In 1989, I had just completed a year-long intensive outpatient program to which I’d been mandated by the courts for a DUI accident. The experience was abysmal, counterproductive and harmful. At only nineteen years old my life had hardly begun, and I was now saddled with a “chronic, progressive, disorder/disease” called addiction. With a year of this treatment under my belt, I felt worse about myself than when I entered that program so many months prior. That is when it hit me – I needed to find a better way to solve my addiction issues, as this disorder/disease rhetoric made little actual logical sense to me. So I rejected the idea of hobbling myself with these negative labels and decided to seek out answers that made more sense than what the treatment program had peddled. That is when I met a career researcher with General Electric R&D, Mr. Jerry Brown. I asked Jerry if I could become his research assistant on a project he had started. He said yes, and that was when the words, “non-12 step” were first uttered. It was time to change the 12 step treatment paradigm to a model that actually worked!

Jerry had been researching the fact that treatment rates of success, especially the 12 step variety, were far worse than outcomes for people with addictions that did not go to treatment. My own experience proved this out, because I had actually quit my substance use before I even attended treatment. Jerry’s project fit my goals to build a better model. Over the next twelve years we created the framework of The Freedom Model at our first St. Jude Retreat in Upstate, NY. Over the course of helping thousands of people with addictions, we perfected the One-Step choice-based methodology that is The Freedom Model today. We’ve found corroborating research from the worlds of psychology, behavioral research, neuroscience, and sociology that backs all of our teachings. In 2017 we published the 14th edition of the program built on our original research in the landmark book, The Freedom Model for Addictions, Escape the Treatment and Recovery Trap.The method and corroborating research we report to our readers gives them the confidence and skills needed to move past their addictions permanently. This book has found its way across the globe, and is changing the way people solve their addictions. We also teach The Freedom Model in completely private sessions at our residential retreat and via video conference in The Freedom Model Private Instruction Program as well.

Ms. Michelle Dunbar and Mr. Steven Slate, my colleagues and co-authors of the Freedom Model, were also involved in the development The Freedom Model Private Instruction Program. Michelle then wrote and publishedThe Freedom Model for the Family in 2018. Ms. Dunbar and Mr. Slate have more than 45 years of addiction research and experience helping people with addictions between them. Mr. Brown is currently semi-retired.

– Mark Scheeren