My Life Was a Revolving Door of Using and Going to Rehabs Until I Found Narconon

Derek T.
D.T., Narconon Arrowhead Graduate

Growing up in Queens, NY, right down the street from Lefrak city projects, exposed me to a lot of things at a very young age: shootings, robberies, people using and getting high in the streets, also fighting was a normal thing to me. Being allowed to hang out on the street with all my friends with no curfew since six years old opened my eyes and mind to a lot. Even though my parents were hard-working and didn’t smoke or drink, the fact that they were the only people I saw and knew who didn’t, I thought they weren’t the normal ones.

I started acting up and breaking rules at a very young age, and at the time, I didn’t see anything wrong with it—it felt like fun. Living my life based on rules from the streets is what I learned and thought was right. I didn’t want to go to school. All I wanted to do was hang out. I can’t even remember exactly how old I was when I started smoking cigarettes and weed, I was so young. Getting into trouble only landed me in reform school at the age of 13, with no contact with my family or friends.

After completing my time in reform school, I went back to NY only to go right back to the same people and behavior that landed me there in the first place. I started selling weed and experimenting with pills. This led to being around shadier people and taking bigger risks. My life was the same for a lot of years. I satisfied my actions and lifestyle by how much money I had and what girls I was with. My only goal was to have as much fun as I could, and I was okay with the fact that I might never see the age of 30. I went about my life for three years, taking pills every day.

When I was taken off of the pills, I immediately had to find a replacement and started using heroin. My life was a revolving door of using and going to rehabs, detox centers and sober living. I went in and out of so many rehab centers, I lost count. I was tired of living like this—getting high all the time. I felt trapped and thought I was a God-given addict to the world, and there was no hope for me.

I got to the point where I didn’t care if I lived or died. I was wasting my life away in my room getting high. I wasn’t eating, I wasn’t sleeping, I wasn’t doing anything but getting high. I overdosed in my room three days in a row off the same dope, only for my mother to find me all three times. After coming out of the hospital the third time, my mother told me to pack because she was driving me to the airport. I didn’t ask where I was going, and I really didn’t care at all. I was over the way I was living and tired of having no control over anything in my life.

“I got to the point where I didn’t care if I lived or died. I was wasting my life away in my room getting high. I wasn’t eating, I wasn’t sleeping, I wasn’t doing anything but getting high.”

I was open to the idea of treatment but reluctant because treatment had never helped me before. When I arrived at Narconon Arrowhead, I could immediately tell it wasn’t like any other program I had been to before. I thought the withdrawal process was going to be terrible, but surprisingly it was not. Going through sauna [New Life Detox], made me feel brand new. It gave me the same feeling of being young before I ever picked up a drug. I was getting so many wins I couldn’t help but want to learn more and as much as I could and continue the program. Objectives and Life Skills made me realize my reasons for using and how to identify things in my life, as well as how to prevent myself from falling back into old habits.

Thanks to the Narconon program, I no longer feel the physical pains I thought I was stuck with for life. I am free from my addiction and the baggage I was carrying around, and I have a newfound sense of life. I am overwhelmed by the joy and happiness I feel just by waking up not sick and by being sober, thanks to the Narconon program.

The things I learned at Narconon Arrowhead have given me control of my life and everything around it. It impacted me so much that I decided to stay after graduating in order to help others who are in the same situation I was in. I now have a purpose and a willingness to live life and to help others do the same. I am forever grateful to the process and the Narconon program!

D.T., Narconon Arrowhead Graduate


Heni Azzam

Heni earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Video Production from the Art Institute of Houston and went on to work in the media for 16 years, eventually becoming an Operations Manager for a television station. Having witnessed the harm that drugs and alcohol wreak on people’s lives, he is now utilizing his skills to spread awareness about drug and alcohol addiction and to bring hope to families and individuals who are battling addiction.