A residency for the man suffering alcoholism
The First Step House is a non-profit organization chartered by the State of Illinois for the purpose of rehabilitating the man addicted to alcohol. We supply food and housing to a maximum of 8 residents.
We facilitate 12th step work by providing sponsors a place to, in certain cases, house and feed the men they are working with for up to 8 weeks. We foster a safe and comfortable environment conducive to building a foundation for long-term sobriety. We focus on alcoholism and believe there is a difference between alcoholics and addicts. We will allow dually addicted, however, we talk about alcoholism and make use of the 12 & 12 and the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Basic requirements to be considered for residency are:
- Must be an alcoholic male at least 18 years old
- Must not be taking any stimulants, opiates or sedative hypnotics, even if prescribed
- Must have 2 sponsors willing to work with the man while he is a resident
- Must have attended at least 3 AA meetings here at the house
- Rent is $80/week, $160 upfront (room and board is included)
The First Step House is not a "drop-off place" or homeless shelter, we do not take reservations and bed availability is first-come, first-served. If the house is full the prospect can get on a waiting list, but only after the prospect has attended 3 meetings at the First Step House and has 2 AA sponsors who will request admittance for the man. Sponsors take the residents to outside meetings and begin to work the 12 step program of Alcoholics Anonymous with them. In addition to their two AA sponsors, they will be assigned a House Sponsor that will monitor his progress during his stay. Residents have curfews, assigned chores and are required to be out of the house during the day either working or looking for work. We employ a full time custodian who lives on the premises, cooks weekday family-style dinners, monitors resident activities and manages day-to-day house operation.
We are not a "treatment center", we have no medical staff or detox facility, the treatment is AA. We do not receive any government funding or take insurance payments, we are self-supporting by donations. Since we are not a medical facility we do not allow any resident to keep medications of any kind on the premises. We have a zero tolerance policy for alcohol, drug use or aggression, and random drug/alcohol testing may occur at any time.
We host 20 AA meetings per week including one open meeting on Sunday mornings at 9:30 AM so family and friends can come and support their loved ones.
It is important to understand that the First Step House is, at the core, a residence to be used by sponsors to house and feed the alcoholic men they are working with. Although we host AA meetings, we are not formally affiliated with AA and all the meetings we host are considered to be independent of the house. Residents get in by having 2 sponsors request admittance for the man. We are primarily here for the sponsors, and they are ultimately responsible for their sponsees' behavior and rent while they live in the house. The FSH has established rules that residents and sponsors must follow in order to make use of the house. As such we are not technically a "recovery house" or "halfway house", although in practice we resemble both in many ways. We try our best to govern ourselves according to AA principles.