Actress Kirstie Alley, who spent the Thanksgiving weekend
with relatives in Wichita, Kan., took time Sunday for a
trip to Oklahoma and a visit to the newest home of a drug
rehabilitation program she says saved her life.
Alley, a star of the television situation comedy "Cheers,"
is a 1969 graduate of Wichita Southwest High School who
said her life took a series of wrong turns while she was
working in Wichita as an interior designer in the late 1970s.
"I wasn't an actress, like I wanted to be," she said.
"It was sort of hard in Kansas to say, you know, `I want
to be a movie star.' You don't get a lot of validation for that."
That yearning and the effects of coping with an unhappy
relationship, she said, led her to a cocaine addiction that
lasted almost 2 1/2 years.
"It was on my mind all the time," she said. "I mean,
I was out driving the streets of Wichita at 4 o'clock in
the morning. The most humiliating thing I did was I bought
a bag of cocaine that had no cocaine in it. It was just residue."
Then in 1979, with her family's support she entered the
Narconon program in Los Angeles and has been drug-free ever
since. She is now the spokeswoman for Narconon Chilocco,
the organization's new drug rehabilitation center which
opened in June on the former Chilocco Indian School campus
outside Newkirk, Okla.
The school and the land surrounding it belong to five American
Indian tribes that agreed to lease the property to Narconon.
When completed, the facility will have 1,000 beds, making
it one of the largest drug rehabilitation centers in the country.
On Sunday, Alley and her husband, actor Parker Stevenson,
visited the center. She said the most important thing to
her is that Narconon treats drug and alcohol addictions
without the use of alternative medication.
Based on the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the
Church of Scientology, the Narconon program uses a combination
of saunas and nutritional supplements to cleanse and rebuild
the body and teaches addicts how to live in society.
"What Chilocco has become for me is a wonderful opportunity,"
Alley said. "It's the first time I've really had, on a
huge scale, an opportunity to pay back the help I got -
the opportunity to have a really happy life."
She said her whole life was changed when she broke free
of drug addiction.
"It changed my relationship with my family," she said.
"I started telling the truth, which was a big difference
for me. I started having real relationships. I married a
really hot-looking guy. I started a career rather late in
life from what most actors and actresses start their careers."