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Everything! We know, this is a bold statement, but it's the truth. Unfortunately these misconceptions are keeping you stuck in a pattern of heavy substance use, crisis, forced abstinence then back to heavy substance use. It becomes a vicious cycle - a trap!
Please understand, Addiction and Recovery are opposite sides of the exact same coin. Perpetual recovery is a type of perpetual struggle; it's having to fear substances; it's having to forever watch out for triggers and stressors. Perpetual recovery means going to meetings, "sober parties", and missing out on special occasions where alcohol may be served. Perpetual recovery keeps you tied to your past struggles forever. You don't have to feel shame and guilt for your past anymore. You don't have to fear alcohol or drugs. You can be free from all of these counterproductive and limiting thoughts.
You can build a life free from the shackles of both addiction and perpetual recovery.
1. To debunk the massive harmful mythology surrounding addiction and provide accurate information supported by 29 years of rigorous research.
2. To show people they do have the innate power and ability to change their habits; and that changing substance use habits and patterns can be easy and a positive experience if provided the researched truth.
3. To provide research-based, factual information about substances and their usage, so people know they are totally in control of all of their choices and can make an informed decision about their lives moving forward.
Where treatment seeks to force you into abstinence using fear, lies, distortions, and bad science, The Freedom Model is rooted in personal freedom, finding your happiest options and envisioning your future completely free from addiction and perpetual recovery.
Many people have beliefs and pre-determined ideas regarding drugs and alcohol. Becoming habituated to the use of substances involves much more psychologically than either biological makeup or a supposed addiction gene. (Peele) The truth is, an individual's beliefs about how the use of drugs or alcohol will affect them are the most accurate predictors of whether or not they will develop a substance use problem. Environmental learning and culture shape our beliefs and these beliefs then lead to thoughts and behaviors. What this means is those who believe they have a genetic predisposition to becoming "alcoholic" or "addicted" are more likely to struggle with alcohol or drugs. While much research has been done with the goal of linking behaviors to genetic coding, no causation has been shown. Despite several decades of research, no addiction gene has ever been found. Even if one is found, all research has shown that genetics do not supersede personal choice with respect to behaviors.
Accordingly, there is no need for a harmful diagnosis or label, especially when no diagnosis or disease exists. At The Saint Jude Retreats, we don't compartmentalize your personal problems by labeling you an addict or alcoholic. There is no evidence that addiction (i.e. using alcohol or drugs) was, or is a disease. Today it is widely believed that people can become "addicted" to any behavior including video gaming, surfing the internet and Facebooking, watching television, having sexual affairs, shopping, gambling, and even using lip balm. The disease theory states that these behaviors become involuntary once a person is "addicted"; however, all evidence points to the fact that people never lose the power of choice over their behaviors, including using drugs and alcohol. Consider that if people actually did lose control, no one would ever stop their addiction, not even to seek help, but millions of people stop their addictions every day. While those struggling with drug and alcohol use may feel powerless due to their habitual thinking, they are never actually powerless over their thoughts or behaviors. Treatment programs and those who tout the disease theory actually harm substance users by stripping them of any responsibility or accountability for their actions. Once a substance user buys into the notion that they are suffering from a progressive, incurable disease that renders them forever powerless over their thoughts and behaviors, this can create a state of hopelessness and severe depression. The more someone believes they are diseased, the less control they feel they have. These labels and beliefs can create self-defeating thoughts and lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Our approach allows our guests to create and map out their own futures. We don't seek to control our guests or manipulate as do treatment programs, because those methods are ineffective. We have concluded, after nearly three decades of helping people with serious alcohol and drug problems, that people will always do what they want to do, and no one can ever control another person. In other words, all people always maintain free will, autonomy and choice. As treatment programs are based on the erroneous idea that people lack personal control, rehabs are set up as a controlling environment (i.e. no contact with family/friends, no personal music devices, no cell phones, no laptops, no personal books, etc.). All addiction treatment therapy is used to subtly manipulate the individual to believe in their own powerlessness so that they will choose to abstain from the substance or substances over which they now believe they have no power. It's a strange concept on its face, and is quite confusing to those seeking help. The Freedom Model is rooted in the truth that all people maintain control over their personal thoughts and behaviors at all times. Once substance users realize the control for their own lives is in their hands, they learn and implement new options that can replace drinking or drugging and the desire to use fades away.
A higher power is frequently included in treatment models as a requirement for the patient to attain a sober lifestyle. In traditional court ordered rehab cases, the individual will be referred to a 12 Step program that will promote the belief that the only path to remain sober is if they surrender to a Higher Power or God. Not only is this forcing religion on people who may otherwise have different beliefs, it is causing people to feel they don't have complete control over their own lives. This belief in a lack of personal control is the reason those methods are so ineffective. The Saint Jude Retreats are not affiliated with any religion, nor does our approach contain any kind of religious dogma or teachings. You will never be asked to believe in anything except your own innate personal power to overcome your substance use problems. If you are religious, you may continue to believe as you wish, as that is a highly personal choice. Personal, spiritual beliefs are held in high regard at The Freedom Retreats, as is your natural autonomy as an individual.
Many treatment centers offer talk therapy in conjunction with various "holistic" therapies such as equine therapy, acupuncture, meditation, and yoga as their "treatment methods." While these therapies may be great for relaxation, there is no proven correlation between gaining and maintaining sobriety through holistic therapy. The Freedom Model is based on a method that has been shown to be effective for centuries - education. Each guest is guided through a comprehensive curriculum that is comprised of three attributes: your Free will, your Positive Drive Principle, and your Personal Autonomy. Various social activities are offered to reinforce interpersonal skills as well. The education and social components work together to create a personalized plan so each guest can learn the truth about addiction, become fully self-aware, and build a plan for their future. Rather than sitting in therapy simply talking about their problems and living in the past, our guests learn effective methods to identify and overcome problems as they arise, providing them with practical solutions long after they have completed the course.
At The Freedom Model, we offer small classes of just one to three people with a certified Presenter. The primary method used in treatment programs is group therapy where patients sit around in a circle talking about problems and handing out advice to each other. These large group meetings have been shown to be ineffective and wholly unproductive which is why The Freedom Model does not use this method. The Freedom Model is the methodology where you engage in a process to create your own self-directed change, including new decisions on drug or alcohol use, based on your wants, desires, and goals for your own life. Our Freedom Model Certified Presenters will help you map out your personalized plan as you pick the goals you wish to pursue.