The first residential retreat for those with drug and alcohol problems was founded 30 years ago in Hagaman, NY. I know about it because I founded it. That was the beginning of The Freedom Model Retreats. For years people tried to pigeonhole our new model – the first non-12 step residential facility in the world – as an inpatient treatment center. The reason they would have this confusion was because nothing like The Freedom Model Retreats had ever existed before so it was difficult for the treatment community to understand our new model. The term “non-12 step” was new – we coined it. There were no legitimate alternative to treatment facilities in existence at that time, and so, people assumed we were actually a rehab while calling ourselves something else for marketing purposes. They could not have been more wrong, but only time would bear out these facts.

Today, many organizations call themselves a retreat, and unlike our model and facility, they are just the same old rehab in shiny new marketing lingo. Based on this reality, when I discuss the vast differences between The Freedom Model Retreats versus inpatient treatment (which is based in control model formulas) it is vital to know that no other facility in the world is truly non-12 step or is a true alternative to disease based facilities and models. I realize this is a bold statement, but based on our extensive research, it’s true. All rehabs and treatment centers across the globe equivocate on several key factors that define what a true non-12 step retreat is. They do this primarily to enable them to collect insurance money.

In addition to equivocating on diagnosing people with addiction to keep a steady 3rd party revenue stream, many self-proclaimed alternative programs also equivocate on the truth. For example, the Freedom Model, which is the proprietary curriculum only offered at The Freedom Model Retreats, states, “Anyone, even those who have a serious drug or alcohol problem, can choose to use moderately, and contrary to popular belief, they can do so successfully.” In any other facility besides our retreats, that statement is never made – even though they call themselves a non-12 step retreat. Our retreats and the methods we use do not waffle on providing the absolute truth about this, but all inpatient treatment centers do. They are literally fearful of saying anyone can moderate, and many have called us out as irresponsible and labeled the information we provide as dangerous. Their level of incompetency in their program is staggering – and their stance on moderation, and their fear of it, just demonstrates how regressive their disease model is.

The question is, why do these self-proclaimed alternative treatment programs call themselves “a retreat that offers a non-12 step model” when in fact they avoid discussing moderation, or they offer “optional” 12 step meetings. Based on reports from those who have attended these supposed alternatives, their facilities are anything but a relaxing retreat experience.

Sadly false alternative and self-proclaimed non-12 step programs lure many people in who are seeking a viable alternative to the 12 step and diseased based treatment, only to be duped into spending thousands on the same old treatment. These fake non-12-step programs are playing both sides of the fence – non-12 step retreat and inpatient treatment –  so they are able to cater to the person searching for a non-AA or non-NA model while still keeping the disease model alive in the background so they can accept health insurance dollars. With their hybridized model of retreat/inpatient treatment center, they can access both the rehab friendly customer, and the non-12 step oriented customer, while also accessing private funds AND insurance based funding. It’s quite a lucrative racket.

Our retreats were the first home-like environment in the drug and alcohol help field. Prior to 1989, all inpatient treatment was conducted in institutional, sterile, mental health settings. The Freedom Model Retreat revolutionized the field by offering a comfortable, less formal environment in which to learn. Inpatient rehab is based on the disease of addiction myth. Over the past 30 years our retreats and The Freedom Model for Addictions research and text have proven the disease of addiction a hoax, and one of the greatest destructive forces in Western society today.

There are only 2 distinct models in the addiction-help field today – The Freedom Model Retreats that offer The Freedom Model for Addictions curriculum, and all the rest that play the insurance racket (regardless what they market themselves as). That’s it. If you are seeking an alternative to inpatient treatment or an alternative to outpatient treatment, there is only one path that is clear and unequivocal – The Freedom Model.