Your 16 Year-Old Is Not An Addict For Life: Research Says

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Contrary to what most Americans in our society think, a teen who loses their way, possibly getting arrested for drinking under-age, or driving under the influence (DUI) is automatically labeled an alcoholic in need of alcohol rehab or treatment for life. Unlike traditional alcohol rehab programs, the Saint Jude Program begs to differ on labeling teens with a "disease" or "addiction."

St Jude Retreats
By labeling a person with a false "disease" and or "addiction," it creates a sense of hopelessness, and in a teenager this is detrimental to their personal growth and self-esteem.

Saint Jude Retreats along with other researchers around the country have found Alcohol Anonymous (AA) to be more ineffective than helpful to young adults who have a substance use problem. AA is an alcohol treatment program that a convicted DUI offender normally must complete to regain their license. The courts use AA attendance to prove that the individual in question is no longer a danger to society or to themselves. However, research has determined that Alcohol Anonymous actually hinders a user's sobriety after AA meeting attendance is completed and increases their chances of continuing substance use. How? By labeling a person with a false "disease" and or "addiction," it creates a sense of hopelessness, and in a teenager this is detrimental to their personal growth and self-esteem.

Saint Jude Retreats is diligent about increasing awareness about conventional alcohol treatment centers to a parent whose young teen has fallen into some trouble with alcohol or drug use. In the United States, if a teen is convicted of drunk driving the first step they must undergo is an evaluation to determine their amount of alcohol they have consumed₁. According to state laws, drivers must then go through another evaluation to determine if their alcohol consumption is considered alcohol abuse or alcohol dependence₁. Then young adults are most likely enforced to enroll in an alcohol treatment center such as AA attendance or a long term treatment center.

Conventional drug and alcohol treatment centers focus on a negative-based approach to help someone overcome their substance use such as telling a client they are doomed for life, cannot become a normal part of society, are disease-stricken for their rest of their life and unfortunately much more₂. In stark contrast, for over 20 years, the St. Jude Program has taught teens how to turn their lives around and gain control of their actions and become responsible for the consequences of their choices.

Of course the Saint Jude Retreats does not in any way condone drunk driving, but they also do not label someone an addict or alcohol dependent who made one mistake in their life. Dr. Stanton Peele, an endorser of Saint Jude Retreats asserts that, "Many traditional treatment programs follow through with approaches that are really abusive altogether." Peele adds, "can anyone really say that a 15 year-old (or 18, or 21, or 24-year-old) is an addict for life? If the young person questions such a designation, what happens next? They are assailed for their false beliefs, they are in denial. And all they are really saying is, 'I have more belief in, and hope for myself, than what your program permits me to have'." Co-founder and Chairman of St. Jude Retreats, Mark Scheeren adds, "The St. Jude Retreats have always believed in and supported the fact that the individuals can and do overcome substance use problems for good."

About Saint Jude Retreats: Saint Jude Retreats ( is a drug and alcohol social education center headquartered in Amsterdam, New York. It is an effective alternative to alcohol rehab and drug treatment centers. Saint Jude Retreats has been helping people overcome alcohol and substance use through Cognitive Behavioral EducationSM (CBE) since opening its doors in 1992. CBE and the Saint Jude Retreats program are endorsed by alcohol and drug program internationally acclaimed professionals, such as Dr. Stanton Peele, PhD, Prof. Emeritus David Hanson, PhD; Prof. David Rudy, PhD; Dr. Joy Browne and the late Joseph Vacca, PhD, among others.

₁ T, Bobby. "Does a DUI Arrest Equal a Drinking Problem?" Alcoholism., 04 Jan. 2012. Web. 16 Mar. 2012.
² "Teen Drug Abuse and Alcohol Abuse." Teen Drug Rehab Addiction. Saint Jude Retreats. Web. 16 Mar. 2012.

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Melissa Kluska
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