The following comments, testimonials and constructive input are in response to questions asked of clients in a survey upon successful completion of our program.
What did you like about the Program? 12-mo post discharge
If I hadn't attended your program, I would have done straight time in prison.
MN Alt was a great experience; I've recommended the program to others. Thank You!
You all did a wonderful job.
My time at MN Alt was very informative, supportive and effective.
Love your program - God Bless!
This treatment "cerebral" really worked for me - "why" things work the way they do.
Just say no?
I'm thankful for the opportunity to go to aftercare. I feel more hopeful.
Thanks for being there when I needed you.
People just need to take a look within themselves. He describes his use as 'medicinal' not social.
Life is going great now; I still have my driver's license.
I am very happy with everyone at MN Alt. Whenever I call I get to talk with someone and am offered advice and technical help with my personal life, even though I've graduated. I will always be grateful for the life changing help I received at MN Alt. I am proud to be a part of such a great program.
I've sent a few people to MN Alternatives. You have a unique look at the disease and I love the 1:1 attention.
The time I was at MN Alternatives was a wonderful experience. I miss the people from Tuesday PM group. I would like to come back sometime for LTS.
Would like to return for long term support.
I feel more understanding towards my family now.
My life has turned around for the positive - started a new business, bought a house, got married, had a baby!
Finished my 2 year degree in forestry!
Life is going good!
I had a wonderful experience at MN Alternatives. I learned many, many things that I have implemented in my life and use every day.
I would return to MN Alternatives anytime I need help in the future.
I miss the staff and clients.
How can the program improve 12-mo post discharge
I think about MN Alt. In AA they teach us that we can't use at all. I didn't like that at MN Alt - I was asked to sign a contract that I would only drink a certain amount. Abstinence is the only way for me.
What did you like about the Program? 2015
Learning how to be aware of emotions I'm feeling and deal with certain situations.
Great program! Laid back, knowledgeable, understanding, friendly.
Meditation, group, counselors, different approach, tailored to individual needs, non-condemning.
Learning coping mechanisms.
I liked the goal setting/integration skills. The staff was very helpful with me dealing with this situation in my life.
Discovery of Myself - Body & Mind
Harm reduction works! No judgment, safety and honesty.
MN Alt is as good as it gets I like the focus on the brain and what was happening instead of I have a problem etc….
Overall, the program is just what is described in Effective Addiction Treatment: The Minnesota Alternative. It is what I hoped it would be.
I really appreciate the counselors who were able to disclose bits and pieces of their personal lives when relevant. It was instrumental in my learning and implementing life skills into my own life. I don't just know it now…I GOT IT! Thank you. I liked the small classroom/group atmosphere, learning new life skills, meditation.
The honesty of the other program participants.
Susan is AMAZING!! person-centered program!!! Monday night group is wonderful; tight knit group.
Loved Elizabeth! Also awesome peers/clients.
Grateful for the experience. The vast all around support from peers and staff. The different and unique approach to chemical dependency. You address many issues from anger management, domestic abuse as well as chemical dependency. The learning assignments kept challenging me as I learned new words and methods to counter think the consequences of a reoccurrence or relapse!
Megan was great and very helpful. I connected with her right away and was able to open up. The skills and handouts were very informative/educational and I use them frequently.
The staff cared about my problem and showed me how to work my skills and other ways to deal with my drug use.
How can the program improve 2015
Not letting people relapse so many times because then they think it's okay to relapse.
In one-on-one and group discussions, I suggest that staff try to be more respectfully judgmental than respectfully nonjudgmental.
More information on meditation.
In groups, more control and less crosstalk.
Other sites around the cities.
For me, cognitive behavior therapy is helpful. So more of that the better.
What did you like about the Program? 2014
Learning emotional skills and how to use them in my daily life, getting counselor insight and peer feedback.
I like everything about this program!
I loved the skills we leaned and use. I love the Monday night group - It has been my safe place to fully express myself and get feedback. The Monday group has been life altering as has the whole program. I love my counselor - she has been a wonderful asset for me.
The casual, caring attitude of all
The use of skills, meditation and group process.
It gave me the freedom to look into myself and find out what was really going on. I found my strength, my peace, myself. Thank you!
Love the people.
I loved learning the skills. I liked that the counselors weren't judgmental or narrow-minded. I liked that they worked with me to help me set goals that worked for ME. I liked not having to label myself (i.e. I'm an alcoholic) I liked that we got to work on more than just substance abuse "full service treatment".
This was my first experience with "treatment" and I'm so grateful that Dr. Willenbring recommended MN Alternatives - I can't even imagine how I would have fared had I been relegated to one of the in-patient programs that many of my fellow classmates had already been to. Thank you for your program and believing in me!
Scientific presentations, non-judgmental approach. Jill - outstanding counselor and EMDR
I had never been to a treatment program before so everything is new to me. This program seemed to be very individualized and catered to each and every person in a special way to help them through whatever their issue was.
Very customized for each client.
I really like that there was a place for me that I wasn't judged and I can be honest about my slips. No pressure , no shame or guilt. I was being encouraged to change not demanded to change. I liked the cheese and crackers.
Availability, convenience, staff and open groups.
This program works and addresses the core reason people abuse alcohol and drugs.
I loved the skills I learned, the sharing in group, I learned so much and really enjoyed working with Susan. She provided me honest feedback and really helped me and my family. HARM reduction really worked good for me and is what I will continue to practice.
I enjoyed the counselors, group discussions and learning about different skills. Always felt comfortable.
"you guys are the best!" others in the program I can relate to, I like being able to vent - we know him better than anybody and we don't judge him.
Met me on my own level and even though I did fall a few times y'all still worked with me to the end. Usually for me it feels like either you make it or you don't. Also keeping note of my use has made me very aware of how it affects me and my life.
Was never judged, taught me real useful tools. Educated me with useful information. Supported me, didn't give up on me, taught me to believe in myself and that I'm capable.
Todd was a "kick"! The harm reduction philosophy and the non-judgmental attitude.
Friendly, informative, welcoming and fun, small groups.
Personalized treatment plans, development of life skills, personability of staff, support with anything you need, freedom to express self without judgment, extended peer support after graduation, SNACKS!!! & COFFEE
I love all the staff here and have learned about the skill and put them to use. This has been the best program that I've been through!
Customized approach, teaching aspect - scientific & skills based. The men's group is great.
The comprehensive approach of bio-behavioral skills training, meditation and group therapy. Very helpful and friendly therapists.
Just sitting in a relaxed environment able to talk about what I want, Meditation.
I feel comfortable and safe.
It's all new to me, not the same old Step 1-2-3 see ya bye. I learned a lot of skills to take home learned a lot about myself & others. Holding each other accountable, group talks, meditaiton. My family has also been a big part of helping. I really enjoyed staff's help and advice and what you've taught me.
I liked the skills that were put in front of me. It really put my life into perspective. The skills I was lacking in improved and the program is to thank for this! I really liked the collage thing we did around our life goals. TED talks, self-reflection videos, meditation, process group, skills.
not dwelling on "Uses" rather than relapses.
Staff, clients, couches, lunch (most of the time)
Holistic approach to treatment, Openness and acceptance of everyone, meditation, Acknowledgement that everyone and different & requires individual plans.
I enjoyed learning the skills and discussing how others used them. I enjoyed group discussions and specifically how others dealt with risks. I was surprised at the importance of meditation. And the evening program fits with my busy life.
easier to accept and get into the program compared to AA.
Just being able to be open and just say how you feel about your situation.
Person – Centered; Helping me understand and cope with everyday problems and issues without drugs or alcohol. Support & Understanding + non judgmental/non punitive
Changing the way I think
The counselors & the mindfulness
coming up with my own goals and plan.
This program let me go at my own pace. Everyone working here is really sincere and willing to help me where I'm at.
I enjoyed process group. Gaining feedback from my peers is very helpful in my recovery process.
It made me assess my life and decisions related to drinking and driving, and actually the place alcohol holds in my life.
I like that this program is not "One size fits All". I was able to be in charge of making up my own recovery plan. I really enjoyed the education of how the brain works and methods of change.I believe the tools we have practiced are a great help to me controlling many aspects of my life and not just the drinking.
Free to be open and honest. Counselors are open-minded. Program's flexibility for work schedule and court.
How can the program improve 2014
It would be cool if there were specific days where only people who really wanted to work on "bettering" themselves were there. Court-ordered people sometimes change the milieu for the worse.
Bring back the education part. Rotate what happens each day of the week (i.e. Thursday was always skills chart and for those that came only that day it was repetitive)
Get a receptionist. Have someone answer the phone.
Less meditation. No meditation.
More male counselors.
Longer meditation and maybe more and or regular 1:1 sessions.
Stay on skills topic and not get diverted.
Learning more about why your brain thinks the way it does under the influence of alcohol.
Shorter/more group-oriented skills activities.
More skill sheets.
More variety in skills (TED talks, games, revision of some skills sheets with new examples/facts/stories)
Disappointed in LC's exit - I like him as a counselor.
Providing more guidelines/regulation during process.
Bring back the education part; IE: Why do we become addicts, Why people go overboard, etc Brain stuff; too much abstract concepts; more focus on the biological facts
Require clients to participate/speak more
more variety in group content.
What did you like about the Program? 2013
Quality of facilitation from Kelley and Krissa. Educational pieces were very helpful.
New ways of looking at the same issues around my alcohol use. Learning how the brain reacts. The counselors and Paula showing they care about each person. Honesty for the most part.
Openness, knowledge, health Issues.
Chinese Food; like having a meal together
Very informative, everyone works their own program, very caring staff to everyone - they recognize each individual.
having the ability to break down certain aspects of my use and find a healthier way to maintain a healthier lifestyle.
Focus on setting individual goals and steps to achieving them. Tools/learnings/skills each week and individual counseling.
The vibe, the counselors. The laid back approach as well as the Harm Reduction.
Very cool staff, great atmosphere.
Staff, therapeutic approach, acceptance. Learning about myself and how my brain works.
Continue accepting those wounded in Spirit. Continue to be understanding and Blissful.
Very comfortable in class. Nice model for recovery. Learned new healthy ways to work through things. Great and understanding instructors, able to be honest with class about what is going on in my life. Learned to look at things differently.
Staff, chats etc.. neat and clear program.
Flexibility and individualized/specific to me and my goals.
Alternative ways to deal with urges/cravings/anxiety with real caring.
Comfort. I was able to open up and identify my skills.
I liked all of the other people and input others had to offer. Doing things at your own pace and comfort level, being given all the skills needed to make it outside of the treatment program.
Thank you Kelley for listening & helping me discover my feelings and talking about it. Thanks to the group too for helping me.
Non-judgmental, non-shaming. Not being "classified". Meditation, science behind addiction, **group**
Easier to accept this program than a traditional 12-step approach. Not having 12-steps & God shoved down your throat.
The staff/program is open to change as new information is discovered (unlike AA).
Learning skills and how to put them into practice/how they relate to my life; comprehensive approach
Client-focused program (full service treatment); very individualized; meet me on my own level; coming up with my own goals and plan; I can go at my own pace, acknowledgment that everyone is different & requires an individual plan. Utilizing the Skills in everyday life.
Getting counselor and peer feedback. Safe place to express myself. Able to vent without judgment; being held accountable; like the check-ins
Everything! All the genuine people, I love that it's Real Life, education about body, mind and self-care.
Relaxed environment, reiki & meditation; like the changes of rooms throughout the day
You guys are the Best! Great program. Cool staff, great atmosphere; Staff are always in a good mood and seem to really like their jobs.
I like being about to come and visit with the other ladies. Some "Me" time with people in the same shoes.
The majority of clients think that the program is perfect just the way it is; Love the HARM reduction approach; this program offers more than expected. Best program I have ever been in.
Availability, convenience, open groups, staff. It works for me because I want to come here and look forward to it.
Casual, caring attitude of all staff; welcoming and fun; friendly; sincere and willing; open-minded.
Excited about our peer program! Small groups
The staff is extremely nice - they care about helping us stay sober. I love the meditation and other tools to help me maintain my sobriety. The massage is awesome! First time I have seen a massage therapist in a treatment program. The Minnesota key skills list is a very good tool that I will use the rest of my life to help exercise my sobriety.
Physically and mentally satisfying.
Awesome staff, caring, respectful, pleasant and easy to talk to, good listeners, great advice, calming environment.
The open-minded counselors, affirmation of thought process, meditation and mindfulness.
Not All-or-Nothing. Flexible, kind and caring.
The staff/program is open to change as new information is discovered (unlike AA).
Modern, scientific "Alternative" approach. Love the Ted Talks/self reflection videos
Taught me how to deal with my problems without looking for a Higher Power.
How can the program improve 2013
Possibly nutrition classes and specifics about taking care of yourself.
Some staff could use a better sense of humor.
Phone calls answered by a "live" person; calls returned promptly.
More one on ones with counselors.
More Women's groups.
Better orientation for new people as how the day will unfold.
More focus during group sessions - sometimes we run off-topic.
Would like weekend hours.
Provide more locations; expansion, move to Ramsey County.
More options for group sessions; ideally treatment groups based on type of abuse.
More handouts/worksheets ahead of time.
Better temperature control in building; more classes outside
Staff could be better with technology
Day length is too long.
too many abstract concepts.
What did you like about the Program? 2012
Small group size, staff is very responsive returning voicemails
Paula Rocks! Group is good for venting and getting feedback. gives piece of mind when I'm in group.
The counselors have the ability to draw you out and bring an honesty which brings progress and builds trust. Staff and clients very supportive.
It is open-minded to more than one perspective or way of thinking when it comes to addiction.
So much different than others! Great staff, easy going, one-on-one care in addition to group, LUNCH! Good value for the cost.
Giving me choices and a sense of control. Welcome change from 12-step.
I like the approach that we can be in control of how we react to what is fed to our brains.
Breathing, check-ins, meditation, learning about the Brain.
Social aspect, support, non-judgmental.
The relaxness of the programs that allows you to go at your own pace.
I enjoyed the freedom, the space for truth that is available. I felt listened to respectfully and Krissa was very compassionate.
Small classes, friendly atmosphere. Nice way to look at dependency.
Very flexible, Holistic nature and approach. Small groups a plus; very supportive and non-threatening. MN Alternatives made sense to me.
Flexibility, variety, the part that is NOT the 12-Steps. Reiki, meditation calms my state of mind.
Staff creates a healthy environment by having open groups/check in.
Harm reduction, skills, study of the Brain, staff.
I liked the methodology of this program and approach taken. I loved the feeling of being able to talk comfortably with staff & peers without having to lie.
Breathing and meditation! This program is very relaxed. I love it!
The Alternative Approach & flexible treatment plans with ties to Greater Twin Cities area recovery resources.
Everyone listens. There is an obvious level of care not only for all clients but also for your job and what you are doing here helping us. I greatly appreciate that. Not many people show care & support like here at MN Alternatives.
The ability to be honest, that you meet me where I'm at, staff as advocates - knowing that you don't look down on me and that you are on my team.
The openness, the outlooks from other people, the focus not just on drug use but how to cope with it in life. The friendliness.
I loved the interaction with others walking in my shoes. The staff was so easy to get along with and helpful! This is exactly what I was looking for!
Program diversity, non-judgmental, meditation and breathing exercises.
New ideas, openness, kindness, acceptance, competence, laid back.
Program is effective because of the ability to be honest and speak freely. I felt that I was listened to. Staff's willingness to help was outstanding. Personally meditation and skills were key for me. They gave me something to change my life that worked. I've been through other programs and felt good about myself but never given skills to really help me make changes.
Learning new ways to deal with problems.
The scientific education is Fact - not opinions or "ideas & interpretation" of the Big Book & 12-steps. "Start where you Are". More authentic for a client to come to the realization themselves, whatever that may be - with facilitation of the Program.
Nice to know that there's a place for everybody; not the traditional 12-step program.
The group check in/sharing stories, hearing about other's problems & it make mine seem not so big.
This program helped me make better decisions and helped get me through tough times.
Variety of initiates, meditative skills/techniques. Daily Meditation helps with my anxiety.
Focus on positivity, depression and anxiety. Brain education. Meditation.
The people and staff are really great at communications and work so well with individuals. The staff are like friends you can't find who can support you and help you rediscover abilities and the ways to become confident and successful.
The payment was easy going and flexible with or without insurance. the hospitality is just so welcoming it feels like home and it's so comfortable here.
How can the program improve 2012
More focus on use and behaviors involved with it. More open talking about why people are here and what they may need to maintain sobriety.
More structure for the skills and lecture rotation to avoid repetitiveness.
Hold people more accountable.
Check-in takes too long.
Graduations take too long and takes away from education and meditation components.
The group should start on time - some people were coming and going when they pleased.
Spend more time with check-ins.
Stricter phone rules (no phones or gaming/texting) and attention from participants.
Hold people more accountable. (goals)
More science/psychology. More activities.
Didn't like learning about the brain but I can deal with that.
Doing UA's on people who come to group high or fall asleep in group.
More meditation. More informational videos.
Limit other clients for suggesting therapy
Have split groups (some people need help in different areas)
Open more treatment centers around the city (south suburbs)
Encourage more participation/discussion.
I often feel clueless as to what to do the first few weeks to stop my substance abuse; perhaps explain the steps to quitting (vaguely) the first week of admission.
More outdoor activities.
Expand either building size or add new locations. Teach program to other local treatment centers.