Frequently Asked Questions
Who are the residents at SisterHouse and how do they get there?
SisterHouse accepts women from all over the Chicago area regardless of race and ethnicity. Substance abuse counselors and case managers refer women to SisterHouse from rehabilitation facilities and prison programs. SisterHouse has a capacity for 15 women at a time, who must be at least 21 years of age. Many have children, and most still have contact with their families.
Do children live with women at the house?
No. The staff at SisterHouse believe that the women need this recovery time to focus on their personal development and to devote their full attention to understanding their individual needs and responsibilities. Children are invited to visit on weekends.
How does SisterHouse differ from other recovery homes?
Women come to SisterHouse because they are assured of a drug-free home where they can live and learn in community and where they can develop spiritually. The small size at SisterHouse provides opportunities for personal attention and guidance from the staff. The “women only” atmosphere fosters bonding, and social interaction is encouraged through communal meals and outings. Private bedrooms offer a home-like environment where the women can have needed quiet time and a space that is theirs alone. The residents at SisterHouse share responsibilities for housekeeping, grocery shopping, and cooking as they learn to take care of themselves and each other. An income is not required for entry.
Is SisterHouse “strict”?
Many people equate structure and discipline with being strict. We at SisterHouse believe that providing structure where it has been absent is the first step to creating a productive future. SisterHouse offers both support and challenges to the women and tries to help them build a firm foundation based on personal responsibility and accountability. Because SisterHouse is a private agency, we have taken the liberty of developing a model that works best for us—one that has a firm spiritual component and high expectations for appropriate behavior and self discipline.
How long can the women stay at SisterHouse?
Women can stay at SisterHouse from 18-24 months. During this time, they are offered opportunities for study, meditation, self-reflection, self-help meetings, job training, and participation in groups that focus on the many aspects of addiction and recovery.
The staff at SisterHouse believe that the women who reach their goals are those who believe strongly that this is their time to make needed changes in their lives. Those who leave prematurely generally have expectations that are not in sync with the SisterHouse program, but we believe that, however long their stay, they do benefit from the loving atmosphere and the exposure to a drug-free environment. Hence, their leaving is in no way equated with failure on their part. They may come to SisterHouse alone, but they all leave in community and never have to be alone again.
What do the women take with them when they leave SisterHouse?
During the time the women are at SisterHouse, we encourage their development in the following areas:
– Putting a support network in place
– Managing time and money
– Setting personal goals and working on them.
The SisterHouse staff believe that if they are prepared in these areas, the women will have a greater chance of meeting life’s challenges once they are on their own. When the residents leave, the most important things they take with them are a deep awareness of empowerment with a renewed sense of personal dignity and hope for a bright future.