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BLUE ISLAND RECOVERY HOME CELEBRATES 30 YEARS OF OPERATION

4/25/2018, noon | Updated on 4/25/2018, noon
Guildhaus, a licensed non-profit men’s recovery home and halfway house in Blue Island, is celebrating it’s 30 year anniversary on ...
Today, Kevin Lavin (pictured) is the executive director of Guildhaus, but if you were to look back in time, you could see him as a recovering alcoholic sleeping on the couch at the recovery home on Canal St. in Blue Island. Photo by Katherine Newman

Blue Island Recovery Home Celebrates 30 Years of Operation

BY KATHERINE NEWMAN

Guildhaus, a licensed non-profit men’s recovery home and halfway house in Blue Island, is celebrating it’s 30 year anniversary on April 26 at the Beverly Country Club. The night will begin at 6 p.m. and feature Neil Steinberg, a journalist with the Chicago Sun Times, as the guest speaker along with a silent auction and raffle.

Founded in 1987 by Jack King, a retired Chicago firefighter, Guildhaus has been able to treat 15,000 men who suffer from addiction and alcoholism, according to information provided by Guildhaus.

“There is no magic that happens here. It’s just showing up and buying into the fact that you’re powerless over your addiction. If you can feed into that and really buy into it, that’s half your problem solved right there. Then there are a bunch of steps after that to continue to work on yourself because in order to stay sober, you have to change and that doesn’t happen overnight,” said Kevin Lavin, executive director of Guildhaus.

Today, Lavin is the executive director of Guildhaus, but if you were to look back in time, you could see him as a recovering alcoholic sleeping on the couch at the recovery home on Canal St. in Blue Island.

“There was no other place on the South Side that had a halfway house so Jack King started this place in 87. I actually slept on a couch right in the front room because there were no beds at the time,” said Lavin.

Staying active, remaining grateful for successful treatment, and giving back to help others suffering from addiction is the key to maintaining sobriety, according to Lavin.

“I love this job because I’m able to give back what was given to me,” said Lavin. “If a guy comes in here and stays for 90 to 120 days the odds of him relapsing are down to about 44 percent,” said Lavin.

Over the last 30 years as the nature of addiction has changed Guildhaus has also adapted to make sure that they are able to provide the best treatment for their residents, according to Lavin.

“From 1987 to 1997 residents were predominately white and predominantly alcoholics. From 1995 to 2006, the demographics were different, it was more integrated, and drugs were a major factor. The crack epidemic hit the south side of Chicago and really the state and the country. We went from mostly alcoholics to crack,” said Lavin.

“There wasn’t really a big spotlight on it because it was an inner-city thing and no one seemed to really care, but when the opiate epidemic hit and heroine, now all of a sudden people care.”

One thing that has never changed is the safe space that exists at Guildhaus and allows all addicts, no matter their dependency, to find the support they need to recover.

For more information about the event and to learn about the services at Guildhaus visit www.guildhaus.org.