Operating under the umbrella of the Teen Challenge of New England and New Jersey organization, Massachusetts Teen Challenge is a faith based, long-term residential substance abuse treatment program for men with two locations in the Boston area, Dorchester and Brockton. These programs have been in operation for over 50 years and offer men 18 years of age and older a highly structured environment in which is free themselves of addiction through drug counseling and Christian values.
Accommodations and Food
The Dorchester facility is a five bedroom, three bath home in a quiet, residential neighborhood, while the Brockton facility has less of a home appeal and is more of a multipurpose building with four bedrooms and two bathrooms. This residence has a dorm-style sleeping arrangement, while the Dorchester house generally has shared bedrooms between two or three clients.
The Brockton facility operates as the headquarters of the Boston Teen Challenge area, and in addition to the residential quarters, also has classrooms, therapy rooms, an on-site gym, laundry facilities, kitchen and large auditorium that is utilized for many other functions, like meetings and worship. There is space on the property for clients to play basketball and softball, and frequently attend outside social events. The Dorchester facility has a large kitchen, living room and several shared common areas.
The food is all on donation and clients are responsible for preparing meals for themselves and other residents.
Treatment and Staff
Both the men’s programs are between 15 and 21 months, which is slightly longer than other programs offered through Teen Challenge. The treatment is mainly based on the Bible and Christian beliefs, and uses education and vocational training. The treatments are referred to as holistic, which in other treatment facilities may have a different connotation, but at Teen Challenge it refers to focusing on the clients mind, body and spirit and changing old ideas of what a healthy life looks like. During the first two weeks of treatment clients aren’t to communicate with loved ones as a way to get used to the schedule and structure of the program, but are able to write letters after that initial time period. Clients aren’t allowed to bring in personal devices, like cell phone or tablets.
The programs are based on a six-step phase system that emphasizes behavior modification practices. The first phase requires clients to recognize their addictive and destructive behaviors and discuss what lead them down a path of substance abuse. During the next phase the clients begin to repair broken relationships with family members and friends, and the third phase is where clients work on their self-esteems by focusing on their personal strengths and accomplishments.
The fourth phase is aftercare planning, relapse prevention and coping skills, and working on finishing any educational goals, like the GED. During this stage clients may also work with staff to move into a sober living facility. The final two stages are designed for those who have to return to the program due to relapse or repeating old habits. These particular stages are fairly rare in the Teen Challenge programs.
The staff is comprised of counselors who work within the church rather than as addiction specialists. There are also several staff members who are former clients themselves.
During all the stages of treatment clients also participate in the church choir and volunteering efforts in the surrounding communities like local food banks, or participating in one of the business’s that this foundation supports, like the thrift shop, catering company and construction company.
Teen Challenge is a widely known organization, and may not be for everyone due to its strictly Christian faith-based approach to addiction recovery. However, for men who are already committed to this type of spirituality and comfortable making that the cornerstone of their treatment regimen, this program could be highly effective.
Massachusetts Teen Challenge
1315 Main St
Brockton, MA 02301
Massachusetts Teen Challenge Cost: $3,000 (30 days though often clients are only responsible for $500, or finding sponsors). Reach Massachusetts Teen Challenge by phone at (508) 586-1494. Find Massachusetts Teen Challenge on Facebook
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