A residence for men recovering from alcohol or drug addiction will be opening in Crystal Lake this fall.
The home, located at 131 Ellsworth St., was purchased by Chris Reed and New Directions Addiction Recovery Services. Up to 12 men will live in the home, which is slated to open by October.
Some renovations need to be made to the home before it opens as a recovery center.
Reed also is the owner of The Other Side, a Crystal Lake sober bar that opened in 2013.
The home is designed to provide a stable environment and support to help recovering individuals be productive, positive members of society.
Case managers will meet with residents of the home and pinpoint areas for improvement and goals. The case managers will also help residents create resumes for job searches, and help them get a drivers license again and pay off court fines.
Reed said for many recovering addicts, such items have been on the back burner for awhile.
“Stuff like that just stacks up on you, and it’s easier to just not think about it,” Reed told the Northwest Herald, reflecting on his own recovery. “These types of problems in your head seem insurmountable.”
Men who want to live in the home must meet a number of criteria, including being sober, seeking employment within two weeks of moving in, attending house meetings, and going to 12-step meetings.
Residents won’t immediately be shown the door for violating a rule, according to Reed. He said every situation is different and will be evaluated.
“Ultimately, if you’re there, and on a daily basis you are trying to work on your recovery program and improving on the quality of your life, we will be there to support that person,” Reed said.
House members will have the chance to participate in group outings and events at The Other Side.
An inhabitant of the home must be able to provide the first week’s living fee, currently set at $100. Reed said a scholarship program will be offered for people needing help with the fee. Donations can be made at ndars.org.
Concerned neighbors, zoning codes and the stigma of recovering addicts often make it difficult to establish such recovery houses. The Crystal Lake Planning and Zoning Commission recommended denial of the project in July, feeling that there would be too many people living in the home, even though the maximum number of occupants is deemed allowable in city code.
The Crystal Lake City Council approved the project last week in a 5-2 vote, but concerns were voiced by City Council members and neighbors.
Two neighbors felt the recovery home would negatively affect property values. City Councilor Ralph Dawson, one of two council members to vote against the project, said he was not comfortable with what appeared to be cramped living quarters.
“I believe that there are other locations that would fit your needs,” Dawson said.
Crystal Lake Mayor Aaron T. Shepley said New Directions has and will continue to meet city requirements or the council will take appropriate action.
He said Crystal Lake and McHenry County can’t ignore the ongoing drug problem in the region.
“We are not in a position to turn a blind eye to this,” he said.
Reed said New Directions will listen to neighbors’ concerns and ideas.
“A lot of people have a lot of preconceived ideas of what a drug addict or an alcoholic is,” Reed said. “I would say mostly it’s almost impossible to put a face to addition. It literally doesn’t discriminate.”
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