Unlike other programs, faith is at the heart of Duluth's Teen Challenge
While many recovery programs include some spiritual work, that's the key at Teen Challenge. "We firmly believe that the relationship with Jesus Christ is the foundation of sobriety," Duluth campus executive director Jonathan Miller said. The prog...
While many recovery programs include some spiritual work, that's the key at Teen Challenge.
"We firmly believe that the relationship with Jesus Christ is the foundation of sobriety," Duluth campus executive director Jonathan Miller said.
The program's curriculum is markedly different from licensed treatment centers such as the nationally recognized Hazelden treatment center in Plymouth, Minn.
Hazelden's licensed drug and alcohol addiction treatment focuses on an intense 21- to 35-day residential treatment that might include a 12-step program, behavior therapy, motivational therapy, psychological counseling and pharmacological treatment, said Jim Steinhagen, executive director of Halzelden's Youth Services program.
He said some of the most important elements of a successful recovery program are using research-proven treatments and continually monitoring residents' progress to "find out what is effective and what's not."
"There needs to be dollars dedicated to clinical staff training, and dedicated on an annual basis, to keep people current at the highest level of practices," Steinhagen said. Typical residential treatment at Hazelden costs about $27,000, which is often partially covered by insurance, Steinhagen said. Hazelden also has a foundation to help some people pay for treatment.
A year at Teen Challenge costs about $12,000, Miller said, which is covered by private and church donations. Both Hazelden and Teen Challenge have an after-care program that is considered essential to staying addiction-free. If a Teen Challenge graduate turns back to drugs or alcohol, Miller said, it's likely they aren't following one or more aftercare recommendations: Keep attending recovery groups, break off past negative relationships, stay out of new romantic relationships for about a year, and continue deepening your relationship with God.
Steinhagen said there is a spirituality element in the Hazelden program, though it's not necessarily religious.
"I've interacted with a number of people who have been through Teen Challenge, and had a good experience," Steinhagen said. "But there's not necessarily a 'one size fits all' approach for any [treatment or recovery center]. ... There is a segment of people that the evangelical approach will appeal to, and if it's successful, that's fantastic."
"We don't mandate that someone become a Christian when they come here," Miller said, but about 90 percent of the men who attend the Duluth program "have some belief in Christ."