Newly Released Narconon Website Challenges Inevitability of Relapse

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Decades of producing stably drug-free lives for its graduates has prompted Narconon to launch a new website -- http://www.drugfreelives.org -- testifying that addiction need not be considered a relapsing disease. Stable recovery is possible, it presents. Even to be expected.

My life consisted of waking up sick, planning and plotting how I would get my next fix.

Decades of producing stably drug-free lives for its graduates has prompted Narconon to launch a new website -- http://www.drugfreelives.org -- testifying that addiction need not be considered a relapsing disease. Stable recovery is possible, it presents. Even to be expected.

Tempe Green had been a heroin addict for 35 years, she says. "My life consisted of waking up sick, planning and plotting how I would get my next fix." But after completing the Narconon life skills drug rehabilitation program, she makes this clear statement: "Having heard some rumor about addiction being a chronic relapsing brain disease, I'd like to go on record that relapse is not a part of my recovery. There is nothing wrong with my brain." She could be forgiven for making such a bold claim, perhaps, due to the fact she has been completely drug-free for 8 years.

Anecdotal evidence, some researchers might claim, who compare drug addiction to diseases that have long-term relapsing outcomes such as diabetes, hypertension, and asthma. After tracking rehab models unable to deliver a high percentage of stable, life-long results, some have concluded that treatment of addiction should parallel that of chronic diseases. In fact, the four to six-month Narconon program does address both acute and long-term effects of drugs on health and personality. 26,000 students from over 50 countries have now graduated from Narconon rehab centers. "For decades, Narconon has been monitoring its graduates," says Clark Carr, President of Narconon International. "We find that 75% achieve long-term drug-free lives. But some other rehab models have given up on permanency of result."

Even the most conservative scientists agree that although many recovering addicts relapse, this does not mean that all will. "Or even most," says Carr. "If three out of four Narconon graduates can live drug-free, relapse is not only preventable, but can be successfully avoided by the majority." He describes Narconon rehabilitation containing key program elements wherein the recovering addict learns how to change and take 100% responsibility for his physical and mental condition. "The best 'relapse prevention' is to learn and use indispensable life skills," Carr concludes. "No excuses. The stereotype of relapse is outmoded."

For some 'relapse-free' has been long indeed. The new Narconon site quotes Spaniard Fermin Sanchez, who became addicted to heroin at the height of a professional car racing career: "Never in the 22 years since [I completed the Narconon program] have I felt the slightest desire to go back to drugs."

And Chris Marino (8 years drug and alcohol free) is shown saying, "Before I came to Narconon, there wasn't an hour that passed where I did not think about drinking. I am no longer tormented by a relentless desire for alcohol because I am no longer dependent upon alcohol!"

The new website also presents reports of Narconon significantly reducing criminal recidivism. In one case study, Shelley L. Beckmann, Ph.D., found that although 81% of one Narconon group had been previously incarcerated (with the last jail term an average of 108 days), after graduation this group averaged less than one day. "What I see with the graduates of Narconon is that the vast majority stay off drugs long-term," Beckmann reports on the site. "They come in the program with the drugs owning them. They come out of the program revitalized as individuals, and they are able to contribute."

Another case study of criminally offending, drug-using adolescents who were court-ordered to the Narconon program in Utah states that "Youth who completed the Narconon program remained crime-free at more than double the rate seen in the historical comparison group."

Alfonso Paredes, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry at UCLA, states on the site, "The Narconon program has several features which in my opinion justify its implementation...the systematic application of techniques to improve communication and interpersonal skills in persons dependent on alcohol and/or drugs...[and] training in personal values, integrity and in general covering ethical principles. Using methodology developed by L. Ron Hubbard, this area is, in my opinion, critical in the treatment of persons afflicted with addictive disorders."

And G. Megan Shields, M.D., Medical Director of the Narconon Science Advisory Board, reports, "The depression, hopelessness and fear which so often accompany drug problems were evident in many of my patients. Upon completion of the Narconon program, to which I had referred them, these persons were changed both physically and mentally. The common theme expressed by those who completed it is that they were no longer encumbered by chemicals which were shutting off their lives. They expressed increased mental clarity and new hope for the future."

The new website can be found at http://www.drugfreelives.org. Its celebratory news could offer hope to many struggling to free themselves from the chains of alcohol and other drug addiction.

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MARCIA POWELL
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