Excessive alcohol use can have a devastating effect on relationships, careers and financial resources and cause health problems. Traditional treatment programs like 12 step programs, tell their members that their alcohol use is an addiction disease and label them alcoholics for life, leaving the members with no hope.
Is alcoholism a dangerous disease or weakness?
Is it possible to control alcohol use?

12 step programs support the idea that alcohol use is a brain disease that you inherited from your parents and that it cannot be cured. According to 12 step programs and other traditional treatment programs, belief in a higher power, lifelong meetings and therapy and abstinence from alcohol is the only treatment available. 12 step programs require their members to attend group meetings, counseling and talk therapy sessions, suggesting that digging deeper into the member’s background will help in therapy.

The truth is that there is no such thing as an alcoholic gene and you did not inherit your drinking from your parents. Alcohol use is a learned behavior. You learned to use alcohol from watching other people use alcohol. The decision to use alcohol was your choice to make and you use alcohol because you gain some benefit from using it. Although excessive alcohol use can change the brain, based on recent advances in neuroscience research we now know that people can  change their brain through implementing different thoughts, habits and behaviors.

There is no proof that alcohol use is a brain disease and no proof that it is an inherited gene. People choose to use alcohol because they enjoy the feeling they get from alcohol use. People associate the happy feeling that comes from alcohol use with the action of using and so a habit of excessive alcohol use can be formed and then supported by repeating the behavior. If you made a different decision, not to use alcohol or moderate the behavior, then the habit of excessive use would not be formed or can be changed. So changing your habit (not using alcohol) and reinforcing it with a change in behavior, can train the brain to associate a happy feeling with something other than alcohol. You have the power to make the decision not to use alcohol.

St. Jude Retreats has a program to help you to change your alcohol use problems. St. Jude Retreats is not a 12 step program. We do not use destructive language such as alcoholism and addict to label our guests and we do not use fear and manipulation to force our guests into compliance, nor do we refer to alcohol use as a disease. We are a non-treatment, education based program that uses cognitive behavioral education to help our guests to take control of their lives. The St. Jude Program empowers our guests to examine their alcohol use behaviors and implement the life style changes they want to make.  In our program you will learn how to use a self assessment to reevaluate your decisions and to develop habits and behaviors that are productive and enriching to your life. Your life is not hopeless, you have strength and self control to overcome alcohol use permanently.