How is The Freedom Model Progam Different from Drug Treatment?

At the Saint Jude Retreat

The short answer first: it's all different. Literally, everything you could learn (or have learned) in treatment, we would spend time helping you unlearn. That’s a bold statement, but there is a reason behind making such a statement. The reason for this opposite approach is simply because the premise that treatment stands upon is flat wrong. You are not diseased; therefore we don't treat you for a disease. You are not powerless; therefore we won't treat you like a powerless victim. You are not a criminal, so there is absolutely no reason to structure our retreat experience with a punitive approach. You are not an "addict" nor are you an "alcoholic", as those labels are inconsistent with the reality that what you actually have developed is a habit and habits can be changed. What you are is a person who values substances for very personal reasons, and you are confused about why you continue down a self-destructive path. Confusion and feeling horribly "stuck" and hopeless are not disorders, nor are they a diagnosis; they are parts of being human and having a human experience. What they are is normal considering the confusion you have about what really is going on in your life. We will provide a path directly out of the entire addiction/recovery cycle, so you can move forward as a free, more satisfied human being without labels or feelings of further confusion. That is what The Freedom Model Program provides – the direct addressing of why you prefer substances and their use and a method to move past that era of your life. The Freedom Model also addresses the ancillary issues that come with heavy use: depression, anxiety, stress, fear, guilt, and shame.

Some History for Context

For over three decades, Saint Jude's has been the only facility to eviscerate the rigid 12 Step, disease-based treatment mold and provide a real solution to addiction and other behavioral problems along with the myriad of emotional problems that can accompany these habits. In 1989, Mark Scheeren, our co-founder, decided to abandon the powerlessness narrative of the disease concept and the 12 steps. He said, “I’m going to build a better model, a non 12 step model.” And the non 12 step movement was born. He, and the team of researchers, Jerry Brown, Steven Slate, and Michelle Dunbar, perfected that non 12 step ideal with its slow evolution into The Freedom Model now known the world over.

  • The Freedom Model is the Original Non 12 Step Program – The research team at Saint Jude's created the alternative to treatment revolution.
  • The Freedom Model is the Non-Treatment Approach to Addiction – with no disease, there is no need to treat someone for one.
  • The Freedom Model is the only Effective Program that has an Independently Verified abstinence rate with publically accessible documentation.

For people to effect a lasting change in their lives, whether it is a change in their mood, attitude, or their behaviors, they must first believe they can change. The Freedom Model Program first educates people regarding the truth about the alcohol and drug problem; that it is not the result of a disease, but instead a choice. People continue drinking and drugging because they still see the value in it. Drinking and ingesting drugs always requires conscious thought, planning, and action. At any point, all substance users can choose to stop, and the truth is all people who truly want to stop, do just that. But, sometimes, you need the proper information to mentally understand how to initiate that change. That is what the Saint Jude Retreat and The Freedom Model do – they provide the path to freedom, not to more treatment or endless recovery traps.

To put it simply, Saint Jude's does not provide any excuses for failure. Where 12 Step programs, religiously based programs, drug rehab and drug treatment programs, counselors, and therapists use fear and guilt as primary motivators for change, Saint Jude's uses education and The Freedom Model curriculum which allows each individual to make their own choice as to how they want to live their life. Saint Jude's helps you get back in the driver's seat. At Saint Jude's, you are guided through a process designed to help you gain total control over your life and build the life you truly want.

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