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Harbor Light Center Chicago Treatment Services Image

Harbor Light Center Chicago Treatment Services

For more than 70 years, Harbor Light Chicago has provided comprehensive specialized services to people seeking to overcome substance use disorder.

Substance Use Disorder Treatment Services

The Harbor Light Center in Chicago is one of the largest substance use disorder recovery programs in the United States. For more than 70 years, it has been providing comprehensive, specialized services to persons seeking to overcome the disease of alcohol and substance abuse. A variety of programs enable clients to set and achieve personal, positive objectives to overcome their addiction, reestablish their lives, and return to the community as productive citizens. The Harbor Light Center provides intensive substance use disorder treatment and follows up with support during the critical period as clients reintegrate into the mainstream community. View our Harbor Light Center Annual Report  or read below to learn more.

About the Process:

A review board, composed of representatives from all Harbor Light Center departments, conducts daily reviews of individuals applying for the recovery program. Generally, applicants are accepted unless their problem is clearly something other than substance abuse. We do accept dual diagnosed clients (mental health and substance abuse). In such cases, we refer them to the appropriate agencies for additional assistance. Applicants may not be admitted to Harbor Light Center while intoxicated. If detoxification is needed, we refer them to area detox centers.

Our Intensive Rehabilitation Unit (IRU) provides residential treatment for those who have gone through detox and need basic education and counseling to help change attitudes and behavior. This program is for high-risk clients who may have failed in other treatment programs but are now ready to address their substance abuse. The program prepares residents for productive and independent/semi-independent living. The IRU serves 20 men; the length of stay is 21 to 45 days.

Our Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) is designed for clients who have gone through the Intensive Rehabilitation Unit and still need long-term care. The length of stay is varied, and based on the severity of the addiction. Clients attend group services, educational opportunities and counseling groups to help them learn about their addiction and triggers, and how to change their approach to problems and adjust their lifestyles.

The educational component consists of a combination of lecture and process, video presentations on substance use/abuse, group discussion, and clients processing this information in a group setting, facilitated by a substance abuse professional. We incorporate Motivational Interviewing techniques, Cognitive-Behavioral and 12-Step Facilitation approaches to educate clients about their disease, help them formulate workable approaches and solutions to their problems, and assist them in making the necessary lifestyle changes required to live alcohol- and drug-free. Counselors also provide individual sessions to review progress and address any issues that a client may need to address. This level of care can also address the needs of DUI high-risk clients.

Clients will be required to demonstrate active participation in 12-Step self-help groups, or any recognized support system or network that can strengthen their recovery environment. The most common groups are AA, NA and Fellowship. However, clients may identify other support systems, which can be equally effective in promoting recovery, and we encourage their participation in such groups (e.g., Rational Recovery, SMART, Bible Study, etc.). In addition Harbor Light provides an after-care program for individuals who have successfully completed treatment, yet would benefit from ongoing support.

The Harbor Light Center offers two types of transitional jobs programs to assist clients in their employment needs. One program provides job training on specific skills in food service, maintenance or clerical professions. The second program offers a work experience with a community partner. The Salvation Army subsidizes the wages of the client while s/he is working for up to eight (8) weeks. At that time, the partner may hire the person directly. Both programs include training in resume writing, interviewing skills, appropriate job behaviors, conflict resolution, and other skills necessary for employment stability.


Signs to Get Help: Identifying the Problem

Do you believe that a loved one, or perhaps even you, may have an alcohol or substance abuse problem? Listed below are some of the signs to look for when identifying an addiction.

Some of the following signals may help identify a drug problem in yourself or in someone close to you:

  • Marked changes in attitude
  • Spending lots of time alone in a room
  • Lying
  • Boisterous or belligerent behavior
  • Being secretive about movements and friends
  • Strange or secretive phone calls
  • Stealing
  • Not caring for others - family members, friends, etc.
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Emotional outbursts, mood swings
  • Changes in group of friends, loss of interest in old friends
  • Sudden drop in grades
  • Skipping classes, skipping school
  • Skipping work or school on Mondays
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irregular sleep patterns and eating habits
  • Dramatic weight loss or gain
  • Constant sniffing, runny eyes and nose, difficulty fighting infection
  • Drug Paraphernalia*

*Drug paraphernalia includes but is not limited to: rolling papers, pipes, bong (marijuana), small spoons, razor blades, mirror, little bottles of white powder, plastic/glass/metal straws, stimulants (e.g., cocaine, amphetamines), syringes, bent spoons, bottle caps, eye droppers, rubber tubing, cotton and needles, narcotics (e.g., heroin)

Some or all of the following points may indicate alcohol dependence:

  • Drinking excessive amounts (in excess of guidelines for safe drinking)
  • Drinking one type or brand of alcoholic beverage (eg. Beer, wine, etc.)
  • Drink-seeking behavior (hanging out with others who drink, only going to events that include drinking, etc.)
  • Increased tolerance (drinking increasing amounts to gain same effect)
  • Decreased tolerance (drinking decreasing amounts brings the same effect)
  • Withdrawal symptoms (getting physical symptoms after going a short time without drinking)
  • Drinking to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms (such as drinking to ‘cure' a hangover, or to stop the shakes)
  • Some awareness of craving for alcohol or inability to control drinking habits (whether or not you admit it to others)
  • A return to drinking after a period of abstinence (deciding to quit and not being able to follow through)

Get Treatment Now

If you are ready to stop using drugs and/or alcohol we're here to help! At this time, our residential treatment program is for men 18 years and older. However, women and teens are able to receive outpatient treatment. If women and teens desire inpatient treatment, we are happy to make referrals for appropriate services.

Please call the Intake Department at 312-667-2200 Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. We will talk about your addiction and give you an appointment for a full assessment. If you don't want to wait the few days for an appointment, come to 825 N. Christiana Avenue in Chicago, Monday-Friday at 7 a.m. and request the first open appointment.

Please don’t wait! We care and we want to help!

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA)

  • Mondays - 7:30 p.m.- 9:00 p.m. (AA)
  • Tuesdays - 7:30 a.m. (AA)
  • Wednesdays - 7:30 a.m. - 9 p.m. (AA)
  • Thursdays - 7:30 a.m. - 8:30 p.m. (NA)
  • Fridays - 7:00 a.m. - 8:30 p.m. (AA)
  • Saturdays - 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. & 2:00 a.m. - 3 p.m. (AA)

The Salvation Army Harbor Light Center offers an Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment Group for ages 13-17 with separate groups for girls and boys. Our program utilizes evidenced-based practice specifically tailored to the emotional and developmental needs of teens. A key component is pro-social recreational activities in our large community center, which includes a gym. These activities are designed to promote positive youth development and encourage program attendance.

Our program is informed by the research based principles of adolescent substance use disorder, as identified by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and includes counseling, education, fellowship, and family involvement. Our caring, supportive, experienced professionals offer individualized and culturally competent services. Behavioral approaches proven effective with adolescents are utilized, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Adolescent Community Reinforcement Approach, 12-Step Facilitation Therapy, and Motivational Enhancement Therapy. Our trauma-informed team addresses the mental, physical and spiritual needs of the adolescent. Trained counselors carefully monitor the group discussion to ensure that group members do not attempt to glorify, promote or extol the virtues of drug use, gang affiliation, sexual relations, or self-injurious behavior.

Although participation is voluntary, individuals may fulfill a court mandate by successfully completing this program.

Through this program, teens will learn about the negative effects of drugs and alcohol use and will be empowered to make positive, healthy choices. Topics covered in this group will include:

  • Gateway drugs
  • Cycle of addiction
  • Identifying triggers
  • Dealing with cravings
  • Preventing relapse
  • Building communications skills
  • Managing emotions
  • Coping skills
  • Dealing with stress
  • Managing peer pressure
  • Refusal skills
  • Pro-social sober activities
  • Maintaining a sober lifestyle

For more information, please call 312-667-2246.