In 1988, a career researcher, Mr. Gerald Brown, sought to determine the actual success rates for conventional rehab facilities, as well as 12 Step support groups, Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. As he was conducting his research, he met the man who would become his research assistant, Mr. Mark Scheeren. After three years of intensive research, together they created the first social/educational model to help people to overcome drug and alcohol problems. The Freedom Model Program was born in 1992, providing the solution to the ever-increasing substance use problem in the United States.
We opened the doors to our first retreat in February 1992, in a quaint village in the scenic Mohawk Valley Region of upstate New York. That first retreat was then called the Hagaman Guest House. Many of our early guests helped in our research and helped to rebuild our beautiful Victorian era home into the grandeur you see today. As the retreat was completed and our program evolved, the retreat was renamed the Saint Jude Retreat around 2000. Jerry and Mark were both Catholic and wanted to honor Saint Jude Thaddeus, the Patron Saint of the Hopeless for the help he had given them to overcome the challenges they faced while building the life-changing program.
Over our nearly 30 year history, we have continued our research and updated our program curriculums based on that research. In 2017, the 14th Program update was released entitled, The Freedom Model for Addictions. This 450+ page curriculum was the culmination of nearly 30 years of research and experience helping people to overcome addiction. Guests and addiction researchers and professionals alike are all astonished with its thorough analysis of how people successfully change their lives.
In 2018 the retreats were renamed from The Saint Jude Retreats to The Freedom Model Retreats to highlight the true freedom people achieve through learning The Freedom Model System. Currently there are two retreat houses that offer completely private instruction (all classes are one-on-one) in The Freedom Model System in a comfortable, homelike setting. The Twin Rivers Retreat is located in Hagaman, NY, has a capacity for 16 guests in private and semi-private (2 person) rooms; and the Executive Retreat is set in the rolling countryside of the Town of Florida, NY and has a capacity for 6 people with 3 private bedrooms and 3 private suites (w/private bathrooms). The Freedom Model Team has grown to more than 60 dedicated individuals who guide people as they learn a method that has helped thousands of people to change their lives and solve their substance use issues. As researchers, educators, and the original creators of the non-disease, non 12-Step model, this is the most experienced, caring and knowledgeable team to help people overcome addiction.
The Freedom Model continues to lead the way for the drug treatment industry as our program is continuously updated with the newest research. Our goal is to provide the most effective system and we build effectiveness into every aspect of it.