to make up for all the heartache he had caused. For years, he was a criminal, a thief, a liar, a manipulator. Now you have this new son come in, you don't have to hide anything. He's not manipulating you any more. It is such a joy when you don't have to think 'Can I hope?' You are there. That's a joy."

Larry's sister Sherry chimed in. "If you are thinking about sending a loved one to Narconon, don't think about it, just do it. It will save their life. But it won't just make them sober there are many programs my brother went to. They got sober, many times over. But they didn't learn how to stay that way. Narconon's long term success rate, that's what sold me."



Fresh start, Nola

Nola went through one of the worse experiences a parent can have with their child: her son's crack cocaine addiction.

From his teenage years on, Nola's son Josh had a difficult time. In high school, he began to fool around with drugs like marijuana. When he got injured early in his high school years, he was unable to participate in sports like he wanted to. When he lost the ability to play sports, he lost something important to him. This led him into more drug use.

When he was in college in Denver, he reached the dead end of his drug-using journey. When Nola went to get him, she found that every one of his possessions had been sold or pawned for drugs. All he had was the clothes on his back and his dog, both skinny and unhealthy.

They went home to Chicago and Nola tried to find help for him. Repeated trips to outpatient rehabs didn't help him. She found out much later that he would not even attend the program after she dropped him off every day, but went out the back door and joined his drug-using friends.

After three years of trying to help Josh herself without improvement, Nola changed gears. She stopped looking for a short-term program, one that was close by or one that was outpatient. She gave her son a choice of living on the street or going to Narconon Fresh Start. He agreed to go to Narconon Fresh Start.

"People don't change their habits in 30 days or 60 days or 90 days," she stated. "They have to grow up and that doesn't happen in a set period of time. The Narconon Fresh Start program appealed to me because it wasn't a set-time program. It was going to be as long for him as he needed in order to finish the program.

As Nola watched her son progress through the Narconon program, she could see what was helping him recover. "They need to grow and examine what they have done and make amends for what they have done. Unless they deal with this, they carry a terrible burden with them of guilt and shame that lets them relapse." While Josh was going through the Narconon program, he would call his mother and talk over his feelings about things that had happened while he was growing up. "What really meant a lot to me was the letter I got from Josh telling me how sorry he was for everything he has done and how he hopes his future life will be different. I knew he was on a different road at that point, a road he had not been on with any of the other rehabs," she commented.

Nola spoke about the benefits of the Narconon New Life Detoxification Program, one phase of the rehab program that uses time in a sauna, exercise and nutrition to enable the body to flush out drug residues that are locked in the body. "It's a program that aims to rid the body of bad chemicals from the drugs that people abused their body with. And unless you do something to cleanse the body, those chemicals make a person much more vulnerable to relapsing. I can't tell you how much I feel that been helpful to people going through the program and it certainly has been for my son Josh."

"It's now been eight years since Josh finished the Narconon Fresh Start program. These years truly show that Josh has had a fresh start. I am so grateful to Narconon Fresh Start, for who he is and where he is today. I've walked that path, I've been on that journey, and there are good ends of the journey like I have had I hope you have a good end to the journey like I have had," she concluded.



Fresh Start - Robert and Marlene

Robert and Marlene used to see addicts out on the street but never expected that their daughter would join them as a full-blown addict herself. Their daughter Sonna became addicted to prescription drugs, deteriorating physically until she weighed only 80 pounds. Determined not to give up on their daughter, they found Narconon Fresh Start and sent Sonna there.

"I used to look at her when she was 80 pounds and I remember thinking that she will never be back the way she was," said Robert. The staff at Narconon Fresh Start assured them that she could return to health. "And she did. I have my daughter back. You can't put a price on that."

Marlene worked as the manager of a medical practice and even though she was not working directly with the patients, she still saw plenty of prescription drug abuse being dealt with in the practice. At first, she remembered, "You are in denial. Then you finally realize you have to do something. I knew we could be headed toward her death if we gave up. Now she's successful."

Marlene also talked about the way the Narconon staff helped her and Robert get through this difficult phase of their lives. "Narconon spent a lot of time on the phone helping educate us."

One of the hard lessons they had to learn was not to listen to their daughter when she was using drugs. Robert observed, "You have to realize they are not in their right state of mind. It's the drugs talking." Marlene agreed totally. "Don't underestimate that statement, it's the drugs talking. It's not your child. But if you get the drugs out of their system and work to build them back up, then you can have your child back again."

It's never easy for a parent to realize that their child is a drug addict. About that moment, Robert said, "You can't give up. OK, she's a drug addict, let's go from there. But you've got to get them off drugs. If you don't, they'll die or they'll end up in jail, one or the other."

Robert and Marlene were then joined in the interview by their daughter Sonna. She talked about being three years sober after almost losing everything to prescription drug addiction. "It feels wonderful. Probably one of the hardest things I ever did in my life but I came out on top. I am a thousand times better person than I ever was."

Once she started the Narconon program, it took Sonna a little while to let herself start really using the program to get sober. "Once I opened my mind and let the program work, it was amazing. I said why not? Let me see what this will do for me." The result was lasting sobriety.

"It's an amazing program, it works. I live it every day," Sonna concluded.




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