Narconon- Rehab Series- Part 9

I have managed to make it through my TR-0, eyes closed and then eyes open for 15 minutes each with Keisha. Stormy rewards our success, with allowing for an extra cigarette break. (TR’s= Training Routines).

“That was very weird,” I admit to Keisha.

“Oh, I know,” she giggles. “Believe me, it’s about to get a whole lot stranger.”

“I can’t wait until we are roomies!” I exclaim. “I was so worried about Coco and Chanel being lesbians, thanks to like, everyone at the center hyping that up, but I flat out just asked about it and they laughed their asses off.”

The image of their plump booty’s falling off from shear laughter, causes me to chuckle inside.

“What? You did?” She asks. She laughs so hard, she chokes on her cigarette smoke a little.

“Well, yea I didn’t just come out and say, Oh hey by the way are you guys munching each other’s boxes or anything,” I confess. “But, I alluded to the fact the center is buzzing with this rumor and they could hardly contain their hysterics. They aren’t lesbians,” I confirm.

“I didn’t really think they were,” Keisha admits. “But I have definitely heard from multiple people that they were. That is too funny. Were they offended at all?” She asks.

“No!” I exclaim. “They thought it was hilarious, and my little suggestion about working out a towel on the door system, really had them rolling. I think they are going to let the boys continue to hold this belief,” I say, while giving her a slight wink.

Our conversation is interrupted,

“Come on in ladies. Keisha can you run Liz through TR-1-TR-4?” Stormy asks, rhetorically.

We make our way back into class. Keisha hands me an old, ragged copy of the book, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, By Lewis Carroll. She, too, holds a copy.

“Uh, what the fuck?” I ask, with an eye roll.

“I know,” she laughs. “Let the shenanigans begin.”

We position our chairs, three feet apart, just as they were for TR-0 and the Do Bird’s Fly drill (TR-3).

“We are going to drill TR-1 through TR-2 1/2. Do you remember reading about that?” She asks. (We ran TR-3 already. I guess we didn’t have to do them in order).

“Yeah,” I respond. “The communication shit, right?”

“Yeah,” she laughs. “The cycle of communication.”

“First, we are going to work on acknowledgements. I will read a sentence out of the book and then you respond that you have heard me with an acknowledgement (good, thank you, okay, great etc..),” she elaborates.

After I acknowledge her (TR-1), it is my turn to read out of the book and have her acknowledge me (TR-2). The purpose of TR-2 is to start communication or deliver a command. When you initiate the communication, you are to read it, and then look up at your partner (also known as a twin), and say it, without looking back down at the book.

I open the book and read,

How queer it seems, Alice said to herself, to be going messages for a rabbit! – Lewis Carroll

Both of us burst into laughter.

“Oh my gawd!” I exclaim. “You know this book is old when they utilize the word, queer, in the context it has chosen to use it.”

“Ladies, let’s get back on track,” Stormy interrupts.

“What the fuck guys? Who keeps moving my name? You know? Okay!” A voice shouts out in broken English, interrupting the entire class. The inquiry is followed by a large thud of slamming fists on the desk.

That voice belongs to an Asian student, Steven Lim. He is referring to the whiteboard behind the desk, which contains magnets with our names written on them. The board is divided up into the corresponding books of the program. The instructors, place our names in the section that we are in. For example, my name is under, “Book 1.”

The entire class is hooting, hollering and laughing at Steven Lim’s outburst. Apparently, this is a daily endeavor. The guilty culprit (guy who keeps moving Steven Lim’s magnet), is a New Yorker, named Donny Dimaggio, or Donny D.

“Alright guys, calm down,” Jacob instructs the class.

“We know where you are in the program,” Stormy assures Steven. But, it does little to stop his outrage, as he walks behind the desk and moves his name back under the section titled, “Book 6.”

“Gawd, okay guys. Very funny, okay. Stop moving my name, okay?” He continues, with a heavy Korean accent. He will have two more, similar outbursts, throughout the day.

Keisha and I have participated in the collective classroom crack-up, but we refocus our attention back on our TR’s with Jacob’s instruction to do so.

TR- 2 1/2 is known as a, “half acknowledgement.” The drill still consists of Keisha and I taking turns delivering lines from this ridiculously outdated book. However, rather than delivering an acknowledgement that ends communication, we deliver a half-acknowledgement, which invites further communication. For example: go on, continue, elaborate please etc.

(For the purpose of not plagiarizing Lewis Carroll, I have created generic sentences that would make sense in the book, so that you may grasp a better understanding of the dialogue concerning this TR).

“The rabbit hole is dark,” Keisha delivers, maintaining eye contact.

“Please, continue,” I half-acknowledge her.

“Alice loves a spot of tea,” she continues.

“Oh, do go on,” I sarcastically respond, in a forced British accent. We giggle.

“I’m a big furry rabbit,” she goes on.

“Elaborate, please,” I suggest.

“Alice will drink a potion to shrink herself,” she elaborates.

“Continue,” I respond.

This dialogue goes on for an hour. We take turns being the one delivering commands and the one acknowledging, or half acknowledging, in response. Finally, it is time for a cigarette break.

“Did you make your Walmart list?” Keisha asks. “They are supposed to be in by Wednesday.”

The Walmart list is a sheet of paper that we write down toiletries, cigarettes, snacks and other items that we would like to purchase from Walmart on. On Sunday, the interns go down with our lists and money, and do their best to obtain everything on our lists for us. We then pick up our items Sunday evening between 6:00-7:00 p.m.

“What? No, I haven’t. I didn’t know,” I admit.

“Don’t forget to put CLE’s on your list. They are like crack around this bitch. People will trade you smokes and do your chores for that Crystal crack,” Donny D interrupts. He has a distinct Brooklyn accent.

“What are CLE’s?” I ask.

“CLE’s are Crystal Light Energy packets that you mix into water,” He answers.

We are not allowed to get energy drinks like Monster or Red Bull’s, but for whatever reason, they allow CLE’s which are marketed to promote a boost of energy.

“There are generic brand Walmart ones,” he adds (Great Value Brand).

“Thank’s for the tip,” I respond.

“Have you guys drilled TR-5 yet?” Donny D asks. Keisha giggles.

“No, not yet,” I respond. “What’s TR-5?” I ask, unknowingly.

“TR-5 is eyes closed, mouth open,” he answers, with a smirk spreading across his lips.

It takes me a minute to wrap my mind around this mental image of me sitting with my eyes closed and my mouth open. However, once I establish the image, I join Keisha and Donny D, who are already snickering about this made up TR. There is no, TR-5 (Not for the purpose of the Narconon program, at least).

“Very funny,” I say, as a mini snort escapes from me.

“First rule of the program Liz, is never listen to anything that Donny D says,” Stormy interjects.

We head back inside for the final session. Today is a shorter day. Monday and Tuesdays are the only days that run from 9:00 a.m.- 9:00 p.m. I am relieved to learn that we will get out of class in another hour (4:00 p.m.).

“I am so beyond done with these TR’s,” I confess.

“I know,” Keisha agrees. “We haven’t run TR-4 yet,” she admits.

TR-4 is, “handling origination’s.” It is the Do Bird’s fly drill (TR-3), only with the added step of handling an origination. An origination is something your twin says, in an attempt to deviate away from the dialogue or running the drill. It is usually a somatic (pain or discomfort) that is originated. It is your job to handle the origination with an, “I understand” statement, before redirecting their attention back onto the drill.

“Do bird’s fly?” Keisha asks.

“Yes,” I respond.

“Thank you. Do bird’s fly?” She repeats.

“I don’t know,” I answer.

“I repeat the question, do bird’s fly?” She repeats.

“I have a headache,” I originate.

“I understand that you have a headache. Maybe after class we can go down to the office and see if they can give you something for that, but for now, I repeat the question, do bird’s fly?” She asks.

“I want something for it now,” I demand.

“I understand that you want something for your headache now, but we need to run this drill first. I repeat the question, do bird’s fly?” She repeats.

“Yes,” I reply.

“Thank you. Do bird’s fly?” She asks.

“I don’t want to run this fucking drill anymore,” I originate.

“I understand that you don’t want to run this fucking drill anymore. Truth is, I am not overly thrilled about running it myself. However, we need to run it for a little while longer. I repeat the question, do bird’s fly? She asks, again.

“Go fuck yourself,” I say.

“I repeat the question, do bird’s fly?” She repeats.

“Wait, I’m confused,” I admit. “I thought you had to handle my origination?”

“I do,” she explains. “Telling me to go fuck myself is not an origination. There is no response that can handle that. It is a statement. When a statement is made, or a distraction that does not require a handling statement, then you just repeat the question,” she elaborates.

“Oh okay,” I respond.

“I repeat the question, do bird’s fly?” She repeats.

“Look at Stormy’s shirt,” I suggest, while pointing in his direction (this is a distraction, or a command, not an origination).

“I repeat the question, do bird’s fly?” She repeats.

“Ha ha! I tried to trick you with that one,” I admit.

“I repeat the question, do bird’s fly?” She asks.

“Penguins don’t fly,” I answer.

“Thank you, do bird’s fly?” She asks, again.

“This bird flies all day,” I say, while flipping her off and waving my hand back and forth in front of her face.

“Thank you. Do bird’s fly?” She asks.

We both laugh at the fact she has accepted that answer, before looking around at the instructors. They are busy with the students in later books. So we stop to bull shit for a minute.

“This is some very weird, ass shit,” I say.

“You are telling me,” she concurs.

“Sorry you have to drill it with me again,” I apologize.

“It’s okay. I have to be tested out on it anyways. They make you run each TR a certain number of hours, regardless of if you know the commands and acknowledgements,” she explains.

“What? Oh my gawd. How many hours do you have to do the cycle of communication?” I ask, with a fearful tone.

“They won’t confide in us, the actual number of hours mandated for each drill, but they handle us by informing that we have to run it for another session because we haven’t met the required number of hours yet,” she elaborates. “You have to spend an entire week on book 1 before they test you out for sauna.”

Oh Lord. An entire week of drilling these TR’s? This is upsetting news. Truth is, my body is still experiencing withdrawals and I cannot wait to get into the sauna. The sauna portion of the program, allegedly, purges all drug residuals from your body. This helps to eliminate drug dreams (dreaming about getting high) and physical withdrawal symptoms. It was one of the main selling points of this program, for me.

Finally, class is over. It is mail time, and Keisha leads the way down to where we line up in the office to receive our mail. It is kept in the Ethics department. An Ethics officer opens your letters and packages and checks the content of your delivery, before handing it to you. This is a precautionary step, for ensuring that people do not get drugs into the center.

I doubt that I have any mail yet, but there is a small feeling of hope that perhaps one of my friends saw my outrageous Facebook post I made before boarding the plane and has sent me a card.

“Name,” a larger Ethic’s man asks. He is tall, with an intimidating stare. His ears are gauged and he has a long, dark, scruffy beard. He is the head of the Ethic’s department. His name is Brad.

“Elizabeth Brown,” I answer.

“Elizabeth Brown. I’ve been waiting for you,” he says while reaching into a wooden mail cubby. “We have been getting mail for you, for nearly two weeks now,” he says, before producing a stack of cards and letters.

“What? Oh my gawd,” I say, puzzled by the pile.

He individually opens each card and letter, shakes them out, returns them to their envelopes and hands them to me.

“Thank you,” I say, before heading towards the smoking benches with Keisha.

“Wow. It looks like someone loves you!” Keisha exclaims.

She, too, received mail. It’s a package with a quilt that her grandmother has made for her and some candy treats.

It is very difficult for me to hold back my emotion. There are at least 15 cards and letters from a friend I went to Trinity Lutheran College with. She had to have seen my Facebook post, because I haven’t talked to her in forever. She is an older gal, who works with missionaries. Each card represents an ethnic group and mission trip. She has taken the time to hand write on each one of the cards, in tiny print, on both the inside flaps and the back.

There is also a letter with a few pictures from one of my best friends back home, Jon. We call each other divas. He has been my friend for over 15 years. The pictures included, are pictures we took together in the snow, when we went to Snoqualmie Pass together for a photo shoot. He is a photographer. One of his favorite pictures from that day, was our Charlie’s Angel’s Pose. It tickles me that he has included a copy.

Lastly, I discover an envelope with my daycare provider’s name and address on it. Her name is Nikki. She has watched my daughter since she was about 3 months old and she treats her as though she were her own kid. I open the envelope to discover my daughter’s hand prints have been traced with little hearts in them.

Her message reads,

Mommy, I love you. I will see you soon. It’s going to be okay. We miss each other, but we will see each other again. xoxoxoxo

I cannot hold back this overwhelming flood of emotion. My eyes begin to tear up, and it is not long before I am weeping. I miss Natalia so much and her message is so sweet and innocent. I move my hand across the tracing of her hands. As unfit and neglectful as I have been, she still regards me in a special light of being the best mommy in the world. Keisha invites me into her room to console my tears. Unlike, Linnea’s inability to do so, Keisha is more than willing to coddle and comfort them….

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