The following article appeared in the Asheville Citizen Times in North Carolina. Not only is it inspiration for other addicts to stay clean. It was responsible for several others to come to Narconon and get clean.
ASHEVILLE — Jason Lawing looks at a picture of himself and his 2-year-old son, Jaden, a few months after Jaden was born. Jason Lawing’s pupils are completely dilated above dark circles, and his skin clings against his jaw. He was two hours late to pose for the picture, he recalled, and high on cocaine.
No longer. Lawing, 28, celebrated his two-year-anniversary of being drug-free May 25, a success he credits to spending four months at Narconon in Georgia. The nontraditional treatment center encourages addicts to stay for a much longer recovery period than is typical in Western North Carolina.
Lawing’s recovery has brought the rewards of a stable life. He now works at Allied Wheel and Alignment in West Asheville with his father, and the courts awarded him full custody of Jaden in January, choosing him over his ex-girlfriend. It’s important to Lawing that his son is brought up by a drug-free parent. “I know what it’s like,” he said. “I’ve been around people that have kids that are drug addicts. If you had a child, how would you feel if every Tom, Dick and Harry came beating on your door at 3 a.m. because they needed another hit?”
Father and son now live close to Jason’s parents, Bruce and Nancy Lawing, who baby-sit Jaden when his dad is at work. Nancy Lawing started her son on the road to recovery when she went to the courthouse during a hearing that would decide whether Jason, having unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and obtaining property by false pretense, was released or held in prison. “I told the judge that Jason was not a criminal but a drug addict and needed help,” said Nancy, who works at UNC Asheville Copy Center. She wanted to get her son out of the area and into a residential program longer than those she found offered by the state.
She went online and found Narconon, which treats patients for an average of 150 days. Most programs shorter The state-operated Julian F. Keith Alcohol and Drug Abuse Treatment Center in Black Mountain treats people for an average of 18-20 days, according to director Doug Baker. That’s long enough for some people, he said, but it’s only a fraction of the lifelong commitment to recovery necessary to stay clean. “You can’t dismiss what we do here based on someone’s particular needs or experience,” Baker said. “Addiction is chronic relapsing disease, you don’t come in and get a cure and then go out and you’re fine.” The center is now extending its facilities, Baker said, adding 30 beds to the detox unit.
“Jason had known people that had been through (a local) program, and it was a big joke,” Bruce Lawing said. “It was a month off of drugs and three free meals … . It takes time and understanding to make someone quit.” Added Nancy Lawing, “They told us that we could go to jail if we took (Jason) out of Buncombe County, but Buncombe County only has a 28-day (residential) program. We found out that once we got him to Narconon they wouldn’t be able to do anything to him because he was under a doctor’s care.”
The multifaceted program Jason Lawing agreed to go to Georgia as long as he could have one last week in Asheville. He “smoked so much crack in that week, it wasn’t even funny,” he said, but at the end of the week he boarded the plane and headed to Narconon. For the next four months, Lawing went through an extensive program, complete with saunas, exercise, group therapy and a life plan to prepare him for reintegration into life outside the program.
“The first part of our program is a sauna/exercise program where we cleanse the person of the drug metabolites that have been stored in the fatty issue,” said Mary Rieser, founder and director of Narconon of Georgia. “After this step, the person starts clean. We recognize that not only is drug addiction social and psychological, it is physical.” Lawing said the four weeks in the detox regimen were “the meat and potatoes” of the program. Intensive supervision was also important, he said. “I had extensive probation, where I was checked in with every night, for six months.Then I had supervised probation for two years (where he was randomly drug tested each month), which really helped when I would run into people I had known from the past who wanted me to do drugs with them,” he said.
Lawing started doing drugs in the sixth grade, popping pills and smoking pot, while his parents thought he was at friends’ houses. He eventually ended up making and selling 1-2 kilos of methamphetamine a week. He even asked his parents for a surveillance system for Christmas. “We bought him a surveillance system; we thought he was doing it to be safe,” Bruce Lawing said. “Boy were we were dumb.” He continued, “We laugh about it now because we went through it. It was the meanest, the sorriest and the worst I’ve ever felt about anyone in my lifetime. My daddy was a drug addict, but when you find someone like your own child (is addicted), you don’t know how much it hurts.”
Copyright (c) Asheville Citizen-Times. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Gannett Co., Inc. by NewsBank, inc.