Persons enrolling in the program must receive full medical physicals, an M.D.'s permission to do the program and periodic medical review as individually needed. However, Narconon clients are not considered or treated as "patients" but as "students" who are learning to regain control of their lives. This is an important distinction. A Narconon student does not enroll to recover from an "illness"; he enrolls to learn something that he doesn't already know. He addresses the disability caused by drug use with new abilities, new skills for life.
Narconon staff prepare graduating students with "re-entry" programs to follow as they re-start their lives on a new foot. But the full Narconon program is intended to produce graduates who can stand on their own feet and live drug-free, ethical lives thereafter. A Narconon graduate does not go to weekly meetings for months after completion, nor does he describe himself as "recovering."
A student who has graduated from the Narconon program has recovered. He or she has obtained a new orientation in life. The premise of the Narconon model is that a former addict can achieve a new life. This goal applies (and is routinely achieved) whether the program is delivered in a free-standing center, daily after work, or even in prison.
Once well, if he uses the tools he has practiced and learned to use at a Narconon center, a Narconon graduate can stay well. This is not theoretical. There are three decades of graduates who will swear by it.
If graduates do run into serious difficulties, they return to their Narconon center where they inevitably find a specific part of the program that they earlier failed to fully understand and therefore could not apply in the travails of daily life. But the majority get it the first time through.
The Narconon program takes four to six months. During this time, some might consider the Narconon program a "therapeutic community", but it would be more appropriate to say that Narconon clients are going "back to school" - this time to get real tools for real life.
"The addict has been found not to want to be an addict, but is driven by pain and environmental hopelessness...As soon as an addict can feel healthier and more competent mentally and physically without drugs than he does on drugs, he ceases to require drugs."
- L. Ron Hubbard
A Narconon Program Graduate is someone:
- Who has completed the Narconon program; Who knows he is, in fact, capable of living a drug-free life thereafter;
- Who has improved his or her ability to learn and thus can accept new ideas on how to change life for the better;
- Who has personally absorbed the fundamentals of ethics and morality well enough that he or she can be productive and contributive to society and will have no further troubles with the justice system;
- Who knows how to solve the problems of life in a rational manner to the best of his ability, without the use of mind-altering drugs.
Each narconon program graduate is expected, no matter the severity of his or her earlier life experience, to achieve and to live a stably drug-free, ethical life, one for one.
There is no such thing as a "victim" in the Narconon program way of thinking. Even if life has dealt one a bad hand of cards, the road out is through personal recognition of responsibility for one's own condition.
Grateful acknowledgement is made to L. Ron Hubbard Library for permission to reproduce selections from the copyrighted works of L. Ron Hubbard.