How is Saint Jude Retreats Different from Drug Treatment and Drug Rehab

The Original Non 12 Step Program

The Saint Jude Retreat Difference

How is Saint jude retreats and the Freedom model Program different from Drug Treatment and Drug Rehab Programs ?


The short answer first: it’s all different. Literally, everything you could learn (or have learned) in treatment, we would spend time helping you to unlearn. That’s a bold statement, but there is a reason behind making such a statement. The reason for this opposite approach is simply because the premise that addiction treatment stands upon is flat-out wrong; you are not diseased; therefore we don’t treat you for a disease. You are not powerless; therefore we won’t treat you like a powerless victim. You are not a criminal; so there is absolutely no reason to structure our retreat experience with a punitive approach. You are not an “addict” nor are you an “alcoholic”, as those labels are inconsistent with the reality that what you actually have is a temporary problem that you can change. The Freedom Model Program provides a path directly out of the entire addiction/recovery cycle, so you can move forward as a free, more satisfied human being without labels or feelings of confusion or powerlessness. In addition, The Freedom Model Program also addresses the ancillary issues that often come with heavy use: such as depression, anxiety, stress, fear, guilt, and shame.

Some History for Context

For over three decades, Saint Jude’s has been the only facility to eviscerate the rigid 12 Step, disease-based treatment mold and provide a real solution to addiction and other behavioral problems along with the myriad of emotional problems that can accompany these habits. In 1989, Mark Scheeren, our co-founder, decided to abandon the powerlessness narrative of the disease concept and the 12 steps. He said, “I’m going to build a better model, a non 12 step alternative to recovery and treatment.” And the non 12 step movement was born. He, and the team of researchers, Jerry Brown, Steven Slate, and Michelle Dunbar, perfected that non 12 step ideal with its slow evolution into The Freedom Model for Addictions now known throughout the world.

  • The Freedom Model Program is the Original Non 12 Step Program – The research team at Saint Jude’s created the alternative to addiction treatment revolution.
  • The Freedom Model Program is the only true non-disease approach to addiction – No disease means no need for lifelong recovery or support group meetings.
  • The Freedom Model Program is the only addiction help program that has independently verified success rates with publically accessible documentation.

For people to make lasting change in their lives, whether it is a change in their mood, attitude, or their behaviors, they must first believe they have the ability to change. The Freedom Model Program first shows our retreat guests the truth about addiction; that it is not the result of a disease, but instead a series of thoughts, beliefs, preferences and behaviors. People continue drinking and drugging because they still see the value in it. Drinking and ingesting drugs always requires conscious thought, planning, and action. At any point, all substance users can choose to stop, and the truth is all people who truly want to stop do just that. But the societal belief in the addiction disease has left many people confused, frustrated and hopeless.  To change their substance use habits, these people need the proper information to fully understand how to initiate that change. That is what the Saint Jude Retreat and The Freedom Model do –  provide the path to freedom, not to lifelong treatment and endless recovery.

To put it simply, Saint Jude’s does not provide any reasons or excuses for failure. Where 12 Step programs, religiously based programs, drug rehab, and drug treatment programs, counselors, and therapists use fear and guilt as primary motivators for change, Saint Jude’s uses facts, research, common sense, and The Freedom Model curriculum which allows for each individual to make their own fully informed decision as to how they want to live their life. Saint Jude’s helps you get back in the driver’s seat of your own life. At Saint Jude’s, you are guided through an educational, life changing process designed to help you gain total control over your life and build the life you truly want.





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