Michelle Dunbar was first thrust into the addiction recovery world as a young child. At the time she was taught from family members and others who were immersed in the 12 step culture about the alleged supernatural powers of alcohol and drugs and how people can become enslaved by them. As a result of these beliefs, she struggled with alcohol and drugs and succumbed to the disease rhetoric and misinformation being peddled in the treatment world. Thankfully, Michelle was blessed with an inquisitive mind and a skeptic’s heart. By 1990, then in her early twenties, these personal attributes proved to be a compass that guided her out of the heavy substance use scene completely.
She learned never to take anything at face value and was heard quite frequently saying, “Let’s look at the data.” This attitude and hunger for the truth pushed her past the addict/alcoholic self image, and provided a firm platform to help others learn the truth that addiction is not a disease, and that people can move past their addictions without formalized treatment.
She then began her career at Baldwin Research Institute, Inc. (BRI) in 1992 as one of the original volunteers helping women to solve their substance use problems. In 2002, she joined BRI in a professional capacity working directly with substance users and their families. During her tenure at BRI she has worked in nearly every division and capacity. She co-authored and taught the first program extension offered by BRI then called Continuing Education which tackled life issues and goal setting outside the scope of substance use. She developed and taught The Saint Jude Family Program and she has worked extensively on the past four program revisions. She is also one of the co-authors of BRI Publishing’s latest book, the revolutionary text entitled, The Freedom Model for Addictions. Michelle’s dedication to finding a solution for addictions and her 27 years of experience helping substance users and their families has provided her life-saving and powerful insights into how best to help people solve their substance use problems permanently.