There’s no one set path to recovering from substance abuse and addiction. Whether you’re coming from a family with a long history of alcoholism, or you got hooked on prescription opioids after a surgery, or whatever else the case may be, your experiences, fears, and hopes will differ from most other people’s.

But no matter the specific circumstances, New Directions Addiction Recovery Services is here to tell you that yes, you do deserve to reclaim your life, and yes, you really can do it.

Recovery is a huge undertaking though, and it’s not easy. That’s why we’ve set up a variety of programs that help address different stages and aspects of the recovery process, to more fully serve the different needs within the recovery community.

Take a look at some of what we do.

The Other Side

This was our first program, the original focus of our efforts, and also the one that got us noticed and launched everything else that came after it.

The Other Side is our sober bar, located in Crystal Lake, IL, that caters to the local recovery community.

When you’re in recovery, it’s not just that you can’t drink or do drugs—you also have to avoid even just being around drugs or alcohol, so that you’re not tempted to relapse. That means there will be a lot of nights where you can’t go to that club, or that sports bar, or that party, or wherever else your friends are going.

But that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a social life while in recovery: you can always head up to The Other Side.

At The Other Side, we have pool tables where you can play billiards, music you can dance to, TVs where you can watch the game, a sober bar where you can get nonalcoholic drinks, and more.

We also use The Other Side as a community space where you can attend educational seminars, host group meetings, or just bring a couple friends to hang out. And once a month, there’s a bigger event like a DJ set or a comedy show.

Wake the Nation

We wish everyone could get on the path to recovery and stick to it in good enough time to where this would never happen, but it’s something we need to face: in the past few years, the number of fatal overdoses from both prescription opioids and from heroin alike has quadrupled, reaching the status of epidemic nationwide and particularly in Illinois.

Wake the Nation aims to try to help people survive those overdoses. How? The answer is an opioid overdose reversal drug called naloxone.

This life-saving drug, which exists both an injectable form and as a nasal spray, blocks the effects of opioids including:

  • Heroin
  • Morphine
  • Oxycodone
  • Methadone
  • Fentanyl
  • Hydrocodone
  • Codeine
  • Hydromorphone
  • Buprenorphine

When someone is overdosing, the opioid is shutting down their ability to breathe, but naloxone puts them into withdrawal almost immediately, within minutes. It only lasts an hour before the person needs another dose, but the extra time that this buys can make the difference between life and death in the event of an overdose.

But despite its proven effectiveness, naloxone was not made available to first responders until after Wake the Nation and a coalition of other advocacy groups fought for it. Critics had argued that the availability of a reversal drug would encourage drug use by removing the absolute consequence of overdose as a consequence, despite there being no evidence to back this claim up.

Wake the Nation advocated for the policy changes that included a Good Samaritan Law in Illinois that legally protects anyone who helps an overdose victim, as well as getting naloxone into the hands of law enforcement officers. Today, naloxone is found in police departments across the state, and is even available to the public over-the-counter at pharmacies like Walgreens and CVS.

Moving beyond lobbying, Wake the Nation has taken an active role in the implementation of the law by taking on the challenge of training. Having trained the McHenry County Police Department in the use of naloxone, Wake the Nation now continues the work of training the public in the use of the life-saving overdose reverser, as well as raising awareness around the issues of addiction and overdose in general.

New Directions Sober Living

When people get out of treatment at a rehab center, their next step isn’t always clear. They may not have a place to go, or the place where they did live before might be a negative environment for maintaining their recovery.

In either case, a sober living home can provide a stable and constructive environment for transitioning back into normal life and integrating meaningfully into the community. And the sober living home recently opened by New Directions in Crystal Lake offers services to accomplish just that.

New Directions Sober Living is a low-cost housing option for people in recover who meet a certain set of requirements, such as established sobriety, active pursuit of employment, daily completion of household tasks, and regular attendance of 12-step meetings.

In exchange, they live in a supportive and drug-free environment, and get access to case workers who can help them reclaim a driver’s license, build a resume, pay off court fees, and more.

They also get to live with people going through many of the same things as them, and go out in regular outings to The Other Side, which helps them connect with the community and put down some roots in their new life.

So, The Other Side, Wake the Nation, and Sober Living. These three programs all address substance abuse and addiction from different angles, but the message and the mission are always the same: proving that everyone, no matter their circumstances, can reclaim their life and take it in New Directions.