How We’re Different
For nearly 60 years, our alcohol and substance abuse addiction recovery program has provided long-term recovery for tens of thousands of individuals. We are the largest and longest continuously operated group of addiction recovery centers in the world, with over 200 centers in the U.S. and over 1,000 more centers worldwide.
Rather than considering addiction a lifetime “disease,” we look to the underlying root causes of the initial addiction or dependency. We approach addiction as starting from an individual’s unfulfilled longing or that there was a void in their life. The addiction was triggered by deepfelt issues, so unless those issues are dealt with first, getting the individual off the substance they are addicted to is just a short-term solution. Without life change, they will go right back to the drug or alcohol after a few days, weeks or months. Any addict can go through detox and get off alcohol or drugs for a short while, especially in a highly monitored environment. Our goal is to provide long-term recovery and lifetime avoidance of addictive substances once the individual leaves our rehab, even when hard knocks hit.
Addicts and alcoholics typically start “using” or drinking out of a personal need to cover up some internal issues, such as a need for love, success, forgiveness, belonging, acceptance, a spiritual void, or a lack of life purpose. The individual fills such voids in their life with drugs or alcohol, which provide temporary relief for the mental anguish they are feeling. However, these substances will take hold and build a chemical dependency in their body, taking away any ability for the addict to stop on their own. The dependency becomes too powerful and attempts to get off these substances can often lead to painful and sometimes life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.
Once invited in, these substances can entirely take over the individual and their mindset, mentally or physically preventing them from stopping on their own. The cost of maintaining a habit can sometimes cause the addict to turn to theft (even from their own family), or selling drugs, which can lead to jail sentences. Usually, the substances are needed in higher and higher quantities or more frequently to achieve the same effect, until the addict overdoses or otherwise destroys their own body.
Without a totally new mindset and life focus to fill the void, the addict will return to their addiction, again and again, ravaging their relationships, trustworthiness, career, finances and their physical and mental health. The addiction will utterly destroy them.
So, to unwrap the layers of addition, we take several steps, and these steps cannot be rushed. Once you understand them, you will see why it takes up to a year to accomplish. Typical high-cost, short-term rehabs are quite convincing that they can solve additions in a much shorter period of time. They are a joke in the media — we often hear of celebrities attending one after another and never solving their addiction. That is because their life issues have not been dealt with.
Have you wondered why the rehab industry generally keeps their term short? First, because it is more palatable to the addict, employer, or the family for the problem to be “fixed” quicker. Secondly, because most insurance programs will only participate in the first 90 days. So, the expensive rehabs make the most money by having a revolving door, and that wreaks havoc on the individual and their loved ones. Addicts have to go back to short-term rehabs again and again, until their loved ones have completely run out of money. And in-between, the addict goes right back to their habit, creating a roller-coaster existence for them and their loved ones.
On the contrary, our centers are operated as nonprofits, so our fees are very low. We focus our efforts on permanent recovery, no matter how long it takes. We keep the investment for the individual or their family to a minimum, seeking most of our operational funding from donations from the community. That support gives us enough time to work with each addict to totally transform their life, for good. And that is why Teen Challenge programs are so successful.
Why Recovery Can Take A Full Year
The first step is to recovery is detox. It is meant to purge the substances and their immediate control over the addicted individual. This alone can take weeks or even months, depending on the substance, in a highly monitored and daily tested environment. Withdrawal can be an anguishing, difficult and sometimes dangerous. After detox is completed, the real work begins, but change cannot happen from a few days or weeks of counseling. Change happens day in and day out, over many months, as the individual lives in an environment where their lies, negatives motivations, and improper actions are constantly challenged. It happens as the individual makes mistakes and is called out for those mistakes by the staff or peers that have been in the program longer. Time is the greatest tool in our arsenal, along with the wise counsel of our staff, and spiritual renewal. The individuals in our program gradually learn to think and act differently. As in building any healthy habit, repetition is the key to long-term success, so proper thinking and actions become natural and automatic.
We work on underlying person, rebuilding them up from the inside out. The addict learns to “own” their mistakes, solve them, and not repeat them. Along with our staff, peers in the program are a critical force in showing the way, because these individuals who have been in the program longer and naturally mentor and want to lift up the newer residents.
Deliverance = Reliance on a Higher Power
The addict has failed, again and again, on many levels. They know they cannot change on their own, due to their own feelings of inadequacy, guilt and repeated past failures. So, from the very start of our program, a reliance on a “higher power” is emphasized. We believe in the life-changing effect that a personal relationship with Jesus Christ can have on an addict’s their life. None of us can change our own hearts — we need to cry out to our Maker and put the hard work on His shoulders. Christ and the Holy Spirit become a constant companion to the addict, bringing peace, fulfillment, purpose, kindness, truthfulness and a desire to be clean and do what is right.
At first, an addict or alcoholic feels unforgivable; like a huge failure for all of the hurt and damage they have done. But once they realize that Jesus Christ will accept them as they are, and forgive them unconditionally, a whole new window opens up to them. They again feel worthy of moving on — worthy of being forgiven — because the Creator of the Universe has forgiven them and has taken a huge burden off their shoulders. A deep desire wells up within them to also seek the forgiveness of others, and to serve others. That is a critical step forward. Through Christ, they gain the strength and a burning desire to seek the forgiveness of others in their life that they have harmed. Surprisingly to them, others who see the change in their demeanor and attitudes are more than happy to forgive them, and that’s a huge relief.
Reintroducing Truth To the Addict’s Life
If there is one thing that is common to all addicts it is that they have become the best of liars — to friends, employers, family and even to themselves. Moreover, they are blame-shifters, never taking responsibility for their own actions. Introducing Christ into their life also means introducing truth, where truth had become lost to them. Most of our staff are former addicts themselves, so they can see through the lies of the residents. Truth and transparency become a pivotal focus from this point forward, often taught with tough love, but always approached with acceptance, understanding and care. Eventually, the addict or alcoholic realizes that the only way to live is to put away their constant lies and approach life from the truth, with the help of Christ.
Christ is the “Sponsor”… the Church is the Meeting Place
In most rehab programs, and in the 12-Step model, a sponsor (another former addict who will hold the individual accountable) is needed for the remainder of the addict’s life to keep them from relapsing, along with regular (once or twice a week) AA or NA meetings. However, in our program, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit becomes the former addict’s “Sponsor,” along with the support of a family of like-minded believers in a local church. The Church provides the regular fellowship needed to keep the former addict in line. This family-friendly model continues to build up the individual. Rather than attending AA or NA meetings for the remainder of their life, our graduates attend a church, with friends and family. They can move forward in life, rather than constantly being brought back to their difficult past or told that they have a lifelong “disease.”
Change Doesn’t Really Sink in Unless it is Lived
After several months, residents in our program are clean from drugs and alcohol, straight with God, and curbing their lying to themselves and others. But they still need a new path forward and a plan or they could fall right back into their old ways. The program, therefore, shifts toward introducing new positive elements into their life, including service, compassion, vocation and a strong work ethic. There is still a partial void in the former addict’s life having to do with their future and their purpose in life. So, several months of hard work needs to happen. Confidence, poise and a healthy vocation must be created for them, and gradually moving outside of the protected, drug-free environment in our facility. Service work to the community teaches the resident humility and yet it is fulfilling to them to produce something each day, no matter how menial. The work is initially done in groups, with each member of the group watching out for the others, all the while testing their own resolve to stay clean and to hold each other accountable. Menial work gradually shifts to a focus on finding a fulfilling vocation that the former addict can successfully move into after graduating, if they had none previously. We help them get launched in that new vocation.
How Do We Charge So Little?
Teen Challenge programs are supported by the community and recoup only a small part of their cost from the tuition that is charged. We have nearly 60 years of evidence that this model works, so the community gets behind us. We are very successful at transforming individuals who were once enslaved by addiction into vibrant, productive and peaceful individuals who care for others. The community is therefore very grateful!
In a Teen Challenge Outcomes Study by The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
- 92% of graduates reported good to excellent health a year later.
- 86% reported they were drug-free a year later.
- 72% of the graduates continued their education upon completion of the program.
- 75% of the graduates were employed a year later, with 73% being fully self-supported by earning their own salary.
Compare these numbers with statistics of most other short-term rehabs, which are typically in the single digits!
- Legal Trouble?
We do accept individuals who have been in trouble with the law or are in jail. Courts have allowed addicts time here in lieu of jail, because they know how effective our program can be to completely change hearts and lives.
- Personal Growth
We help the addict sprout new leafs and grow a new life, free of addiction and the pain that led them to their addiction. We are all about planting the seeds of new life and helping the individual grow into a new creature in Christ.
- Vocationally Focused
We teach humility, care, trustworthiness and the traits of a good worker. We help the former addict find a new vocation and rebuild their future. Having a strong future plan keeps the individual excited about life and self-supporting.
TEEN PROGRAM TESTIMONIES (BOYS AND PARENTS)
“Our son just completed the program on 7/1/17. We can’t begin to express how grateful we are for New Adventure and how it has impacted not only our son’s life but ours as well. He began there as an addict who was defiant and angry. He left as a kind, thoughtful young man with a purpose of pursuing God. We knew that only with God’s help would he be able to turn his life around, so we searched for a Christ-centered treatment facility. The love for God and the focus that was placed on God at New Adventure by the staff was far greater than what we could have imagined. We felt the genuineness of God’s love through each staff member. We give God the glory and pray for His blessings and protection on all of you. We thank you and the entire staff at New Adventure for the difference you have made in our son’s life.”
— Parents of New Adventure Resident
Reid started doing drugs at age 13. It didn’t take long for things to start to fall apart in his life. By age 16, things were so bad with his family and day to day life, that his parents started looking into New Adventure Treatment Center. The first day Reid was supposed to be here, he locked himself in his grandparents’ home and refused to come out. Although several hours late, this family refused to give up and they finally reached New Adventure Treatment Center. Reid completed New Adventure Treatment Center in August of 2015. Before coming to the program, everything in his life was a complete wreck. God has restored it all back to Reid! He has a great relationship with his parents, and is serving Christ wholeheartedly. Reid joined YWAM (Youth With a Mission) in Kansas City after graduating. He is now overseas serving on a mission trip. After his time serving in this ministry, he plans to continue in training and become a missionary to the country of Greece.
— Written by New Adventure Staff
“Peter was doing all manner of drugs, angry and depressed. He was put on suicide watch on one occasion and attempted to destroy himself with an overdose another time. In late January 2013, Peter tested positive for opiates and THC. The following Monday we left him at the New Challenge Treatment center in Morrow, Arkansas. This was one of the more difficult things that we have ever done as parents. But in the long run, the best thing we could have ever done for our son. He had a major turn-around two months into the program and was willing to take responsibility for what he had done and make the necessary changes. Shortly after this he spontaneously wrapped his arms around his father and told him, ‘Thank you for putting me in New Adventure Treatment Center, it saved my life.’ We honestly did not think we would ever hear those words from his mouth, or ever get a hug from him. Today, Peter is attending classes at the local Community College and getting prepared to attend an outdoor leadership training school in preparation for international work. We love having him home and enjoy every day with our son who is almost literally ‘returned to life.’ We are convinced that he would not be where he is today without his time at New Adventure Treatment Center.”
— Brian and Louise H. (parents)
“Okay, so a year ago on this day is when my life changed. The drugs, the partying, the turning up completely stopped. After I arrived at New Adventure Treatment Center, I started adapting to it and saw the love that the staff had for the students and thought this Christianity thing was legit, so I gave it a chance and said Yes. That’s all that God needed for me to do before he came into my life and all the years of searching for this empty void in my heart was finally filled. He saved me. New Adventure Treatment Center saved my life and if I didn’t go there I don’t know where I would be today. Thank the Lord I had a bold Mom and Step-dad who really wanted the best for me and cared about me so much to make this hard decision to send their kid here. I just want to thank God and my parents for saving my life and giving me a new hope and motivation and being drug free.”
“We needed help for our addicted son. We tried everything we knew to do to no avail. The schools kicked him out, wanting nothing to do with him. His anger and aggression were dominating our home and our lives. We lived in fear of him and for him every moment of the day and night. We knew we couldn’t do it without God’s help – but things were getting worse. Our first call to New Adventure Treatment Center rekindled the hope we had that our son could overcome, that God had a plan. Turns out that plan was for us to bring our son to Arkansas – twelve hours away. The entire staff, through the Holy Spirit, ministered to our son over the next eleven months. The Reconnect Weekends helped restore our relationship with our son and helped us prepare to have him reunite with the rest of the family. We now have our son back, the son who was always there – just hidden beneath all the yuck that consumed his life (and ours). The programming works because of the willingness of these special people who allow themselves to be used by God to impact the lives of troubled boys and hurting families. It is a true blessing to have found New Adventure Treatment Center. They will always be a part of our lives.”
— Todd L. (parent)
“My son was struggling and spiraling down into the pit no matter how much love and support I tried to give him. He would try one thing after another, trying to make himself feel better about himself and looking to all the wrong people to connect to. I remember something I would say to him over and over again. I would say, ‘I feel as though I am the only one trying to get you better! You need to begin to try harder than me.’ What I didn’t understand was I could talk and talk, try the same thing over and over, then end up worse than before. At New Adventure Treatment Center, my son has found wonderful, Christian mentors, advisers, confidants. He has been put in a place where change and growing deeper in his relationship with the Lord is encouraged and fully available to him. I have told many people that if my son uses this time God has given to him, it will be the greatest time in his life and we will look back on this knowing that God has caused all things to work for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. God is bringing peace to my son and our home where there has been chaos, comfort where there was much strife.”
— Paul (parent)
“My youngest son was involved in drugs quite heavily; he was cooking meth as well as shooting up and abusing prescription pills, beginning at the age of 14. Ultimately he ended up running away and was subsequently found and detained in juvenile jail. I decided that I could not give him the help he needed, and as hard as it was to admit to myself. I chose to send him to New Adventure Treatment Center. Taking him there was what I considered to be the hardest thing I had ever done. Today, he is not the same boy. I will not say that he is the same person he was before he started using drugs either, because he is so much more now. I used to say thank you profusely to all of the staff at New Adventure Treatment Center for helping him overcome everything, but he has been gone from New Adventure for over a year now and he continues to grow personally as well as spiritually and the New Adventure staff is no longer there. I have come to the conclusion that what New Adventure staff did…saved my child from what was sure to be him being dead or in jail by his 18th Birthday. He turns 19 in exactly one week and I can hardly believe it…for many years I have heard the phrase “All things are possible through Christ”. Now when I hear this or say it myself, I actually believe it. There will never be any words that can express my gratitude to each and every staff member at New Adventure Treatment Center for having the patience to slowly (and I’m sure at times, it was painful for them, because my boy is a very headstrong young man) lead my son back from the dark depths he found himself to be in. But somehow through their leadership and believing, they did!!!! For this, I thank God every day for leading me to New Adventure Treatment Center of Northwest Arkansas!!!”
— Shelli O. (Parent)
Joe was adopted at age two by loving parents who sought to raise him with Christian values, but that didn’t stop him from turning to drugs and delinquency. He was in the 7th grade when he started using drugs. It was at this point that his life started going downhill quickly. As his drug use continued, he grew more and more out of control and frequently ran away from home. Even a near death accident was not enough to cause him to change his life. His drug usage and running away continued. Joe’s parents asked that he be sent to New Adventure Treatment Center. The court order was given and Joe was brought to New Adventure Treatment Center. It took a while for Joe to embrace New Adventure Treatment Center’s help. In fact, he ran away his very first week in the program. Joe tells the story of sitting in the chapel about a week after he was returned to New Adventure Treatment Center. Conviction was heavy on his heart and he knew that something had to change. By the end of that chapel, he was pouring out his heart to God with tears coming down his cheeks. Although Joe’s journey has been filled with difficulty and struggles, he openly shares that God is the only option worth choosing for his life. He knows that he no longer wants the destructive life of drugs that he once had. He wants to follow God with all of his heart. God has done a transforming work in Joe’s life. With God’s help he has learned greater patience and self-control. He has recently began playing the guitar and is already leading public worship and singing praises to God. After completing New Adventure Treatment Center, Joe re-entered public school and has joined the soccer team. He continues a drug-free and full life. This young man’s life has been forever changed by God’s incredible grace.
— Written by New Adventure Staff
Why does God want anything to do with me?” That was the question that Eric struggled with when he thought about all of the things he had done. Eric began using marijuana and pills in middle school. He eventually progressed to the point that he was taking drugs intravenously. His parents placed him in various detox programs and psychiatric facilities in an effort to get him off of drugs. Even though Eric’s dad was a police officer, they were at a loss as far as what to do for their son. Eventually, they made the choice to place Eric at New Adventure Treatment Center. Eric had a difficult beginning at New Adventure Treatment Center. He struggled in this way for the first 3 months of the program. One day, while Eric was sitting in his room, he realized that he was sick of the way he was living. He was tired of hurting his family and of constantly getting into trouble. From that point on, he started going to the chapel services at New Adventure Treatment Center with a different attitude. He started listening to what the speakers were saying, and he began feeling God’s Spirit pulling on his heart. He was done doing things his way. He explains that his way “was stupid.” Eric says that he is now much less selfish. He is hungry to serve and really appreciated the opportunity to help the tornado victims in Joplin, MO. God has done a great work in Eric’s life. Eric says that if he hadn’t come to New Adventure Treatment Center and found the Lord that he would either be in prison or dead today. He is thankful for this new chance at life and especially for his new relationship with God.
— Written by New Adventure Staff
“It was the best decision we have made in our entire life. Our son’s life was saved from destruction on this earth and for eternity. The education was the finest he could have gotten anywhere. He became a self-disciplined student with motivated study habits and finished with a 3.9 GPA. He now has the desire and compassion to serve in his community and church, as well as tutoring and mentoring younger kids.”
— Parent of Former Student
“We had tried everything we could think of for our troubled son — tough love, Christian counseling, traditional church activities, and homeschooling. But all were to no avail. The program taught John self-control, physical work and teamwork, leadership skills and integrity. John received love, discipline, forgiveness, and persistent mentoring from dedicated staff members. It was a God-send for our broken family…restoring our relationship with our son. It is a place of hope, a place of love, and a place of renewal.”
— Parent of Former Student
“New Adventure Treatment Center saved my son and my whole family in the process. I will praise God every day for your work.”
— Parent of Former Student