Sarah M. smoked marijuana for the first time when she was just a teenager. Sarah says now that there was no advantage to using the drug, “it was just cool to get high.” Sarah remembers thinking “it’s just marijuana, it’s not like I’m doing hard drugs. What could it hurt?” Before long Sarah was smoking marijuana every day. She abandoned her friends and school activities and limited her social activities only to other people who were also using marijuana.
Sarah still didn’t think she had a problem. She, along with many others in the U.S., didn’t think smoking marijuana every day was an addiction. However, addiction is defined as compulsive drug-seeking despite negative consequences and Sarah was losing jobs, family and friends, school and essentially her future. Before she knew it, twenty years had gone by and she was still smoking marijuana. She was also divorced, working dead-end jobs and barely making ends meet. Sarah had almost no relationship with her family or her children and her ex-husband wanted nothing to do with her. It was then that she finally realized she needed help and contacted Narconon Arrowhead.
Narconon Arrowhead is a holistic drug and alcohol rehabilitation program and is one of the few in the United States that addresses both the physical and mental aspects of addiction. Narconon is a non-traditional program that doesn’t support the “addiction is a disease” concept, but rather that addiction is simply a learned behavior. At some point in life, drugs or alcohol seemed to solve a problem for the person and so he or she solved their next problem the same way, with drugs or alcohol. Eventually, this approach becomes the only way they know how to cope with life. The Narconon program teaches the addict life skills – how to confront and handle problems that come up instead of turning to drugs or alcohol. Narconon teaches the addict new behaviors and skills so they are finally able to handle whatever life throws at them.
Narconon also has a sauna detoxification program consisting of a specific vitamin regimen, light exercise and sweating in a dry-heat sauna for approximately two to six weeks. This process rids the body of drug and alcohol residues left in the body’s fat tissues that cause physical cravings for the drugs. The Narconon New Life Detoxification Program eliminates these cravings that, if not handled, can last for years. Cleaning up the body as well as the mind is vital to a full recovery.
Marijuana’s active ingredient is Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, otherwise known as THC. When marijuana is smoked, it is passes from the lungs into the bloodstream where it is carried to the brain and other organs in the body. The effects are felt immediately and can last for one to three hours. In the brain, THC attaches itself to receptors on nerve cells that regulate movement, coordination, memory, pleasure and higher brain functions such as cognitive reasoning and judgment.
According to the Potency Monitoring Project at the University of Mississippi, the THC potency in marijuana has been steadily increasing over the last few decades, increasing the health risks associated with marijuana. Marijuana smoke is known to contain 50% to 70% percent more carcinogens than tobacco smoke, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).
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Long-term marijuana use has been linked to respiratory problems, asthma, weakening of the immune system, the slowing of learning processes and even cancer. Also, according to NIDA, long-term abusers who try to quit report withdrawal symptoms including irritability, sleeplessness, decreased appetite, anxiety and drug cravings.
In 2008, marijuana accounted for 17 percent of admissions (322,000) to addiction treatment facilities in the United States, second only to opiates. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), in 2009, 16.7 million Americans aged 12 or older used marijuana at least once in the month prior to being surveyed, an increase over the rates reported in all years between 2002 and 2008.
Sarah admits she was scared and nervous when arriving at Narconon but said that the decision “saved my life.”
“Narconon does not treat you like you have a disease. It treats the whole body and mind and was far more than expected,” she says.
Using the skills she learned at Narconon, Sarah now feels that she can face anything life might throw at her. Sarah says the Narconon program was a “lifesaver, a betterment for the whole soul and a true way to happiness.”
After graduating the Narconon program, Sarah decided she wanted to help other addicts find the peace and happiness that she found. She decided to stay and work for Narconon Arrowhead to give back some of what she received from the Narconon program.
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