By Nina Polien Light | Photo by Gery Petrof
“Not everybody wants an addiction clinic in their back yard,” she says. “It was hard to find the right facility. I was conscious of the fact that it needed to be in a location with some privacy for our guests. That took a significant amount of time.”
Komac has been sober for almost 30 years and understands the physical, emotional, and spiritual complexities of undergoing detoxification, so she insisted Luna Living be housed in a serene and nurturing space rather than in a conventional medical building. After searching for a site and meeting with officials in several area cities, she decided to refurbish and expand a former spa in the Geauga County village of Bainbridge. The county is home to 9,000 opiate addicts, which represents 10 percent of its general population, Komac says.
Komac, who has worked as a recovery coach to stars and top executives, decided to open Luna Living after an addictionologist colleague told her about a South African treatment for addiction that had been producing impressive results for several decades. Initially skeptical, she agreed to visit a clinic in Louisiana that was providing the treatment.
“I was inspired,” Komac says. “I never witnessed anything like this. Their level of clarity after 10 days (of detox) had taken me almost three months to achieve.”
The treatment acknowledges addiction changes the circuitry of the brain, so sobriety is compromised without high-quality nutrition to heal the brain and body. The therapy combines low-carb, sugar-free, and gluten-free foods prepared in the spa’s commercial kitchen with Quantum Brain Cleanse, an NAD coenzyme that is administered intravenously and works at a cellular level to create more oxygen. This, in turn, increases a person’s energy and clarity while reducing cravings for drugs and alcohol. The treatment also includes other supplements.
Patients — whom Komac calls “guests” — are introduced to a lifestyle plan encompassing medical and psychological assessment, detoxification, and healing and planning to help them move into a remission lifestyle. Throughout the 10-day outpatient program, guests can relax in single- or double-occupancy treatment rooms. They are often sleepy the first few days as their bodies go through rapid detoxification. As detox progresses, they participate in a cognitive therapy program developed by Komac’s business partner, Sally Iannone. They also learn what to eat and how to prepare it.
“It’s an incredibly positive environment, tranquil, and serene,” Komac says. “We understand this is a brain disease and not a moral nosedive. Guests get positive, not punitive, support. We want to love people into their remission. It sounds crazy. Why would a high-powered executive need to feel loved? But right now, he might not feel loved and he might not love himself.”
After 10 days, guests return twice a week for neurofeedback. Depending on the individual, an occasional day of IV treatment may be appropriate.
Komac named her business after the Luna moth because, “It goes from darkness to light and transforms from something not too visibly beautiful to something extraordinary. Everybody has an authentic self that should get revealed to the world. I’m a living, breathing example of that.”
Indeed, Komac, now 57, has come a long way since taking her first sip of alcohol at age 14 and snort of cocaine at 18. By her early 20s, she was drinking up to two bottles of vodka a day, followed by cocaine chasers. At 27, she realized she could not continue on the same path.
“I’m an all-in type of person,” she says. “I was all-in with my addiction, but once I sobered up, I was all-in on my health.”
With the help of a minister who worked a 12-step program with her when Alcoholics Anonymous meetings did not succeed and prosperity teachers, she reclaimed her life. Over the last three decades, she has worked as a business turnaround specialist, recovery coach, chef, and motivational speaker. She has also authored the book, “I Work With Crabby Crappy People.”
The CARF-accredited Luna Living is the culmination of Komac’s professional and personal experiences. The 6,600-square-foot facility opened in March with 13 employees, including therapists, a medical director, nurses, administrative staff, a chef, a marketing director, and a compliance manager. An investment banker agreed to back the venture in return for Komac performing a fast business turnaround for him.
There are proven protocols for applying the therapy to other conditions challenged by dopamine levels in the brain, so Komac hopes to expand treatment to conditions such as Parkinson’s disease. A businesswoman at heart, she ultimately aims to open a chain of spas across the United States. Mostly, she wants to help people move from addiction to remission.
“I want to create a paradigm shift around the face of addiction,” she says. “By the fourth or fifth day of treatment, we see tears from guests because they’re so happy and tears from the staff because we’re happy for them. It’s quite a gratifying experience.”
For more information: LunaLiving.org