Addiction is represented by a loss of self-control that leads to the utter destruction of the addict and just about everything they hold dear. It continues even in the face of increasingly negative consequences and suffering. Addiction can include the abuse of many substances, including alcohol, heroin, marijuana, methamphetamines, prescription drugs, cocaine or even non-substances like addiction to gaming or sex. Adult & Teen Challenge helps its residents get over these and other behavioral or “lifestyle” addictions like violence/anger and eating disorders. Although the behavioral addictions are less well-known, they can be just as destructive and life-consuming as their chemical counterparts.
Most people experiment with addictive substances or behaviors and suffer fairly little in the way of consequences. The problem is not the substance or behavior itself, but the obsession which takes hold in the mind of someone who may have a void in their life that the addiction tends to fill. Once a substance or behavior is engaged in for a time, they lose all power to stop it on their own. As it progresses it gets beyond the addict’s willpower or “wanting to stop.” They become hopelessly obsessed with the addiction and cannot stop until an outside force intervenes.
Once this obsession is firmly in place, addiction begins to progress rapidly and grow more severe. Addicts will begin to suffer consequences from losing jobs and the affection of loved ones to arrests, jail time, and medical issues. They may even check into a short-term rehab or detox to try to regain control of their lives, usually without success. While the people who care for them may beat their door down or make desperate appeals to their sanity, the addict will remain undeterred on their course of self-destruction. They will isolate themselves, pushing away the people who care about them, and lose sight of everything in life except their addiction.
At this stage, it often feels like hope is lost. But remember, God is ready to help. Even in the darkest of places, hope can be found. Most addicts or alcoholics will come after hitting “rock bottom”. In other words, if they continue, they will likely die from their addiction. This can be a crucial turning point. When the alcoholic or addict has given up hope completely, it is only then that they are willing to seek help. At Adult & Teen Challenge, we see cases like this every day. The addict has lost everything and literally has nothing left to live for suddenly and miraculously gets a new lease on life through the grace and love of a merciful God.
At Adult & Teen Challenge, we recognize that addiction can be overcome by the power of God. Secular programs often neglect this element of the disease and the results speak for themselves. By emphasizing a Christian recovery for addiction, Teen Challenge has achieved a 60-70% success rate, compared with a 3-10% success rate at comparable, but secular, programs. In a medical survey of Teen Challenge graduates from the Brooklyn program, 67% of graduates were still sober seven years later! These numbers are absolutely unheard of in any other program.
You see, at Adult & Teen Challenge, we believe that the behavior of an active addict revolves around them seeking to fill a void inside of themselves. Regardless of where their faith is or has been in the past, something has gone awry in their lives and they have lost sight of God. They try to fill the vacuum with drugs and all kinds of dangerous behavior, but nothing can ever truly take the place of Christ. Without help, most alcoholics will sink to lower and lower depths and many may even try to take their own lives. Thankfully, there is a place for them which has a solution. It is called Teen Challenge.
Adult & Teen Challenge is one of the largest, most successful addiction rehabilitation operations in the world. Founded by David Wilkerson in 1960, Adult & Teen Challenge has spread across 110 countries and established hundreds of programs devoted to helping Christian men overcome addiction and get back on their feet.
There are thousands of residential recovery programs throughout the country, but there is no place like an Adult & Teen Challenge recovery center. Everything about Adult & Teen Challenge is built upon the foundation of Christian values. We know that salvation is available to all through the power and love of Jesus Christ, and everything we do is done with that in mind. No matter how low an alcoholic or addict has fallen in their life, they are welcome at Teen Challenge and they will be welcomed in the house of the Lord as well. Through God’s grace, they will find the freedom they have long been seeking.
For an addict to recover, there are a number of things which are absolutely essential. Having already established that a connection with his Maker is the cornerstone of addiction recovery, we have sought to create the perfect environment for an addict to begin that journey.
The first thing an addict needs is a complete separation from his previous life. Most addicts and alcoholics are coming from environments which can only be described as hopeless and dangerous. At Adult & Teen Challenge, they will receive a clean separation from their old life. They’ll be given a place to stay and a means by which to begin their new relationship with Jesus Christ. Once removed from dangerous influences, they can begin upon a Christian plan of action.
Students in Adult & Teen Challenge programs are provided with all they need to start life anew in Jesus Christ. Their old group of associates and friends was likely comprised of fellow addicts and enablers. Here they will be surrounded by a loving new Christian family. They will be mentored by others who have come before them and taught how to thrive in their walk with Jesus Christ. In this new environment, the addict will be able to let go of addiction and all the things which had been previously holding them back.
There is an old saying in recovery circles that to get sober, “You only have to change one thing – everything!” This might sound like a tall order; how can a fully-grown person possibly be expected to throw away just about everything they thought they knew about life itself? How can a person be entirely reborn and given a new set of eyes through which to see? Adult & Teen Challenge has the answer.
At many recovery centers, you will find residents on separate tracks. Most programs have a looser structure and a more open-ended recovery plan, allowing for clients to kind of do their own thing. This isn’t the case at Teen Challenge. Right from the start, the sense of family and camaraderie is infectious. Because students are all following the same path to Christ, everybody is on the same page and working towards the same goal. You won’t find a sense of community spirit like it anywhere else. The shared joy in having escaped from their painful past and discovering more about Jesus’ love every day forges bonds which are not easily broken. Many students here report having formed friendships which have become indispensable to their recovery. As one student puts it, “What really stuck out with me was living with 100 other guys, still being able to get along, living in tight quarters. You still have something in common with everybody.”
This sort of community can’t exist without strong mentorship. By the same token, most addicts find it extremely difficult or even impossible to listen to someone who doesn’t share the same background as them. At Adult & Teen Challenge, we know this and work it into our programs. When a new student enters a Teen Challenge program, there will already be dozens of others who have come before him. There is no better resource and mentor for a newly recovered addict than others who have already begun walking the same path. When questions arise about faith and recovery, there are more experienced students ready to provide answers. When trials and difficulties crop up, he has a handful of brothers who have already persevered through the same issues and can guide him safely through. Mentorship and fellowship are the essential building blocks of recovery.
We cannot over-emphasize how vital it is that an addict find room in his heart for Jesus Christ if he wishes to recover. In a study of recovered graduates from Adult & Teen Challenge, they pointed overwhelmingly to a faith in Jesus Christ and Biblical teachings as the driving force of their recovery. When sweeping away addiction, we are talking about undoing a lifetime of hard-wired beliefs and behaviors. They don’t disappear overnight and they certainly can’t be banished without a new set of principles and behaviors to take their place. That’s why every element of Teen Challenge programs is designed to introduce students to a new way of life.
Beginning in the morning with personal prayer and devotions, men carry Christ with them throughout the day. They will attend Bible studies, chapel services, church services, and learn, on a practical basis, how to turn to God in every moment of their day-to-day lives. Over time, students will come to lean on Christ as their higher power rather than on substances or addictive behaviors. They will place their faith in God rather than themselves.
This takes time and separation from their previous life. Most secular rehabs try to accomplish this in impossibly short periods of time. You’ve heard of 30, 60, or 90-day programs which promise sobriety and change, but the fact is that real change takes time. There is no shortcut when it comes to life-consuming addictions. At Adult & Teen Challenge, we provide students with all the time they need to really make that change on a deep, meaningful level.
One of the great pillars of the Christian faith is humility. Coincidentally, humility is one of the most important principles in recovery. The typical addict has become self-centered, selfish, and completely unable to accurately view himself as a humble servant of God. At Teen Challenge, we seek to restore our students to proper humility in the eyes of the Lord.
The surest path to humility, we have found, is to place oneself at the service of one’s fellows. Students at Teen Challenge will participate in work and community service projects on a daily basis. The benefits of these endeavors are broad and long-lasting. For one thing, these work projects contribute to the funding of these programs, allowing students to fund their stay in our program through their work. This is an important way for them to build dignity and self-worth. Students will also learn to develop a strong work ethic as they come to understand the value of remaining ever-ready to answer the call to service.
On top of work projects which help fund the programs, students will also be eligible to enroll in special vocational training programs to help prepare them for a successful future after completing the Teen Challenge program. Too many rehabs and secular programs expect that all the problems of an addict will have been solved by simply keeping them abstinent from drugs or alcohol. This is far from the truth.
It is an unfortunate fact of addiction that, after a certain point, most addicts are either unable or simply uninterested in working. Although many addicts were once successful people, long periods of idleness and self-abuse have led to a degradation of their skillsets and rendered their work histories obsolete. At Teen Challenge, we make sure to address the entire spectrum of an addict’s problems, including gainful employment. Graduates of Teen Challenge programs are set up for success in all areas of life and that includes training them for careers which allow them to contribute to society and become respectable members of their community once again.
What separates Adult & Teen Challenge from other programs is our dedication to what works. We bring men from the brink of utter despair to a completely new way of life, and the results speak for themselves. A recent study found that 73% of Adult & Teen Challenge graduates experienced either no cravings to use at all or, at worst, mild cravings. When you compare these results with the <10% success rate of most other programs, there’s just no contest. If you or your loved one are serious about making a change, Adult & Teen Challenge is the only choice.
There will be challenges, no doubt, and perhaps some difficult decisions to be made, but Teen Challenge is here for you. There’s a reason that Teen Challenge is one of the most trusted names in recovery. Our high success rate, our unparalleled recovery model, and the testimony of graduates across the globe can assure you: You are not alone in your struggle, others have walked this path before you and made it to the other side. There is hope. Call us today.
1 “National Institute on Drug Abuse Report”
Study by Dr. Catherine Hess, M.D.; National Opinion Research Center of the University of Chicago.
2 “Teen Challenge’s Proven Answer to the Drug Problem”, Pg. 5
Study by Dr. Aaron T. Bicknese; Northwestern University
3 Teen Challenge USA. “Following-up with graduates of Minnesota Teen Challenge”, Pg. 17
Patricia Owen, Ph.D.; Wilder Research