How The Saint Jude Retreat Program Different From Other Programs, and Why?
The Saint Jude Retreat House Program is a social/educational program that helps people permanently overcome substance abuse. As you read through this website you will come to know that the difference between a social/educational program and the conventional 12-step or Minnesota Model is like night and day. For example, the Saint Jude Program is the only program that continuously evolves through research that measures long term success of program graduates.
On the outside, a substance abuser looks, acts and may even state that they cannot stop or control their substance abuse. This perceived lack of power when it comes to substance use has led to the notion of powerlessness, addiction and alcoholism as diseases. The very idea that people are incapable of stopping or controlling their behaviors, and further that they will always remain powerless over certain substances has created a generation of people who feel helpless and hopeless.
The disease method by which 95% of treatment programs in America treat substance abusers builds a greater victim mentality in a person who already has a lack of responsibility and lack of maturity problem. The Saint Jude Program is an opposite method that instead builds responsibility and maturity. After nearly two decades of teaching individuals exactly how to overcome their negative attitudes and victim mentality, the Saint Jude Program has proven to be the most effective method for empowering people to overcome substance abuse. As a matter of fact, research has shown that exposure to the conventional, disease based model actually lowers an individual’s chances for long term sobriety.
Based on this fact, the first week of the 6-week Saint Jude Program teaches each guest about the current research along with proven facts about “addiction”; namely that more than 50 years of research has proven addiction to be a behavior problem, and a choice. Every guest who has participated in a conventional treatment program participates in this orientation process. This process is designed to enable each guest to self-assess the level that previous treatment programs has influenced and exacerbated their substance abuse problems. This process is called prior treatment damage assessment.
For those guests who are seeking help for substance abuse for the first time, the first week of the program focuses on educating them on the problem of substance abuse and addiction. They are introduced to the choice based education of the Saint Jude Program and shown the stark differences between the SJP philosophy and conventional disease based treatment programs. All guests learn quickly the truth about addiction; that it is a lifestyle, not a disease, and as such the substance abuser, and only the substance abuser, has the power to change.
Weeks Two, Three and Four
Past Assessment, Current Positive Practice
During the following three weeks, the guests are guided through a course that first helps them to identify their behavior patterns, underlying problems and negative as well as positive thought patterns. They are then taught how to begin the process of changing their well entrenched negative thought patterns and behaviors while reinforcing and expanding upon their positive traits and habits. As they move forward in the program, greater emphasis is placed on their positive traits which help them to “grow out of” the immature behaviors of the past. It must be noted here that immaturity as discussed in the Saint Jude Program is not defined by a guest’s chronological age. Immaturity is characterized by an unwillingness to positively adapt to life’s ever changing environment. Ineffective and counterproductive habits such as, drinking too much alcohol or using illicit drugs or mind-altering prescription drugs, keep substance abusers mired in an unsatisfying life.
Many guests have found solace in substance abuse during difficult transitions in life, and the euphoric experience offered by drug and alcohol use has allowed them to avoid taking responsibility for their future. These middle weeks are crucial to overcoming the counterproductive habits of the past and focus on positive skills and experiences that will permeate the future.
Once the guest identifies the areas in which they have been unwilling to change half the battle is won. The Saint Jude Program text and instructors will then guide them to their inner strength and reacquaint them with the power to change that exists with them. This is accomplished by teaching the guest how to focus on a better future for themselves and their loved ones. It is during this time in the program that the guest begins to let go of poor, counter-productive habits and is taught how to think positively, critically and proactively. That is the beauty of the education method vs. the control method. When our guests discover their own ability to overcome negative patterns, they, themselves, are empowered. Once a person knows deeply that they are no longer a victim of the changing circumstances of life, a powerful desire for happiness drives them into the next phase of the Saint Jude Program.
Weeks Five and Six
The Future – Build the Plan
For many guests this is the most powerful couple of weeks in the program. In this last phase the guest builds a future plan that is based on the guest’s natural talents, wants and needs. This plan also takes into account all the different ways that the guest has learned to be a more positive person while at the retreat house. For many, this stage of the program is where the guest will know in their hearts that they are ready to tackle life. Returning home will not seem daunting. The plan that they build will include virtually every facet of their lives, such as career, family, social life, material goals, spiritual goals, etc. The Saint Jude Program and the instructor teach techniques and introduce new approaches to old problems. But, the responsibility for implementing these techniques and incorporating these new approaches into daily living rest squarely with each individual guest. Throughout the Saint Jude Program each guest is on a path that leads to becoming responsible for their own present and future. The entire 6 week process actually teaches the guest how to think critically, and then act in an adult manner to the needed changes. Rather than recoiling from responsibility and change, the process embraces, challenges, and creates the confidence in the guest to succeed.
By teaching our guests the truth about substance abuse, helping them to overcome their bad habits, ineffective coping mechanisms and behavior problems, the Saint Jude Program participants are finally able to take control of their lives and become productive, happy and successful members of society. If you would like to learn more, or take a tour of one of the St. Jude Retreat Houses please call any of our reservations associates at 1-888-424.2626
HOW IS THE PROGRAM DIFFERENT TO CONVENTIONAL 12 STEP'S
Confrontation and Control through Fear = Ineffectiveness
Further, the Saint Jude Program, a social/educational model, is based on the fact that all human behavior is the result of choice. In contrast, conventional treatment is based on the erroneous “theory” that substance abuse is not choice based, but rather the result of a disease and/or character flaws. As such, conventional treatment instills fear (i.e. you are diseased) and exerts complete control over its patient (i.e. you must do exactly as conventional treatment dictates to recover from substance abuse.) Substance abuse counselors counsel patients that the patients’ thinking is “wrong.” Then counselors instruct the patient “what they should be thinking.” This control method frequently causes patients to become treatment resistant, claiming not to have a substance abuse problem. Manipulatively, the counselor will then try to convince the patient that claiming not to have a substance abuse problem is a condition known as “denial” and is one of the manifestations of the patient’s “disease.” The counselor explains that claiming not to have the disease is further evidence that the patient’s thinking is wrong and that the disease is present. This circular logic often causes deep resentment and results in even greater resistance to treatment of any kind. These patients react in one of two ways. Most frequently the patient leaves treatment and relapses or if the patient is unable to leave treatment, the patient will patronize the counselor and remain resistant throughout treatment and relapse soon after completing treatment. Alternatively, other patients, in their vulnerable state, are intimidated by the tactics of counselors, which in turn makes the patient more subservient to this negative and ineffective treatment. Predictably, the result of this response to treatment is an even less confident person now consumed with fear. Inevitably, these patients feel less confident than they did before treatment, but now they are frightened of their own thoughts and their reactions to life’s unavoidable challenges. With few exceptions these patients relapse and once again enter treatment, the same treatment that failed but blames the patient for the failure. Tragically, each relapse following treatment creates an ever increasing dependence on the failed treatment. Ninety-five percent of all the alcohol and drug treatment in the US offers this model of “recovery.” There is no evidence that this process of mental control has ever worked, but the erroneous assumptions of the individual’s lack of will power and lack of innate ability to choose are made, nonetheless. To put this damage in perspective, in the United States there are over 114,000 people in treatment on any given day. They are all told they will never be normal or permanently recover! It is time to let go of this negative ineffective model for something better.
The basic premise of Baldwin Research Institute’s method of teaching behavioral choice for the cessation of substance abuse is not new and has been researched in extensively by many in the mental health field including William R. Miller, Ph.D. and Jeffrey Schaler, Ph.D. just to name a few. However, Baldwin Research Institute has taken this research to a higher level of understanding the behavior and now defines the underlying cause. Substance abuse is a condition resulting from certain delays in one or more of the maturing processes of normal development. The Saint Jude Program’s foundation is based on the concept that people mired in substance abuse have developed and retained certain immature coping mechanisms, thereby creating a life driven by immediate gratification. Their immature perceptions and behaviors oftentimes leave them feeling victimized as they become a slave to the circumstances they continuously create for themselves. While many in traditional treatment circles further reinforce this victim mentality by telling them they have an incurable disease and that they are powerless to change, the Saint Jude Program shows people exactly how to make dramatic life changes so they are able to more naturally mature, overcome their problems and never have to revisit them.
One of the most harmful misconceptions of our lifetime is the idea of a disease that takes away a person’s power of choice over certain behaviors. It is now an all too common belief that any behavior can be classified as an addiction thereby rendering someone incapable of controlling their own behavior. From drinking alcohol and using drugs to shopping, the internet, video gaming, adultery, stealing, gambling, or even talking on the phone; you have probably heard of someone who has one of these “addictions.” While the drug treatment industry has continuously argued, with no science to back it up, that there are chemical and biological components linked to ingesting substances, how can this argument be made for shopping, playing video games or going on the internet? The answer is: it cannot! The fact is that all excessive behaviors can be explained by choice and what addiction treatment professionals won’t tell you is that most people will naturally mature out of a behavior problem on their own at some point in their lives. However, the number of people who do mature out of problem behaviors declines precipitously when they are exposed to traditional treatment programs and methods that teach them they are afflicted with an incurable disease. It makes perfect sense. You are told you do not have control; you believe you do not have control; you act as if you do not have control.
LONG TERM PROGRAM
If you are looking for a longer program, we offer an extension to the Saint Jude Program; the Saint Jude Continuing Education Program:
The primary purpose of Saint Jude Retreat House Continuing Education is to give students the most important commodity in life; more time. There is no replacement for time spent practicing when you are trying to improve upon anything in life