The cult of Scientology has undergone serious losses in membership over the years. This has resulted in a big drop in revenue. Although they have made every effort to squeeze more money out of the remaining membership they have had to rely more and more on their front groups to bring in the cash. Making money has always been the main purpose of Scientology management.
While the main activity of Scientology has been to bilk credulous people out of their money the most visible product of Scientology over the years has been lawsuits and scandals. Because of Scientology’s bad reputation these front groups have tried to distance themselves from their so-called “church.” Their glossy brochures and web pages seldom mention either Scientology or even L. Ron Hubbard. Instead the talk about how nice their facilities are, how caring and understanding they are and their extraordinary success rate. However, there was never much truth in anything that Hubbard said or wrote. These front groups, like Narconon, are just as economical with truth as the great sage that they follow.
Some Simple Truths about Narconon.
First of all their success rate is listed as being seventy, eighty or more percent. This is sheer nonsense. The only studies done on this “non-medical” drug rehab center was done by ABLE, another Scientology front group staffed with world class liars. The bogus “scientific evidence” that they list is garbage; most of the people they quote are Scientologists who are taught to lie from early on in Scientology. After all, the truth does not count for much if it reflects badly on “the only hope for Mankind.”
Much is made on their web sites about “counselors,” “trained staff members,” “medical personnel,” “nurses,” “doctors,” “specialists,” and the like. The truth is that the staffs are former addicts that graduated from Narconon and were “trained” by a short Scientology orientated course. They are woefully unskilled in addiction treatment, are virtually unsupervised and some of the last people on earth that should be responsible for the care of others. Medical care in virtually non-existent; there is no on site doctor and seldom a licensed nurse. The most that you can count on is a trip to the emergency room and pray they get you there in time. You will pay the bill though. All of the talk about your loved on being in the care of others is sheer hog-wash. The use of drugs by staff members and their charges are nothing less than a continuing scandal as are the resulting deaths.
The web sites of Narconon always show wonderful premises full of smiling “students.” In real life they are often dirty, nasty and poorly maintained. The beaches, the heated pools, comfortable verandas and the like are just part of this hoax. Scientology likes to take the money of victims but has never been much for spending anything on their members or anyone else for that matter. Any complaints against squalid conditions will get you a trip to the “ethics officer,” one of the hundreds of Scientology terms victims get to learn. In this case this “ethics officer,” is there to stop any complaints, no matter how valid they are and to make the lives even more miserable than they are by issuing punishments to them. Those who are in this program learn early on not to say anything negative about Hubbard.
There are no refunds no matter what they say or promise. If you get anywhere you must try governmental agencies that handle frauds like this. There are no free services; if you return to drugs after taking the program you will NOT get readmitted free of charge.
Dangerous “non-medical” methods of treatment rely on long periods of time in a sauna to “sweat out” toxins. From a scientific standpoint that is impossible. It is also a very dangerous thing for addicts, with damaged livers, to try. If you get sick from hour after hour sitting in stifling heat don’t look for the staff to do anything for you. Almost as dangerous is the vitamin concoction that they give you. Taking huge amounts of vitamins that can be toxic in excessive amounts is also bad for a stressed liver. Sickness from these quack remedies are commonly reported; what is not reported is any real attempt to separate those people with compromised livers. The physicals are perfunctory and next to useless as they don’t do the proper lab tests need for a diagnosis.
The rest of the treatment consists of reading various books or listening to tapes by the great thinker l. Ron Hubbard. Interestingly enough Hubbard himself did not start Narconon. It was dreamed up by two Sea Org members working in the Guardians Office. This was the part of Scientology who were responsible, at that time, for legal affairs and getting even with critics. Not a place generally thought of as a hive of great thinkers. Hubbard himself knew nothing about addiction. He was not a medical doctor; he had no degree beyond the one given to him by a diploma mill run by an LA chiropractor. Hubbard had no clinical experience with drug addicts and did no research on the subject. Yet his followers considered him another Einstein.
It would be safe to say that Narconon, like its parent Scientology, is a scam that is based on lies. Almost nothing they say is true; those who rely on them for positive results are often bitterly disappointed.
Here follows a few of the many Narconon horror stories that can be found on the Net.
Note: Some people still think that if they check things out with the Better Business Bureau that you can get an objective report on weather a business is a scam or not. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE BBB: NOT a government agency as listed in your local phone book. Instead the BBB is a private non-profit / franchise operation. 20/20 exposes the BBB, Hamas Terror Group Gets ‘A’ Rating – BBB is running a “pay for play” scheme.
The following complaints were listed on the “Ripoff Report.”
“. . . Complete and utter lies!!! Narconon Southern California, Inc. located in Warner Springs.
I’m not going to repeat everyone’s stories I’ve read about Narconon. It’s horrible! I’m a very thorough person but when my son came to me and wanted help, I became emotional and against my better judgment let these people snow me. It started with a “referral” site was supposed to be independent of any rehab programs. Long story short as soon as my son got to the center after his non-medical detox he was sent to the center in warner springs California, called sunshine summit lodge, Narconon fresh start. Everything these people told me on the phone were complete and utter lies!!! The brochure made it look so nice. They said had the best medical staff at this site with the best doctors and nurses. They have NO medical staff there. So I had to lie about a death in the family to get my son out of there. So here I am out of $30,000, my life savings. I have written CA attorney general’s office which because the facility gets no government funding they cannot do anything. I just wrote the FBI internet fraud site. Someone please help me figure out how to get my money back and shut this dam place down. Why don’t we all get together and get a class action lawsuit against these scientology, lying predators and put a stop to this!!
Ten Red Flags Ignored. Narconon, Stone Hawk Recovery, Battle Creek, Michigan. The name has since been changed to “Forever Recovery, Inc.”
Please pay attention, your money and your loved ones life is at risk.
I will assume if you are reading this, you like me are desperately seeking help for someone you love: About 3 months ago I began searching for a facility that could really help my 19 yr. old daughter, whom has a “pill” problem. Like most “seekers” I had to work in the perimeters of what I could afford and where my ins. co. would pay. After searching locally, I responded to an internet ad, and hence began the nightmare of “A Forever Recovery” I was sold 1st by a nice fellow by the name of David, I really believed and still do that he meant what he was saying. “Now follow me on this” I after 3 or 4 conversations with David, told him that I could not afford, at the time to admit my daughter, and I was not sure it was the right timing. We talked another time about a week later and David quieted all my concerns. Concerns being I am afraid to send my daughter out of state, I am afraid they would not keep her long enough, I am afraid because although we had good medical ins. the drug treatment part did not seem to satisfy, other treatment centers for just a 30 day stay, much less the 90, or up to 6 months they were talking about, because according to David, they did not really concern themselves with the amount of money they got, but there main concern was my daughters, recovery. Wow! I thought that’s nice! A place where they care! My wife having worked in the healthcare field, including treatment centers seen this as the 1st red flag……..Oh well read on….
I told David I would GET her in as soon as I could. About a month later I called David’s cell phone and got a voice/mail. The call was returned later by a fellow named “Murry” who informed me that “David” no longer worked there but that he would be happy to help me. Once again checking my ins. and telling me that for the low cost of a deductible of 5K, paid upon admit, my daughter would get all the attention she needed, and that if they had to keep her for up to 6 months it did not matter, that the well-seasoned staff, “in recovery” would determine when my daughter was ready to handle “staying sober”. He also reiterated that because of their unprecedented recovery rate they practically guaranteed it. In other words, if my daughter needed to come back it was FREE OF CHARGE! WOW! 2nd red flag: “too good to be true?”
We were sold. My wife and I, teary eyed, with finally finding a place that seemed to care began booking flights from Austin TX to Detroit MI. My wife was going with my daughter to help her get in. Murry said that would be fine! I booked the flight, and called Murry and informed him that they would be arriving at about 7:45pm at DTW. Murry said that’s great! We will have someone at baggage with a sign with my daughter’s name on it, and they would drive them to the center and give my wife a tour. They boarded the plane from Austin TX early morn. Destined for “A Forever Recover.”
Arriving in DTW, there was a man there with a sign saying “Welcome Debbie”, this is a fictitious name, for I don’t want to use my daughters. He was surprised to see my wife, he was nice enough, but unprofessional and hence came the 3rd red flag.
He said he thought Debbie was coming alone; my wife informed him that my husband certainly told “Murry” that she was coming. And “MURRY SAID GREAT!” They began making calls, and it became clear to my wife that Murry was upset, and said he did not know she was coming. The “happy tour” of the center would be shortened because of it being so late. Nevertheless, they took off in a co. van. The driver had no real credentials, and began to talk away, on the 1-1/2 hour commute. My wife inquired about “David” whom was our 1st contact with the center. Remember David? We’ll he blunted out oh David he Killed himself. Shot himself with a gun. Don’t know why. Just did. 4th red flag. I am not judging David, he was personable, young and I liked him, I do not know why he killed himself. I just know, with this lone guy picking up, what he thought to be my 19 year old daughter, alone at night, out of state, a kid with a drug problem, at an airport, was wrong, it was the main reason for this 3rd red flag. My wife and I thought it to be, to say the least odd, risky, and unprofessional, including his conversation. Furthermore he was not in recovery. My wife was just hoping my daughter did not hear the part about David. It upset her.
Upon arriving my wife and daughter were escorted inside and began the admit process, my wife had an urge to get up take our daughter our money and leave. She could feel the animosity from the staff at a late evening tour, she was concerned with the staff. 5th red flag. I will keep this short. Why did my wife leave our daughter? Her and I can only say this. Most with an addicted child mite understand. When you have watched your child die on an ER table, when you have spent countless nights crying and worrying, when you have searched for your child in area’s that you never would drive through at night, when you get up in the morning and they are not there, and your ritual has become calling the local hospitals and jails to find them, when you watch your daughter go from straight A’s to F’s when you see her dying before your very eyes, when you are living this real, daily, an nightly nightmare, you simply “Want to Believe” so consequently you do. And unfortunately this can become a marketing tool for the “Soul-Less.”
My daughter was in “detox” for 7 days, she was never seen by a counselor. 6th red flag. When my wife began to call the center, no-one would return a call. Our daughter was already crying and wanting to come home. My wife called every available number we had, even oh MR>Great! Murry, and no-one would call her back. By the time the day was ending, with at least 4 calls in, she was shaking, with fear. 7th red flag
I arrived home and seen my wife and I called Murry. He picked up. I swear, it was like a different person. He basically told us to go to hell. My wife picked up the phone and tried to have an intelligent conversation, and he all but to demean her. Arrogance and defensiveness was his manner. We asked him to check on several things for us and he finally agreed too, including find out why our daughter hadn’t contacted us, and he said he would and hung up. We waited for 2 hours, it was almost 9pm by now and he did not. I called and got an operator, she said he went home…I began looking on the internet and found many complaints, from parents whom had a similar experiences, getting very concerned, I called back, pretending to be an attorney, and We finally got a call back from a Holly. 8th red flag. We began looking at booking a late flight to Mi. in the meantime..
“Holly” called me and began to try to explain thing away. We began insisting that we hear from our daughter. Holly explained that she was gone to a spiritual type retreat we later learned was in a man’s apartment. We voiced our concerns and Holly was as good as David and Mr. Great! Murry. She began to tell us what we wanted to hear. Although when Holly mentioned that she had only 1-1/2 years sober and was the employee with the most tenure, it was alarming. 9th red flag. I must note here that although I believe Murry and others know exactly the game they are playing with addicts lives, Holly don’t, she is being manipulated, in her young, fragile sobriety.
Here again I believe Holly believed her banter, and as a result, we did to, we still stayed in our denial, in hopes of our daughter getting help. After this conversation we asked that our daughter, call us once daily, to quell our fears. She did. I am going to shorten this. Daily my daughter cried to come home, saying it was like high school, boys sleeping with girls, competition, no real help from staff, we tried to hang in there, my wife and I both talking with her about working through things, and not letting her know, about our concerns about the center, and employees, afraid she would use it to sabotage her “recovery.” Nevertheless as time went on and we found out after almost 20 days , she only seen her “counselor” once, who was not in recovery, we began to break through our denial and discuss bringing our daughter home….yet there is more, much more.
About this time, I get a call from my daughter and she is crying and tells me of an incident that took place. She had allowed a fellow patient use her ph. calling card. The girl wrote down her calling card number and used all the minuets. My daughter went to confront her and a fight insured. Nevertheless “Holly” called me and informed me that my daughter was being “suspended” for 15 days. I said Holly It is late in the evening, we are in Texas, can it wait till tomorrow? She said no, she would be dropped off at a “safe mission” that night, in Kalamazoo. I said Holly as far as I am concerned you are writing her death warrant, she is only 19 and only 10 days out of detox, she is in another state, she will be in a less supervised area. Holly is good; she convinced me and my wife to hang in there, that the mission is safe, and she would get the 15 days reduced to 7, and our daughter could come back. Then she said, oh by the way, if your daughter uses, you will have to give us another 5K to detox her. 10th red flag
Again we tried to hang in there, being convinced by Holly this would work out and the mission was safe. We’ll let me keep this short, the 1st day our daughter begged to come, home, Holly begged us to leave her there. We tried, but after my daughter disappeared for 2 days, having a gun pulled on her, after her cloths being stole. I called the Kalamazoo police department, for help to find my daughter, and for advice. The Office I won’t say his name was very nice. He said come get your daughter, he has seen this from the center before and the mission is not safe. It is drug infested….Come find and get her.
WE BOUGHT A ONE WAY TICKET TO MI. TO GET OUR DAUGHTER, IF SHE MUST DIE, WE WILL LET HER DIE WITH US. NO WE ARE OBVIOUSLY NOT GOING TO ENABLE HER TO DIE. BUT NEITHER WILL WE LET SOME GREEDY ASS, TREATMENT CENTER KILL HER.
MY DAUGHTER FINNALLY CALLED FROM A HOTEL, MY WIFE AND I CRIED, AND SHE IS ON HER WAY TO GET HER. AT THIS POINT UNTILL SHE IS SAFE WITH HER MOM, I WILL BE APREHENSIVE. MY WIFES PLANE WILL LAND IN DETROIT AT 4:32PM 4/28/10 MY DAUGHTER IS TO CONTACT HER. I AM WAITING…..
MORAL OF THIS STORY “IF IT SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT IS”
Police “Often Called,” by Family Members to Rescue Victims of Narconon Battle Creek. Stone Hawk Recovery has changed their name to “Forever Recovery.” The tactics and lies have stayed the same. If you read enough of these stories you will understand why they had to change the name.
Sent my 21 year old son, a crack addict, from Texas to Michigan, in hopes of getting him professional help for his addiction. Assured the “counselors” would stay in close contact with me as my son acclimated to the program. I never received a phone call, nor had a phone call returned after many attempts to contact, leaving messages to return my calls. My son phoned me, having to sneak the phone calls, informing me about the “program” tactics. He told me they were using brainwashing techniques, having the “students” sit for hours with “eyes closed”, then “eyes open”. If there was a break in the trans-like state. blinking, smile, cough, any movement, the process would start all over. Once this altered state was mastered, the “students” were asked a single question, like “do birds fly”, over and over again. and the “student” is to answer “yes”, for hours on end. These “counseling sessions” are referred to as “Training Routines”.
When I contacted Shaun Keilty, the intake “counselor”, a former drug addict who had graduated from the program, and questioned about the validity of the information and the connection to Scientology, he laughed and denied the connection. After much investigation to identify the validity of the reports my son was giving me, and speaking with Jeff VanVonderen from A&E TV’S “Intervention”, and Dave Touretsky, a Research Professor, who has researched the Church of Scientology and Narconon, I made the informed decision to immediately drive to Michigan and retrieve my son.
Once employees of Stone Hawk got wind I was on my way to get my son, I had a barrage of phone calls from the Ethics Officer “Andy”, the intake counselor, and I don’t know who else, I quite taking the calls. The phone calls were filled with insistent interrogating questions about why I was coming to get my son, where was I coming from (I thought they knew about their “students”), how I was getting there, how long it was going to take. I became very uncomfortable, and worried about the safety of my son and what I was going to run into when I did arrive at the facility.
The harassing phone calls were made to my mother as well. When arriving in Battle Creek, I contacted the police and had 2 police officers escort me into the facility. One police officer commented that they are called quite often to escort families to the Stone Hawk facility to pick up their family member. I was able to get my son without any incident.
Once home, in Texas, I wrote a demand letter for a refund, and sent to Narconon Stone Hawk via US Postal first class mail, certified mail, and faxed to the Stone Hawk facility as well as the business office. I have not received any response.
This drug rehab facility advertises itself as having a 75% success rate, having fully qualified and certified staff of drug rehab counselors, being scientifically sound. No counseling takes place, and the “students” are not even allowed to speak of/mention drugs let alone their addictions at any time during their stay. Money is paid up front. $27,900 plus $200 medical acct and $200 student acct, for a 4-6 month program.
Supposedly a 50% refund is given if the “student” does not complete more than 15 days. My son was at Narconon for 11 days, no contract was signed, and no contact has been made by Narconon Stone Hawk to me, before or since my contact attempt for refunds.
For more on the Narconon fraud in Battle Creek go here: http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/Stop-Narconon/StoneHawk/
Narconon Freedom Center, Albion, Michigan.
Okay, so first off this is the second worst experience of my life because of the first worse experience of my life was myself throwing away 10 years of my life to drugs and alcohol. I shall continue now with the details of why this experience was so awful. Note, I would like to say that I am more than likely going to forget some detail; I may or may not come back later and add them in depending on how important I feel they are…
So I was in need of a drug rehab. I arrive in Albion, Michigan at this huge facility. It was late at night and I was really high when I arrived. From the outside it looks pretty good, really good. I go in and I pass out until about noon the next morning. At first because of how high I am the detox (withdraw) facility looks and seems pretty nice. Three meals a day, about eight other drug addicts to talk with and pretty decent staff members, I have my own room with my own sink. Anyway let’s get to the good parts…
I complete the detox/withdraw part of the program. I start what is known as book one. Book one consists of TR’s (training routines). Pretty much what this translates to is torture. You find yourself staring at another person who is known as your twin for hours and hours each day. Only allowed to blink and breathe. if you move they make you start over, no coughing, sneezing, NOTHING (not a joke). You also talk to ashtrays as loud as you can and command another person to walk to and from a wall over and over. Each of these for hours upon hours.
after I completed book one which took me about two weeks (on average it will take somebody a week, but I did not give into the torture so easily and had constant questions), I started sauna, which is where you sit inside of a sauna room for about five hours a day with only a break in the middle for thirty minutes to eat. You do get regular breaks whenever you want but it’s all bull crap. in sauna they feed you extremely unsafe amounts of niacin which makes you break out in an extreme rash and often hives for sometimes upwards of an hour. They also feed you extreme amounts of nasty tasting vitamins which cause diarrhea.
I almost forgot to mention, all throughout the whole time I did the program there, other students were constantly getting high and buying booze from the local liquor store right down the street, which does not card because I had actually done it once or twice. These students usually get little more than a slap on the wrist and allowed to stay and get more students high yet again with little or no punishment.
Besides that little tidbit the amount of staff members that get high and drunk is an extreme amount. Every staff member there with the exception of a couple kitchen workers and two or three security guards went through the program there. There are no doctors on site; the doctor makes an appearance once or twice a week or maybe an hour or two. The nurse is a fat piece of crap who doesn’t do anything and has no knowledge of anything medical whatsoever. Her name is Melissa but she goes by mo. her intelligence is that of a ten year old.
All throughout sauna I was getting extreme migraines and was given nothing for them and yelled at saying I was faking it. You are not allowed to have any Tylenol or anything like that, no Advil nothing. It’s all bull crap, they don’t believe in that stuff because they are directly related to and ran by the church of scientology which they will never ever mention. They will die over it first. several of the staff members attend the church of scientology regularly, such as Travis A.
Let me tell you about Travis. He was working there and he got a restraining order put on him by a female student, so he had to leave and wait until she graduated to come back and work. This guy is the ultimate creep. He is a child molester on steroids. And if you ever meet the guy you would never know because of his sharp appearance and he is well dressed. He talks to all the girls around there like a piece of meat as well.
Anyway after sauna aka book two; you do book three which is bull crap, nothing good in it. Book 4a which is TRs again on steroids this time though (took me a month to finish, absolute torture). let me tell you about book 4b, oh god, this book is the worst out of them all, you would find your loved ones walking around touching walls and tables all day long and this is supposed to help them realize why they started using drugs or alcohol in the first place. This book took me three months to complete when others can complete it in a month on average. I just question and say how things were bull crap too much. The people teaching these books have no degrees whatsoever in anything except for scientology. and in case you didn’t know l. Ron Hubbard (founder of scientology) was a science fiction writer, a felon, and a woman abuser. By the way if you ever go tour the facility they will never ever let you go into any of the classrooms while they are in session with students. They may let you see the sauna, but all you do in there is sitting in a box.
The rest of the program on is mostly bull crap, nothing interested, nothing really works. It’s pretty much a torture/scientology based program to convince you to never use drugs again. They advertise a 70 percent success rate which is bull crap. Throughout the time I was there I’d often hear about and even witness people who completed it to constantly come back to it and do the whole program over with no results still. there is no real substance to the program besides the torture aspect and maybe the first two weeks of sauna which they keep people in sauna for twice that long or longer on average (very dangerous).
Some of the people to look out for if you do send your loved one there are Keith Ritchie who has had to do the program three times because of his habitual crack and alcohol use, he works there now, believe it or not ha-ha. Chris wattles who is a two timer of the program as well who crashed and flipped his car while drinking. These two are roommates and I know for a fact that they both still drink, they have a fridge stocked with beer (I know because of a recent phone call). JJ, Kyle, and Whitney, all hypocrites and tell you how not to drink and do drugs when they drink on a regular basis at their home (more than three nights a week). These people are all bad for the everyday person. I would stay away at all costs. Avoid Travis big time, he’s good with words and manipulation.
I know of two different people who Narconon freedom center was supposed to refund their money and never did, both lost 14 thousand dollars. A lot huh?
There are some decent people there but there is at least one bad person for every good one working there. The decent ones are just blind and not very intelligent and also very gullible to the fact that it’s a scientology organization.
I know all of this because of my six months spent in the program and my over a solid year of working there. I had to quit and leave because of all the nonsense I read online about scientology. I one day just looked it up online and was amazed at the amount of stuff I read. For every pro scientology website there are at least ten negative ones exposing the truth behind scientology.
Oh I forgot to mention, I’ve heard on more than one occasion of staff members sleeping with students. Such as Chris wattles girlfriend (I can’t remember her name right now, not important though) sleeping with a guy named Yada working in withdraw. Also an old security guard sleeping with a female student in the women’s wing late at night. All one hundred percent true. Be warned, this is just the tip of the iceberg.
the facility is also full of trash, holes in the walls, over packed rooms (four students per a room, and the room is smaller than the one I have to myself back home as I write this), foul talking staff members (they all cuss and make sexually forward comments, especially to the girls, watch out for Travis), broken windows. They hide all of this stuff really well, but if you get a tour and look very closely, you will see it all, just keep your eyes peeled.
They brainwash you into using all scientology lingo/terms such as data, technology, TRs, KR report, CSW, the list goes on and on.
If you believe we were banished here by an evil alien named XENU (yes look it up on Google) then this place is for you. I’ve seen allies with better people and that were cleaner.
Yours truly, EX NARCONON STUDENT AND STAFF MEMBER FOR A TOTAL OF EIGHTEEN MONTHS
The Hidden Hubbard at Narconon Vista Bay, Watsonville, CA.
When looking for a residential treatment facility thru a referral line I was told that I would receive a call from a counselor at a facility chosen from hundreds that would best fit the needs of my daughter. A very nice man called to explain the program. He was very kind and took all the time in the world to discuss my situation and assure me that their trained staff and facility would be great. He then mentioned that they we should schedule an intervention with interventionists they could refer. When ask if there was a “name ” for the facility or website he directed me to ” Treatment for Success”…. Here it does describe a non-traditional approach to treatment, but aside from a few things sounding a bit strange it never set off any “red flags”. I scheduled the intervention for $4k and it was not until my daughter was on her way to the airport that the Interventionist brought up the name VISTA BAY. I asked what that was? And he said it is the name of the facility…My daughter arrived safely and they contacted me with updates. By this time I was reading these reports on the internet and when the staff member said that my daughter “was doing well detoxing, that she was smiling, laughing and making friends.” This was my first huge red flag, this is exactly what another parent had written in another report, his exact words verbatim. Then he told me that my daughter wanted him to tell me she was sorry for giving me a hard time and to thank me for sending her there, because she was so happy to be there. The phrase ” hard time” is not a phrase I had ever heard her use and later, (after talking with my daughter) she had not said that.
Due to an a long weekend and Holiday I had not paid the facility yet, the $34k, non- refundable up front charge for treatment. With all the information I was reading and due to the fact that they had misled me regarding the actual name of the facility I decided to pick my daughter up. I now know that most facilities refund a pro-rated portion of their fees if your child leaves. Vista Bay will not refund a penny. I did find out that claims there are no licensed counselors, doctors, etc. is true. The program is run entirely by the graduated, which may have been ok, if they had been honest about that. The material used is all that of LR Hubbard, which again may have been ok, but the fact that it was all completely omitted is my biggest problem….. The staff was extremely friendly, and yes they did have all the time in the world to talk about your situation and make you feel they are there to help, which may also be true, but I personally was not willing to risk paying for something that was so controversial. There was no way that I could speak with my daughter to discuss the program prior to paying the 34K… …. When I picked up my daughter the staff was very friendly, we were able to get all her belongings, including her ID. I have taken her to a different facility. And actually I don’t doubt that Vista Bay has success getting people off drugs, but I feel they need to be forthcoming regarding the fact that this is run entirely by members of the church of scientology and all material used was written by the founder.
Narconon – Vista Bay Vista Bay Deceptive and False Advertising, Con Artists Watsonville, California
It is hard to explain the depth of this scheme without having lived it yourself; however I sincerely hope this account prevents at least one desperate individual/family from investing a significant amount of money into a disgusting scam.
Firstly, Narconon Vista Bay is a drug rehab facility that runs $29,000. Given the nature of drug rehabs and the financial commitment in particular of this one, the incredible majority of interested parties are in a state of absolute desperation. The Narconon sales team, Mike Dipalma in particular are aware of this and do everything possible (such as calling constantly for status updates when a family is trying to make the decision, lying – I will get to the use of this word in this context later – and declaring that unless patient X leaves TODAY there will not be any beds left, and pushing cheap plane tickets if you purchase them NOW among many other tactics).
Pushing “time sensitivity” alone is despicable; however the sales team also lies, glosses over, and intentionally omits an unbelievable amount of information. For instance patient Y was told she had to reserve a bed and be on a plane the same day as the phone call or there would not be a bed available. Upon arrival and for the subsequent 2 months at no point were all (or even close to all) of the beds at the Vista Bay location alone (there are two other locations: Placerville and Tahoe, which have availability always and take ‘overflow’ from Vista Bay) taken.
The “heated pool” is very, very, small, outdoors, and NEVER heated (to save money)
The “beaches” they like to advertise will only be seen after students complete book 4 (approx. 2-3months into the program conservatively), and then only on Sundays, and then only if the majority of students going out on Sunday vote for the beach (doesn’t happen), and then only if an individual student has 0 “chits” for the entire week. One receives a “chit” for being 1+ second late to roll call (called ~6x/day), doesn’t clean his room to the supervisors standards, his roommates (plural) don’t clean their stuff to a supervisors standard daily, if the student does anything any “faculty” (i.e. ex-addicts a number of whom will plainly admit that although they graduated the program they would be incapable of remaining clean if they did not work/live/eat with and at Narconon Vista Bay – In my opinion becoming a prisoner for life at Narconon is not a success story), etc. etc.
The “basketball court” is one broken hoop on a slippery gravel court not large enough to play 1/2 court on (during a 2 week period I saw 1 person break their ankle and numerous others receive bad cuts and scrapes from falling).
Everything in the program is attributed to L. Ron Hubbard (founder of scientology). His picture is hung up on numerous walls. Any talk of scientology, or negative comment concerning L. Ron Hubbard garners an “ethics cycle” (will get to later on). Additionally they present you with a paper saying you will refrain from vocalizing any and all comments/concerns about the program or L. Ron Hubbard that are not completely positive. If you refuse to sign the paper they tell you it’s irrelevant and goes into effect regardless. The punishment for another comment is continued ethics cycles or suspension.
Allow me to diverge quickly into “ethics cycles” and how one gets them. An ethics cycle where if they feel you have gone out of line (anything from a negative L. Ron comment, a negative comment about the effectiveness of the program or the faculty, or 3 chits) you are forced to stop your program, confess to whatever they accuse you of (this is done by signing a paper to that effect), and performing manual labor (such as raking leaves, digging holes – not even kidding – etc.) for approximately a week; although the exact time is determined by the ethics officers. On one occasion a bad storm hit and a number of branches fell down. In the subsequent day a number of students received ethics duty for minor-imaginary infractions. Needless to say they saved Narconon money cleaning up the branches. After the fallout of the storm was cleared the students were all taken off ethics…
Words such as brainwash, cult, indoctrination, zombies, rituals, etc. overheard at any point by faculty (or students who are encouraged to write up other students) are punished immediately with an ethics cycle (they deny it’s punishment and insist it’s “part of certain individuals’ programs). If a student speaks with these words in reference to the program multiple times they are suspended.
Massages are in no way shape or form massages. “Assists” as they call them come in two varieties. 1. the “nerve assist” – here they rub down your spine twice and then proceed to lightly draw their fingers from you spine out to your ribs, flip you over and repeat for 30 minutes at a time. They claim it releases “bottled up nerve impulses” and allows for damaged nerve endings to repair themselves – As a biochemistry major I can assure you no one with the slightest knowledge of physiology will tell you this “explanation” has any merit whatsoever. 2. “body communication” – here they take their hands and put slight pressure on your body from shoulders to feet each time repeating the mantra “feel my hands” approximately every 2-4seconds also for 30 minutes at a time. The explanation here is they are putting your body in better communication – need I say anything to that? If for some reason one desired these “massages” after the withdrawal portion of the program they would have to get them from same sex students trained in the techniques.
The training for the assists/withdrawal cabin “specialist” (I swear on my life I am not making this up, and I saw it with my own eyes) involves, in part, walking a stuffed teddy bear with a “teacher” watching and coaching (i.e. “make the bear look up into that tree” student then must physically turn the bears head to point towards the tree), and to top it off the trainee must perform both assists on the teddy bear.
I could continue for ages on the horrors of this program, but I will instead just touch on 2-3 more crucial points.
1. When you arrive there is a blackout period of 10 days. During this 10 days students are allowed no access to a phone, internet, etc. (internet is always prohibited barring a 1/100 reason, and the phones are always pay phones – incredibly expensive even with a calling card). The staff at no point during these 10 days mentions that any student leaving during that period is entitled a full refund. Everyone is very nice until you sign this packet of 100 or so pages agreeing not to sue and to their entire arbitrary borderline fascist (seriously) rules. At which point all staff gives you attitude and basically treats you like a prisoner.
2. There is not one licensed counselor, much less physiatrist on the staff. All medicines (including Tylenol for headaches, any cold medicine – i.e. Dimetapp, etc. are not allowed). Any dental/other surgeries will be done with local anesthetic alone and only if absolutely necessary. Withdrawal cabin, where everyone is abruptly taken off of all medicines (including anti-depressants). Saint John’s Wort and Willow Bark are given in lue of SSRI’s and Tylenol.
3. Any individual who chooses to leave (self-paying, self-admitted adults included) will not be given their stuff back. In my time one individual (self-paying/admitted) was told by the doctor he was not medically fit for the sauna program (due to a heart condition). After this news he waited 4 days of constantly talking to the staff, who had him talk to his father and friends (all of whom agreed he should leave) and as of my departure they still refused to give him his wallet, ID, etc.
4. The first 1-2 weeks (after withdrawal) are spent doing “TRs” (training routines). These entail sitting 3 feet from another individual in a chair with both of your eyes closed for 40-80 minutes at a time. Neither of you can itch, straighten up in your seat, or move in any way whatsoever or you start again. Even if you go 80 minutes your first attempt you are told to do it again to “practice”. This is then done with eyes open where one must stare at the person across from you and never look away. The purpose of eyes closed is to “be comfortable in a space”. Eyes open to “be comfortable confronting someone else”. Other of the first week drills (these are then revisited later after the sauna for longer durations) include asking over and over for 2 hr. class periods “do birds fly” if your partner (called “twins” at Narconon) answers the question (i.e. “yes”) student replies “thank you, do birds fly?” if partner answers with something about himself (i.e. “my leg hurts”) student acknowledges like so “I understand, I’ll repeat the question, do birds fly?” if partner answers with a comment (i.e. “I hate you”) student ignores it an says “I’ll repeat the question, do birds fly?”
I honestly am not making up one bit of this. The other exercises are even more ridiculous including holding an ash tray out in front of you and screaming at the top of your lungs “stand up!” (student then lifts the ash tray and holds it in the air) still screaming “thank you! Sit down!” (student lowers ash tray to the seat) still screaming “thank you! stand up!” (and repeat). Like I said this can go on forever and I was only there a short period of time.
One final story; at night they have one ex-addict, ex-graduate watch over the 50-60 “students” sleeping at Vista Bay (by the way the staff-to-student ratio is nowhere near 1:1. From my count ~15 staff dealt with students on a daily basis and at least 8 of those were in secretarial/paper pushing roles. The only individualized attention given to a student is when he/she speaks negatively of the program). One night the night duty man Craig showed up so high on heroin he could not walk. Students saw him visibly fall a number of times, slur his words, have eyes that were “pinned” (extreme opposite of dilated and a distinct sign of an opiate high). Students were then forced to deal with this situation and call in other faculty from off site. The next day when students pressed the faculty they said it was said and to leave it. I told them they should make an announcement, which the ultimately, and reluctantly did. During which they explained the night man was no longer working for them etc.
At this point I asked for the faculty to be UAd (Urinary Analysis) by the students (the faculty had UAd the students 2 days prior because drugs had been discovered in the facility). I said that for the students to take seriously the word of the faculty they should prove they aren’t using and if they aren’t they have nothing to fear. Approximately an hour later I was told I was being suspended for “telling another student he should sue Narconon for taking him off anti-depressants cold turkey”.
1. I never said anything of the sort
2. The student in question to my knowledge had never taken anti-depressants in his life
3. The student himself says I never said that
4. When asked to speak with the staff member who filed the report I was denied
5. When asked to see the report I was denied and told flat out “one probably wasn’t even written up”
6. My family and I were told we would receive a refund before I left.
7. They dropped me at the airport fully aware that I had no credit, debit, or ATM cards. No cell phone, no phone cards. In other words I was on the West Coast with nothing in the middle of a tiny airport and they drove away.
8. We have since sent them registered letters concerning their promise of a refund and now they avoid our phone calls or say “hold on, I can give you his/her voicemail” – needless to say the calls are not returned.
Narconon Vista Bay A Front For Scientology.
Narconon Vista Bay is a SCIENTOLOGY based program. Their employees that “help” you with your loved one will try to lie about this. Their entire program is based on the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard. In addition to that, the exercises they use are nothing short of brainwashing. We were led to this program by Greg Potts with Carpe Diem Interventions out of Long Beach. He will deny being aware of the Scientology aspect. BEWARE THIS IS A LIE!!!! He is actually on the videos at the Watsonville facility. Once your loved one checks in you will be assigned a “liaison” that will check in regularly with a glowing update on them. These are not true! My family member was horribly ill with a migraine. They refused to provide medication and my loved one suffered. During this time our liaison reported that our family member was “great, always smiling, making friends and happy to be there”. In reality our loved one was suffering and not allowed even aspirin or to contact us, due to scientology’s opposing medicine. This facility will ask you for at least $30k up front and tell you that insurance will reimburse 40-80% of that. THIS IS A LIE!! Insurance companies will not reimburse the Narconon program because they are run by the CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY!! When you find out what is happening and want to remove your family member, things get ugly. They will immediately quarantine them and remove all of their study materials. (these are not allowed out of the facility) Then they will take your family member and drop them off, regardless of how long until they can be picked up. There is no one-on-one counseling that they promise you. There are no actual counselors at this facility. They begin the L Ron Hubbard teachings, and then begin to try to pursue your family member to stay after their treatment is over. They will offer to get them a house and a job at the facility. Again, THIS IS A RECRUITMENT CENTER FOR SCIENTOLOGY NOT A LEGITIMATE REHAB FACILITY! I hope this will help even one person not have to go through this. We will live with this guilt and betrayal forever.
Narconon of Watsonville, CA. Narconon Is a Complete Joke
Save your money. If you have the least bit of intelligence this program will make you go insane. I have since attended a program in Michigan for significantly less money and have been clean ever since.
First of All I was also enrolled at the Watsonville, CA facility. We constantly ran out of well water, and I personally had to hike up a mountain 1-2 Miles to unclog the “water box” or whatever it was called to get water to run to the well. I did this while on a Ethics Cycle with Dustin and Hung who were both “maintenance guys”. I also had problems with the staff who were 2 punks named Chris and Brian who were in charge of all the “problems” and “ethics” cases. They were basically 2 guys who tried to intimidate you with looks and bad ass talks. After being there for about 2-3 months and was almost done with book 3 I ended up having feelings for a girl and we ended up messing around. Nothing too serious. I got suspended for this. THEY DROPPED ME OFF AT THE “GREYHOUND” STATION IN WATSONVILLE, CA THAT WAS CLOSED! I had no way out. My cell phone was dead on their behalf, and they did not care.
After being out of the program suffering from mental abuse from the program I decided to try to take my life. Luckily my mother found me half way dead in the kitchen and called the cops. After months of talking and working the situation out there is no doubt in my mind it was contributed by Narconon of Watsonville, CA carelessness about anyone’s life, and just getting money into their program.
Narconon Albion, MI, More lies and Empty Promises.
My son was going down the wrong road by abusing drugs and alcohol…he came to us for help which at that time my parents, his grandparents, decided to pay $25,000 to send him to Narconon Freedom Center in Albion, Michigan.
He went there in Dec of 2011
On the morning of the sixth day that he was there, our son called and informed us that he felt that there was something wrong there. So we spent a few hours looking up any information on them and found out that they were a front base facility for scientology, which was not in any of their information on their web sites. So a few hours later my son called us and to our surprise he had already found out that it was scientology. He informed them on the 6th day that he no longer wanted to remain there. And we agreed.
On the 7th day his grandparents notified them that they would be expecting a refund according to the contract which states a refund would be given if my sons stay was 7 days or less. They agreed that the contract would be met.
That has been 7 months ago…all of their requirements have be met and all that my parents have received are lies after lies. After several months I contacted my sons counselor Tim who stated that this was ridiculous and didn’t know why the money had not been sent back yet. He said he would look into it for us. He contacted Valerie in accounting.
Valerie had contacted my father in the past promising that the “check was in the mail” time after time after time…then my wife contacted Valerie and was convinced by her that the “check would be in the mail, which never came. Then I contacted Valerie, she said the funds would be released the following week and of Couse no money.
We’ve tried to contact the “big boss” Brian, he’s unavailable. Sorry for no last names, that seems to be unavailable too.
So what we have here is a rip-off and breach of contract. We feel this is theft and possibly border line criminal, inflicted on 82 yr. old grandparents for $25,000. Is this how scientology funds their organizations? Looking for help in any way I can.
P.S. Is it true that Tom Cruz and Will Smith r part of this? Maybe we should contact them for the return of the 82 yr. old grandparents money.