The Beginning of a Brand New Clean Chapter, Filled with Hope, Laughter, Trust, and Celebration.

This a thank you to all my friends, family, and staff at Narconon Arrowhead who never gave up on me when I had.


My heart breaks when I imagine having to see any of you putting yourselves through what I put myself through. I can’t imagine the way I made you feel seeing me the way I was, but I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for never giving up on me. I want to thank you for fighting for me, and for saving my life so that I can be the person we all know I can be. I believe in myself now. I now see my worth and I’m so excited to apply myself as I begin this new journey, sober.

This is a much-needed closing of such a terrible chapter and the beginning of a brand new clean, and happy chapter. A chapter filled with hope, laughter, trust, and celebration. In addition, for all the chapters that follow, may they never write of a regression, only prosperity and longevity.

The night before coming to Narconon Arrowhead, I went to my grandparents to say my goodbyes and bug grandma for some stamps to take along with me. After visiting for a little while, my grandpa stood up to hug me goodbye and asked of me one thing, and that was to bring him his granddaughter back. I’m so proud of myself because I accomplished that—here I am! This is usually when he would ask me if that’s a promise or a threat… it’s a promise.

The past 2 years have been, by far, the loneliest, scariest, and most angry season of my life. I was out of control. My days consisted of getting high from sun up to sun down, eating maybe once a day, and no sleep, and when I did, I was usually sleeping through something important, biking an ungodly amount of miles looking for nothing but trouble to get into, declining call after call & when I would answer it was me pretending to be somebody I wasn’t, I had morphed into a person far from who I truly am and whom I vow to never be again.

I was this monster just three short months ago. I had reached a point in my life where nobody could get me to change my ways or tell me what to do… or not do. I was going to do what I wanted and bear no responsibility for the damage it may have caused. Money, sex, and drugs are the root of all evil… living that lifestyle had me convinced it was too late to turn around. I had accepted the path I’d gone down, knowing the losses I’d have to suffer.

A thought I had often throughout my addiction was how utterly terrified I was feeling as if I’d never share another moment with my grandparents sober-minded. My conscience reminded me often that if the day came bearing news of their passing and I hadn’t gotten clean, I would never forgive myself. Although that thought haunted me often, I still didn’t have the strength to make a change, even though I felt myself drifting farther away from my best friends, my brothers, and family. Money, sex, and drugs captivated me in a nightmarish and thrilling kind of way. It made me sad, yes, however, I had become so emotionally numb from the drugs that sadness didn’t even hurt anymore.

My family urged me for months to seek residential treatment. I had done everything in my power to diverge from that avenue, including a fake departure to a rehab in the panhandle of Oklahoma, planning to hide out for weeks until I got “clean.”

My efforts to get high were becoming exhausting. I’m so sorry to my family for the pain and extreme stress I caused them due to my selfishness. You guys are the best family I could have ever asked for, and I’m sorry it took me derailing from life to realize you’re all I’ll ever need. Nothing else and no one else will ever be able to take your place.

It wasn’t long after faking a farewell to rehab that I got arrested, which led to me coming to the Narconon program. It wasn’t easy for my dad to rope me in and drag me to what I was convinced would be a prison, but he fought with every fiber in his body to do so. I’m so thankful he did because “prison” turned out to be my miracle.

“This program will forever have an impact on me and the way I live my life from this moment on.”

This program will forever have an impact on me and the way I live my life from this moment on. It’s been seven years since I’ve been sober. I don’t think I can tell you the last time I watched the sunrise without being hungover or being high in the casino parking lot… before coming to Narconon. What I can and will remember is the way I felt every morning I woke up and spent the morning on the patio at Narconon Arrowhead, watching the welcoming sunrise with well-rested eyes and thinking to myself that I will never again allow myself to be riddled with anxiety when the dawn arrives. If it weren’t for this program, I realize the likelihood of me never experiencing this simple yet wholesome occurrence would probably never have happened again.

The staff and students here are amazing. Each one of them contributed an incredible amount of time and effort to help me redirect my path and get on the right track. Thanks to you guys, I’ve got a future I’m excited for again.

At the beginning of the program, we are assigned a “twin.” Alex was mine, and I don’t know how I got so lucky to have gotten paired up with him. We got to experience many ups and downs with each other. We shared so many laughs and lessons together. Alex reminded me of my little brother in so many ways, and I truly believe that’s one of the biggest reasons I had so much faith in myself during my time here.

And finally… the staff here at Narconon… this is for you, who are a small army with the passion of an indestructible tribe. I want you to know that the sacrifice you make for us students does not go unnoticed. Each day you show up for us and pour your efforts into helping us achieve the greatest accomplishment in the world: sobriety. Your ethics are top tier, and that, alongside of learning how to live a substance-free life, is the most important quality I learned from this program. It’s impossible not to respect yourself and others when I follow in your footsteps. I will never be able to thank you enough for all you’ve done for me, but with great strides of effort to apply my conditions every hour of every day. I hope my success will display my endless gratitude.

Narconon is an unbelievable program. As of today, my last day, I’ve been here for 92 days, clean and sober. I’ve spent roughly 194 hours in the classroom, written 169 overts [past harmful acts], I sweated for 144.5 hours in a 160-degree sauna I’ve watched 92 sunrises and 91 sunsets, I’ve watched 63 movies, completed 15 objectives, read three books, and gained one new family. Thank you all very, very much.

Courtney, Narconon Graduate


Jo-Ann Richardson

Jo-Ann has always loved helping people. After earning a Bachelor of Arts degree and Elementary Teaching credential from California State University, Chico, Jo-Ann worked at non-profits around the United States and the world for more than 35 years. This path led Jo-Ann to Narconon Arrowhead, where she has been the Director of Legal Affairs since 2017.