The Freedom Model debunks the addiction disease concept as well as the idea that “recovery” is needed after you’ve decided to abstain or moderate your use. Much of the content within the book may surprise you, maybe even shock you. For example:
- Did you know addiction IS NOT a disease?
- Did you know the brain disease theory is not based on sound science and is actually a myth?
- Did you know that addictions are habits, just like many other habits, and that as such are quite easy to break once you know the facts?
- Does your gut tell you that treatment is just another money grab from those who are vulnerable, and that something is drastically wrong with the rehab industry as a whole?
If so, you’d be right – rehabs don’t work, and The Freedom Model tells you exactly why and how this Western cultural institution came to gain such power over people’s lives. For those immersed in the 12 step culture or in the rehab culture, this book provides a path out of those institutions, and into a much more empowered state of mind.
Our experience of researching drug and alcohol use and helping thousands with these issues for more than 30 years tells us people desire to be completely free from addiction. They also want to be free from the idea of being “in recovery” just as much. Neither of these options: addiction or recovery – have held great favor with the masses. In fact, the vast majority of people with drug and alcohol problems (more than 90%) don’t go to treatment nor do they enter the subculture of “recovery.” They simply move past their addictions, and they do so without any treatment whatsoever. Did you know that? This is the great untold story in treatment circles, but one we unearth for your benefit. This fact alone demonstrates just how normal it is to break habits that we no longer want in our lives. Let’s face it, people desire freedom; freedom to choose their own direction; freedom to move past habits that have them feeling trapped and in pain; freedom from the addict and alcoholic identity; freedom from the limits of 12 step culture and the drug and alcohol rehabilitation industry; freedom to be happier; freedom to move on past the struggles and challenges of life. The Freedom Model guides the reader on this path by offering the opposite of the treatment industry’s empty promises – it offers real freedom!
The Freedom Model is an approach that deconstructs the construct of addiction and recovery and all that surrounds these beliefs. By doing so, you can be completely free to move on in your life without those constructs holding you back and keeping you needlessly trapped in an endless addiction/recovery/addiction cycle. The Freedom Model renders addiction and recovery as completely obsolete and unnecessary in both your personal life and as cultural constructs that keep the masses blind to the solutions that exist within the individual. While The Freedom Model is a book, it is the research and the message contained on those pages that are the real solution to an individual’s struggles with drugs and alcohol.
His critical refutation of the brain disease model of addiction has appeared in textbooks published by McGraw Hill and Greenhaven press, and has since been confirmed by several internationally recognized addictions researchers, academics, and neuroscientists. His TEDx Talk "Our Relationship With Addiction" can be found online, and he appeared in the 12 Step exposé documentary "The 13th Step." His website is a popular source of alternative theories of addiction and research demonstrating that all substance use is fully voluntary behavior, that addiction treatment can be harmful, and that so-called addicts and alcoholics are more likely to resolve their problems without addiction treatment. His work is committed first to respecting the autonomy and right to self-determination of all substance users, denouncing myths about substance use, denouncing attempts to coerce and scare substance users into quitting, and finally presenting the facts that empower substance users to make choices that decrease their difficulties with drugs and alcohol.
Mark W. Scheeren co-founded Baldwin Research Institute, Inc. (BRI) and the Freedom Model Retreats, the first non-12 step model for drug and alcohol problems in America. As a BRI Research Fellow, he is the co-author of the revolutionary book, The Freedom Model for Addictions. Mark is the only addictions researcher in the world to have studied individuals with substance use issues by living with the study subjects for a period of twelve years. "This was the only way to truly understand the issues concerning this population, and to build solutions that actually promoted success. This effort created the knowledge base for the foundation of The Freedom Model for Addictions, that being: free-will, autonomy and the Positive Drive Principle." As a noted 12 step historian, Mr. Scheeren is an expert on the falsity of the disease concept and the failings of the 12 step paradigm as a whole. Mark is well known in alcohol and drug research circles for his courageous and outspoken public service campaigns: "Treatment Doesn't Work!" and "Addiction Treatment Doesn't Help Addicts, It Creates Them!" Mark is also known for his fearlessness in saying provocative and controversial things as a means to create debate in the addiction field:
"The disease concept of addiction is the greatest lie ever told to the American Public in the last 100 years."
"When we posted, 'Treatment Doesn't Work!' on our website for the first time in the late nineties, two things happened: we received more hate mail than in all the years previously combined, and our non-12 step retreats filled up in less than 30 days. Both were fantastic indicators that we were saying the right thing!"
"There are three types of AA members: those who are the gurus and never leave; those who believe and follow the gurus, and are in and out; and those who leave for good. Only the last group is a success of AA."
Mark is also a naturalist and his other hobbies include reading, hiking, boxing, and big-game hunting. Mark lives with his beautiful wife of 17 years, Danielle, and has three wonderful children: Austin, Gabrielle, and Joey.
Michelle L. Dunbar is the Executive Director of Baldwin Research Institute and the Freedom Model Retreats, the first residential non-12 step model for addiction help. Michelle was first thrust into the addiction recovery world as a young child. At the time she learned from family members, who were immersed in the 12 step culture, about the alleged supernatural powers of alcohol and drugs. As a result of these beliefs, she struggled with alcohol and drugs succumbing to the disease rhetoric in her teens. Thankfully, Michelle was blessed with an inquisitive mind and a skeptic's heart. By 1990, then in her early twenties, these personal attributes proved to be a compass that guided her out of heavy substance use completely. She learned never to take anything at face value and was heard frequently saying, "Let's look at the data." This attitude and hunger for the truth pushed her past the addict/alcoholic self image, and provided a firm platform for her to research and find how best to help those struggling. Her primary goal is to spread the truth that addiction is not a disease and that people can and do move past their addictions completely.
Michelle has worked helping substance users and their families for nearly 30 years. In her free time she enjoys reading, walking, and watching her beloved NY Yankees. Michelle lives with her best friend and husband of 25 years, Bob. Together they raised three boys and are now just beginning to experience the joys of having an empty nest.