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Dear Parents of Substance Users - Don't Give Up!

There is a Solution and It's Not What You Think!

Watching as your adult child goes in and out of treatment programs and fails is discouraging and perhaps you have lost hope. Please don't give up! There is a solution and it's counter to what you may think and what you may think you want. First, it's important that you understand why treatment has failed your child and your family over and over again. It's not your child's fault and it's not your fault! The goal of treatment is not - and never has been - to help substance users to mature out of their behavioral issues and become self-sustaining, self-directed, autonomous adults. The goal of treatment is to replace what they term "alcohol and drug dependence" with dependence on treatment, therapy, meetings, and a recovery-centered lifestyle where relapse is expected. So if your teen or adult child is still struggling and still tied to the treatment/recovery system, they are actually considered a treatment success.


Teaching substance users that drugs and alcohol have (mysterious)powers to enslave them is a lot like teaching a toddler to stay away from a stove because it's always hot. Stoves aren't hot most of the time, and anyone with a toddler knows that it doesn't take long for a 3-year old to learn this truth. If you continue to teach the lie, that the stove is always hot and it's a scary monster that can hurt them, you will do two things:

  • You will diminish their trust in you as they will see through the lie eventually, and
  • You will make it much harder for them to become learn to use the stove and become more self-sufficient in the future.

This is the way treatment works. It is designed to make substance users abstain through fear tactics much like the fear of the hot stove.

Treatment says that:

  • Addiction is a lifelong disease - It's not
  • Alcohol and drugs have the power to enslave people - They don't
  • If 'addicts' go back to using substances, they will be instantly out of control - Not true

The data overwhelmingly shows this information to be completely and unequivocally wrong, yet teaching people these three lies is the primary method used in treatment to force people into choosing abstinence. In other words, treatment programs and treatment professionals create fear using lies and distortions, and this fear is supposed to scare people into choosing lifelong abstinence. But, much like a 3-year old's fear is not an effective motivator for very long, especially when the fear is based in lies, substance users are smart and see through most of the lies as well. That is why the vast majority go back to doing what they want to do, use substances heavily. Unfortunately, some substance users do buy into some of those addiction lies, which creates more problems for them, as evidenced by higher rates of dangerous binge usage, overdoses, and hospitalizations in the first few days and months after leaving treatment.

Additionally, while learning they are diseased and powerless, many substance users are now diagnosed while in treatment with mental health issues that are said to "cause" their heavy substance use. While there is also no evidence to support this claim, it is now considered "evidence-based treatments" in the treatment industry. Sadly, this creates yet another complex issue outside of the substance user's control to fix. This added complexity forces substance users to remain forever dependent on caregivers, treatment, therapists, support groups, medications, and other entities outside themselves. Addiction treatment creates a huge rubber band ball of problems, all intertwined and connected, that keep substance users stuck. It's as if they are in a maze with no way out. The actual reasons they continue to use substances are never learned, never discussed, and never addressed.


The Freedom Model teaches substance users the truth about alcohol, drugs, heavy substance use, and addiction. For many parents looking into The Freedom Model, this information is scary. But it's no different than teaching your 8 year old how to use the stove and then allowing him to do it. Everyone, including your adult child who seems so out control and helpless, has the power and ability to direct their own lives, but they first must be told the truth.

Once the addiction disease theory and all of the associated myths have been completely debunked, The Freedom Model goes directly to the heart of the matter. It spends several chapters exploring the various personal reasons people use substances. It gives substance users accurate, detailed information so they can figure out:

  • Exactly why they first chose to use substances
  • Why they use at their current level
  • Why they feel out of control even when they are not
  • Why they continue to use in spite of negative consequences
  • How happy are they now at their present level of substance use
  • What benefits are they getting - or do they think they are getting - from using at their current level
  • What benefits might they get from reducing their use
  • What benefits might they get from stopping their use completely
  • And much, much more...

Over the course of 450+ pages, these questions and more are posed to and answered by the substance user. Through daily classes and discussions with our knowledgeable and caring staff at our retreats, each question and each problem they are facing are thoroughly broken down and addressed piece by piece.

You may have already spent thousands of dollars on treatment and rehab programs that promised to fix your child, only to have him or her go right back to substance use within hours, days, or weeks of finishing treatment. Keep in mind what you and your child experienced before was TREATMENT. That's all treatment has to offer - a lifetime of struggle. In fact, that's exactly what it's designed to do. The Freedom Model is specifically designed to help your child to achieve independence, autonomy, and freedom.

As a parent of three young adults, I completely understand wanting to fix our kids problems or at least help them to fix their own problems. We hate seeing them struggle, and we want there to be some program, some pill, some therapist, or group that will set them straight and solve their problems for them so they can lead happy, fulfilling, and successful lives. Unfortunately, as you well know, most issues in life don't work that way. Whatever problems we face, ultimately we must solve them for ourselves. We first go out and seek the right information on how to solve the problem, and then be willing to do the work necessary to implement that solution. The Freedom Model System at the Freedom Model Retreats provides the right information and a proven, permanent solution to addiction.


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