The Seven Challenges

The Seven Challenges®, which is listed on SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices.

Challenging ourselves to make wise decisions about alcohol and other drugs 

The Seven Challenges Program is designed for adolescent substance abusing or substance dependent individuals, to motivate a decision and commitment to change. It helps young people look at themselves, understand what it takes to give up a drug abusing lifestyle—and prepare for and attain success when they commit to making changes.

  1. Challenging yourself to honestly look at your life, including your use of alcohol and other drugs.
  2. Challenging yourself to look at what you like about alcohol and other drugs, and why you use them.
  3. Challenging yourself to look at harm that has happened and could happen from your use of alcohol and other drugs.
  4. Challenging yourself to look at your responsibility and the responsibility of others for your problems.
  5. Challenging yourself to look at where you are headed, where you would like to go, and what you would like to accomplish.
  6. Challenging yourself to make thoughtful decisions about your life, including your use of alcohol and other drugs.
  7. Challenging yourself to take action and succeed with your decisions about your life and your use of alcohol and other drugs.

Why Seven Challenges Works

In explaining the The Seven Challenges program, it is our belief that clients need an empowering message that says they can take power over their lives, including their use of alcohol and other drugs.

They need a program that treats them with respect; offers them choices and an opportunity to think through their own decisions; and provides a framework to work on the situational and psychological problems that co-occur with drug problems…without stigma. They also need a program with built in structure for session-to-session support for maintaining changes in drug use behavior. Caring, skillful, and individualized counseling is essential.

The Seven Challenges® program offers comprehensive counseling to support people in making wise decisions and taking control of their own lives. It combines Mastery Counseling for co-occurring situational and psychological problems and the Challenge Process for decision-making.

Who Is The Seven Challenges For?

Seven Challenges is designed to accommodate individuals along a broad spectrum – from those who know they have a drug problem and know what they want to do about it to those who are uncertain about their drug use and about the direction they want to go.

It is respectful, helping clients explain their own drug use, even at serious problematic levels, without passing negative judgments about themselves. Instead of trying to control and prescribe behavior, the program offers multiple pathways to success.

The Seven Challenges is flexible in guiding people toward solutions that will work for them. Clients are given an opportunity to consider all their options, expand their options, and make their own decisions. Many people decide to quit using drugs. Others set new limits and see how that works.