I kind of stumbled upon Saint Jude’s Program during a google search marathon.
And consider myself very fortunate to have done so.
It was not the non-12 step method that appealed to me, as much as the all-encompassing approach towards life skills improvement.
What I most appreciate about the experience was the perspective that my devastatingly destructive behaviors were in fact very logical.
Drinking and drugging, as irrational as it seemed (for an extremely longtime I might add), had a purpose. A simple desire for pleasure, regardless of consequence. And, it was my responsibility to choose if that immediate gratification was worth it.
Or, if there were more productive ways to spend my time and energy in search for pleasure, more difficult ways, more satisfying ways…
Obviously this is easier said than done, and there is nothing revolutionary about instant vs. deferred gratification. But thanks to education on scientific concepts such as neuroplasticity and a thorough self-analysis I was able to gain the insight and perspective that I required to make the necessary effort to change.
I’m definitely still a work in progress, and will always be… and that’s a good thing.
I will forever be grateful for my experience at SJP. I’m a better person because of it, whatever the future holds.
I took the program seriously and got involved with all the educational opportunities offered. Not everyone did, but that was there decision. It is definitely a lot of money to spend for a holiday.
I was not an anti-12-step person when I entered SJP, but when I reflect on my using and drinking trajectory, my true ‘rock bottom’ was accepting powerlessness. Once I became ‘diseased’ my habits got exponentially worse.
Saint Jude’s Program made it clear to me that I had the power to change my choices, and that it was my responsibility to do so, or not. I truly dodged a bullet by not attending a 12-step program again.
The staff and educators were great, as was the food. The accommodations were good, but could use a little tune-up. The location was wonderful, with a lot of nature and tranquility.
Review by Agrail3 years ago
Deciding to leave my home and place my career on hold was a big decision- one I probably should have made years ago. When I finally reached the point when I was ready to tackle my issues, I spent weeks researching places I could seek treatment. St. Jude stood for all of the things I believed in, and held a message of empowerment. Tired of feeling helpless, I made the decision to go to New York.
From the moment I got there, I was amazed. I immediately felt like family. I was able to learn things about myself through the coursework and companionship of my housemates that I never thought possible. The staff is the most caring group of people I have ever had the pleasure to spend a month with. We are still in contact, and I genuinely miss them all.
I have been home for 3 months now, and my life has become something I never thought possible. After 13 years on heroin (I'm only 28, so it was the majority of my adult life), I can finally live free of my addictions and pursue my goals with no restraints. I am grateful every day for the staff at St. Jude.
If you are considering any type of inpatient treatment, please talk to St. Jude. You hear horror stories of inpatient programs- this is not one of them. It's not rehab- it's a life-changing retreat. It's the only thing that ever worked for me, and if I could send everyone I know there, I would.
Today I am back to being a business professional and graduate student, am healthier than I have been since middle school, and free from drugs. But most importantly, I know who I am now. And I know who I want to be.
I don't know how to thank them enough for their genuine compassion and on-going support.
Review by Rachel Gallagher3 years ago
Go here first! The Freedom Model should be taught in grade school! This is a truly positive program that can transform your life! I look forward to it's continued expansion. For me this has been the beginning of a whole new way of life without fear and dread. There is also no longer any need to rearrange external circumstances to try and make me feel in control. Life can flow and I can flow with it and still accomplish everything that I need or want to do.
Review by BevMcGeachy3 years ago
The program is excellent, and focuses on choices that we are free to make every day. It wisely separates each life issue from others, so the analysis and elimination of unwanted issues is very simple. This program is not one size fits all, where you are coerced into thinking a particular dogma. Rather, the onus is upon oneself; to define yourself, see where you have succeeded and failed at being yourself, and laying out goals and plans of action to become yourself again. Touching on a variety of modern research topics including behavioral neuroscience, group dynamics, philosophy of nature, and cross-cultural fixed concepts, this program will challenge you to think hard about what is important and how to gain meaning in your life. I highly recommend.
Review by Jacquilynn3 years ago
I came to st.Judes as a last ditch attempt to keep myself from returning to jail. I expected to give lip service to the program and merely use it as a means to avoid incarceration. However, during my time there the amazing people who comprise the staff, from the Directors to the chefs, helped me to change my view of life and my place in it. Also, the program itself is the only one that ever worked for me. After I failed to change through the 12 steps and jail only provided me with a hiatus from drug use I thought that I was hopeless and would never find another way. This program, combined with the wonderful people who presented it to me, changed all of that. I believe that had I not gone to st.Judes I would be in prison or dead now. I recommend this place highly to anyone who wishes to change their present circumstances and live a more fulfilling life. Thank you st.Judes, and all those who helped me during my time there.
Review by SavvyDaD Grusevskaja3 years ago
I entered the retreat broken and overwhelmed. With the help of everyone there and the course material, I was able to learn to live again. I had a great time and was treated respectfully during my stay. I would recommend this program for anyone in need.
Review by MountainMO3 years ago
This program was a live saver and life giver for me. It validated my beliefs that were contrary to AA and gave me a new way to live my life to the fullest. It is not an easy fix, you have to accept responsibility for you life and the choices you make, and this can be hard for some who need a scapegoat.
I was as the Executive Retreat although I am a retired senior woman. Holly and the staff are fantastic. The facility is very comfortable and everyone makes your visit calming and productive. And there were plenty of opportunities to practice what you learn and grow from the experience. I heartily recommend it to anyone who is serious about improving their life. It is not a place to be sent by someone else.
Review by Giladgreat Gubbi4 years ago
My name is Shawn, I am an ..... Wait wait wait. Let me start over. My name is Shawn I am not diseased. I am not powerless, I am not out of control, nor have I ever been.
Now just to let you know before I got here I would not have said these things because I totally fed into the diseased mentality. Completely believed I was powerless. I prayed and prayed everyday for God to remove my obsessiveness and defects to no avail. Now if you're one of those closed minded people like I was you may be thinking, well if you really worked the program you would stay sober. To those I will say I went to 180 meetings in 90 days. Three and four meetings a day. I worked the steps to the best of my ability more than once. I still had the desire, and believed it was up to God alone to relieve me of the obsession.
Now I know the truth. Now I know I and I alone am responsible for my decisions. I chose to drink and drug and until I faced this fact nothing or no entity was gonna save me from myself. realizing the power is mine, that my success is in my hands, is so freeing and empowering. I can change myself from the inside out. I can control myself and my thinking,
How depressing it was to think one little can of cold beer would make me drink thirty more. I am not weak. I am powerful but had been brainwashed otherwise. My happiness and my life are mine to make whatever I want to out of. I have total confidence in myself thanks to Saint Jude Retreats. The best most productive years of my life lie in front of me. I cant wait to show people that I can succeed on my own.
Review by Fairooz4 years ago
I went through the saint Jude program in April of 2015 and completed in June 2015 and honestly it has completely changed my perspective on life. It is an outstanding program and it WILL give you the tools and knowledge to take on all obstacles that have been lingering or that will arise in the future. Whether it's substance abuse or everyday problems in life, this program without a doubt is the go to program. All of the staff there are all ears and are willing to help you get back on track, set goals, remain focused and be the person everyone loves!
Review by Thalei4 years ago
I loved my stay here it changed my life. They have great amenities an truly caring people.
Review by Jupit Haselgrove4 years ago
I had the fortunate privilege of being a guest at St. Jude Retreat in January of 2014. I had tried multiple times in a 12 step program and it just didn't click. Conceding to the mentality as a victim of a disease in which I had no control just didn't make sense to me. I was in a weakened place in my life and I really didn't think trashing my past was going to be what it took to turn my life around. I went to St. Jude and found that the program was very empowering. The program allowed me to figure out where my standards were and where I wanted them to be. Getting clean was going to mean changing my attitudes and my focus, finding things of value in my life and focusing on them. The program at SJR was valuable in showing me that my personal choices affect my life. Being aware of that allows me to be an active participant in the direction my life takes.
Review by Xianzong4 years ago
After many years of battling my addiction, depression and unhappiness; St. Jude Retreat was the solution I had been searching for. I had tried many different 12 step programs over many year, and never felt like it was right for me, or I really fit in. The program, staff, environment and activities over my six week stay at St. Jude, brought a clarity and understanding of myself, the "addiction" thought process and how it can be easily replace with happiness, enjoyment and a feeling of satisfaction.
I made many friends that I will be in touch with for the rest of my life, between staff members and other guests. I highly recommend St Jude Retreats to anyone, even if you don't think you have a "problem" or "addiction"; but simply feel like things may not be quite right in your life.
Life is meant to be great. Your days should be filled with happiness. St Jude Retreats will open your eyes as to how to consistently make it happen. And...it's easier than you think!
Review by Eydan4 years ago
I had believed that I was an alcoholic for 29 years and would always be an alcoholic. I believed that I had an incurable disease called alcoholism and that my anxiety caused me to drink. Once I took a drink I was powerless over alcohol and unable to stop. I thought only God could “restore me to sanity”. What I learned at St. Judes is that is simply not true. Learning about the true scientifically proven facts of human behavior I have been able to change my way of thinking. My drinking was a behavior that I could change. Once free of being a victim of alcoholism I was able to focus on the true issues that troubled me and impeded me from living my life in true happiness. I have found ways to direct my thoughts and actions towards long term life changes that will support me throughout the rest of my life. Everyone has the power within them to make these changes. One simply has to want to make these changes and then do the work to define and reach long term sustainable goals that support this happiness. The staff at St. Judes provided the environment, information and guidance to make this shift in my thinking. The St. Judes Executive Retreat was a comfortable and safe environment for me to "retreat to" so I could work on myself without the interruptions of daily living (unless I chose to). The environment, the house and the staff were all friendly, caring and supportive of helping me to help myself. St Judes is like no other program available that I am aware of. I experienced a paradigm shift that has changed my life forever. Maybe I would have eventually stumbled upon this change but going to St. Judes sure made it easier.
Review by Fractional4 years ago
I cannot say enough about my time at St Jude. When I arrived there, I had made a complete mess of my life... I was doing coke and pills like crazy, stolen from my parents, lied, you name it. This was the first place I had ever gone away to get help from. I got the opportunity to step back, evaluate my life, my choices, my mistakes. Working first with Joe and then with Holly made me take responsibility for things that were going on with me, and figure out what I wanted to do going forward as well as what I didn't. As for the program, I can only give my opinion/observations as like I said, I had never been to a rehab, etc so I have nothing to compare it to- I thought the food was decent, not a hugely great selection for a vegetarian (at the time) there was always a salad bar, but because it didn't get used as much, the stock wasn't circulated, I got bad cheese one time, etc. I enjoyed the interaction with the other guests immensely, but I did not agree with the fact that people could just show up to class when they wanted. Perhaps its the rule-follower deep down inside of me, but I felt it took away from my experience to see others sleeping in and coming to class and being disruptive and asking questions when they missed things they shouldn't have because they were sleeping. Also, I felt there was favoritism amongst the staff, and it killed me to see some of them be manipulated the way they were!!! You would think staff members who are used to dealing with guests who are master manipulators and liars would not be so easily played for a fool. For example, I became close friends with another girl while there, and was only so-so with my roommate. when she and I asked to live together, she was made to live in my room (the smallest double in the house) while my former roommate got to move into one of the largest doubles by herself. I was then asked to move again to accommodate other guests coming in, with less than a week to go in my stay, while my former roommate still got to live by herself, in a huge room, all because she had buddied-up with staff and was going to stay on additional weeks (and continue to pay). I know many factors are involved with the way the program is set up- when you arrive, who arrives when you do, etc- but I know I was in a group that had 4 other people because we all arrived at the same time, while one person that came in by themselves ended up getting individual attention and classes simply because she was the only one that arrived in that particular few days- I feel I could have really benefitted from one-on-one counseling, and I paid the same amount of money as that girl or my former roommate who got a huge double room to herself for 5 of the 6 weeks. On the other hand, both of those individuals are still lost with their lives not together, so maybe in the long run it didn't matter. I loved the outings, the shopping trips, the "beach" being so close by...and some of the people I was there with I still talk to on a nearly daily basis. When I got home, I stayed clean for about a month, then started doing drugs again.... I never really got to the point I had been, but I got pretty bad off. Honestly the biggest change to my life was getting pregnant with my daughter- I got pregnant 9 months after I left St Jude and it completely changed my outlook, my life. I am gainfully employed, pay my bills, and am present with my child... I also really, really like the person I have become, and I have no problem looking at myself in the mirror every morning. Even though I know that becoming a Mommy and responsible for another human was the biggest factor in my life changes, I cant help but know that the education and self awareness I got at St Jude gave me the foundation- not trying to blame my issues on addiction, becoming aware of my own decision making (good and bad) and having to face the consequences of those decisions. I had some amazing conversations with Holly about my childhood and my father and my issues with him and she really helped me to see things in a different light. Overall, my experience was incredibly positive and I hope that St Jude continues to do great work with others.
Review by AViD Weness4 years ago
In an arena that is dominated by the methodologies of AA/NA and their faith healing approach for overcoming drug and alcohol dependencies, it's nice to know that there are resources available that forward the notion that one can effect positive changes in their lives through education, cognitive changes and a lot of hard work and determination.
While I have not personally been a client of St. Jude Retreats, I've had the pleasure of speaking with several members of their executive staff as a result of having published my book on the subject of addiction, "The Freedom to Recover". While our views on what works and what doesn't may not be 100% in alignment, they are pretty close.
I've read over all of their course materials and have yet to come across a "program" or in-patient setting that offers anywhere near as comprehensive a game plan based on logic, self empowering ideas and real life approaches to addiction.
Drug and alcohol addiction, or as I prefer to refer to it, dependency, is NOT a disease that requires lifetime "recovering" but rather, is a condition that one can overcome and put in their past.
At least that is my view and one that St Jude Retreats embraces as well.
Regards, Rolf Ankermann.
Review by Rel Merczel4 years ago
When I went to Saint Jude I was so broken, so selfish, and so uninformed. Broken paths and relationships everywhere. I thought I was a slave to medicating myself ;and that in order to get sober would mean " white knuckling it"
I learned at St. Jude that it's simply a choice! I am responsible for my choices and actions. I learned how to have fun again sober... by doing things sober!
My life is full of so much joy being in charge of my decisions! I highly recommend it to anyone that is struggling or that has a family member struggling with addiction.
Review by DuchessOfTravel4 years ago
I can honestly tell you that St. Judes not only saved my life, but made my life a whole lot better. I attended St. Judes in 2011 and to this day I speak with the counselors on a regular basis. They continue to share experiences that I can use in my everyday life. I can proudly say that many of them have become my friends. St. Judes to me is more of an education than anything else. It taught me to discover the reasons "why" I wanted to use drugs and alcohol. Once I knew why, I could really focus on how to make it better. I would and have highly recommended St. Judes. For anyone that really wants to live a better life... Oh and the food..... AMAZING!!!! 😜
Review by TeaTimeWithLucier4 years ago
I first have go thank my brother for loving me enough to find St. Jude Retreats.
And I thank St. Jude Retreats for giving me a life! Forever indebted!
Review by Fondles4 years ago
When my family confronted me with the fact that my drinking was out of control I said I could handle it myself. They persisted and I went to St. Jude's. At first I was wondering how did I end up here?
After a week or so I dug my heals in and concentrated on the program. On me. On what I was doing to myself and my family.
Six weeks later when I went home I felt lighter better more centered.
That was less than a year ago. Since then I have traveled to Tahiti ,become a great grandmother, watched a granddaughter graduate from high school, move to a beautiful condo on the ocean, and within a year I will celebrate our 50th anniversary with my husband.
Yes I have a lot to live for.
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