Saint Jude Retreat

Frequently Asked Questions

Listed below are some common questions. Please read them carefully, and do not hesitate to call if you still need assistance

Q. Can I tend to my business or work while completing The Freedom Model?

A. Yes you can. The Saint Jude Retreats realizes that executives and professional people have business and work obligations that must be taken care of during their stay. Our Executive Retreat is equipped with wireless internet. Laptop computers, tablets, and cell phones are permitted. Guests can set aside some time daily to tend to their work and businesses obligations while at the retreat.

Q. Are you a religious organization?

A.No. We understand that the Saint Jude Retreat name could lead people to believe that we are a religious organization offering a religious program, however we are not. The founders of the Saint Jude Retreat are Catholic and have chosen to honor Saint Jude by giving the facility his name. The Saint Jude Retreat was built from the ground up through the hard work, generosity, and the kindness of others. There were many volunteers who helped build the retreats and financial supporters who kept our doors open through the first several years of development. Often the founders went to Saint Jude, the patron of hopeless causes, to ask for his help as they built the facilities and conducted the research. Today they credit Saint Jude for helping them to make The Freedom Model the most effective substance use model in the world. With that being said, The Freedom Model Program is not a religious methodology, nor do we teach people they must "find God" or spirituality to achieve sobriety. We are not a 12 Step model, and so The Freedom Model has no religious agenda.

Q. I have tried other programs, how is The Freedom Model different?

A. In a word – completely. The Freedom Model completely deconstructs the addiction and recovery paradigm and replaces it with the ability of our guests to simply move past those paradigms and live free. Over the course of the last 3 decades that we have been developing the curriculum and helping people, we have learned some basic truths – the first being that treatment as it exists in America is ineffective. And so, we created a model that was, and is, the opposite of that model. Where treatment says you have a disease, we debunk that myth. Where treatment says you will be forever feeling deprived of your wants in recovery, we demonstrate the fact that the vast majority of substance users move past their addictions with ease, irrespective of the severity of their habits. Where treatment requires aftercare, avoidance of "triggers", and continuing "care" we show you how to live a normal life without those struggles and shackles that come with recovery. In short, we show you, through logic, research, and facts, how to move past addiction and become a free human being. The Freedom Model is a social/educational experience while the treatment industry is an approach based on religious dogma, faulty agenda-driven myths, and junk-science.

Q. I have legal/work issues, can Saint Jude's help me with them?

A. Yes. We have worked with law enforcement agencies, courts, and officials throughout the U.S. and other countries around the globe. Upon your request, we can provide enrollment letters, completion letters, drug screening results, and any other information requested by law enforcement, probation departments, courts, judges, and employers to help you to fulfill your legal and/or career obligations.

Q. How do you measure your success rate?

A. Verified Independently. All of our statistical surveys and analysis are conducted by an independent research organization, not by our parent research organization Baldwin Research or by the retreat research staff. This keeps the research unbiased and fully ethical. A random sampling of 200 graduates are contacted and surveyed by the independent research organization (i.e. Clearwater Research, Inc., U.S. Field and Research Inc.). Then a second phone call is made to a corroborating witness for each graduate. This is a person who is close to the former guest, usually a relative or close friend that has direct, first-hand contact with the graduate. Sober statistics are based on abstinence from all substances. Those graduates who have successfully moderated their alcohol and/or drug use fall into the drunk/using category for the purposes of statistical analysis. This is different than almost any other facility's fabricated results, where they add moderated use as a subjective term that adds the patient to the successful category. Although moderation can be attained through The Freedom Model, and is seen as a viable option, for the success rate statistics a binary result is the only objective. Either the graduate is still using alcohol and drugs, or they are not (irrespective of the level of use). This makes for an accurate statistical analysis.
Our surveys have been conducted on the entire graduate population for over 17 years. No one in the treatment industry comes close to that kind of thorough research. This is just another way that The Freedom Model differs from those facilities that are not willing to track their effectiveness because they are fearful of what the results will be. We also publish the independent studies online for your close inspection. We are so confident in the methods we teach that our research policy is to have an open book to the public.

Q. What are your credentials? 

A. We are regulated by the NYS Dept. of Health & NYS Attorney General Bureau of Charities. We are a not-for-profit 501(c) (3) organization. Our instructors are the Freedom Model Authors/Developers, Mark Scheeren, Steven Slate and Michelle Dunbar. Mark Scheeren and his team created the non-12 step movement in 1989. No team has spent more time conducting on-site research than this team. Combined, they have more than 80 years of experience helping people with substance use issues – most of that directly with the guests. Both co-founders: Mr. Mark Scheeren and career researcher Gerald Brown, lived with the guests at the first Saint Jude Retreat for a period of twelve years developing the first versions of The Freedom Model (then called the Saint Jude Program), with more than a decade's worth of on-site research as the foundation for the model. This level of dedication to research is unheard of in the industry, and is one more reason why The Freedom Model has become the tip of the research spear in the drug and alcohol research/help field. The entire research team are world-renowned experts in the 12-Step paradigm, and are Alcoholics Anonymous historians. This vast knowledge of what works (The Freedom Model) and what does not work (12 step/treatment models) is constantly passed on to our staff, thereby making our staff the most knowledgeable in the industry.

Q. Where does your research originate?

A. Baldwin Research Institute, our parent company, has been conducting research since the 1980's and continues to develop and track effective approaches to substances and their use . Visit them at

Q. Is 4 weeks long enough or is there an aftercare program?  

A. While 4 weeks seems a short period of time to change one's entire life, for 85% of those who complete the program, it is long enough to create a new way of life. But for those that feel the need for additional help, we offer Freedom Model Future Planning.
Future Planning provides the necessary plan to return home ready to move forward. Concerning how our guests build their lives after they return home, it is important to know that once the addiction and recovery paradigms are deconstructed by completing the lessons in The Freedom Model curriculum, there is very little in the way of aftercare that would be needed. This is not a treatment model based on the myth that drugs have supernatural powers, or that the human is incapable of keeping control of their choices. So, while some might feel a graduate would need endless support, in fact they don't. Regardless of this fact, some of our graduates will want to remain in contact with our staff via phone and email for a brief time after they have returned home, and can do so free of charge for as long as they feel they need to do so. We are always here to help them.

Q. What is the staff to guest ratio?

A. At the Saint Jude Executive Retreat, we have 8 staff members per 6 guests.

Q. Do I need to detox?

A. The Saint Jude Retreats are not medical facilities. Therefore, we do not offer medical detoxification services. However, we can assist you with finding detox services to fit your needs. We have working relationships with two facilities in our area that accommodate our guests in most cases. We can arrange detox services in your area, as well. Please call toll free at 1-888-424-2626 for information regarding detoxification.

Q. Is there a waiting list or can I come right away?

A. There is an average waiting period of 1-5 weeks, but immediate openings are available on occasion, and people can and do move up in the event of a cancellation or postponement. Call for availability at 1-888-424-2626.

Q. What if someone does not want to stay?

A. Even the most reluctant guests become open to the retreat experience and The Freedom Model once they experience the pleasant home-like atmosphere and see that they are guests in our home, rather than patients in a facility. They are treated with the kindness and respect you would offer a good friend, and are shown that moving past addiction and its stable-mate recovery is a pleasure and not a punishment. An average of 9 out of 10 people who enter our program complete it – this is the highest voluntary retention rate of any addiction-help facility in the world.

Q. How do you keep the environment drug-free and safe? 

A. We have a policy in place that if anyone drinks or uses drugs recreationally while enrolled, they will be expelled from the program with no refund. Random drug tests are conducted throughout the six-week stay. Replacement therapy medication including, but not limited to Methadone, Suboxone or Subutex; Buprenorphine, Naltrexone, Revia, and Vivitrol, are not permitted at the Retreat.

Q. How much does it cost? And do you accept insurance?

A. As Baldwin Research Institute, Inc., is a not-for-profit research organization, the cost of The Freedom Model at the Executive Retreat is an average of 1/3 the cost of most in-patient treatment programs. We also have financing programs available. Call for Pricing at 888-424-2626.

Q. Is my stay confidential?

A. Yes, Absolutely. The executive retreat deals with those who want to remain totally private and who do not want a record of being treated. While HIPPA laws have a level of confidentiality, the health insurance records kept at treatment facilities are not subpoena proof (in cases of divorce, family court, etc.). Saint Jude's, however, is totally confidential because we keep no medical records at all as we are not a medical treatment center. Because we are not disease based, and are not beholden to a third party insurance reimbursement records, we do not create paperwork involving people's personal lives.

A. Yes. Again, Saint Jude Retreats realizes that professional, entrepreneurial people may require a shorter length of stay due to professional or business obligations. Although the greatest success will be attained by making a four week commitment to complete The Freedom Model, a shorter stay can be accommodated. However, there is a two week minimum stay and you will not be considered completed if you elect a shorter stay should you need a completion letter for the courts, etc.

Q. Can you accommodate a person with a physical disability?

A. Yes. Our Executive Retreat is equipped with an accessible room located on the first floor of the retreat that is easily negotiable for a person using a wheelchair or crutches. There is a chair lift available to help those who need help getting up the stairs. There are ramps to enter or exit the building. The Retreat is the perfect environment for those who need more individualized attention due to a physical disability.

Q. Do you offer The Freedom Model for the family?

A. Yes. Saint Jude's offers Family Workshops. Call 888-424-2626to learn more about our Family Services.

Your new life starts with a confidential phone call