Traditional drug and alcohol treatment programs treat addiction as a disease that requires lifelong treatment. In contrast, the professionals at the St. Jude’s Retreats know there is no medical or scientific data to prove that substance use is an addiction-based disease; therefore, the strategies used at St. Jude’s are called non-treatment programs. The philosophy of these programs is based on the concept of “Cognitive Behavioral Education” (CBE) and supports sobriety through a system of self-change.

Additionally, there is no scientific evidence to demonstrate there is a cause for drug and substance use. Traditional treatment programs, however, cite as a cause the reasons the substance user reports for using drugs and alcohol. The function of treatment programs that provide therapy and counseling is to change an individual’s behavior and mindset to a different view. Not surprisingly, this view is usually that of the therapist. Treatment programs teach an individual how to think and feel. By contrast, CBE asserts that the power to control the reason for drug and alcohol use rests within the individual. Individuals in these CBE non-treatment programs learn that circumstances in their lives do not have to end in substance use: they learn that decisions to turn to substance use because of trauma and stress was a choice they made and they can just as easily make a different choice.

Cognitive Behavioral Education also teaches individuals that they are responsible for their decisions and that they have the power to reevaluate these decisions and choices, especially as they are related to drug and alcohol use.  The CBE programs at the St. Jude’s Retreats teach individuals how to use self-assessment and self-change to promote productive, positive and purposeful lives. Rather than telling individuals how to think and feel, the CBE professionals teach the guests at the retreats how they can create their own self-determination. There is none of the usual judging, labeling, controlling and manipulating that are found in treatment programs.

The primary principle of CBE is to help the individual reevaluate his or her decisions, choices, goals and motivations and to support those choices with habits and behaviors that are more in agreement with one’s life goals. After developing this ability to reflect on one’s behavior, it is easier for individuals to move beyond his or her situations and circumstances. St. Jude Retreats can help its guests regain control of their lives and move on to sobriety.  

St. Jude Retreats offer a six-week program in which our guests discover they are able to attain sobriety without the need for group therapy and meetings for the rest of their life. The first two weeks of the program are intended to help guests understand that they are not diseased: they have just made some choices that were counterproductive. During this time, the CBE professionals help guests to learn they have the power to change. The third and fourth weeks help guests self- evaluate their past, forgive themselves and others and move beyond the past so they can plan their future. During the fifth and sixth weeks guests create goals, focus on positive habits and write out a plan for their future that they can follow once they get home.

Sometimes guests need a little more time to be better prepared for their particular situation. As a result, St Jude’s Retreats offer three programs that are tailored to these particular situations, and each focuses on a particular age group: the young adult (ages 15 to 30), the adult (ages 31 to 60) and the senior (ages 61 and up).