The second part of the story about my experiences with Narconon Netherlands. The introduction can be found in the Narconon forum, under the topic " Narconon Netherlands fundraising for new building"
Got so angry when I read that, that I felt it was time for my story to get out in the open.
I can just as easyly paste the first part here too, so you don't have to switch
Part one of my story. We go back to 1990, I was 28, a single mother, with two children of 8 and 2 years old, and a huge heroin addiction. Things weren't looking good, to say the least. I had tried rehab before, and it somehow never worked out, so I kinda gave up on the thought of ever getting clean. Tried to care for the kids as good as I could, but I knew things had to change or I would lose them. Just didn't know how to make that work.
Then, out of nowhere, my ex-husband called me. He was also a heavy drug-user. He told me he was in this place, Narconon, to get rid of the drugs, and it was so different from any other rehab program, it was just great. Maybe I could find help there too.
So we talked a bit, and I told him I would think about it, and he said he would call me again soon, to tell me how he was doing. Though we were divorced, we always remained friends, and I was glad he found a place where people could help him. He called me several times over the next week, and I started thinking about my life, and about the opportunity to get clean, and that maybe I should go there too, so I asked to talk to a staff-member.
No problem, this very friendly guy took over the phone and listened to my story. He really seemed to understand what I was saying, and he really started me thinking about hope. Hope is a mighty big thing when you're addicted, because usually there doesn't seem to be any.
I only had two questions. The first: Could I take my little daughter with me? He said that it wasn't good for her to be with me while I was in detox, but afterwards she could come and I could finish the program with her there. That sounded very sensible. My son had to go to school, so he could not come with me anyway, but he could stay with my parents.
My second question was about scientology. I knew there was some link between Narconon and SOC. Had he denied that, I would have exposed him as a liar, but he gave me my first taste of "acceptable truth" right there on the phone. He said:" Our philosophy was developed by L. Ron Hubbard, who also founded SOC. So Narconon uses some scientology techniques, but is a totally independent foundation, and there are no ties to the church. People from every faith are welcome, we are strictly neutral about religion."
All very reasonable, quite believable. He put my ex back on the line and let him finish the job of luring me in. At the end of the conversation I promised to come the next day. At that moment I believed that I was given a great opportunity to turn my life around.
That night I arranged the staying of my children with their grandparents, and a neighbor to feed my pets and take care of my plants and I packed a suitcase with some clothes and other necessary stuff. Early the following morning I took the train to Zutphen, about one hour from my hometown.
From the station I called Narconon an they sent a car to pick me up. Great service. To my surprise my ex-husband, let's call him Bob, accompanied the driver, and after some hugging, crying and kissing we took of to the Narconon premises.
I wasn't quite sure what to expect; something like a hospital, or maybe a kind of farm-like setting, but it turned out to be a villa in the center of town, built somewhere between the two world wars and in a poor state of maintenance. The first thing that happened was a thorough check of my suitcase, looking for drugs, alcohol and medications. Then a female staff-member asked me to take my clothes of, so she could check my body for “contraband”.
Remember, I hadn't yet agreed to follow the program, hadn't even had an intake-procedure of some kind. I tried to rationalize this by saying to myself that they had the safety of their patients to concern and didn't protest, not even when they took my books, my personal papers,my jewelery and money and even some cosmetic articles away “for storage”. After this visitation I was introduced to the staff, an American lady named Joanna who was the director and some Dutch volunteers who were ex-clients themselves.
Joanna and I had a long talk. I asked her from which state she was, recognizing her obvious American accent when speaking Dutch, but she said she was born and raised in Holland, and had not even been in America. Then where did the accent originate?
She claimed she came from Volendam, a fishing village in the west of Holland, that was why her speech sounded funny for someone from the east of the country like me. What was the woman thinking? That one doesn't hear the difference between a dialect and a foreign accent? Did she really think me that gullible? That was when the first red light in my head went off. But remember, I was desperate, running out of options, trusting my ex-husband and really wanting this to be something good. So I swallowed away my doubts. Not for the last time.
Joanna wanted to know about my drug history, my medical history, especially my psychiatric history. She wanted to know my financial background, my families financial background, my religious background, and I had to sign some liability wavers, strictly routine ofcourse, and than I was showed the house. There was an office, authorized personnel only, there was a communal living, with some old couches and chairs, and a fairly dirty kitchen annex dining-room .
Upstairs where the bedrooms; 2 to 4 persons of the same sex in a room. I was given a bed in a 2-person room. Luckily there was no other female to share with, so I had the luxury of my own bedroom.
Old mattresses, used by many people, and the laundry was changed just once a week, even for those in detox. The bedrooms didn't smell too good....People kicking heroin tend to sweat a lot.
Down in the basement were the therapy-rooms and the famous sauna. It all looked rather primitive.
Not that that was of the most importance, I could take that if they could cure me, but I did start wondering if it would be a good idea to take my two year old daughter to such a dirty and poorly maintained place. I also didn't see any other children in the house. It turned out that the promise about bringing my baby was another example of acceptable truth according to LRH. No way they were going to let me have my kid there, they just knew that I wouldn't have come if they said NO right away.
After the formalities were done I was offered a cup of tea in the living-room. To my surprise I met Jay there, a good mutual friend of Bob and me. He'd been at Narconon for some weeks now, he recruited Bob and Bob recruited me. One big happy family.....
Jay's mother came from a very wealthy family. She died of cancer about a year before this all happened, and, knowing about her sons drug-addiction, she put up this trust for him with a generous monthly allowance until he reached the age of 35 (He was about 25).
At 35 he would come in complete control of his inheritance, which amounted to a multimillion sum. His mother was afraid he'd spend it all on drugs, so she built in this safety, hoping that age would make him a little wiser. She, of course, never considered the lawyers of the Scientology church. More about that later.
To stay at Narconon you had to pay 100 guilders a day. Jay payed this for his friend Bob. My parents were willing to pay this for me. They were not rich people, but they had some savings and since I'm their only child, they thought it worthwhile. I made the arrangement with Joanna that I would pay for the first week myself, and that they wouldn't bother my parents about money before the second week. In the past I screwed up several rehab attempts during the first week because I couldn't stand the pain of cold turkey detox. I knew that, if I passed the first week, I'd probably complete the program. I didn't want my parents to be bothered about money before there was a fair chance of success.
Joanna promised me that she wouldn't talk to my parents before day 7 and not without my knowledge.
The detox treatment consisted of massive doses of vitamins, weird communication trainings, and so called assists. I remember staring into each others eyes for hours, answering nonsense questions for hours, the so called bull-baiting, trying to upset the other over his/her weaknesses, the body-com,
an assist to focus your thoughts on the here and now, went like this. While laying on a bed a volunteer put his/her hands on parts of your body, said “ feel my hands” and then you had to say thank you. And this went over and over again. Another was the nervassist, which I personally found somewhat effective, but basically it was no more than an elaborate relaxing exercise.
Well, you can say that these things don't harm, but they don't really help either.
What harmed were the absurd doses of vitamins and minerals without any medical supervision.
Sure, you’d get a checkup before the sauna-treatment started, but the SOC-doctor lived in Amsterdam, a two hour drive from Zutphen, and they didn't take you to a local doctor, not even in emergencies.
I never saw this doctor.
That's why I never made it to the sauna, thank goodness. It is dangerous and scientifically unsound, it doesn't even make sense according to LHR's theories. Toxins, according to Hubbard, store in fat. By sweating you loose water, no fat, so what's the use? 5 hours of sauna daily plus strenuous physical excercise cause exhaustion and dehydration, even in people in great shape. Most drug-addicts are not.
Combined with sleep deprivation, which comes naturally when going cold turkey, bad food, sessions of repeating the same nonsense for hours, badgering, bullying and bringing on fear( If you leave here you die, we are your last chance) this program is an example of classical brainwashing which the Chinese and the North Koreans couldn't improve.
After three days without sleep things became funny. I started wondering why we had to greet L. Ron Hubbard's portrait every morning, and why it was strictly forbidden to look into the course-material of those who were further along in the program. I started asking questions,
first to myself, later to other people, and nobody came up with answers that made sense.
Another thing that bothered me was the money. There were about 30 pupils in the house. Private patients payed, at that time, 100 guilders per day. Part of the pupils were payed for by the Dutch Department of Corrections. According to Dutch law you can spend the last months of a prison sentence in a rehab-facility. The state payed 150 guilders a person a day. That totals about 3500 guilders a day. The groceries were about 200 guilders a day, of-course they had to pay mortgage on the house and the electricity bill, but 30 x 3500 makes a whopping monthly 105.000 Guilders a month (about 40.000 US$).Average per capita income in those days was about 1800 Gld. a month. Except for the director all of the staff volunteered, so hardly any costs were made on personnel.
Nevertheless we all had to write letters to businesspeople, in which we told about our addiction, our wish to become a productive member of society again and our poor widowed mother who couldn't pay for treatment. If they could be so kind to give something, completely tax-deductible, they would do so much good for the world.....Addresses came from the yellow pages, chamber of commerce, business-guides etc. Every story was a great big lie, copied from printed examples, but 30 people writing up to 100 letters every day make up for a lot of donations, even if only one percent would give something.
I asked where all the money went, why we had to eat cheap starchy food with chemical colorants and few proteins and vitamins in spite of all the ranting about food chemicals storing in our body fat. It sure is easier not to put them in in the first place, instead of spending hours in sauna's to get rid of them. And why sit on smelly second hand furniture with burn-holes when there was such a stream of money coming in? No answers.
When in full withdrawal from opiates you have little control over your emotions.
You laugh and cry at the most inappropriate moments. I started laughing during the daily LRH-greeting ritual and they became so angry, it scared me. They reacted as if I was painting pentagrams in a Baptist church.
I didn't mean anything disrespectful, it was just the idea that struck me as being funny.
I was taken to the office and three or four staff-members were browbeating me about being respectful of their religion. What religion? I was told they were religiously neutral, an independent and secular foundation that only used some of L.Ron's techniques.
Meanwhile they forbade people to read non-CoS religious books during treatment. They grudgingly allowed the Bible because it would cause too much adverse publicity to ban Bible-reading and the
Department of Correction-inmates had the constitutional right to the H. Script. But the Holy Books of other faiths were outright forbidden. Especially the books of the Bhagwan were scorned, probably because Rajneesj was the greatest contender on the souls-in-need market at the time.
I turned my head away to avoid the anger in their eyes and happened to see some faxes from the CoS HQ in Los Angeles. Couldn't really read them, but I could see they were about money. Meanwhile I was getting really sick from withdrawal, and still hadn't seen a doctor. Bob was there for almost two weeks by then, but he also hadn't seen a doctor yet.
Despite this lack of medical care he'd been through the worst of detox and had been in the sauna for several days. They say you get the sauna-treatment only after a thorough medical checkup, but only if the right doctor is at hand.
Rules are stricter now. Since the nineties several people died from heatstroke and exhaustion after the sauna, but in those days they were rather easy on the medical, in Holland at least. We didn't have wrongful damages and malpractice-trials and things like that in those days. By now we have. Suing is not just an American hobby anymore.
Anyway, the whole thing started to awake the innate sceptic in me. Too many things just didn't fit.
I'll finish my story in my next post. Time to go to bed now. Folks, thanks for reading, sharing and encouraging me to get this out. Love, Sekh.