Changing Pain Medication Addiction to Long Term Success

Denny as child
Denny as child

I was born in Texas and raised all over America and parts of western Europe. My father was Air Force, so we moved around quite a bit.

For the most part, it was a good life, full and rich with lots of love and comfort. The only bad part being, we moved around, and it was tough leaving friends and starting new schools. My happiest memories were the sights of new places. Germany’s fairytale-like castles were a favorite. (Later in life, I would re-visit some of these old haunts while I was in the Army stationed in Europe).

I lost the love of my life in the late nineties and moved to New Mexico hoping to mend a broken heart, needing to start over.

It was a good move because it worked. But, It wasn’t long after that I began to develop arthritis. In the beginning, what was just an aggravation, soon turned into a nightmare of nearly unbearable pain, loss of sleep, and diminished mobility. My hobbies of wood-working and painting slowly became things of the past.

One good thing did come about from having arthritis. I discovered an ability to write, and I’ve published three children’s books so far, but as time went by, I lost my desire to write. The pain was taking over.

Pain-pills were my only relief, and my doctor was happy to supply them, (on a limited basis of course).

It wasn’t long before I exceeded the two a day, and a month’s supply was not to last a week, (ten days if I was careful). I sought more off the street. This went on for more than two years, and try as I might I couldn’t stop. I was hooked, and my addiction took over every aspect of my life.

I knew I couldn’t go on like this, and I felt helpless to do anything about it. One morning, I woke up on my bedroom floor not remembering anything of the night before, and for the first time, I was scared. Terrified.

Not wanting to die, I sought help. I got online to find that help, and it was Narconon that first called me back.

All I knew is that I was going to Ojai, California. They told me over the phone that rehabilitation was the plan, and promised me it would work.

As I boarded my flight to L.A. I had taken my last three pain pills praying, hoping they would be my last. Before I exited the plane at LAX, I was beginning to feel the need for more pills, as the dreaded feeling of withdrawal was trying to destroy my ever-weakening courage. Withdrawal from opioids was nothing new to me. I’d suffered through them more than once, and it wasn’t something to look forward to especially with no back-up pills. You know, just in case you change your mind. (It wouldn’t be much longer I was to realize what a coward's consort addiction had made of me).

Outside, this night was as dark as my feelings of total despair when I arrived in Ojai. By this time withdrawal had gnawed past my last pill, and I was feeling the last of my moxie beginning to dwindle into nothing as I stepped through those double glass doors of the place that was soon to become my refuge.

I found myself surprisingly comforted by the people that were there to greet me. Their concern was genuine, that much was plain to see. In fact, by the time I was checked in and led to a room, I felt truly welcomed.

Two of the reasons I choose Narconon were their ‘no drugs withdrawal’ policy, as well as the promise that someone was with me as long as I went through the painful process. Both of these promises were kept, and the rest was up to me.

“The entire staff were experts in their respective duties and went above and beyond at all times. They made me feel like a rock star, and in a way, I guess that’s what I am.”

As the program progressed, I found myself feeling better than I ever remembered, and each day was like the new and improved me was emerging. The entire staff were experts in their respective duties and went above and beyond at all times. They made me feel like a rock star, and in a way, I guess that’s what I am.

Denny with daughter
Denny with his daughter

Towards the end of my sixty-day stay in Ojai, I felt almost reluctant to leave because of the friends I had made there, and I can honestly say that I loved each one of them.

I’ve started writing again and recently published another book. I guess that’s my proudest accomplishment so far, as I look forward to many more. Being drug-free for these last four years is my second greatest victory. Lastly, I’ve learned to deal with my pain in ways I never thought possible.

The only advice I can give anyone suffering from drug abuse is not to be ashamed to seek help. Be ashamed not to seek help!

I would say; good luck, but luck has nothing to do with it.

—Denny, Narconon Ojai Graduate


Fabian Padro

Narconon Ojai, the premier Narconon center in the United States, is led by Fabian Padro, AS, RADT. After starting a career in International Business and earning an Associates Degree, Fabian changed course and has now dedicated his life to helping those trapped in the downward spiral of addiction.