Mark Scheeren co-founded Baldwin Research Institute, Inc. (BRI) and The Freedom Model Retreats, the first residential non-12 step, non-disease based model for drug and alcohol problems in America in 1992 (However, the research actually began a few years prior to the official founding of the companies). As a BRI Research Fellow, Mark is also the co-author of the revolutionary book, The Freedom Model for Addictions, Escape the Treatment and Recovery Trap. Mark is the only addictions researcher in the world to have studied individuals with substance use issues specifically by living with the study subjects for a period of twelve years.
"This was the only way to truly understand the issues concerning this population, and to build solutions that actually promoted real success. I was forced to live with my mistakes and my successes alike while conducting this live research. Being that there were lives at stake, there was little room for error, which created an urgency to know the truth and base effective life-saving solutions for those in desperate need on that truth. When you are looking someone in the eye, and you've made it your life's work to help them, the research matters! As an ex-user myself, I knew that me and my team needed to get this right, and The Freedom Model is the result of our dedication to the research and to gaining real, positive, results."
This initial 12 year effort (1989 - 2001) created the knowledge and philosophical base for the foundation of The Freedom Model for Addictions, that being: free-will, autonomy and the Positive Drive Principle. The Freedom Model Retreats (specifically the Twin Rivers Retreat in the early years) is where all the research was being conducted.
"The retreat was a living laboratory, a place where our guests could voice their needs without judgment. It was also a place where I learned to listen; listen to their needs, listen to their stories, and hear the feedback as we evolved the process of building the first residential non-12 step, non-disease based model in the nation."
As a noted 12 step historian and critic, Mr. Scheeren is an expert on the falsity of the disease of addiction concept and the failings of the 12 step paradigm as a whole. Mark is well known in alcohol and drug research circles for his courageous and outspoken public service campaign, "Treatment Doesn't Work!" Mr. Scheeren has devoted the last 30 years to demonstrating how people can escape 12 step cults, as well as the perpetual recovery lifestyles that continue to keep millions tied to their painful past habits. As he puts it,
"It's not about strength or weakness, willpower, disease, or powerlessness. It's about making choices, and deciding to change preferences, and moving on. It's about being free...truly free!"