Trees of Hope: Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge
It’s been said that faith can move mountains.
A drug or alcohol addiction can seem like an immovable mountain to anyone in it’s grip. Addiction is an ugly path. But here in Duluth there is a way out that many have found.
The downtown Duluth building on Lake Avenue and 2nd Street looks quite unassuming on the outside. But it’s what takes place inside that makes it remarkable.
“A lot of these guys when they first step in, they don’t have faith that they can do anything,” Clinton Strother said. “They don’t have faith that change can happen.”
But change does happen, remarkable transformations happen. Many describe it as nothing short of miraculous.
“We see miracles that a lot of people don’t see,” Becky Revier said with joy in her eyes.
Revier treatment director at Minnesota adult and teen challenge in Duluth. She’s involved in their licensed treatment program, the professional counseling, and the residential recovery program.
The other critical part of the recovery programs that Clinton Strother is in charge of however, is the choir.
“The choir is a direct reflection that through Christ, all things are possible and that is how change is going to come, Strother said.”
Teen Challenge is unapologetically a faith-based recovery program and the choir is a critical part of it. Yes, the choir.
“Singing in a choir is very evidence based,” Revier said. “It’s effective for your mental health, it’s affective for addictions, for a feeling of a connection. And so oftentimes when the guys come into the program, many of them don’t even know that they can sing.”
Addiction is: Continuously pursuing an activity despite the physical or psychological harm it brings. Addiction is a habit, a repeated pattern that becomes a destructive norm. Revier says the choir helps break up harmful patterns.
She says treatment programs at Teen Challenge are conducted in an environment of trust, respect and love to uncover the root causes of each clients’ addictive tendencies. Then Revier says new, healthy patterns are built-in to replace old destructive ones.
“We see men come in completely broken and the choir really is part of that transformation process,” Revier said. “People think the choir is something secondary, but now it’s part of that treatment process and it’s incredible, absolutely incredible watching the guys’ transformation.”
Strother agrees. “I’m kind of a tough choir director,” he said. “But I know that what they do can change and transform their lives and that they never have to go back. All they have to do is press in and have faith that that they can do it.”
Revier says the men’s lives are flipped back onto a healthy path, physically, mentally and even spiritually. “And so all of a sudden, instead of being part of the epidemic, they’re part of the solution. How powerful!”
Most of the clients who come to the Duluth Teen challenge campus come from northern Minnesota, and their success rate is astounding.
“20 of our 54 staff here are graduates of this program,” Revier said. “That’s unheard of.”
“It’s all about change,” Strother said. “It’s about moving forward and making a difference not only in these guys lives, but in the lives of people all around them.”
The choir director said he’s been changed too. “It’s transformed me because I get to see the change in these men’s lives. And the greatest thing is that I get to be a part of it, I get to be a part of the transformation. And it’s all because Teen Challenge is here and it offers these men a glimmer of hope.”
The northland campus of Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge offers recovery options and residential programs for adult men, and outpatient options for both men and women. If you know someone who needs help and want more information about the Duluth campus, click here.