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new lifeOne of the most difficult things a substance abuser may encounter is the desire for change, combined with the feeling that change is impossible.  An individual who does successfully overcome drug abuse and addiction may marvel over the small wonders of life that others take for granted, but for them these small things are experiences they had thought they would never have again.

Desperate for Change

By his own admission, Alex is a twenty-six year old former drug addict.  He grew up in a wonderful, loving family, and was a really happy child.  He enjoyed life and people, and nothing ever seemed to bother him.  Unfortunately, all that changed when Alex was in high school and began to experiment with drugs.

Alex had always loved school, and had always done well in school.  Drugs destroyed this for him, and ruined many opportunities he felt had once laid before him.  He struggled with addiction for a long time, and could never really solve the problem of needing drugs in his life.  He would occasionally stop his drug use, but was never able to maintain his sobriety and would inevitably end up back in full addiction.

In addition to many other damaging effects, drugs caused Alex to have great difficulty in sleeping.  At one point he took a sleeping pill, and when it became lodged in his throat Alex had to go to the hospital to have it removed.  During the surgery to remove the pill, the surgeon tore Alex’s esophagus and gave Alex intravenous pain medication.  When Alex woke up he was overwhelmed by an intense urge and desire to use, unlike any he had ever experienced before.  He convinced a girl he knew to bring him extra medications – like Vicodin – so that he could stay high while in the hospital.

Alex’s constant use of high volumes of drugs caused his heart rate to fall dramatically and he essentially overdosed on drugs – right there in the hospital.  He was sent to the ICU for three days, where doctors tried desperately to figure out what was going on.  Alex kept blaming his condition on other things – like his damaged esophagus – while he continued to get high every morning.

There had been many past attempts to get Alex the help he needed to abstain from drug use, but all attempts had been unsuccessful and Alex didn’t even believe that help was possible for him.  In his mind, rehabilitation facilities and programs were just places he could go to hope that something might change, but the truth was that no place ever really did anything to help Alex handle what had caused him to use drugs in the first place.  He instinctively knew that without addressing this, he was unlikely to maintain a sober state.

Alex decided to just stay at a homeless shelter and get high.  He even contemplated different ways that he could end his life and escape the nightmare he struggled through every single day.  Finally, after a year of no communication, Alex’s mother contacted him at the shelter, knowing that he had often stayed there in the past.  She told Alex that they may have found something to help him, and asked if he was willing to try it out.  Alex agreed to try it, simply because he had nowhere else to go and he was desperate for something to change and save his life.

Never Looking Back

Alex’s mom arranged for him to fly to Louisiana and enroll in the Narconon New Life rehabilitation program.  Alex got onto a plane and never looked back.  When he arrived at Narconon he was amazed to discover that the staff there clearly cared for him, more than he felt he even cared about himself.  This was something Alex had never experienced at any other rehabilitation facility – staff who obviously wanted to help him through his problems and truly wanted him to do well.

It didn’t take long for Alex to realize that his parents only ever wanted him to do well in life.  The trouble was that Alex had no idea how to do well, or how to be happy, until the Narconon program taught him how.  For over a decade Alex had woken up with intense cravings for drugs, and shortly into the Narconon program he discovered that he could wake up in the mornings without thinking about or wanting drugs.

When Alex finished the sauna detoxification program, he felt like he was fourteen again.  He was running around, enjoying energy levels he had forgotten he once had.  He began to sleep and eat better, and just felt physically well.  Others around him often commented on how well he looked, and Alex had to admit that even he could see some changes in the mirror.  He started to feel happy again.  He enjoyed being around a great group of people and laughing for no particular reason, all day and every day. 

Alex has been clean and sober for three years now – which feels like a very long time to thim.  He never really expected that it could happen that he could reach and maintain lasting sobriety, and is so glad that he did with Narconon’s help.  He pays bills and has money in savings, and while this may sound small and simple to any other person, Alex was never able to do that before.  He is able to control his life – even when he runs into problems or difficulties.  He can deal with things when they come up, and he can easily confront and solve problems.  He is happy to discover that he can feel normal life emotions like anger and happiness, which is a big, desirable change from the numbness he felt before while on drugs.  Alex feels that the Narconon program has not only saved his life, but has taught him how to once again experience and enjoy life, entirely free from drugs.