Stairway to Freedom (STF) was founded in 2007 in Chicago, Illinois by a group of alcoholics and addicts with long-term recovery, along with first hand experience as sober living residents. The organization offers safe and highly structured gender-specific transitional living for men and women. Stairway to Freedom operates on a strict 12-step recovery protocol, which is easily incorporated into the lives of their residents, as Chicago boasts over 1,000 weekly 12-step meetings.
Accommodations and Amenities
Stairway to Freedom operates three male-only houses and one female house. Accommodations vary, but there are typically between nine and ten people per a residence. Each residence is also home to two or three house managers. Clients range between 25 and 60 years of age. Rooms are double or triple occupancy, and are comprised of twin beds, closet space and dressers.
Amenities include Cable TV, Wi-Fi and free laundry facilities. The newly renovated homes include upgraded bathrooms, flat screen TVs, and fully equipped kitchens with state of the art appliances. Clients are responsible for their own groceries and meal preparation. Utensils, silver, dishes and other cooking items are provided.
Rules and Regulations
At Stairway to Freedom, newcomers are welcome, provided that they are willing to follow the rules. While the organization accepts clients on Vivitrol, and allows those on Suboxone a 30-day weaning off period, potential residents on medication-assisted treatment using methadone are not admitted. Other narcotic medications, including benzodiazepines are also forbidden. At Stairway to Freedom, clients are subject to random drug and alcohol testing. The facility practices a zero tolerance policy and evicts those who test positive immediately.
While a 10 to 12 month length of stay is recommended, most clients reside at Stairway to Freedom between six and eight months. Stairway to Freedom is deeply rooted in the 12-steps. Newcomers must attend 90 meetings in 90 days. Additionally, all clients must attend two weekly house meetings. The house meetings include a Thursday gathering where the residents share their weekend goals—including what 12-step meetings are on their agendas. The Sunday meeting is where clients share about their weekends, what meetings they went to and if any of their plans changed.
Clients progress through three phases, on a case-by-case basis. They can only move up to the next phase by a unanimous house vote. During the first phase, the curfew is 10:30 pm from Sundays to Thursdays, and midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. No overnight passes are allowed. During the second phase, curfew is midnight from Sundays to Thursdays, and one am on Fridays and Saturdays, with one weekly overnight pass. Finally, the last phase which focuses on helping a client get accustomed to independent living, has a one am Sunday to Thursday curfew, followed by a two am Friday and Saturday curfew. Additionally, individuals are granted three weekly overnight passes, but they can’t use the passes on consecutive days.
Since Stairway to Freedom encourages that their clients obtain and maintain employment, with the goal being self support and independent living, those whose work schedules extend past curfew are exempt. They must notify and receive prior permission from their house managers.
Stairway to Freedom runs a tight ship, and clients are highly supervised. For those seeking an affordable, structured 12-step approach in their recovery, this sober living community is exactly right. However, this is not a great fit for those seeking alternatives to AA/NA or those who do not like constant monitoring, but it is a solid organization with a great reputation in the Chicago recovery community.
Stairway to Freedom
4850 W Dakin St
Chicago, IL 60641
Stairway to Freedom
4849 W Irving Park Rd
Chicago, IL 60641
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