Chicago, located in the state of Illinois, is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous city in the country, after only New York City and Los Angeles. It is widely recognized as a hub for culture, finance, commerce, industry, technology, and education. This thriving city is home to major Fortune 500 companies, including Boeing, Allstate, Walgreens, Sears, and even McDonald’s. With much of the city rebuilt following the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, the city is notable for its contributions to architecture and urban planning. Its steel-framed skyscrapers, built during this construction boom, speak to the city’s prosperity and form an awe-inspiring skyline.
Residents of Chicago can enjoy a unique culture that is both urbane and quintessentially midwestern. Chicago has a thriving arts scene, dominated by visual arts, theatre, improvisational comedy, electronic dance music, and house music. It is also home to some of the country’s most prestigious research universities, including Northwestern University, the University of Chicago, and the University of Illinois at Chicago. No matter where your interests lie, the city of Chicago is sure to provide stimulation and interest.
Unfortunately, Chicago is also beset by skyrocketing rates of drug and alcohol addiction. While alcohol is the most widely abused substance in Chicago, which has a notable drinking culture, many residents also have debilitating addictions to illicit drugs. These drugs of abuse include heroin, cocaine, prescription opioids, benzodiazepines, methamphetamine, marijuana, and MDMA. In more recent years, the opioid epidemic has seen prescription opioid abuse soar.
When individuals with drug or alcohol use disorders try to manage their conditions on their own, the results are often catastrophic. Addictions cannot be managed through personal willpower alone. After all, what makes an addiction an addiction is the fact that a person loses their self-mastery. Over time, self-control tends to get worse and consequences accumulate. These consequences can include damaged relationships, career prospects, and health. Death is also a possibility: in 2016, Chicago reported 581 fatal opioid overdoses, 93% higher than the rate merely three years prior.
For Chicago residents with drug or alcohol addictions, it is crucial to seek outside help. Sober living houses can help people with addictions escape from the vicious cycle of chemical dependence. Not only is it possible to get sober, with a strong support system is it possible to stay sober. Quality sober living houses in and outside of Chicago work with residents to help them learn to live joyful and prosperous lives without the use of drugs or alcohol.
What is a Sober Living House?
Sober living houses provide Chicago residents with new living arrangements where they can pursue recovery. A sober living home, at the most basic level, is a house where residents do not drink alcohol or abuse drugs. To be admitted, a person must stay away from drugs and alcohol and agree to be regularly drug-tested. However, residents do more than just abstain from drugs and alcohol. They work hard to develop sober lives, learn new recovery skills, and support one another; in other words, they work hard to recover from their addictions.
Addiction recovery is a multifaceted process, and living in a sober environment is often a critical component. Sober living houses offer safe, clean, and trigger-free environments for residents. The chances of being exposed to substance abuse are far lower in a sober living house. Moreover, residents are surrounded by people who want to see them succeed. Early sobriety is a vulnerable time, and most people experience their fair share of challenges of upheavals, but in a sober living home, they are guaranteed support.
The peer support network that sober livings offer is a crucial ingredient. Sober living homes are communities that feel like families. Residents develop strong bonds with each other. They share stories and learn to laugh about what they’ve gone through. People who may have felt like misunderstood misfits their entire lives can finally be with people who get it. Studies show that these relationships help people stay sober even years after they have left their sober living house. In a sober living facility, no one recovers alone: they are pulled up by the group.
Residents also work to rebuild their lives in sobriety. Most quality sober living homes expect residents to obtain jobs during their time there. Sober living staff support residents in addressing underlying issues, which range from legal problems and financial woes to complex family dynamics. By addressing underlying issues, developing new life skills, and working toward new life goals, residents can build up lives for themselves that they never would have thought possible. In this sense, sober living homes not only help residents develop long-term sobriety, but they help them begin to appreciate the gifts that sobriety offers.
Sober Fun in Chicago
It can’t be denied that Chicago has a significant drinking culture. It is home to some of the best clubs and bars in the world, but it is also home to many other “bests” that don’t involve drinking or drug use. For people in recovery who are living in Chicago, there are many options for sober fun. The key to having sober fun lies in making use of coping tools and having a strong group of sober friends. Armed with these resources, just about any activity can be an occasion for sober fun. Best of all, you’re likely to actually remember what happened when you wake up the next morning!
It should be noted that if you spent much of your active addiction in Chicago, it is often a good idea to recover outside of Chicago. That way, you can make a fresh start and develop a new set of behaviors and relationships without so easily getting pulled back into your old way of life. However, if you are returning to Chicago after getting sober, you’ll likely find your relationship with the city changed dramatically — for the better! Take a look around and get to know the other Chicago. There are countless booze-free alternatives to a night out at the bar. These include:
Enjoy Chicago’s Comedy Scene
Chicago’s comedy scene is thriving, and it continues to rival New York and Los Angeles. The city is home to iconic theatres such as The Laugh Factory, Second City, The Annoyance Theatre, and iO Theater. Live standup events occur every night of the week, but the city is even more famous for the quality of its improv comedy. If you truly want to experience a thrill, you can even sign up for an improv comedy class yourself at most of the above-listed theatres!
Trek Along the 606 Trail
The 606 hiking trail was once the Bloomingdale train line. Today, it is a unique path that runs through Logan Square, Humboldt Park, and Bucktown. Walking along this trail provides amazing views of the city, opportunities for people watching, and countless amenities. Walking the whole thing is a big accomplishment — but you don’t have to finish the trail. The trail winds through many parks, art installations, and other Chicago attractions.
Enjoy Chicago’s World-Class Museums
Many of Chicago’s most prestigious museums are located close to each other in the so-called “museum campus.” Art museums include the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture. The Adler Planetarium, the Shedd Aquarium, and the Field Museum are also fascinating destinations. Other excellent museums in Chicago include the Museum of Science and Industry, the Museum of Surgical Science, and the American Toby Jug Museum.
Go to the Beach
Wait, the beach? Yes! Chicago is not a coastal city, but it has beaches. Chicago is located right next to Lake Michigan, one of the US’ Great Lakes. Relax in the sun, catch some waves, bring your dog to Montrose Beach, or get some exercise playing beach volleyball at North Avenue Beach.
Head to the Stadium
Chicago loves its sports. The city is filled with arenas and stadiums for every kind of fan. Head to Wrigleyville to watch a Cubs game, or head on over to Bridgeport to see a Sox game. Even if baseball isn’t your jam, you can go to the United Center to see the Chicago Bulls or the Blackhawks. Yes, there might be some drinking at the game, but you’ll likely be screaming for your team with as much fervor as anyone else, so it hardly makes a difference that you’re sober.
Benefits of Chicago Sober Livings
Substance use disorders are serious mental health conditions that require long-term care and support. It is not possible to “cure” an addiction; rather, they are chronic conditions that people need to take the time to live with. Sober living homes not only help residents get sober but also ensure that residents develop the skills and support systems that they’ll need to live the best possible lives in sobriety.
This process takes time. In fact, this is why sober living houses are so often utilized by people who have already attended rehab. Residents are free to stay in their sober living house as long as they need. Many stay for a year or longer. By the time a person graduates, they will likely have a strong sober social support system, the beginnings of a career, and a confident sense of where they’re headed in life. Best of all, they’ll be sober. How do sober living homes help residents develop long-term sobriety? The benefits of living in a sober living house include:
Sober living houses employ staff members who have been through the recovery process themselves. This puts them in the ideal position to offer guidance, feedback, and support to sober living house residents. House managers and team members generally live on-site with the residents. Moving into a Chicago sober living home means getting staff support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Life Skills Training
Sober living homes recognize that substance abuse often deprives young people of essential life skills. While other people their age were forming relationships, going to college, and advancing in their careers, addicts and alcoholics were struggling with substance abuse. As such, recovery is about more than just staying sober. It is about learning skills necessary for life. Sober livings work with residents to help them develop these essential skills.
One of the most important benefits sober livings offer is peer support. Residents develop strong relationships and live together as a community. They keep each other accountable, share their experiences, and lend each other strength. Addiction is often known as a “disease of isolation,” so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that relationships form the backbone of any successful recovery.
Transition From Rehab
Sober livings are one of the most commonly recommended aftercare resources for recent rehab graduates. Sober livings are not clinical addiction treatment programs. Nonetheless, they can be an excellent supplement to rehab. Recent graduates are not advised to jump back into their old lives after rehab. Sober livings provide support, guidance, and structure as they work to develop new lives in sobriety. Moreover, research shows that ongoing involvement with aftercare recovery resources significantly reduces the risk of relapse.
Sober Livings Outside of Chicago
Chicago has many options for addicts and alcoholics who are ready for sober living. However, it is common for people to move outside of their home cities when they begin their recovery journeys. Going to a sober living outside of Chicago is often a good idea for people who actively abused drugs and alcohol in the city. No matter how high-quality a person’s sober living is, the city itself may be a source of triggers. Chicago’s drinking culture is hard to avoid. There also always remains the possibility of running into old drinking friends or encountering a person, place, or thing that pulls you back into old habits.
Many Chicago residents move to Los Angeles to make a fresh start in sobriety. Los Angeles is a city where countless people move each year to remake themselves. While it may be more well known as a city where people pursue their dreams of fortune and celebrity, Los Angeles is actually one of the most well-regarded cities in the country for addiction recovery. The health-conscious and open-minded culture of the city makes it a tolerant place for alternative lifestyles. 12-step meetings like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are held every hour of the day throughout the city. Moreover, Los Angeles is the birthplace of a distinct type of sober living: structured sober livings.
Recovery is Possible at Design for Recovery
Design for Recovery is a sober living home located in West Los Angeles. Design for Recovery is widely regarded as the city’s top structured sober living house for men. Young men who suffer from alcohol and drug addictions can find a safe, supportive, and trigger-free environment here. Every day, our residents work to better themselves, address underlying issues, and develop new coping skills. Moreover, they do so with the full support of a thriving and warm community of people who have been through many of the same challenges.
Design for Recovery was founded on the belief that recovering from drug and alcohol addiction involves more than just maintaining physical abstinence. Our sober living staff members help residents become the best possible versions of themselves. Doing so means following a design for living that rests on a strong foundation of sober principles. These values include responsibility, integrity, accountability, and rigorous honesty. We believe that by changing how one approaches life, relationships, and oneself, recovery can end up being a gift that gives far more than just freedom from addiction.
If you are ready to make a change, reach out to Design for Recovery today. It is never too late to change your life. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation.