The Unfamiliar Feeling of Excitement, Change, and a Bright Future

R.G., Narconon Suncoast Graduate

Today I have reached the end of my program. Soon I will be leaving Narconon and returning to the life that I have for so long taken for granted and so many times attempted to destroy. Although I am admittedly nervous and anxious, I feel ready all the same. I am ready to put what I have learned here to use and answer the questions of doubt with action and in stride. There is just one question left to answer here before I leave. Have I succeeded here at Narconon?

To someone who has never experienced the roller coaster of repetitive relapse, it may seem that getting to the finish, graduation, is success. However, I am not one of those people. Of course, finishing the program is an achievement, that much I do not dispute. It takes a lot for a person, especially an addict or an alcoholic to live outside of their comfort zone for 3 months. That is not to say Narconon Suncoast was not comfortable, many days I have found solace in various areas of the facility, but it is still a rehab center and thus designed to bring and keep you outside that zone of comfort in order to get well. Our comfort zones are destructive. We are used to feeling pain, disappointment, isolation, despair, and after enough time those are the places that we find comfort in with their familiarity. We take all the highs and lows; the numbness and mania of addiction and we adapt it as our normal. We view the ’normal’ of someone who does not struggle from addiction and it appears boring. Nothing makes us truly happy, and in that same sense, nothing makes us truly sad. We do not allow ourselves to feel anything but the sickness and the high, and the desperation we feel in between.

If there is one word I could use to describe where I was when I came here, desperation would be it. The hurt I felt inside had formed into this weight I could feel in my chest and a lump in my throat that stopped me when I tried to talk. I was exhausted. I could not remember the last time I had eaten, and I could not even keep small sips of water down. My whole body ached and shook. I could not think or even see straight. I remember two of the nurses helping me just to walk around the withdrawal area because I could not keep my balance when I came in. Inside I was so angry and so damaged that I did not think feeling any other way was possible for me. I would always be this sick, damaged, angry girl until the day comes where my heart, liver, or lungs would have had enough of this beating I gave them every day. I would finally give up.

“One of the most valuable things I have learned here at Narconon is that to have confidence, you must first have self-acceptance. You must face the things you have done, who you have been, how you got here, realize, and accept that these things do not define your future.”

Somehow, someway, when I walked through the doors at Narconon Suncoast that day had yet to come. I am thankful for that now. It is remarkable to me how different I feel today. With a steady hand, I write this and in myself, I am finding words that, had I spoken them months ago, would have been insincere. I could not have portrayed one ounce of honest confidence because I had no confidence. One of the most valuable things I have learned here at Narconon is that to have confidence, you must first have self-acceptance. You must face the things you have done, who you have been, how you got here, realize, and accept that these things do not define your future. You must grab hold of the parts of you that you love or once loved, the parts have been lying dormant and find them again. My foundation had been damaged, made unsteady, and I could not trust the footholds not to give way as I tried to climb. As I looked more into myself and started to rebuild, I realized that a lot of my original foundation still stood. These parts of me that were once strong and vibrant were still there, just hidden in the ruin that was left in the wake of my addiction.

As I uncovered these, I started to remember what it was like to like myself, how it felt to feel pride in who I am as a person. It was nearly unbelievable to me that I could feel pride for something as singular as being honest with myself or allowing myself to think through a full thought without changing my train of thought like a radio station on speed dial. It gave me this unfamiliar feeling of excitement to feel myself changing.

I have found now that I crave that feeling of progression, and it is not financial or competitive progression I feel, it is the real me grabbing hold of my voice and my decisions in guiding me in a way that can make me proud. In all honesty, I do not think I can remember a time if there ever was one for me, where I greeted the world with this type of confidence. I have never been sure that the person I introduced myself as was entirely the real and total me. I am sure now that I am more me, as I write these words, than I have ever been before. The most exciting aspect of all this is that this self-discovery and transformation of mine here at Narconon is only the start of what is to come. I not only found this new version of me here; I also get to leave here as her.

Which brings me back to my original question; have I succeeded here at Narconon? I have succeeded because somewhere along the way I found myself again and I am unwilling to ever give that up.

R.G., Narconon Suncoast Graduate



Justin has been working in the field of addiction and recovery for over 1 year. Justin earned his Bachelors's Degree in Finance from Florida State University. Having been an addict himself, he brings real-world experience to the table when helping addicts and their families, while also offering a first-person perspective to the current drug crisis. Justin is passionate about educating the public about what’s currently going on in our society, and thankfully, offers practical solutions.