Listen: Michelle Dunbar, Mark Sheeran, Baldwin Research Group discussed on The Addicted Mind Podcast
"Click join answer a few questions and and we can continue the conversation there as well. All right we are onto episodes seventy eight and our guest today is Mark Sheeran. He ran and Michelle Dunbar of the Baldwin Research Group and they are going to talk about their non twelve step non disease model of addiction treatment called the freedom model title and I really enjoyed our conversation. I love hearing from other people about their different thoughts about addiction and addiction treatment event. Now in doing this episode. There is definitely some things that I wholeheartedly agree with both mark and Michelle and there are other parts of the two that I really have to do some thinking about and contemplating on but I love having thought provoking interviews and really hearing. Different perspectives gives about addiction. So I really enjoyed doing this episode and really enjoyed our conversation and I think you guys will enjoy it as well all so with that said. Let's go ahead and start this episode. L. Everyone welcome to the addicted. Mind podcast my my guest today is mark Sheeran and Michelle Dunbar and we're gonNA talk about the freedom model though you guys won't introduce yourself chart. I'm Mark Sharon Iran and I'm the chairman of Baldwin Research and also one of the co-authors of the freedom model. I also co founded the Saint Jude retreat. which is where are we? Teach the freedom model show and I'm Michelle Dunbar. And I'm one of the co-authors in the data model and most of the Executive Director Balden Research. I'm the director of our retreat and I teach the program as well. Yes awesome great so tell me a little bit about you guys and how you came to addiction work and doing this work okay. Well off. We'll start with me. I'm fifty years old. And while forty nine close yeah and thirty years ago when I was nineteen gene got into a pretty serious driving accident and I made the determination that I needed to change my life which I did do and then I was mandated into treatment. And I disagreed with what. They're teaching me A- vehemently. I said I'm not forever going to be an alcoholic. I don't drink anymore and I had such a bad experience in treatment that I said there's got to be a better way and after I got out of treatment eighteen months later I said I'm going to figure out a better way for people and and within a year I had coined the phrase non twelve step. So that's where that whole idea. Culturally came from. Was this at that point. Nineteen turning twenty eight year old kid saying there has to be a better way well. There wasn't a better way back in nineteen eighty nine. There was no other form of there was no alternative to the twelve steps or rehab or treatment so I went through twelve year period of research. In that time I met Michelle as well and we did the research together her over a period of twelve years long with some other people Jerry Brown who was my research mentor and we developed the skeleton of. What is today? The freedom model than the subsequent years perfected that into the free bottle and published all the data that we collected over the last thirty years helping thousands of people who thank you for sure and all of that Michelle. Tell me a little bit about you. Actually I right around the same time period. I'm a little older. I'm fifty one and actually early fifty one and a half now because no member and my mark. My father in a inmates nate was net. Eighty nine eighty eighty nine and I was still very much of drinking and drug and partying pretty hard. But I did go to my father for help. I was twenty me too and but I could joining for a few days. I actually experienced withdrawal symptoms. I was drinking now heavily off for about the last six months of my drinking and and my dad was had been sober for about ten years and he was he was in a but he was already kind of a heretic because he win Gel bigly alcoholic and it was a weird like from a young age. I was told I was going to be an alcoholic by drag and then all of a sudden he did a one eighty on me and he was saying how there's no the thing is an alcoholic and and my was not you know what I was intrigued. And he had a bunch of young guys that he was working and I didn't realize he was doing. Research unknowingly became one of the only female research subjects and his research project and when he told it was. You don't have a disease. You're not powerless. You weren't born into this. This is a temporary problem and you can be okay man. I'd never heard that before. I worked on a school for psychology and I learned everything you could ever learn about addiction. It was trying to fix myself and I watched my grandmother die of cancer. Canceling knew the difference. You know I knew that. There was a behavioral issue. There wasn't a you know a pathological issue and so that you know I over the last I. I kind of moved on with my life. I did a for a while but we were always heretics you know we were always telling people that could be okay and we really really get tried to change it from within. I think mean more than they did on so I you know it went to seven years of meetings sponsored hundreds of women and the research we really trying to figure out what parts of the program work on and we wanted it to work. We wanted to figure that out and you know after you know twenty years or so now actually was he now. Lungs twelve to fifteen years ended up throwing everything out on and that was really when we began to develop a program that works on on and we were just working with people at the retreat. One unwind on all that time and that's our freedom model developed awesome so you had the experience with twelfth step and it really didn't fit for you guys. It didn't feel right. You didn't like this isn't working. And Kinda said wait a minute but seven years is a long time so it sounds like you really dug in and said wait a minute. There's something not right about this or there's something more out there or this isn't working. Why thank that? We both came from heavy heavy heavy heavy a background both of our families were steeped in in treatment and a a and so. That's where the research it's really began with. The children was as kids and then and that when I said I twelve years out of the thirty that we've been studying this was spent in a a trying desperately to make it work and become more effective but we were heretics at the same time. So there's this real horrendous dichotomy because we're a says you you basically never get over the problem we were saying. Of course you do we had and so we were. I went to over three thousand eight meetings and basically as as a member in the beginning then as a skeptical member then as a researcher and then as a researcher that was fairly anti got some point where I said you know. None of what they're saying is true. When I learned the history when I really understood the facts and you know I love day I mean we hearted there but the facts are the facts? Are The facts accent a researcher when you look at the facts you find out that the disease is bunk is simply is not true. It's factually incorrect. It's misinformed and that people do in fact move on over ninety percent of drug addicts or people with a heavy substance use problem move past it as you factor in age so as we get older we get over the problem whether you treated treated or not you know they ignore this huge elephant in the room that people get over the problem so treatment isn't necessary contrary to popular belief and so that's a huge part of the freedom that you have to undo the mythology so that you can become free and move on yes you don't tied into recovery right so that's very different from. I'm the twelve step model where they're saying. Look you're an addict for life. This is what you have to do. This is what you have to experience. And that's never gonNA change correct and for young people and a lot of the research for stunned around young people and you know so as a twenty two year old and a and a nineteen year old and the idea that I was going to have to struggle forever and I watched my grandfather do it. My grandmother died in Withdrawal FM alcohol. I mean we have a longlining Irish jokes in my family and you know I watched him struggle. You put together years of sobriety and I thought I back can't be me. There's there's no way I'm GonNa live you know Joe I'm sixty years old doing this right. What would you say to the people out there who say you know what twelve step really helped? It's me I really got a lot of support and I really value twelve step. Well I think that it becomes a valuable paradigm for certain people serve people need it as a social social club. They needed as a place to go where they feel special where they feel. If you believe you're an alcoholic or an addict it fits right. It fits there's a whole structure around being a special alcoholic and I don't say that in a way that I went to three thousand. Aa Remember. Numbers I was deeply entrenched member so I understand that side of the fence completely. I enjoyed the distraction that a provided to life enjoyed the fact that I can go and speak with like minded people but eventually it wore itself out Sunday so and it does for most people. That's the membership obey is stayed. I'm pretty it hasn't grown a long time. It stayed pretty stagnant. Which means are and when you think of how many people are mandated into it like through the court it systems and from treatment programs? Then you know that lot whole lot of people don't stick out on Francis stay pretty sad. It's actually shrinking a little bit. Yeah it's been on a downward cycle all now for fifteen years. Yeah and you know when I look at it like you know no in the history of twelve stop where it came out of a religious paradigm and I think the saddest part is that people who are struggling at the time in the thirties. When twelve step was formed the medical community shun them as moral deviance and so all these people who wanted help created their own system to do it unfortunately it was untied to medical research and there was a lot of stuff in it that came out of the religious community of how to change and how to make change? And I think that stayed with it but I do. Do you think it is changing.."