Trees of Hope: Impact of Minnesota Adult & Teen Challenge's Programs

Ryan Juntti
Updated: December 22, 2019 09:35 PM

Every year thousands of people across the Northland are confronted with the fight against addiction. One group that aims to help those battling addiction is Minnesota Adult & Teen Challenge.


Everyone's path to Minnesota Adult & Teen Challenge is different.

"Before I came into the program, it was almost like I was a hopeless person," Matt, a program participant at Minnesota Adult & Teen Challenge said.

Matt started smoking marijuana when he was just 15 years old. After experimenting with cocaine and ecstasy, he graduated to prescription painkillers, but built up a tolerance, which led him to heroin.

"I would do anything to get it. I really didn't care. I became like a sociopathic individual, and it really destroyed me as a person," Matt said.

He overdosed four times and nearly died. Then he decided enough was enough.

"I came into Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge, and I was lost, I was broken, spiritually, mentally, physically," Matt said. "It was almost as if I was the dealer in a poker game of life, and I kept dealing myself like a losing hand," he added.

With the support of the other men and the staff at Teen Challenge, Matt found a new lease on life.

"Now that Teen Challenge has stepped in, it's as if they're the dealer, and it finally feels like I'm winning for the first time in life," Matt said.

But getting through the program takes a lot of hard work and dedication. Treatment Director Becky Revier stresses it's called "Teen Challenge" and not "teen easy" for a reason. It lasts anywhere from 90 days to 13 months.

"So it's a pretty rigorous program, but what they will find is that they are going to be cared for, supported by both staff and clients," Revier said.

Yet she says the length of the program is the reason 74 percent of participants don't relapse, and 77 percent are employed after graduation. Matt says it changed his life, and now he wants others battling addiction to know it isn't too late to get help.

"It can be avoided, and there's definitely help out there like Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge, and other meetings and organizations and stuff like that," Matt said.


Ryan Juntti

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