Danielle arrived to Narconon 4 months ago in shackles, directly from jail where she had been for six months. At only 18 years of age she was facing 25 years of prison for grand theft larceny and the manufacturing of methamphetamine.
In just these few short months has completely turned her life around with the Narconon program.
Where were you born and raised?
I was born in 1991 and raised in Conway South Carolina. I grew up around a lot of abuse. My father used drugs the whole time I was growing up. He used to beat my mom real bad. They got divorced when I was 12 years old. My mom was always working and the kids didn’t get to spend a lot of time with her.
I had my 18th birthday in jail.
When did you first begin abusing drugs?
When I was 13 I started smoking marijuana. I just decided to try it and I went and bought some. Since I grew up around drugs I knew all the drug dealers in South Carolina I knew where to get it.
When I was 16 I started using cocaine really bad and I dropped out of school. I worked at some restaurants and used the money I made there to buy drugs. My mom sent me to Mexico to try to help me. I stayed there 6 months and came back clean. However, almost as soon as I came back I started using drugs again and moved out of the house.
When I was 17 I started using methamphetamine real bad. Some friends introduced me to methamphetamine.
What areas of your life were affected?
When I started using methamphetamine I was in and out of jail once a month. The methamphetamine made me crazy. I did not sleep or eat. I got caught driving a stolen vehicle and went to jail. I got a grand larceny charge, but was released on bond. While those charges were pending, I never went to court – I stayed away. I got caught with paraphernalia. I never went to court and had lots of bench warrants out on me. I was a runner – I was even in the newspaper. There was a reward out for me if someone could catch me. Before coming to Narconon I was charged with manufacturing. I spent 6 months in jail and then was court ordered to Narconon with three years of probation.
I started cooking the methamphetamine and was charged with manufacturing.
Describe your experience with Narconon?
When I first got to Narconon I had secretly decided that I was not going to stop using drugs. I was making plans to flee so I could go back and use drugs.
The communication exercises in the beginning of the program helped me to tear the wall down that I had around me and I started to listen to the staff members. This is when I thought I might be able to change.
After sauna I felt better but was still doubtful if I could really quit for good.
When I started moving through the life skills part of the program, especially the ethics part, I realized that I still had a chance with my life, regardless of my legal charges. I saw that my way of doing things had not gotten me anywhere and I decided to try another way. What I learned in these books was good. I realized that I wanted to go back to school and that I had other goals for my life.
Through the whole program the staff really got me to see that I was better than methamphetamine. I found qualities and ambition that I had lost when I was doing drugs. When I started completing steps on the program it felt really good.
I know that I am not going to do drugs anymore.
I would like everyone to know that no matter where they are in life, no matter their legal charges they can change with the Narconon program. I was the last person that would have even ever considered changing but I did change.
I didn’t even want help when I came to Narconon, but I got it and I am glad. I know what it feels like to do drugs and I just want to help others!
How is your life now?
I have my ambition back. I like to write and paint. I had stopped doing that when I was doing drugs, but I got my drive to express myself back. I am not focused about getting that next high. I am focused on making goals for myself and staying busy.
I am going to go back to school, maybe some criminal justice work or therapy I want to bring the Narconon program to South Carolina and put the program into the jails and the prisons.
I am repairing my relationship with my mom. I really hurt her. She used to call me and leave messages on my cell phone, just trying to see if I was alive. She is one of the reasons I know that I am going to stay clean and do something with my life. She never gave up on me. She is really happy that I want to continue to work with Narconon.
I want to give other people the chance that I had. If we were able to get this program in the jail they could figure out their priorities in life and have something to look forward to when they get out of jail.
I have to figure out how to give people the chance I got. I really want to help get people to Narconon.
What would you say to others that are thinking about going to drug rehab?
I would say if you really sit back and look at your life, you will see that you are not really happy. The happy from the high cannot last very long.
You can’t run from your problems forever. You can come here to Narconon for a few months. 4 months out of the life of someone who spends a lot of time doing drugs is not very much. This program really saved my life and it can work for anyone.