How We’re Different
For nearly 60 years, our alcohol and substance abuse addiction recovery program has provided long-term recovery for tens of thousands of individuals. We are the largest and longest continuously operated group of addiction recovery centers in the world, with over 200 centers in the U.S. and over 1,000 more centers worldwide.
We are an affordable addiction and alcohol recovery program for women, age 18 and older. This year-long residential program provides peer-to-peer, group and individual counseling, parenting classes, spiritual inspiration, relapse prevention, anger management, drug and alcohol education, recreational opportunities and vocational rehabilitation.
We are single-gender and a safe, clean, healthy environment, providing addiction treatment and recovery. Our caring staff is are well-trained, most having come through a similar addiction recovery program themselves. Each individual in our care is treated with compassion and respect. Those seeking help must follow our proven plan and be ready to commit to a full year of recovery and life skills training.
We create life change, for without life change, addicts and alcoholics will go right back to their addiction after a few days, weeks or months. Anyone can go through detox and get off alcohol or drugs for a short while, especially in a highly monitored environment. Our goal is to provide long-term recovery and lifetime avoidance of addictive substances, once the individual leaves our program, even when hard knocks hit.
Addicts and alcoholics typically start “using” or drinking out of a personal need to cover up some internal issues, such as a need for love, success, forgiveness, belonging, acceptance, a spiritual void, or a lack of life purpose. The individual fills such voids in their life with drugs or alcohol, which provide temporary relief for the mental anguish they are feeling. However, these substances will take hold and build a chemical dependency in their body, taking away any ability for the addict to stop on their own. The dependency becomes too powerful and attempts to get off these substances can often lead to painful and sometimes life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.
Once invited in, these substances can entirely take over the individual and their mindset, mentally or physically preventing them from stopping on their own. The cost of maintaining a habit can sometimes cause the addict to turn to theft (even from their own family), or selling drugs, which can lead to jail sentences. Usually, the substances are needed in higher and higher quantities or more frequently to achieve the same effect, until the addict overdoses or otherwise destroys their own body.
Without a totally new mindset and life focus to fill the void, the addict will return to their addiction, again and again, ravaging their relationships, trustworthiness, career, finances and their physical and mental health. The addiction will utterly destroy them.
So, to unwrap the layers of addition, we take several steps, and these steps cannot be rushed. Once you understand them, you will see why it takes up to a year to accomplish. Typical high-cost, short-term rehabs are quite convincing that they can solve additions in a much shorter period of time. They are a joke in the media — we often hear of celebrities attending one after another and never solving their addiction. That is because their life issues have not been dealt with.
Have you wondered why the rehab industry generally keeps their term short? First, because it is more palatable to the addict, employer, or the family for the problem to be “fixed” quicker. Secondly, because most insurance programs will only participate in the first 90 days. So, the expensive rehabs make the most money by having a revolving door, and that wreaks havoc on the individual and their loved ones. Addicts have to go back to short-term rehabs again and again, until their loved ones have completely run out of money. And in-between, the addict goes right back to their habit, creating a roller-coaster existence for them and their loved ones.
On the contrary, our centers are operated as nonprofits, so our fees are very low. We focus our efforts on permanent recovery, no matter how long it takes. We keep the investment for the individual or their family to a minimum, seeking most of our operational funding from donations from the community. That support gives us enough time to work with each addict to totally transform their life, for good. And that is why Adult & Teen Challenge programs are so successful.
Why Recovery Can Take A Full Year
The first step is to recovery is detox. It is meant to purge the substances and their immediate control over the addicted individual. This alone can take weeks or even months, depending on the substance, in a highly monitored and daily tested environment. Withdrawal can be an anguishing, difficult and sometimes dangerous. After detox is completed, the real work begins, but change cannot happen from a few days or weeks of counseling. Change happens day in and day out, over many months, as the individual lives in an environment where their lies, negatives motivations, and improper actions are constantly challenged. It happens as the individual makes mistakes and is called out for those mistakes by the staff or peers that have been in the program longer. Time is the greatest tool in our arsenal, along with the wise counsel of our staff, and spiritual renewal. The individuals in our program gradually learn to think and act differently. As in building any healthy habit, repetition is the key to long-term success, so proper thinking and actions become natural and automatic.
We work on underlying person, rebuilding them up from the inside out. The addict learns to “own” their mistakes, solve them, and not repeat them. Along with our staff, peers in the program are a critical force in showing the way, because these individuals who have been in the program longer and naturally mentor and want to lift up the newer residents.
Deliverance = Reliance on a Higher Power
The addict has failed, again and again, on many levels. They know they cannot change on their own, due to their own feelings of inadequacy, guilt and repeated past failures. So, from the very start of our program, a reliance on a “higher power” is emphasized. We believe in the life-changing effect that a personal relationship with Jesus Christ can have on an addict’s their life. None of us can change our own hearts — we need to cry out to our Maker and put the hard work on His shoulders. Christ and the Holy Spirit become a constant companion to the addict, bringing peace, fulfillment, purpose, kindness, truthfulness and a desire to be clean and do what is right.
At first, an addict or alcoholic feels unforgivable; like a huge failure for all of the hurt and damage they have done. But once they realize that Jesus Christ will accept them as they are, and forgive them unconditionally, a whole new window opens up to them. They again feel worthy of moving on — worthy of being forgiven — because the Creator of the Universe has forgiven them and has taken a huge burden off their shoulders. A deep desire wells up within them to also seek the forgiveness of others, and to serve others. That is a critical step forward. Through Christ, they gain the strength and a burning desire to seek the forgiveness of others in their life that they have harmed. Surprisingly to them, others who see the change in their demeanor and attitudes are more than happy to forgive them, and that’s a huge relief.
Reintroducing Truth To the Addict’s Life
If there is one thing that is common to all addicts it is that they have become the best of liars — to friends, employers, family and even to themselves. Moreover, they are blame-shifters, never taking responsibility for their own actions. Introducing Christ into their life also means introducing truth, where truth had become lost to them. Most of our staff are former addicts themselves, so they can see through the lies of the residents. Truth and transparency become a pivotal focus from this point forward, often taught with tough love, but always approached with acceptance, understanding and care. Eventually, the addict or alcoholic realizes that the only way to live is to put away their constant lies and approach life from the truth, with the help of Christ.
Change Doesn’t Really Sink in Unless it is Lived
After several months, residents in our program are clean from drugs and alcohol, straight with God, and curbing their lying to themselves and others. But they still need a new path forward and a plan or they could fall right back into their old ways. The program, therefore, shifts toward introducing new positive elements into their life, including service, compassion, vocation and a strong work ethic. There is still a partial void in the former addict’s life having to do with their future and their purpose in life. So, several months of hard work needs to happen. Confidence, poise and a healthy vocation must be created for them, and gradually moving outside of the protected, drug-free environment in our facility. Service work to the community teaches the resident humility and yet it is fulfilling to them to produce something each day, no matter how menial. The work is initially done in groups, with each member of the group watching out for the others, all the while testing their own resolve to stay clean and to hold each other accountable. Menial work gradually shifts to a focus on finding a fulfilling vocation that the former addict can successfully move into after graduating, if they had none previously. We help them get launched in that new vocation.
How Do We Charge So Little?
Adult & Teen Challenge programs are supported by the community and recoup only a small part of their cost from the tuition that is charged. We have nearly 60 years of evidence that this model works, so the community gets behind us. We are very successful at transforming individuals who were once enslaved by addiction into vibrant, productive and peaceful individuals who care for others. The community is therefore very grateful!
In an Adult & Teen Challenge Outcomes Study by The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
- 92% of Adult & Teen Challenge graduates reported good to excellent health a year later.
- 86% of Adult & Teen Challenge graduates reported they were drug-free a year later.
- 72% of Adult & Teen Challenge graduates continued their education upon completion of the program.
- 75% of Adult & Teen Challenge graduates were employed a year later, with 73% being fully self-supporting.
Compare these numbers with statistics of most other short-term rehabs, which are typically in the single digits!
- Legal Trouble?
We do accept individuals who have been in trouble with the law or are in jail. Courts have allowed addicts time here in lieu of jail, because they know how effective our program can be to completely change hearts and lives.
- Personal Growth
We help the addict sprout new leafs and grow a new life, free of addiction and the pain that led them to their addiction. We are all about planting the seeds of new life and helping the individual grow into a new creature in Christ.
- Vocationally Focused
We teach humility, care, trustworthiness and the traits of a good worker. We help the former addict find a new vocation and rebuild their future. Having a strong future plan keeps the individual excited about life and self-supporting.
What Our Past Residents Say
“I grew up in a very loving Christian family. I was very involved in church. Senior year of high school I started to hang-out with the wrong group of people. Once I entered college it got worse. One drug consumed my life, OxyContin and any pain pill I could get my hands on. I lived for this drug day and night. My husband and I started to use this drug together. Even when I found out I was pregnant, the drug use just got worse and worse. I was so depressed, I had no hope. Eventually, I overdosed and ended up in a psych ward. We both decided to come to Adult & Teen Challenge and God has just completely changed both of our lives. I am not depressed anymore. I have such a hope and future. I know that my son’s going to have godly parents now.”
“When I was fourteen years old my uncle kidnaped me, raped me, and a lot of other horrible things occurred during this time. At the age of fourteen, I began smoking crack and using cocaine in order to cope with life. I became addicted to Methamphetamines and a lot of other drugs. I was caught trafficking drugs and was facing 15 felonies and a lot of other charges, but instead of getting help, I turned to a legal drug — alcohol — instead. I thought I had finally gotten my life together because alcohol was legal. I started going to college, but I could not stop drinking. Then I ended up overdosing on cocaine. The last thing I remember was my friends talking about dropping me off at the emergency room and leaving me there. It was the lowest point in my life.
”Someone told my parents about Adult & Teen Challenge, so they brought me there. I was reluctant at first, but eventually got with the program. Here, the Lord saved me from my addiction, from destruction, and crowned me with his loving kindness and tender mercies. I now have that peace that passes all understanding and joy that ever floods my soul. I never had such a great love for God and others as I do today, even though I may be facing prison time. I have peace. I came into this program with a heart full of bitterness and hatred, but God exchanged that hatred for love.”
“God has delivered me from the bondage of addiction, anger, fear, depression and self-loathing. Adult & Teen Challenge made it possible for me to lift my head with real hope for the future. I used to depend on the bottle in my hand for survival, but now I’ve thrown the bottle away and I’m holding on to Jesus.”
“I was not brought up as a Christian. Intelligence and education were stressed as the most important things in life, so I became a very good student and had big goals for myself. At age 13, however, I was sexually assaulted. I then became rebellious and started experimenting with drugs, which became a lifestyle for me. By age 24, I started using heroin, which led to a 20-year-addiction and a lot of psychological problems. All of my dreams faded away and I was dying in my addiction. I lost my will to live and was completely broken.
At age 44, I had hit rock bottom and decided to go to Adult and Teen Challenge. After a few months there, my life was permanently changed. I finally felt God’s presence there and accepted Christ into my heart. Today, I never wake up sad or depressed. I’m happy to be alive and I have dedicated my life to serve Christ.”
“I was lost. I had no direction in life, no meaning. The life I knew was failing me. The things I loved to do became useless. I had begun selling myself as a prostitute to support my addiction. Accepting nothing but abuse my whole life, I knew I was worthless. I was searching and experimenting and finding nothing but hurt and self-affliction, so I covered it up with the drugs. After coming to Adult and Teen Challenge I am filled with the joy of the Lord. I know my stains are wiped clean. Surrendering completely to Christ has been the best choice I’ve ever made. Everything I ask Him for help with, He has taken care of… most of all, He has restored me.”
“I grew up in a very blessed home, with parents who loved and supported me. When I left for college, I rebelled. I wanted to be accepted so badly that I did anything to fit in. My priorities went down the drain and I failed my freshman year. So, I joined the Coast Guard to escape my problems, but got arrested twice and fell harder into my addiction. I moved back home and got into a toxic relationship; two months later I found out I was pregnant, and the father fled. I was so lonely and lost and never thought I could have joy again. But I was wrong. I came to Adult and Teen Challenge and now I have a relationship with God. He has shown me His faithfulness, and He is restoring my relationship with my family. I can now say that I have hope and a new outlook for the future!”
“I was adopted literally and figuratively. First at the age of 3, into a family that I felt never really accepted or approved of me. I felt different, unwanted, unloved, and unimportant. I thought of myself as a mistake and never good enough. My mother was never really happy with who I was. Everything she tried to force me to be or do, I did totally the opposite. I started making bad decisions and fell into a life of partying and drug addiction. Then one night as I was crying in my bed feeling sorry for myself I heard the Lord speak to my heart telling me that I am more than this. After coming to Adult and Teen Challenge I now live and breathe for God. I have a reason to get up in the mornings. Now I am a woman with a purpose, and that purpose is to live for HIM. His approval is all I need because on Christ the solid rock I stand.”