So for sake of discussion, let us put aside the falsified statistics TC promotes regarding their success rates etc., (see our blogs for more on that), and we also understand that the length of the program (12-18 months/varies) contributes to these rehab successes as well.
However, the program also lays dangerous pitfalls for personalities that might not fit the proverbial cookie cutout of an optimal student. Teen Challenge employs a negative incentive system that rewards success only in that it lacks penalization. Trust is only given to "students" (henceforth referred to as "indentured followers" or IF's ) who follow in unison with the core belief systems of the TC program. However, we are alarmed at how far into the realm of unethical practices this organization is willing to go when dealing with students who question or respectfully challenge teachings and protocol which is enforced with full rigor.
Here is a tragic, but appropriate analogy to illustrate a dangerous program like Teen Challenge which can legitimately claim having done good in peoples lives, but also has damaged, even ended others. It's far too much risk unless you dismiss the danger completely...
Picture if you will, someone who is lost and hungry in the woods. Eventually he runs across a patch of fresh mushrooms growing in a nearby clearing. Considering his appetite, at a glance it might seem opportune, but with a little more information he knows that it can be a quite subtle difference between the mushrooms that could nourish him and save his life, or the mushrooms that could simply poison and kill him. UNLESS he is an expert or skilled at identifying fungus species, he would be unwise to take his chances and run the risk of being poisoned.
Such are the dangers of the conditioning methods used in Teen Challenge. Teen Challenge openly admits to rejecting medical science in the field of addiction for their own methods, which even by standards of Christianity are to say the least, questionable. This flawed, out-of-scope, and oppressive approach used by Teen Challenge has resulted in HUNDREDS of damaged lives, self-esteem issues, breakdowns, even physiological trauma's caused by both emotional and physical abuses, sexual abuse, rape, coercion, and unethical persuasion. We've actually recently posted the story of a young man who died as a result of Teen Challenge staff deception and negligence. As we receive more and more of these stories every day, it only confirms for us that we cannot rest, and will not stop until things change.
From your writing, I can already deduce that you are intelligent and would be able to adapt to your environment most likely, so fitting in at a Teen Challenge program might be easier for a gentleman with adaptation skills like yourself, as indicated by the fact that you knew you had to "get on their good side" in order to stand a chance of success. Of course our concern is with those who don't have "staff in their pocket" as you put it, at times being made to suffer "consequences" simply because of their differing beliefs.
Religious persecution is a staple of the Teen Challenge program vaguely referenced publicly on their website, stating, "All aspects of the program are mandatory upon enrollment", which includes forced participation in religious ceremonies and worship, which is NOT disclosed before enrollment, despite the quite commonly vague disclosure of the "Biblical Aspect" of the program. As Christians, this might at a glance seem great, but Jesus taught otherwise altogether, and would certainly be appalled at the terrible things that have been done to students by the staff
Tolerance of other religious beliefs and faiths is viewed by many, if not most radical Christian Evangelicals (Teen Challenge denomination category) as a compromise and corruption of their own beliefs, challenging the faith that they place in the sacred infallibility of their teachings, similar to certain radical muslim sects. Though few would publicly ever admit it, most radical Christians, hold a very intolerant view of any other faith, citing Jesus in the New Testament stating, "There is no way to the Father, but by me." To provide an example of this kind of thinking in action, one of Teen Challenge's top executives once publicly referred to Jews as "incomplete", later explaining that he had been referring to their lack of belief in the divinity of Jesus. These are different words for the same intolerant attitude seen exhibited by Westboro Baptist Church in their public rallies against Jews and Homosexuals.
Teen Challenge programs, though a network of independent chapters, are all united as official branches of the whole, and follow a universal protocol prolonged and repetitive IF exposure to enforced methodology, re-framing and micro-management that correlates with most, if not all red flags in the identification of a "CULT", summarizing that it has a pattern of employing subversive conditioning and programming methods, along with creating negative incentive for skeptical inquiry, and strategically cutting off outside input. IF's are not allowed any communication with the world outside their TC facility, barring vulnerable minors from contacting parents and immediate family, until they have earned the "trust" of staff, by reciprocating their intended agenda.
These are trademark psychological practices used for decades by cult leaders and manipulative organizations to fully control not only their followers (or IF's) actions and abilities, but to also control information that the IF receives. In doing so, they are able to eventually break down the IF's independent thought process, if by no means other than illusion, in order to manipulate and reframe the IF's thinking and core beliefs. Again, these methods are nothing new, considered substandard to therapeutic psychological re-framing methods, and have long been deemed unethical by the Hippocratic standards of the medical community.
Maybe that sounds a little bit intense for what you've experienced, but you might feel differently if you could see the emails that we receive every day from those who have been pushed through the programming and conditioning.
Thanks for sharing your experience by the way, and I hope this explanation helps. We are paddling hard against droves and droves of misinformation spread by TC over the years so we're not surprised when people tell us that the information we are sharing is nothing they have ever heard before.
If you read our blogs, it also might help you better understand why we "Speak Out Against Teen Challenge". If you have any other questions/comments please ask! As a testament to your success story, don't let the end justify the means. We encourage you to stand up and join us in speaking out against the abuse that so many have gone through and are going through now.